The colder weather during the winter months can make some health problems worse and lead to serious complications, particularly if you are aged 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition.
It’s important to ensure you know how to access the right support this winter so you can stay healthy and well.
Who's most at risk from cold weather?
Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. This includes:
- People aged 65 and older
- Babies and children under the age of 5
- People on a low income (so cannot afford heating)
- People who have a long-term health condition
- People with a disability
- Pregnant women
- People who have a mental health condition
Where to get advice if you feel unwell
If you're 65 or over, or in one of the other at-risk groups, it's important to get medical help as soon as you feel unwell.
You can get help and advice from:
- A pharmacy - Pharmacists can give treatment advice for a range of minor illnesses and can tell you if you need to see a doctor
- Your GP - You may be able to speak to a GP online or over the phone, or go in for an appointment if they think you need to
- NHS 111 - Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you have an urgent medical problem and you are not sure what to do
The sooner you get advice, the sooner you're likely to get better.
In an emergency, go to A&E immediately or call 999.
Please click below for further advice and support that will help you and your family to stay well this winter.
Winter vaccinations SHOW
If you're at greater risk from COVID-19 and flu it's important to get the extra protection of vaccination in winter.
You're eligible for free flu vaccination and COVID-19 booster* if:
- You're aged 50 or over
- You're pregnant
- You have a weakened immune system
- You have a long-term health condition that puts you at greater risk
To find out more about winter vaccinations and how to book an appointment, visit the NHS website.
*First, second and primary booster COVID-19 vaccination boosters are being offered to people aged 5 and over, as well as those in clinically at-risk groups. Find more information including booking via the National Booking System.
Staying warm SHOW
Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
The NHS recommends some top tips for keeping warm this winter:
- Heat your home to a temperature that's comfortable for you. If you can, this should be at least 18°C in the rooms that you regularly use, such as your living room and bedroom
- It's best to keep your bedroom windows and curtains closed at night to keep the heat in
- Wear several layers of clothing – this will keep you warmer than one thick layer
If you’re struggling to heat your home, want some company, or need support or advice, there’s a warm welcome waiting for you at locations across Southampton. Find your nearest warm welcome.
Residents of Southampton that are concerned about keeping their homes warm this winter can also get in touch with the Southampton Healthy Homes Service for free advice and support.
Group Strep A SHOW
The UK Health Security Agency has issued some useful information on what you need to know about Group A Strep and what to look out for in the children you care for.
These bacteria usually cause a mild infection including sore throats or a characteristic cluster of symptoms that begins with a sore throat, headache, and fever, followed by a pinkish or red, sandpaper-like rash on the chest and abdomen 12-48 hours later, that gives rise to the name of the infection as Scarlet Fever. The illness can affect children of all ages.
It is important that parents speak to their GP, use NHS 111 online, or call NHS 111 if they think they have a child with Scarlet Fever so the infection can be quickly treated with antibiotics, and this will help prevent it from worsening.
Group A Streptococcus can on occasion cause more severe illness if it gets into the blood stream. Parents and carers should trust their instincts when they think their child is seriously unwell and seek urgent medical advice.
Spread of infection can be prevented by good hand and respiratory hygiene (catching sneezes in disposable tissues, placing them in the bin, and washing hands), and by keeping away from others when feeling unwell.
Further information can be found on the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) website.
If you're at all uncertain about your child's health and need some advice or reassurance about what to do, visit the Healthier Together website or download the Healthier Together app.
Cost of living SHOW
Many people are being deeply affected by the rising cost of living and it can be very hard when you don’t feel in control of your money. Whatever your concerns may be, we've put together some helpful information based on Southampton's cost of living top five checklist:
- Claim what you can
- Be scam aware
- Keep warm this winter
- Access food support
- Look after your mental health - it's ok not to be ok
For information about the support available in the city and from government please visit our Cost of Living Information webpages.
Mental health support SHOW
Winter can be a difficult time of year with the colder, darker days, and for those experiencing sadness, loss, loneliness or worry.
If you, or someone you know, are struggling with your mental health, help and support is available.
You can also find a list of local, national and online mental health support services and resources on our website.
If you, or someone you know, are experiencing an emotional crisis, phone Samaritans for free from any phone on 116 123.