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It’s important to protect yourself from the dangers of the cold weather and winter illnesses.

Do you need a flu vaccine?

You will need to talk to your GP or pharmacist about the flu vaccine if you:

  • are pregnant
  • have a long term health condition such as COPD, asthma, heart disease or diabetes (click here for more info).
  • are aged 65 or over
  • are a carer for an older or disabled person
  • are a parent of a 2, 3 or 4-year-old (your child should have the nasal spray flu vaccine)

It is important that those at risk are vaccinated as they are more likely to have serious complications from flu such as pneumonia. It is recommended that they have a flu vaccination every year to protect them.

You can find out more about flu vaccinations from NHS Choices.

Keep warm, keep well

Cold homes have a significant impact on people's health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.

Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacksstrokespneumonia and depression.

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. It's a good idea to keep your bedroom at this temperature all night if you can. During the day, you may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer. Make sure you wear enough clothes to stay warm. However, if you're under 65 and healthy and active, you can safely have your house cooler than 18°C, if you're comfortable. You can also use a hot water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you're in bed.

Winter Illnesses

Most winter illnesses, such as colds, flu and sore throats are viruses and can’t be treated by antibiotics, so the best course of treatments is usually rest, plenty of fluids and visiting your pharmacist for over-the-counter medicines and to seek help. Remember to keep wash your hands regularly to prevent the spread of these bugs. You can find out more about winter illnesses from NHS Choices.

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