Essential advice for residents to keep warm and well this winter

The local NHS and Croydon Council are highlighting top tips on winter health to ensure residents keep warm and well and look after themselves, their home and others to fend off winter bugs and illness.

This year in particular with Covid-19 and the Omicron variant, flu and other seasonal viruses circulating, residents should follow this important information to stay well and help to ease additional pressures on health and social care services during this time of year.

The most effective way to prevent becoming severely ill with Covid-19 or the flu is to keep up-to-date with your vaccinations, and have them done when you are invited. It’s not too late to have your Covid-19 vaccine, booster, or flu jab. Find out where you can get your vaccination at the NHS South West London CCG website.

Everyone is advised to get medical help as soon as you feel unwell to ensure that A&E departments do not become overwhelmed. The sooner you get advice, the sooner you are likely to get better.

If you have a minor illness you can get help, advice and treatments from your local pharmacy and your GP. You can also contact NHS 111 by visiting 111.nhs.uk or calling 111.

Dr Subhro Banerjee, Medical Director and Emergency Department Consultant, said: “Getting your Covid-19 and flu vaccines is the best way to keep yourself well this festive season, ensuring you’re as protected as possible from these serious illnesses. Alongside this, there are lots of other simple steps you can take to stay healthy this winter and prevent a pre-Christmas visit to A&E. Many long-term conditions, like asthma or COPD, can be exacerbated in the colder months and a frosty spell can really take a toll on your health, so please remember to keep your house warm enough, wrap up when you go out and speak to your pharmacist or GP at the first sign of a winter illness.”

If residents need help with heating their home, there is lots of useful information on the council’s healthy homes website page.

There are more top tips for winter health on the NHS website.

Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications, especially if you are over 65, or if you have a long-term health condition. The winter advice includes:

• heating your home to at least 18°C all day long if you are over 65 and can. If you are under 65, the heating can be cooler as long as  you are comfortable
• Check on vulnerable neighbours, relatives and friends to ensure they are safe, warm and well
• use a hot water bottle to keep warm in bed
• have at least one hot meal a day and have regular hot drinks
• draw your curtains or close blinds in the evening and keep doors closed to block out draughts
• have your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional.

Councillor Janet Campbell, cabinet member for families, health and social care said: “We really want our residents to be aware of what they can do to help themselves and others this winter. It’s important to keep warm so that you stay as well as possible. Croydon Council and the local NHS will be supporting residents with information to help you to boost your immunity while it’s cold outside and offering help and support with finances. Winter can also lead to an increase of loneliness, so it’s vital that our communities pull together to ensure that everyone is looked after during the winter.”