It is important that people are ready for winter. Cold weather, especially if you are 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition.

It is important that you seek help sooner rather later all the time but more importantly in winter time because the cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications. This is especially true if you have a long term health condition or are over 65.

Where to get help:

Pharmacists are qualified helath professionals that can give clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains

If symptoms suggest it's something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. For example they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional. 

Most pharmcies also have private consulting rooms so that you have have a confidential conversation and many are open until late and at weekends. You do not need an appointment.

If you start to feel unwell, even if it's a cough or a cold, don't wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist. Follow this link to find your nearest pharmacist.

If your condition is not serous or life threatening call 111 for advice.

When you call 111 a fully trained advisor will help advise on the best course of action. NHS 111 is much more than a helpline.

You can speak to fully trained advisors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, who can put you straight through to healthcare professionals, as well as arrange face-to-face appointments across a range of servcies and assess if you need an ambulance.

If your condition is serious or life threatening always call 999.

Could it be Coronavirus? If you have a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, it could be coronavirus (COVID-19). Get advice about coronavirus symptoms and what to do.

Quick links:

Flu vaccination: The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu. It is a safe and effective vaccine and is offered every year on the NHS to help protect people.

Wipe out winter tiredness: Do you find it harder to roll out of bed in winter when the temperature drops and the mornings are darker? If so, you're not alone. Many people feel tired and sluggish during winter. Here are 5 energy-giving solutions that may help – and some conditions that can sometimes be the cause.

Norovirus: Norovirus, also called the "winter vomiting bug", is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be very unpleasant, but usually goes away in about 2 days.

Keep warm keep well: NHS England offer a range of advice from tips to keep you home warm and help with heating costs.

Winter blues: If you're feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, or just want to feel happier, we're here to help.

Winter safety advice - from Cumbria Police

What the Trust is doing to prepare:

The Trust has developed a comprehensive and ambitious winter plans in order to support and prepare for the expected increase in activity over the winter months. This year is expected to be particularly difficult due to the added pressure of COVID-19.

The Trusts winter plan focusses on seven main areas:

  • Making sure that people are only in hospital when they need to be and ensuring discharges are planned well with our partners.
  • Maintaining emergency surgery and ensuring as little disruption as possible to routine operations.
  • Making sure that people who come to the A&E departments are seen quickly and by a specialist in a timely way.
  • Getting children seen quickly and enabling parents to stay with their children if they need to stay in hospital.
  • Making sure that people are supported to stay independent and avoid hospital stays
  • Have robust plans in place to deal with an increase in COVID-19 patients who require hospital treatment and support those recovering at home.
  • Utilising our workforce well to be able to deliver the plans and make sure north Cumbria is a place of choice for those seeking work in the NHS.

Working together these plans will ensure that patient flow is maintained and an increase in activity can be managed and staffed effectively.