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Be a good winter neighbour – keeping safe in cold weather

The NHS locally has been working hard to plan and prepare for this winter. We are determined to protect the standards of service for people accessing services in Solihull during the winter months.  

Hospitals, GPs, social services and other health professionals will continue to work together to respond to local needs.

With cold weather arriving its important people take extra care when out and about.

Even if you’re staying indoors have warm food and drinks to stay warm. Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have a long term illness or are over 65.

Remember some people may not be able to go to the shops, attend hospital appointments or pick up prescriptions when it is icy underfoot, so think what you could do to help them.

Whilst snow may make for beautiful scenery, it’s important to remember that cold can kill.

Helping YOUR NHS help YOU!

A&E is available for those people who need emergency help, those with minor complaints should seek alternative services and remedies.

Where to go for help and advice

NHS111

If you’re not sure which NHS service you need, telephone 111. An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you straightaway to the best service for you in your area.

Ask your pharmacist

Pharmacists are expert in many aspects of healthcare and can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.

See your family doctor

GPs assess, treat and manage a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgical procedures. Your GP will arrange a referral to a hospital specialist should you need it.

Urgent care service

Visit a minor injuries unit or walk-in centre, or urgent care centre if you have a minor illness or injury (infections, vomiting and stomach aches) and it can't wait until your GP surgery is open. These services are often managed by nurses and some also have doctors. In North Staffordshire we have:

Accident and Emergency

A&E departments provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 for advice. 

Winter health advice

Cold weather doesn't have to go hand in hand with illness. Here are some simple things you can do to help yourself stay well this winter.

  • Keep warm – this may help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia.

  • Eat well – food gives you energy, which helps to keep you warm. So, try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.

  • Get a flu jab – flu vaccination is offered free of charge to people who are at risk, pregnant women, carers and some young children to ensure that they are protected against catching flu and developing serious complications.

Common winter illnesses

  • Colds – to ease the symptoms of a cold, drink plenty of fluids and try to rest. Steam inhalation and vapour rubs can also help. Prevent colds from spreading by washing your hands thoroughly, cleaning surfaces regularly and always sneeze and cough into tissues, throwing them away after use.
    Find out more about treating colds
  • Sore throats – a sore throat is almost always caused by a viral infection, such as a cold. Try not to eat or drink anything that’s too hot, as this could further irritate your throat; cool or warm drinks and cool, soft foods should go down easier.
    Find out more about treating sore throats
  • Asthma – a range of weather-related triggers can set off asthma symptoms, including cold air. Covering your nose and mouth with a warm scarf when you’re out can help.
    Find out more about treating asthma
  • Norovirus – this is also known as the winter vomiting bug, although it can cause diarrhoea too. The main thing to do to is drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You can also take paracetamol for any aches, pains or fever.
    Find out more about treating norovirus
  • Flu – if you’re 65 or over, have a long-term health condition such as diabetes or kidney disease, flu can be life-threatening, so it’s important to seek help early. However, if you’re generally fit and healthy, the best treatment is to rest, stay warm and drink plenty of water.
    Find out more about treating flu