GPs urging people to go into winter prepared and as healthy as possible
As Self-Care Week approaches GPs in East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen are taking the opportunity to urge people to go into winter with a fully stocked medicine cabinet and an understanding of how to keep themselves healthy at home.
Self-Care Week is an annual awareness event and this year runs from 18 November to 24 November. Around 80% of all care in the UK is self-care; this can be as simple as brushing your teeth and eating healthily to self-treating common conditions and managing long term conditions yourself at home. It is also about reducing your chance of contracting avoidable conditions by taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle.
Burnley GP Dr David White, and clinical lead for unscheduled care at NHS East Lancashire and NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “We all have a personal responsibility to look after, and manage, our own health. We should all know the basics of being able to manage minor, short-term illnesses without the need for a GP appointment. That doesn’t mean never seeing a doctor or other health professional but knowing when it is appropriate to do so.
“Small things such as being as well as steps such as eating a healthier diet, limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking are all steps towards a healthier lifestyle.
“Recognising the benefits of simple activities like walking, gardening or even dancing around your living room can help in maintaining our wellbeing and keeping us active. As well as reducing the risk of heart disease, getting, and staying, active can also be a great stress reliever.”
Cold weather can be seriously bad for your health. That's why it's important to look after yourself, especially during the winter. If you start to feel unwell, even if it's a cough or a cold, don't wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.
People living with chronic conditions such as diabetes, respiratory disease (severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or bronchitis), heart disease, kidney or liver disease, or neurological disease, are particularly vulnerable when the temperatures drop.
Venturing out in extremely cold weather can easily make an existing illness worse, which makes it all the more important to stock up on medicine while you can. It's not unusual for cold air to cause spasms in the lung airways, making it harder to breathe. If you can, wear a hood or scarf that covers the nose and mouth on particularly cold days.
There are often also outbreaks of flu in periods of cold weather so anyone with a chronic condition should contact their GP or local pharmacy to take advantage of the free flu vaccine they are entitled to, if they haven’t already.
If you’re already on medication, make sure you’re not going to run out and to order your repeat prescription in good time especially over the Christmas and New Year bank holidays when GP surgeries will be closed.
Alongside regular medication, a well-stocked medicine cabinet should include the following:
- A first-aid kit including bandages, plasters, thermometer, antiseptic, eyewash solution, sterile dressings, medical tape for dressings and tweezers
- Pain relief such as aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen for aches, pains and high temperatures
- Oral rehydration salts to replace lost minerals and fluid after a fever or vomiting and diarrhoea
- Anti-diarrhoea tablets to relieve symptoms of diarrhoea (though these will not help with the underlying cause)
If you’re not sure which over-the-counter medicines to take with your regular medication, you can talk to a pharmacist for advice.
During Self-Care Week, keep an eye out for all the activities taking place in your health community.
For more information on staying well this winter visit: