Keeping well in the cold: What you can do

Health professionals are encouraging people in Norfolk and Waveney with respiratory conditions to stay well this winter.

People with respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or asthma can be particularly susceptible to the effects of cold weather, finding themselves shorter of breath or coughing more than usual.

Sam Oughton, COPD Nurse Specialist based in King’s Lynn, says: “If you have a long term health condition, particularly a lung condition, cold weather can trigger a flare up of symptoms as well as making someone more vulnerable to illness.

“If you know someone, a friend or a neighbour with COPD, or a lung condition, or anyone vulnerable to cold weather, do look out for them – have they collected their milk from the doorstep? Opened their curtains? Turned their lights on/off, or cleared their path of ice or snow?”

Every winter, GP surgeries and hospitals see an increase in visits from people with respiratory conditions. If you have a lung disease, here are some tips to help look after your lungs this winter.

Feeling unwell? Don’t wait

  • If you have a lung condition and are feeling unwell (onset of cold symptoms) don’t wait - seek advice from your local pharmacist, nurse or doctor.
  • Follow your self-management plan if you have one (patients with COPD should have one - if not ask your GP surgery/nurse for one).

Get the flu jab and avoid contact with people who have cold symptoms

  • Ensure you have both the flu and pneumonia vaccinations and avoid people with cold symptoms where possible.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and encourage other people around you to do the same.
  • Throw away used tissues as soon as you can and wash hands regularly.

Stay warm

  • Heat your home to at least 18c or even warmer if you don’t move around much or feel the cold.
  • Keep your bedroom warm and the window closed at night as breathing in cold air can increase the risk of a respiratory infection.
  • Wear layers of clothing as these trap the warm air better than one bulky layer, wear a hat indoors if needed, and keep a blanket nearby.
  • If you are unable to move around much make up a hot flask and have hot drinks/soup throughout day. Try and have one hot meal a day.

When you’re out and about

  • Check the weather report. If it is too cold or windy for you or you are not feeling well or are having trouble breathing stay indoors and keep warm.
  • If you do go out take reliever medication 30 mins before going out to help prevent cold air tightening the airways.
  • Wear a scarf/snood to cover your mouth and cheeks to stop the cold air tightening your airways.

The British Lung Foundation offers advice to anyone living with or supporting someone with a lung condition. For more information call their helpline on 03000 030 555 or visit their website 

Volunteer to be a health coach

Voluntary Norfolk health coaching 1A project to help people look after their health and wellbeing is underway in Norwich.

Voluntary Norfolk is recruiting volunteers who can spend a few hours each week in the eastern part of the city, befriending and coaching people who need a little extra help and kindness.

Video message urges more people to come forward to join the debate on adult mental health services

ingoodmentalhealthThere’s still time to have your say about adult mental health services in Norfolk and Waveney, with local people being urged to join the conversation to help take the plans to the “next step and make it real.”

A draft strategy has been developed with input from thousands of local people as part of a review of adult mental health services being overseen by the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), which is made up of partners in health and social care.

Now, Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, Independent Chair of the STP, together with Dr Tony Palframan, Chair of the STP mental health forum, appear in a short video published online to discuss why the strategy is needed and some of the issues affecting mental health services.
You can watch the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmemwIqtEwI

NHS Long Term Plan published

NHS Long Term PlanThe NHS is one of our nation’s greatest achievements, and for 70 years dedicated NHS staff have been there for us.

But more people are living longer, many with complex health conditions, so the NHS needs to plan so it can work more smartly and effectively, deliver excellent care and attract and retain the best staff.

Last summer the Prime Minister committed an extra £20.5 billion a year going into the NHS by 2023/4.

That’s why the NHS has written a Long Term Plan, developed in partnership with those who know the NHS best - frontline health and care staff, patients and their families – who will continue to shape how it will be implemented across the country.

The Plan shows how we will use the extra money to deliver the best results for patients, taxpayers and staff.

Have your say on our draft mental health strategy

Residents across Norfolk and Waveney are being urged to comment on a major mental health draft strategy - developed with input from thousands of local people. We welcome feedback because the strategy is not yet finished - we want to develop it into a final mental health strategy for the area. The review of adult mental health support is being overseen by the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), which is made up of partners in health and social care.