Choose_Wisely_FOR_SOCIAL_MEDIA.jpgThe NHS in north Cumbria is urging people to choose well ahead of cold snap

The NHS in north Cumbria is urging people to choose the right service for their needs ahead of a cold snap due this weekend. 

Professor John Howarth, Deputy Chief Executive at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our services are already very busy and as we prepare for colder weather, the public can really help us by choosing the service most appropriate for their needs. If you feel unwell but aren’t sure where to go then you can call NHS 111 or take a look at our handy guide to help you decide http://bit.ly/2JQlopl.”

Temperatures are forecast to drop across the county from today until Sunday. For those living with long term conditions the drop in temperature can affect their health which means it is really important that those at risk take steps to make sure they are prepared.

Professor Howarth added, “Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications, especially if you are 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition.

“One of the most important things is to make sure you keep warm by ensuring you have your home heated to at least 18 degrees centigrade (65F), dressing and wrapping up warm and also eating well.

“I would recommend that you see a pharmacist as soon as you feel unwell, even if it's just a cough or a cold. Pharmacists can give you treatment advice for a range of minor illnesses. They will also tell you if you need to see a doctor. The sooner you get advice, the sooner you are likely to get better.

“You may also be eligible for a free flu jab, which I would encourage you to get as this is the single best protection you can get against flu. You can get your flu jab from a pharmacy or from your GP.”

It’s also important that if you have any elderly neighbours or relatives that you check in on them to make sure they are ok and have what they need because the cold weather can make them more vulnerable.

Norovirus (the most common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting) can also particularly prevalent during winter months and can affect people of all ages. It is a nasty infection for anyone who gets it but as long as you stay hydrated it will usually pass in a few days.

Professor Howarth added:

“Norovirus can be particularly dangerous for people with other medical conditions so call NHS 111 for advice if you are worried. If you or a family member who you live with has had diarrhoea or vomiting symptoms, it is very important that you stay at home for 48 hour after the symptoms have past so that you don’t spread the virus further. The impact can be serious on vulnerable patients who are already unwell, have a long-term health condition and for those who are frail do it is especially important that you don’t visit hospitals or care homes while you are still infectious and that children stay off school.”

More advice about what to do and support for you in the cold weather can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/keep-warm-keep-well/