Winter - it might not be over just yet so be prepared!

In case the weather predictions are correct and our region is set for a return to winter conditions from this weekend, local GPs are urging patients to make sure they have enough essential medicines at home.

As we saw a couple of weeks ago, snow and ice can cause disruption and mean many people can be stuck at home. If you take regular medicine, please plan ahead and make sure you have plenty to tide you over in case this happens. This could mean ordering your repeat prescription now to pick up now while the weather is still mild.

“NHS services are under a great deal of pressure and more so when we experience severe weather conditions,” explained local GP and NHS North East Lincolnshire CCG clinical lead for Urgent Care Dr Rakesh Pathak. “People who are not in the best of health can be vulnerable to very cold temperatures and there are steps we can all take to be as prepared as possible if the weather turns as nasty as some forecasts are suggesting.”

Be prepared, take the following precautions:

  • Make sure you have enough of your medicines to tide you over for a few days in case you are unable to go outside due to snow or ice. You might want to get a repeat prescription sorted now while it’s still mild
  • Have a well-stocked medicine cabinet to help you treat minor illnesses or injuries at home
  • If you have an urgent health or social care need, remember you can ring 01472 256256 for advice and help 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Take extra care on pavements and roads if you do need to go out and it’s icy or snowy and wear appropriate footwear
  • Keeping warm indoors and out is important. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F). You might prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer. Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights - breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections.
  • Keep active when you’re indoors and try not to sit still for more than an hour or so.
  • Remember that other people, like older neighbours, friends and family members or people who are not otherwise fit and healthy, may need a bit of extra help over the winter so please keep an eye on them

Cold weather can be particularly risky for people with breathing difficulties, caused by conditions such as Asthma and COPD. Check the weather before you go out. If it’s too cold or breezy for you or you are not feeling well or are having trouble breathing, stay indoors and keep warm.

  • Carry your reliever inhaler with you at all times and, if you have one, keep taking your regular preventer inhaler as prescribed by your doctor.
  • If you need to use your inhaler more often than usual, or use more puffs, speak to your doctor about reviewing your medication.
  • Keep warm and dry - wear gloves, a scarf and a hat, and carry an umbrella.
  • If sudden changes in temperature - like stepping from a warm house onto a cold street - trigger your symptoms, try wrapping a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth before you go out. This will help to warm up the air before you breathe it in.
  • Try breathing in through your nose instead of your mouth, as your nose is designed to warm the air as you breathe it in.

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