Stay well this winter
Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people with long-term conditions such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, diabetes or heart or kidney disease. People aged 65 or older are also vulnerable. The cold, damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses.
Common winter illnesses
Here is a list of common winter illnesses and their duration.
|Common illness||Most people are better by|
|Earache (middle ear infection||8 days|
|Sore throat||7-8 days|
|Sinusitis (adults only)||14-21 days|
|Cough or bronchitis||21 days|
Self-care is the best choice to treat minor illnesses, ailments and injuries. Common winter illnesses like those in the table can be treated with over-the- counter medicines. Whether treated or not, most of these will get better by themselves.
Some simple tips for looking after yourself
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Have at least one hot meal a day
- Use over-the-counter medicines to relieve symptoms
Signs of more serious illness
While most illness will recover without needing medical attention, sometimes they can be serious. If you have any of the following symptoms or you are concerned about how unwell you feel, please contact the practice or the out-of-hours GP service. If someone is not breathing, having difficulty breathing, confused or not responding, this is an emergency and you should contact the ambulance service by phoning 999.
- If your skin is very cold or has a strange colour, or you develop an unusual rash
- If you feel confused or have slurred speech or are very drowsy
- If you have difficulty breathing (breathing quickly, turning blue around the lips or the skin between the ribs getting sucked in with every breath)
- If you develop a severe headache and are sick
- If you develop chest pain
- If you have difficulty swallowing or are drooling
- f you cough up blood
- If you are feeling a lot worse or you are concerned
The flu immunisation is an important part of preventing serious illness. Flu (or influenza) can be more serious than you think. It can cause complications like bronchitis and pneumonia. Unfortunately, many people die from flu every year.
The flu vaccination is a simple injection (or nasal spray for children) that teaches your body's immune system how to recognise the virus that causes flu so it can fight the infection effectively.
Older people and those with underlying health problems are more at risk of getting severe illness with the flu and are entitled to a free flu vaccination. You will shortly receive information from the practice about our flu clinics.