KEEPING your house warm in winter is vital and could prevent you from getting a cold, flu or more serious health problems such as a heart attack, stroke, pneumonia or depression.
Try to maintain the temperature of your home at 18°C (65°F), particularly if you find it hard to get around.
For people who struggle with winter fuel bills, the Government offers a winter fuel payment, warm home discount or cold weather payments.
Go Energy Shopping is Ofgem’s website to help you find the best deal for gas and electricity.
Wear several layers of light clothes when you’re outside as these trap warm air better than one bulky layer.
Stay active – try not to sit still for more than an hour and keep out the cold at night by closing windows as this reduces the risk of chest infection.
Stay well by being physically active
Staying physically active is a positive healthy step you can take to stay well this winter with many activities available in the local community:
• Cycling and cycling training
• Outdoor activities
• Sports and leisure centres
• Exercise programmes for health recovery and prevention
• Childrens’ activities for children during school holidays
• Sports clubs
• Disability sports
• Gyms: Newbury & Thatcham Green Gym, West Berkshire Therapy Centre
Winter is more risky for people with long-term health problems
If you have a long-term health condition like heart disease, lung illness, stroke or respiratory conditions like asthma, winter is more risky for you.
At the first sign of a cough or a cold always seek advice before it gets more serious.
Visit your local pharmacist or call 111 for Thames Valley’s NHS service for urgent clinical advice.
If you have a long-term medical condition you can get a free flu vaccine from your GP.
Children more vulnerable to winter illness flu
Flu season is drawing near and its vital to be protected the best you can with a flu vaccination.
Young children are more susceptible to complications from flu and display the same symptoms as adults, including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, a stuffy nose, a dry cough, and a sore throat lasting up to a week.
Some children develop a high fever or complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia and a painful middle ear infection, so if you’re concerned dial 111 to receive urgent clinical advice for your child.
To immunise your child against flu, the children’s vaccine is offered as a yearly nasal spray to young children to protect them.
The vaccine is given as a single spray up each nostril.
Not only is it needle-free, the nasal spray is quick, painless, and just as effective as the injected flu vaccine. For the nasal spray vaccine, make an appointment with your GP.
More people fall over in winter
Winter is a time when more people fall over due to icy or wet surfaces, colder temperatures and less light available.
Older people are more vulnerable to falling when it’s cold, and also people who have previously fallen or who don’t have confidence in their balance.
Improve your balance and confidence by attending Steady Steps classes (http://fis.westberks.gov.uk/kb5/westberkshire/fsd/service.page?id=7UrvH4__D6w) or tai chi, which are both available at Northcroft Leisure Centre on (01635) 31199 or via www.leisurecentre.com/northcroft-leisure-centre/Activity/aerobics-classes
Dr Bal Bahia, a local Newbury GP and vice-chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, advised: “If you or someone you live with or care for starts to feel unwell, but it’s not life-threatening, call 111 for urgent clinical advice and remember, if you qualify for the NHS free flu vaccine, get it now.”