Winter is a difficult time of year and a sudden bout of bad weather can affect our health, but being prepared can make us less vulnerable to illness.

Reports out this week indicate that we could be in for one of the coldest winters for 50 years, so it is even more important that anyone who is older, vulnerable or has an existing health condition is well-prepared.

A few simple steps can make all the difference.  If you qualify for the free flu jab, get it now.  Pick up prescription medications before the Christmas holidays start.  And make sure you have plenty of over the counter remedies, food and other essential supplies at home.

Try to heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F) and wrap up warm.  Make sure you have at least one hot meal a day and drink lots of fluids and warm drinks.  A healthy, balanced diet and staying physically active can help to keep you well.

If you do feel unwell, seek advice from your pharmacist – they’re qualified to advise you on the best course of action and most now have a private consultation area. 

Throughout the cold weather, looking out for yourself and others is essential to keeping healthy.  Older neighbours, relatives, friends and other elderly members of the community are more vulnerable in the winter months and may need a bit of extra help this winter so make sure you keep in touch.

For more information about the help available this winter to help you stay warm and well, visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/winterhealth