People urged to protect themselves from winter illnesses

The Mayor of South Tyneside Councillor Richard Porthouse gets his flu jab.
The Mayor of South Tyneside Councillor Richard Porthouse gets his flu jab.

Local residents are being encouraged to protect themselves from common winter illnesses and the cold weather.

South Tyneside Council is supporting the Stay Well This Winter campaign, which is aimed at reminding people – especially those with long-term health conditions and those over 65 – to ward off common winter illnesses so they do not require a visit to the hospital.

The campaign, a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England, is also encouraging local people at risk of flu who have not had their flu jab to protect themselves by getting vaccinated.

South Tyneside’s elected members and council staff deemed as business critical who are eligible for the free flu vaccine were invited to a drop-in clinic to be vaccinated.

Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Richard Porthouse, said: “Vaccination remains the best way to protect against the potential serious harm from flu this winter.

“I urge everyone entitled to a free vaccination, to take up the offer and protect yourself.”

Councillor Moira Smith, South Tyneside Council’s Lead Member for Public Health, recently had her flu vaccine and is urging others to either make an appointment with their GP or visit their local pharmacist to have their flu vaccine.

She added: “For the majority of people, flu is an unpleasant, but not life-threatening illness.

“However, it can be very serious for older people and those groups at risk of developing complications.

“They include those with weakened immune systems as well as underlying conditions such as liver, lung or renal disease, heart problems or diabetes and pregnant women. It is still not too late to get your flu jab.”

Those who have long-term health conditions and those who are pregnant are at greater risk of developing complications as a result of flu.

Each winter hundreds of thousands of people see their GP and tens of thousands are hospitalised because of flu.

Remember there a number of things which can help prepare against the cold weather.  

The message this winter is:

Warm: Keep your house warm this winter – at least 18°C (65F).

Immunisations: Get your flu vaccination.

Neighbours: Keep an eye on elderly neighbours and relatives.

Timely: Seek advice from a pharmacist at first sign of illness

Enough: Pick up repeat prescriptions so you have enough while pharmacies/surgeries are closed

Restock: Make sure you have enough food and medicine in the cupboards

If you do need help when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk.

The Stay Well This Winter campaign can help you and your family prepare for winter.

Visit http://www.nhs.org.uk/staywell for more information.

Local people can also take advantage of free expert advice from their local pharmacy for common or less serious conditions as part of a new scheme.

Think Pharmacy First allows people to get advice and medicines to treat common illnesses, such as coughs, colds, upset stomachs and skin problems simply by going to a community pharmacy.

To find your nearest pharmacy, or for more information about Think Pharmacy First, visit www.southtynesideccg.nhs.uk/thinkpharmacyfirst