As the weather gets colder, the risk of illnesses increases for everyone, but it can be particularly harmful to people who are clinically vulnerable.
Earlier nights can put pressure on mental health, whilst increased pressure on the NHS results in delays to services.
Being prepared for winter is vital.
Knowing who is vulnerable
Whilst winter can negatively affect anyone, some people are more vulnerable to issues caused by the colder weather and darker nights.
According to the NHS, people who are vulnerable in winter include:
- People over 65 years old
- Children and babies under five
- People with long-term health conditions or disabilities
- Pregnant people
- People with mental illnesses
- People with a low income
If you or your loved ones belong to any of the above groups, it is important to plan ahead for the issues winter may cause you.
Winter flu and sicknesses
The increased risk of illness can be particularly dangerous for people who have pre-existing conditions.
One way to protect against winter illnesses is to get your vaccinations. Many GP surgeries will be inviting people who are classed as vulnerable for their flu and COVID-19 booster vaccinations.
Whilst these vaccinations do not make people immune, they help to reduce the risk of serious illness.
You can also avoid illness by wearing a face mask when in crowded areas and ensuring that you wash your hands regularly, particularly when using railings or public transport.
As well as illnesses, winter often increases the risk of injury.
Ice and snow can lead to more falls which can be devastating for those with physical disabilities and the elderly.
If the pavement is unsafe, it is best to avoid going outside. If you need to go out, avoid early mornings, as this is when ice is thickest, and temperatures are coldest.
Temperature can easily affect your health, especially the cold.
Being cold can make many illnesses worse, even resulting in minor sicknesses such as the common cold or the flu becoming more serious.
The recommended temperature to heat your house to is 18C, especially the rooms that you are using most such as the bedroom and living room.
If you are having issues affording heating, there are grants, benefits, and advice available.
For more information, you can call the Government helpline or go to the Government website here.
Reduced NHS availability
Due to the increase in demand, the services offered by the NHS may become less accessible during the winter months.
It is important to still get the help you need when you are feeling unwell. Whilst GP surgeries, pharmacies, and NHS 111 are still available, additional support may be needed.
Our expert carers can provide support to adults and children with complex needs, covering a range of health conditions and disabilities.
Don’t let this winter affect you, get in touch today to access specialist care.