How to stay well this winter

Keeping seasonal coughs and colds at bay

Ask your pharmacist what medicines should be in your cabinet and how to help you and your family get through the winter season.

Many over-the-counter medicines (including paracetamol and ibuprofen) are available to relieve symptoms of common winter ailments such as cold, sore throat, cough, sinusitis or painful middle ear infection (earache). Always seek advice from your pharmacist at the first sign of a cough or cold before it gets more serious.

It is also important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

Heat your home to at least 18C (65F). You might prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer.

Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights – breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections.

Keep active when you're indoors. Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so. Wear several layers of light clothes. They trap warm air better than one bulky layer.

Make sure you're receiving all the help that you're entitled to. Learn how to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating and keep up with your energy bills at www.gov.uk/phe/keep-warm.

And check your heating and cooking appliances are safe. Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure these are operating properly.

It's very important to keep the house warm in winter. I went on the internet to learn how to make my house more energy efficient. If I need to go out in the cold, I make sure I wrap a scarf across my mouth to protect my lungs from cold air.

Ann, 76

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If you start to feel unwell, even if it's a cough or a cold, don't wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.

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