Winter conditions can be bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or older, and people with long-term conditions such as heart or kidney disease, COPD (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis), asthma or diabetes.
Being cold can raise the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
The cold and damp weather, ice, snow, and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems, increase the risk of a fall and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses.
Thankfully there are lots of things we can all do to stay well this winter including:
- getting vaccinated to protect against flu and COVID-19 if you are aged 65 or over; pregnant; have a health condition that puts you at risk; or are an unpaid carer or household contact of someone at risk
- washing your hands properly with soap and water to prevent the spread of viruses - visit nhs.uk/handwashing
- ordering repeat prescriptions before you run out, through your GP, local pharmacy or NHS-approved apps
- asking your pharmacist what over-the-counter medicines should be in your cabinet to help you and your family relieve symptoms of common winter illnesses such as colds, sinusitis or earache
- contacting your local NHS mental helpline for 24-hour advice and support, if you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis - visit nhs.uk/urgentmentalhealth
- looking out for other people, such as older neighbours, friends and family members who may need a bit of extra help over the winter
- providing support for someone returning home from a stay in hospital, including putting the heating on, arranging help around the home, and stocking up on basic food supplies and medicines
Making the right choices helps us all
An Emergency Department (also known as Accident and Emergency) should be used for genuine life-threatening illnesses and emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped, stroke or major trauma such as a road traffic accident.
Think NHS 111 first
If you need medical help fast, think you need to go to an Emergency Department or aren’t sure which service is right for you, contact NHS 111 online or by phone. NHS 111 is a free service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
NHS 111 advisors can provide health advice, put you in touch with the most appropriate service for your needs and arrange to have you seen by an emergency dentist, GP, or pharmacist.
They can also or call you an ambulance or book you in to be seen quickly and safely at an accident and emergency / emergency department or urgent treatment centre, if required.
Go online to 111.nhs.uk or call 111. British Sign Language interpreter service and other language interpreters are available. For text relay service call 18001 111 using the Relay UK app or a textphone.
If you someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, you should call 999 immediately.
Urgent Treatment Centres are here to help you stay well this winter
NHS Urgent Treatment Centres in Runcorn and Widnes are open from 8am to 9pm, seven days a week, 365 days are year (including bank holidays) but please arrive before 8pm to allow time to be seen before closing.
Urgent Treatment Centres have an x-ray department and can treat a range of conditions that require urgent treatment, but are not life-threatening such as:
- minor cuts or wounds
- bites, stings, rashes and allergic reactions
- minor burns and scalds
- sprains, strains and joint pains
- ear or eye injuries and infections
The centres in our area also provide arrival time slots for patients who contact NHS 111.
Runcorn Urgent Treatment Centre
Widnes Urgent Treatment Centre
Health Care Resource Centre
Caldwell Road, Widnes
0151 495 5000
GPs and pharmacies
For all other health needs, contact your pharmacy or GP practice. You can also access NHS advice and information online at www.nhs.uk.
For more information and tips from the NHS to help you stay well this winter and to view the leaflet ‘We’re here to help you stay well this winter’ visit www.