Help Us Help You this winter

The public are being encouraged to invest in their health and wellbeing this Self Care week (12 - 18 November) by making small, positive changes and knowing where to go to get help.

Self care is about the actions that people take for themselves, on behalf of and with others to protect and improve their health and wellbeing. Health and Care services in Cumbria are using Self Care week to promote Public Health England’s new winter campaign, Help us Help You, which focuses on the steps we can all take to make a difference.

The following simple steps will Help Us Help You:

Personalised Care Plan: It’s a good idea for those with a long term condition to have an up-to-date personalised care plan. A care plan will help you manage your condition better – especially during the cold weather. It will also help loved ones know what to do if you do need medical attention. If you’re not sure if you have a Personalised Care Plan, contact your GP for more information.

Flu jab: The best way to protect yourself and your family is to get the flu jab. Those in a high risk group, children, pregnant women and those aged over 65 are offered the flu jab for free, contact your GP surgery or local pharmacy to make an appointment.

If you feel unwell don’t wait: At the first sign of a winter illness, even if it’s just a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist, before it gets more serious. Pharmacists are fully qualified to advise you.

Choose the right service: A&E is for life threatening emergencies only. If you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency, call NHS 111 for clinical advice, assessment and for direction to the most appropriate services. For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist. You can also access NHS advice at www.nhs.uk

Healthy living: The NHS has lots of advice on healthy living, including eating well, exercise and help to stop smoking https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/

The campaign aims to help people understand how to navigate health services and get help in the most timely and appropriate way. It encourages people to take actions – whether that’s getting the flu vaccination or accessing the most appropriate service – to better enable the NHS to help them. Choosing the right service for your needs means people get the right care in a timely way. 

Prof John Howarth, Director of Service Improvement and Deputy CEO at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

“As pressure on health and care services continues to increase we can all do our bit to help. Self care is about making positive changes, big or small – things like eating well, stopping smoking or taking the time to understand which service is most appropriate will all help ease the pressure this winter.

“If you have a long-term health condition it is even more important that you look after yourself as the poor weather and colder temperatures can worsen your symptoms. Planning ahead can help you to manage your conditions during the winter and will vastly reduce the likelihood of needing urgent medical attention.”

Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, added:

“Simple steps like practicing good hand hygiene and using tissues to catch it, bin it, kill it can help you and those around you to stay well this winter.

“Good self-care can really help to ease the pressure on our health and care services, and services like our pharmacies and NHS 111 exist to help too.

“If you’re eligible, don't put off getting your flu vaccination from your general practice, midwife or pharmacy and protect yourself this winter.”

More information on staying well this winter is available at: http://www.northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/health-services/stay-well-this-winter/stay-well-this-winter.aspx