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Good winter health

Getting prepared for winter can help you keep active, avoid illness and be ready to treat yourself at home

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Medication preparation

Stock up on over-the-counter medication for coughs and colds, rehydration fluids in case of sickness bugs, and skin treatments if cold weather makes skin complaints worse.

If you’re on regular medication, don’t forget to order any prescriptions in good time before the holiday season so you don’t run out.

During the winter, the weather might keep you inside the house without warning, so always have enough of any regular medication to last for at least a few days.

Have your flu jab

Flu is a nasty illness and can be particularly dangerous for older people and those who already have a health condition, as well as pregnant women.

All these groups are offered the flu vaccination free, along with children aged 2 to 8, people who work in health and care jobs and those who care for someone at home, as they can pass flu on to vulnerable people.

If you’re eligible for the free flu vaccination and haven’t had it yet, contact your GP - it’s not too late. You may be eligible to have your flu jab free through pharmacies.

Take action early

If you start to feel unwell, do something straightaway before you feel worse. See your local pharmacist or call NHS111, who will offer medical advice, tell you if you need to see your GP or refer you to other local health professionals, including urgent support. NHS111 is available 24 hours a day.

Keep the pounds off

Research shows we tend to put on weight over the winter months because we’re less physically active, and of course we all enjoy the festivities in December!

It can be tempting to eat unhealthy comfort foods in the winter, but it’s important to maintain a healthy diet, including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

See the light!

Cold weather doesn’t mean you have to avoid physical activity. If it’s not icy, have a winter walk - just make sure you wrap up warm. Staying physically active and getting natural daylight lifts your mood, as well as keeping you fit.

If the weather is particularly bad, think about indoor activities such as swimming or an exercise class, which will keep you moving even when it’s cold outside.

More information

For useful advice about all aspects of preparing for winter, visit

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Last updated: 29 November 2017

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