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Stay well this winter

Hands on a mug with a cold day out the window

Frosty mornings and dark skies mean winter is definitely here. Cold weather can increase the risk of ill health in many people, especially those who are over 65 or have a long-term health condition. The council and the East Berkshire CCG are calling on residents to take the necessary precautions to stay well this winter.

With COVID-19 in circulation it’s even more crucial that we prioritise our health and look out for those who are more vulnerable. One of the most important actions you can take is to get your flu jab. It’s the easiest way to protect yourself and your family’s health over the cold snap. Vaccinations are available from all Bracknell Forest GPs and pharmacies.

Keep warm

Keeping yourself and your home warm will reduce your risk of becoming unwell this winter. Heating your home to at least 18 degrees is sufficient.

Try using an electric blanket, or hot water bottle to stay warm in bed.

Try to eat at least one hot meal a day. Eating regularly and staying hydrated will keep you energised and your body warm.

Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly will keep your blood circulating and your body warm.

Try not to sit still for more than an hour, get up and stretch your legs. If you can get outside, try walking regularly, but don’t forget to wear enough layers.

Get medical help when needed

Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet and seeking medical attention when you need it can prevent severe illness.

Local GP and clinical lead for the Bracknell locality, Dr Martin Kittel, said:

“It is really important that everyone continues to look after their own health at home.

“If you have a minor illness or injury, speak to your local pharmacist. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.

“If your pharmacist is closed and you need reassurance or don’t know where to go, visit 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111. You will be directed to the most appropriate service or be given an appointment to see a clinician if needed. The call is free of charge and the service is available 24 hours a day.

“For an illness that won’t go away, please contact your GP surgery.”

It's not just our own health we should be mindful of. Checking in on loved ones will help keep communities safe and healthy this winter, as explained by Cllr Dale Birch, Chair of the Bracknell Forest Health and Wellbeing Board:

“Keeping warm and safe during the winter is vital for all ages to stay healthy, particularly for those who are more vulnerable to the cold.

“As well as prioritising your own health, we ask that you check in on family, friends and neighbours who may be more vulnerable to make sure they are safe and keeping well.

“At this time of year feelings of loneliness and isolation can be amplified for those who live alone or who have very little social contact. Getting in touch and checking on their wellbeing can really make a difference.

“If you or someone you know may be feeling like this then contact our social prescribing service on 01344 352000 or self-refer online. Our team can offer support to those who are vulnerable, feeling socially isolated and lonely.”

For more tips on staying safe and well this winter, visit our public health portal.