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Seasonal illnesses

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Find out how to stay well in winter and how to treat winter bugs.

Stay well this winter

Older people and those with long term health conditions are more vulnerable to the cold weather and winter bugs, even if you usually feel healthy. You can protect yourself against ill-health this winter in a number of ways. A free flu jab is available through your GP or pharmacist if you are 65 or over, or have a long-term health condition. Pregnant women should get the flu jab too. Children aged 2, 3 and 4 should get a free flu nasal spray from their GP and the spray is available for children in school years 1, 2 and 3 through school. 

It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes pneumonia and depression. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F), if you can, and look out for frail neighbours and relatives. 

If you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious, get help from your pharmacist. The sooner you get advice the better – pharmacists are here to help you stay well this winter. If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics or any other medication, make sure you take them as directed. 

Make sure to pick up any prescription medicines before Christmas Eve. If you do need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit the NHS UK website for more information. The Stay Well This Winter campaign can help you and your family prepare for winter. Visit the Stay Well This Winter website here for more information.

For more information or advice for alternatives to A&E this Christmas and New Year please consider: 

Walk-in Centres

Remember that A&E is for emergencies or serious health conditions, please be advised that Walk-in Centres are operating during Christmas and New Year. Local walk-in centre opening times can be found here. 

You can also find out more about local walk-in centres by visiting our 'when to use a walk-in centre' page here.

 

Pharmacies 

If you’d like to discuss a health problem you can get free, confidential advice and treatment quickly at your local pharmacy. Many pharmacies are open late and at weekends too, which can be very useful if you need advice when your GP surgery is closed.

Pharmacists dispense both prescription and non-prescription medicines. They can give you advice about how to use your medicines and highlight any possible side effects. If you have a long-term health condition, your pharmacist can also help you to manage your medicines and your condition, and if needed they can collect routine prescriptions from your GP too.

You can find your nearest pharmacy by calling Healthwatch Liverpool on 0300 77 77 007.

NHS 111

111 is the NHS non-emergency number. It’s fast, easy and free. Just call 111 and speak to a highly trained advisor, supported by nurses and paramedics. They’ll ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms, then give you the healthcare advice you need or direct you to a local service that can help you. This could be the GP Out-of-hours service, a late-night pharmacy or an emergency dentist.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

GP out of hours 

When you need non-emergency medical treatment and it can’t wait until your GP surgery is open, you can still see a local GP. Call 111, the free NHS non-emergency number, to speak to a trained advisor, supported by health professionals. They’ll ask you about your symptoms, offer advice and direct you to the right medical care, which includes the GP Out-of-hours service if your practice is closed and you need to see a doctor.

The GP Out-of-hours service can offer telephone advice, a same-day appointment in a community centre or a home visit from a local GP if necessary. It’s not for repeat prescriptions however, so try to get these before weekends and bank holiday

Would you like to get in touch?

If you would like to contact someone about this story, or to find out more information, email our dedicated Communications Team here