NHS Tayside has launched its annual ‘Keep Well in Winter’ campaign which aims to help members of the public look after their health and wellbeing over the coming months.
The dedicated campaign website www.keepwellinwinter.scot.nhs.uk 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 different health issues, GP and pharmacy opening times over the festive holidays and tips on staying safe during cold and icy weather. Keep Well in Winter health messages will also be shared on NHS Tayside’s social media sites.
Emergency Department consultant Dr Andrew Reddick, who is clinical lead for winter planning, said, “As we come into winter, we always see an increase in illnesses such as flu, norovirus, COVID-19 and nasty coughs and colds, as well as an increase in injuries from slips and falls during icy periods. GP practices are also closed for four days at Christmas and four days at New Year and all of these pressures make winter a very busy time for our services, from our Emergency Departments and hospital services to out-of-hours, primary care and community teams.
“We have very detailed winter plans which help us respond to the additional pressures of the season but we are also asking the public to play their part by making sure they prepare for winter.
“It’s very important to try to reduce the spread of winter illnesses with good hand hygiene, wearing face masks in crowded places and socialising in well-ventilated places whenever possible.
“If you do become unwell, these illnesses can usually be managed at home with over the counter medicines so make sure your medicine cabinet is well stocked. In addition to our Keep Well in Winter website, NHS Inform is a great source of help and advice and also has a handy symptom checker along with advice on how to look after yourself at home. Your local pharmacy can also help with a range of minor illnesses.
“If you do need to access urgent care it’s important to know where to go for advice and treatment for different health issues.
“At weekends and over the festive holidays, anyone with a non-urgent health issue should wait until their GP surgery reopens, contact a local community pharmacy or visit www.nhsinform.scot
“If you think you need A&E, but it’s not life-threatening, please call NHS 24 on 111, day or night. If it is an emergency, you should call 999 or go to the Emergency Department.”
Associate Director of Public Health Dr Daniel Chandler added, “One of the most important things the public can do to support our health services over the winter is for those who are eligible to get their winter vaccines. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your family from flu and COVID-19 and help prevent serious illness.
“We’ve had a great response to our vaccination programme so far and are now offering drop-in sessions for everyone who is eligible but hasn’t yet been vaccinated to come along and get their flu and/or COVID jabs.”
You can find out more about booking appointments or attending drop-in sessions on our dedicated website www.vaccinationtayside.scot.nhs.uk.