WEEKEND WEB: A quick flu jab can protect you all winter

Flu jab
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DOCTOR CALLING: By Dr Kevin Hill

If you or someone you know or care for has a long-term condition, such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, COPD, liver, kidney disease or MS, then look after your health this winter.

Get a flu jab?

It can protect you all winter.

If you have a long-term health condition and you catch flu you’re at a greater risk of complications. 

The flu jab is quick and free for those with underlying health conditions as well as over 65s, pregnant women and carers. 

Contact your GP surgery to find out details of flu clinics or to book an appointment.

Sounds simple, but visit your pharmacy. 

The pharmacist will give you advice on the best over the counter medication for common winter complaints, such as coughs and colds, that suit your condition and medication you may already be taking. 

They will also advise you about what remedies to keep in your medicine cabinet – from pain relief, to antiseptic cream and plasters for minor cuts and bruises. 

You can find out which pharmacies are close to you by visiting www.nhs.uk

Catch it, kill it, bin it. 

Almost everyone will have a cough or cold at some point this winter. 

Don’t spread your germs.  Cough or sneeze into a tissue, put it in the bin and wash your hands to stop the spread of germs.  It really is that simple. 

Use symptom relief from the pharmacy and take plenty of rest.  The GP won’t be able to prescribe anything to help.

Cold outside? 

It’s the perfect excuse to eat well and wrap up warm.  Keep warm inside and out, by keeping active and having regular hot drinks and nutritious meals. 

If you have breathing problems even a small change in temperature can affect you.  So take extra care.

Think ahead. 

Make sure that you have enough medication to last when your GP surgery may be closed. 

It’s important that you book any routine appointments with your practice in plenty of time and ensure that you have enough medication to last you over these times.  Plan ahead.

Know when NHS services near your home are open. 

Your local pharmacy, urgent care centre or minor injuries unit can often see patients quickly.

Alternatively, if it’s urgent but not an emergency call NHS 111. Check out www.nhs.uk for more information.

Personalised Care Plan? 

It’s a good idea for those with a long-term condition to have an up-to-date personalised care plan. 

A care plan will help you manage your condition better – especially during the cold weather. 

It will also help loved knows know what you to do if you do need medical attention. 

If you’re not sure if you have a Personalised Care Plan, contact your GP for more information.