The winter months can bring along many health risks but being prepared can make all the difference. The frosty mornings and dark nights might just make you want to hibernate but it’s important to stay healthy and active no matter the weather.  

Flu

It’s not too late to have the flu vaccine. The flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications.

Anybody eligible for the free vaccine is being urged to have it to protect themselves and those around them this winter.

People over the age of 65 and those with a range of long-term conditions including asthma, liver and heart disease, can have the vaccine free of charge. Pregnant mums, children aged two and three and in school years one to five are also eligible.

Carers too can benefit from the free vaccine, to support them and the person they care for. You can find out more here about applying for a FREE flu vaccination under the Surrey Carers Flu Voucher scheme.

For more information on who is eligible for the free flu vaccine, click here.

Anybody not eligible for the free vaccine can have the jab at their local pharmacy for a fee.

Know Where to Go

There are many places to turn to if you’re not sure what to do and need medical advice. The information below will help you choose the right service, at the right time, in the right place so you receive the care you need as quickly as possible. Download the Know Where to Go flyer here

Caring for yourself at home

Self-care is about keeping fit and healthy, understanding when you can look after yourself, when to see a pharmacist, and when to get advice from your GP or another health professional. Be prepared for the colder months with these tips for self-care at home:

  • Brush-up on your knowledge of winter related conditions so you can spot the signs early
  • Get your Flu vaccination
  • Order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time
  • Heat your home to at least 18C (65F) and wear extra layers when going outside 
  • Keep up-to-date with the weather forecast and make necessary preparations to stay safe
  • Many more people are vulnerable to health problems in the cold. Look out for friends, family and neighbours and those with existing health conditions
  • Don’t forget to look after yourself when caring for others
  • Make over your medicine cabinet. Check the expiry date of any medicines you may have and stock up on items such as:
  • Painkillers, cough and cold treatments
  • First aid kit supplies including plasters, dressings and alcohol free cleansing wipes
  • Upset stomach remedies
  • Thermometer

Pharmacist

Community pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are qualified healthcare professionals who offer trusted clinical advice on a range of issues. Whether it’s a minor health concern or managing a long-term condition, they can assess symptoms and recommend the best course of treatment or simply provide reassurance, for instance when a minor illness will get better on its own with a few days’ rest. Click here to find a pharmacy near you.

NHS 111 – Get help on the phone or online

NHS 111 is much more than a helpline – if you’re worried about an urgent medical concern that’s not life-threatening, you can call 111 and speak to a fully trained advisor 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are FREE from landlines and mobile phones. The advisor will:

  • help with advice if you're not sure what to do
  • connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  • book a face-to-face appointment if you need one

Did you know that you can also get help and advice online? Visit the NHS 111 website here for:

  • answers to questions about your main symptom
  • finding out when and where to get help
  • to be contacted by a nurse, if needed

Click below for:

GP Appointment

GPs can support you with a broad range of physical, mental and emotional health needs but before making an appointment consider seeking advice from your local pharmacist or NHS 111.

You can book GP appointments over the telephone or online via Patient Access. Practices in Surrey Heath and Ash Vale offer pre-booked evening and weekend appointments.  If you phone your GP surgery outside normal surgery hours, a recorded message will tell you who to contact. Alternatively, you can call NHS 111 if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation.

Mental Health

There are many strategies and tools available to help you self-manage emotions and support positive mental wellbeing. We are all individuals and respond to situations in different ways therefore not every tool will work for everyone. Visit our pages below for lots of information on the free local support available to you.

Hospital Accident & Emergency

The Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at hospital is for major, life-threatening illnesses and injuries such as:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • Persistent, severe chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Severe bleeding that cannot be stopped

A&E is especially busy at this time of the year so please make sure these life-saving services are available for people that really need help in an emergency by thinking before you choose where to seek medical help. If you’re unsure the NHS 111 team are on hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.