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Protecting yourself from winter illness – general advice and tips

Residents in Chorley, South Ribble and Greater Preston are being urged to take precautionary steps against winter illnesses this year as temperatures start to drop and illnesses become more prevalent.

Wintery conditions can make even the healthiest person unwell. It is important to take the necessary steps to making sure you and those around you stay well this winter:

  • If you start to feel unwell, at the first sign of winter illness (even if it’s just a cough or a cold), seek advice from a pharmacist before it escalates into something more serious.
  • Make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked up with all the essentials so you can treat common ailments as soon as they appear. Your local pharmacist can offer advice on what you should ensure you have in to help get you and your family through the winter months.
  • Stay warm both indoors and outdoors, as it can help to prevent colds, flu, asthmatic flare ups and guard against the things that lead to more serious health conditions. It is recommended that you heat your home to at least 18 degrees centigrade and that you wear multiple thin layers, rather than one thick layer, when spending time outside.
  • Don’t put off getting the flu vaccination. If you fall into an at-risk group* then you can get a free flu vaccination from your GP or local pharmacist.
  • Keep an eye out for elderly relatives or neighbours and support them in the cold weather, so they too can stay well this winter. Try popping round for a cup of tea, making sure they have enough food or medical supplies to see them through bad weather or seeing if they need help getting out and about.
  • Make sure you pick up prescriptions and medication before the Christmas holidays start. Many GPs and pharmacies have different operating hours during the festive period and you should always make sure you have your medication.

Preston based GP, Dr Hari Nair, said:

“Underestimating what the cold can do to you or your family’s health is a common problem during the winter months, however it’s really easy to take small, but impactful steps towards staying well this winter and.”

“The most important thing is to make sure you’re prepared for when temperatures drop and conditions worsen – this means making sure your medicine cabinet is topped up, keeping yourself and your home warm and seeking medical advice from a pharmacist when you, or somebody in your family, starts to show signs of being unwell.”

Dr Nair added: “Whilst it’s easy to remember to make sure you and those immediately around you are staying well, there are many elderly and socially isolated people in our community who might also need help.“

“Popping around to see if they are okay, to have a chat and to see if they need anything can do wonders for a person’s wellbeing when they’re feeling isolated and lonely, especially when it’s cold, dark and miserable outside.”

The Stay Well This Winter website offers resources, tips and advice needed to ensure you’re fully prepared for the winter months. 

*At-risk groups:

  • Those aged 65 or above,
  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged 2 or 3
  • Those with certain long term health conditions (including diabetes, asthma, COPD, heart or lung disease)
  • Those who receive a carer’s allowance or are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare would be at risk if you were to fall ill.

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