Local health and care organisations have launched a new ‘Be Winter Well’ campaign to help Doncaster residents stay as well as possible during the cold months ahead.
This year’s campaign focuses on informing people of the wide variety of health services available within the town and helping them prepare for winter illnesses and ailments. With coronavirus rates still rising in the area, the campaign also aims to help people understand how they can best protect their health and support their mental wellbeing during this challenging time.
Organisations from across various sectors have joined forces to reinforce the importance of looking after yourself and others this winter in attempt to spread these important messages far and wide.
As the cold weather and dark nights roll in, winter can be seriously bad for your health. Coronavirus has dominated the news this year, but as we move into winter, flu, norovirus and other common winter bugs can spread very fast.
One of the key messages from this year’s campaign is the importance of being prepared for just in case you get ill, by knowing what services are available in your local area, and by having a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home to enable you to self-care from the very start.
Another way to protect your health this winter is to have a flu jab. Some people, such as those with long term health conditions, are eligible for a free flu jab and should contact their local practice or pharmacy to arrange one if you haven’t done so already. For others, you may still be able to purchase a flu jab from a pharmacy and ensure you are protected from risk of catching influenza.
Dr David Crichton, Chair of NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group said: “There is no doubt that this winter will be one of our most challenging for the health service. It’s already been a long, tough year and many people are already feeling the burden that’s been placed upon them. I’d like to stress how important it is to stay safely connected with your family and friends. Taking care of your mental health is vital and we need everyone to know they have someone to talk to if they’re struggling. Together, we will come out of the very high coronavirus alert levels and I urge everyone to follow the latest guidance and do all you can to protect our community and NHS services from the virus.
“I’d also like to offer some advice about this year’s flu immunisation program – if you are eligible for a free NHS flu jab please go and get one. If you’re not in one of the eligible groups, you may still want to consider having a jab now to protect your health and family – you may get one at your local pharmacy for a small cost. A flu jab not only helps protect you from the virus, it will also help protect your family, those you care for and particularly anyone who is vulnerable.”
As well as offering the flu jab, local pharmacies can offer immediate help and treatment for common minor ailments with some open late into the night. Dr Crichton said: “Make sure you know where your nearest late night chemist is and start a winter ailments first aid kit including key staples such as paracetamol and ibuprofen to be winter ready at home.”
This year, we have a 4 day Christmas bank holiday period running from Friday 25th to Monday 28th December so it’s really important for anyone using regular medication to ensure they have enough to last. Dr Crichton said: “You might want to set a reminder in your phone for the middle of December and check if you are going to run out of your medicines over the Christmas. Being organised and placing repeat prescriptions orders in a timely manner ensure our practices and pharmacies can support you, but please, only order what you need.”
A final plea from local health bosses this winter is for everyone to use Doncaster health and care services appropriately. There are many health and care services available across the town including local practices who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and have adapted care to keep patients and staff as safe as possible. This may mean patients are offered telephone consultations or video calls with health professionals and face to face appointments if clinically needed. There is also; NHS 111 and online, Local Pharmacies, The Same Day Health Centre, GP Out of Hours service, Urgent Treatment Centre and the Doncaster Health Bus is on tour each week in various locations across the town.
Dr Crichton said: “During the winter months emergency services can get very busy with extremely sick people. Choosing the right service can protect emergency services for those who need the most critical care. If you are in doubt as to where to go, call first and speak to NHS 111."
For more information about the campaign please visit www.bewinterwell.co.uk, and you can follow the campaign on social media with #BeWinterWellDN.