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GP advice on how to stay well this winter

With winter just around the corner, NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG are advising local residents on the best ways to stay well during the cold weather.

There are a number of effects the winter can have, and they are not just physical, the colder weather and shorter days can also affect your mental health.

NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG, Governing Body member and Local GP, Dr Peter Billingsly has a lot useful tips to help you stay well this winter.

Be aware of norovirus 

‘Norovirus outbreaks are more common this time of year, there is no specific treatment for norovirus, but you can take steps to ease your symptoms. If you've got sickness and diarrhoea, stay hydrated.

‘Don't see your GP unless symptoms persist more than a few days, the best ways to avoid catching norovirus is wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet. Last but not least, norovirus can leave you contagious 48 hours after the symptoms go, so please avoid hospitals and care homes.’

Get your flu vaccination

‘The best way to stay protected against the flu is to get the vaccination, the jab is free for pregnant women, over 65s and those with underlying health conditions. If you have a child ages 2 – 3 they are entitled to a free flu nasal spray to keep them protected.

‘If you are experiencing flu like symptoms, please seek advice from your pharmacist before it gets more serious. If you want to book a vaccination please contact your GP practice.’

Use the right service

‘If it is not an emergency, you can get medical advice 24/7 by using the NHS 111 service, they have trained medical professionals available who can direct you to the most appropriate medical care.

‘If you want to speak to someone face to face you don’t always have to wait for an appointment with your doctor. Your local pharmacy can provide clinical advice for minor health conditions common over the winter period such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.’

Keep a stock of useful medicines

‘It is important to keep a stock of over the counter medicines in your home over the Christmas period as your local surgery or pharmacy may not be open.

‘These remedies could include basic painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol, cough syrup and antacids that are all available at your local supermarket.’

Look out for yourself and others

‘The colder weather and shorter days can affect your mental health, get out in the sunshine if you can, even short bursts can improve your mental wellbeing.

‘Older neighbours and relatives are more vulnerable in the winter months and may need a bit of extra help to stay well, make sure you keep in touch and check in on them when you can.’

There is further advice on self-care here, you can also find details of GP and pharmacy opening times over the winter season here.

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