Patient and visitor information

Stay well this winter

Winter Health Advice

Winter can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or over, and people with long-term conditions. We want to help protect you and those you care for.

Cold weather doesn’t have to go hand in hand with illness. Here are some simple things you can do to help yourself stay well this winter.

  • Keep warm – this may help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia.
  • Eat well – food gives you energy, which helps to keep you warm. Try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.
  • Get a flu jab – flu vaccination is offered free of charge to people who are at risk, pregnant women, carers and some young children to ensure that they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications.

Common winter illnesses

  • Colds – to ease the symptoms of a cold, drink plenty of fluids and try to rest. Steam inhalation and vapour rubs can also help. Prevent colds from spreading by washing your hands thoroughly, cleaning surfaces regularly and always sneeze and cough into tissues, throwing them away after use.
    Find out more about treating colds
  • Sore throats – a sore throat is almost always caused by a viral infection, such as a cold. Try not to eat or drink anything that’s too hot, as this could further irritate your throat; cool or warm drinks and soft foods should go down easier.
    Find out more about treating sore throats
  • Asthma – a range of weather-related triggers can set off asthma symptoms, including cold air. Covering your nose and mouth with a warm scarf when you’re out can help.
    Find out more about treating asthma
  • Flu – if you’re 65 or over, have a long-term health condition such as diabetes or kidney disease, flu can be life-threatening, so it’s important to seek help early. However, if you’re generally fit and healthy, the best treatment is to rest, stay warm and drink plenty of water.
    Find out more about treating flu
  • Norovirus – this is also known as the winter vomiting bug, although it can cause diarrhoea too. The main thing to do to is drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You can also take paracetamol for any aches, pains or fever. If you think you have Norovirus please do not visit relatives in hospital until you have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.
  • ‘NHS Child Health’ – The ‘NHS child health’ app has been developed by doctors, health visitors and pharmacists to help parents know what to do when their child is ill. You can download it from Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

‘Choose wisely’

There are NHS services you can use to treat less serious injuries and illnesses. Don’t wait until you get worse. Most minor ailments can be treated at home using over-the-counter medicines so ask your pharmacist for expert confidential advice or visit for approved health advice about where to get the right treatment.

All GP now have extended opening hours, providing more convenient appointment times for patients outside the standard working day. Many urgent care and walk-in centres are open too and to find out more information, including opening times over Christmas and New Year, visit


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