NHS North Kirklees and NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are supporting the 2017/18 Stay Well This Winter campaign.

The Stay Well This Winter campaign is a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England, to help people with long-term conditions and those over 65 prepare for winter and ward off common winter illnesses.

For those with long term health conditions such as COPD; bronchitis, emphysema; diabetes; heart or kidney disease or for those who have suffered a stroke, cold weather, and winter illnesses such as flu, can make health problems like these far worse. Cold weather can also be very harmful for people age 65 or older: it weakens the immune system, increases blood pressure, thickens the blood and lowers body temperature, increasing risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections.

There are a number of things which can help people prepare against the cold weather.

It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F), if you can, you might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer.

At the first sign of a cough or a cold get help from your pharmacist before it gets more serious and make sure you speak to your pharmacist about medicines you should have in stock to help get you and your family through the winter season. Make sure you pick up prescription medications before the Christmas holidays start, as many GPs and pharmacies will close over the holidays.

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “The free flu vaccination is particularly important for those who are at increased risk from the effects of flu. These include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with long-term health conditions like COPD; bronchitis, emphysema; diabetes; heart or kidney disease or for those who have suffered a stroke.  Check if you are eligible here http://www.nhs.uk/staywell.”

Dr Steve Ollerton local GP and Clinical Leader of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG added:  “If you are pregnant flu can cause serious complications for you and your baby – you could both get seriously ill.  Vaccination is the safest way to help protect you and your baby against flu. So don’t put it off, ask your GP, pharmacist or midwife about the free flu jab today.  It’s free because you need it, however many months pregnant you are and however fit and healthy you might feel.”

In addition, the flu vaccine for children from 2 to 8 years old is just a quick nasal spray. For children aged 2 and 3 their nasal spray vaccine is available through their GP. School children from reception class through to year 4 will get their nasal spray through their school.

If you do need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk. The Stay Well This Winter campaign can help you and your family prepare for winter. Visit http://www.nhs.uk/staywell for more information.

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