The winter period in general is typically extremely busy for health services, in particular this year with the coronavirus pandemic. You can help your local NHS and ensure you get the treatment you need when you need it, if you think carefully about where to go for advice and treatment.
Many common winter ailments such as coughs, colds, sore throat, tummy ache and sprains can be treated at home. Pharmacists can also offer advice and treatment for a number of minor illnesses and injuries.
If your condition is more serious, you can make an appointment to see your GP, contact them via the phone to book an appointment.
If you have a life-threatening condition, serious accident or need emergency treatment, you should go to A&E or call 999.
If you are need help urgently, but are unsure where to go – you should call 111.
It's really important that (when you need some help from a health service), that you access the correct service for your current needs. Accessing the correct service will usually mean that you will be seen quicker and by the health care person who is best able to help you. This winter, the NHS is here for you and your family, do not delay in contacting your pharmacy, GP or 111 if you have any health concerns.
This year, more vaccines are being made available to help protect people and thier loved ones from flu. Flu can be extremently serious requireing hospital treatment and can even be fatal. Last yea, over 11,000 people died from flu.
This year, more than ever it is vital that if you are in one of the vulnerable groups you recieve you flu vaccine to help protect you from flu. Anyone over 65, pregnant women, children aged between 2 and 5, people with long term conditions and carers are all entitled to a free flu jab. You can have your flu jab at your GP practice or pharmacist. The flu virus changes every year, so it is important to be vaccinated each year. You will be contacted by your GP to arrange your flu vaccine appointment. Please do not just turn up as you will be turned away.
If you believe you are within one of the vulnerable groups, or you are not sure, or you look after someone one vulnerable or is required to shield due to coronavirus, contact your GP and they will be able to advise you if you are entitled and arrange an appointment for you.
If you are not eligible for a free flu vaccination and would like to get vaccinated, speak to your pharmacist. They can offer a flu vaccination for a small charge.
Winter can be a particularly lonely time for elderly and vulnerable people. Darker, longer nights and bad weather conditions can prevent people from getting out and about and can lead to isolation. Keeping an eye on, and visiting elderly and vulnerable family, friends and neighbours can help to keep them well. Please ensure you continue to follow the latest government guidelines on social distacning rules if they are not in your 'bubble' and wear face coverings when required.
View the Public Health England Stay Well This Winter Publications here.
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