Avoiding illness this winter

In this edition of Senior Snippets we are going to share some important tips on how to keep well in cold weather. NHS England is worried about rising flu rates – they are twice as high as they were this time last year.

Here are some top tips for keeping well in winter to help you and your loved ones beat the germs.

Speak to a pharmacist if you are feeling under the weather. Even if you have just a cough or a cold, your pharmacist may be able to help you prevent it from becoming more serious. If you can’t physically get to the pharmacy, call them to discuss your symptoms. If you need more urgent advice, ring the NHS helpline on 111.

Get the flu jab. Everyone over the age of 65, living in the UK is eligible for a flu jab and is encouraged to take up this free NHS service to protect themselves from the flu virus, which can be unpredictable and serious. You can get a flu jab at your GP’s surgery or at participating pharmacies. They are happy to help.

Keep warm. During the cold winter months, it is best to wear several layers of clothing, rather than a single thick layer. Clothes that are made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are better at maintaining body heat, and are better than silky and thin materials as they don’t insulate well. 

Keep mobile. Try not to sit still for more than an hour at a time. Even simply standing up to stretch your legs for a bit can help to increase your body temperature. If you have good mobility, moderate exercise is a great way of keeping warm when temperatures are low.

Drink hot drinks. When you get up to stretch, why not make yourself a hot drink to help keep you warm? You should also eat at least one hot meal a day. Making sure warm foods and drink are going into your system will keep your weight up and contribute to keeping your body temperature up.

Keep your medicine cabinet stocked. If you treat early-onset symptoms of illness promptly they are less likely to develop into anything more serious. By keeping your medicine cabinet stocked, you could avoid having to go out in the cold, if you do find yourself unwell.

The temperatures have been really cold lately, so it’s important to think about what you can do to protect more vulnerable friends and family from the ill-effects of the cold.

At Home Instead, our wonderful CAREGivers can help older people to stay well and can help with many of the tips mentioned here.

I’d love to hear from you! To make a suggestion for a future Senior Snippets topic, please write to me at [email protected] or by post to Home Instead, 10 Basepoint Business Centre, Havant, Hants PO9 1HS. Alternatively, you can call me on 02393 190091.