NHS Tayside has launched its annual campaign to help members of the public keep well over the winter months.
The ‘Keep Well in Winter’ campaign aims to share advice about how to look after your own and your family’s health and wellbeing this winter.
There is a dedicated website www.keepwellinwinter.scot.nhs.uk which is a one-stop-shop for information about how to look after common winter illnesses at home, where to get the right care in the right place for health issues, GP and pharmacy opening times over the festive holidays and tips on staying safe during icy weather.
Winter messages will also be shared with the public through NHS Tayside’s social media sites.
Respiratory consultant Dr David Connell, who is clinical lead for winter planning, said, “Winter is a time when people can be affected by seasonal illnesses such as flu, norovirus, and nasty coughs and colds. This year, there is also COVID-19 which continues to circulate in our communities.
“Most people can manage these at home without the need for further treatment but frail and elderly people and those with chronic conditions can become unwell and often need hospital care. We know that remaining in bed can make people even weaker so our teams in the community and the hospitals work hard to get people back on their feet.
“More people fall and injure themselves during icy spells and this year GP practices are closed for four days at Christmas and four days at New Year. All of these things make winter a very busy time for NHS Tayside.
“We have a very detailed winter plan in place to help us ensure our services can respond to the additional pressures of the season but we are also asking the public to help us by taking some small steps to prepare and hopefully keep in good health over winter. Of course, it is also very important that everyone follows national restrictions around COVID-19 to help to protect the NHS.”
Associate Director of Public Health Dr Daniel Chandler added, “Winter can be a difficult time for many but there are things we can all do to prepare for when illness and bad weather hit.
“For those who are eligible, getting vaccinated against flu is the best defence against this nasty virus. Older people, children and those with health conditions, as well as healthcare staff, can still take up the offer of a free vaccination to protect themselves from the effects of flu.
“The way that people access urgent care has changed due to coronavirus and it’s important that the public is aware of where they should go for advice and treatment to make sure they access the most appropriate service.
“Anyone who has a non-urgent health issue over the festive holidays or at weekends should wait until their GP surgery reopens or contact a local community pharmacy. Having a supply of over the counter medicines is also a good idea so you can manage minor illnesses at home.
“If you think you need A&E, but it’s not life-threatening, or if you have concerns about coronavirus symptoms, please call NHS 24 on 111, day or night. If it is an emergency, you should call 999 or go to A&E.”