Winter tips for you and your family

Winter can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people aged over 65 and those with long term health conditions.

But there are a number of things you can do to keep you and your family well this winter.

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

It’s important to keep warm in winter, both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. A cold home will have a significant impact on your health.

If you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, you should heat your home to at least 18°C as you are more vulnerable to living in a cold home. It's a good idea to keep your bedroom at this temperature all night if you can.

Help with heating costs

If you are worried about the cost of keeping your home warm this winter and would like some friendly advice, then one of the West Sussex home energy advisors may be able help.

Eligible households can access free, tailored advice on energy tariff switching, reducing your bills and getting home energy improvements, such as insulation and a new boiler, installed. You may be eligible for a visit if you live on a low income or have a long-term health condition or disability.

  • If you live in Worthing Borough, or Horsham, Mid Sussex or Adur districts, get in touch with the Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP) by calling 0800 060 7567 or visiting www.applyforleap.org.uk
  • If you live in Arun or Chichester districts, call the Wellbeing Home team on 01903 737862 or send an email to info@arunwellbeing.org.uk

For more advice on keeping warm and keeping the energy bills down this winter, please visit West Sussex Affordable Energy.

How to fight flu

Flu is a highly infectious illness that can spread rapidly. You may be eligible for a free flu jab if you're at risk of complications from flu.

Find out if you can get the flu jab free of charge by visiting the NHS website.

Eat well in winter

Food is a vital source of energy, which helps keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can.

Stay active

We all know that exercise is good for your overall health - and it can keep you warm in winter. If you can stay active, even moderate exercise can bring health benefits. If possible, try not to sit still for more than an hour or so. Remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plan.

Wear warm clothes

Wrap up warm, inside and out. Wear lots of thin layers - clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and help to maintain body heat. Wear shoes with a good grip to prevent slips and falls when walking outside. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.

Help your neighbours in winter

Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they're safe and well.

  • Make sure they have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather.
  • Make sure their heating is working and they are able to keep their home warm, especially at night.
  • If they need help with keeping their heating on and energy bills down, one of the West Sussex home energy advisors may be able to help (see contacts and links above).

Plan ahead for repeat prescriptions

GP surgeries are under pressure every day of the year and these only increases as winter sets in. Please help support your NHS by using the right services.

Plan ahead and order your repeat prescriptions in good time and remember, your local pharmacists are there to help and advice as an alternative to your busy and stretched GP.

Use your local pharmacy

Your local pharmacy is an accessible resource for you and your family. Your pharmacist can offer advice or help if you have run out of any prescribed medication. You can also collect medicine for minor ailments or illnesses.

Some Coastal West Sussex pharmacies will be open on the bank holidays over Christmas.

Make sure you have repeat prescriptions

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you or your family have enough medicine.

Advice and information on how to stay healthy this winter can be found in the Winter Health section of the NHS website.