Getting your flu jab and self care are still
the best way to stay well this winter, health professionals advise. If
you are eligible for an NHS flu jab and haven't had one yet, ask your GP
surgery or Pharmacy.
Winter is a particularly busy time for the NHS
so to help alleviate pressure on the local NHS, Somerset County Council’s Director
of Public Health is reminding people of the simple things they can do to help
make this winter a healthy one.
Trudi Grant, Somerset Director of Public Health
said: “Winter brings with it a whole range of illnesses and ailments such as
flu, coughs and colds and Norovirus, the winter vomiting bug.
“Prevention is always better than cure so if
you start to feel unwell, at the very first sign of a winter illness, even if
it is just a cough or cold, please get advice from your well qualified
pharmacist before it gets more serious. Try and eat warm food and drink hot
drinks, heat homes to at least 18 degrees and keep active to keep warm.
“Cold and flu viruses are spread when you
breathe in droplets that are coughed or sneezed out by an infected person. You
can also catch a cold or flu by touching an infected object or surface and then
touching your eyes and nose. So making sure we all practice good hand hygiene
by washing your hands often with warm water and soap and coughing or sneezing
into a tissue and throwing it away quickly will help to keep the germ bugs at
Councillor Christine Lawrence, Somerset County
Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing added: “Please
keep an eye out for elderly relatives and neighbours and support them in the
cold weather to stay well this winter.
“If you start to feel unwell, but are generally
fit and healthy, you can usually manage the symptoms of a cold or flu yourself
without seeing your GP. To help you get better quicker, just rest and
sleep, keep warm, drink plenty of water (fruit juice or squash mixed with water
is fine) to avoid dehydration and gargle salt water to soothe a sore throat.
“Finally, having a well-stocked medicine
cabinet and making the most of your well qualified local pharmacist to treat
minor ailments will all help to relieve pressure on the NHS.”
Dr Ed Ford, a Somerset GP and Chair of Somerset
Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The flu season has started to kick in. If
you are healthy getting a cold or even flu is not normally life-threatening but
for the very elderly, or people living with long-term health problems, like
chronic lung disease or asthma, the complications caused by the flu virus can
be very serious.
The elderly, their carer’s and people living
with long-term health problems should get a flu vaccination if they have not
already had one.
If you start to feel unwell, stay at home and
manage your symptoms. Please don’t risk infecting others, by visiting people in
hospitals or care homes.”
The flu vaccine is the best protection we have
against an unpredictable virus and it is vital that those eligible have it
every year. So if you are eligible and haven’t had your flu vaccination yet
don’t put it off. Ask your GP surgery or Pharmacy about the free flu
If you are unwell, you should carefully
consider the best place to get treatment. Accident and Emergency (A&E) is
for life threatening and serious injury only, but there are a range of other
options that could suit your needs including your local pharmacy, Somerset
Minor Injury Units or calling the national 111 service.
The Stay Well This Winter campaign can help you
prepare for winter.