5 ways to stay well this winter

This winter we have been seeing high levels of flu and COVID-19, as well as scarlet fever.

This is the first winter without pandemic restrictions in two years, so people may be more susceptible to the usual bugs and viruses this year. For instance, most young children will never have encountered flu and not have built up any natural immunity to this virus.

Winter bugs and viruses are usually mild, but can sometimes become more serious, particularly in younger children or if an infection spreads to a vulnerable family member.

There are things we can all do to help us stay well this winter:


  1. Practice good hygiene

Simple actions including washing your hands properly with soap for 20 seconds and using a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes are a simple and effective way to reduce your risk of picking up or spreading infections.

Find out your hygiene rating using our quiz.


  1. Be prepared for self-care

Be ready to treat minor illnesses at home and ensure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet with treatments such as:

  • Paracetamol and aspirin, and equivalent syrups (such as Calpol) for children
  • Cold and cough medicines, and lozenges for sore throats
  • Thermometer to check for fever
  • Rehydration mixtures for diarrhoea or vomiting

Remember you can visit your local pharmacist for advice and treatment.


  1. Stay home when you’re unwell

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and you have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities, it’s best to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until your temperature is back to normal and you are feeling better.

There’s advice about when to keep your child away from school or nursery available on the NHS website.


  1. Get your vaccinations

Whether it’s your a flu jab or COVID-19 vaccination or booster, getting these jabs help to protect ourselves but also those around us – particularly those who are most vulnerable.

If you are aged 50 or over, pregnant or have certain health conditions, you are at higher risk of serious illness from these viruses this winter.


  1. Keep warm

It’s important to keep yourself warm when indoors and out and about. Try to heat the rooms you use at home to at least 18°C if you can – exposure to low indoor temperatures can have a serious impact on your health as you get older. Have plenty of warm food and drinks and wear layers. If going out in icy conditions, wear shoes with good grip to prevent falls.

If you’d like advice on energy costs, keeping your home warm and warm spaces in the community, visit the council’s cost of living hub.