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Get ready for winter and put your health first

ByDave Stopher

Oct 20, 2016

First of all, the County Council is asking people to find out if they are eligible for a free flu jab.  Flu jabs are available free of charge for people aged 65plus, anyone with a serious medical condition, and for people who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person.

“Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week” said County Councillor David Chance, executive member for public health and stronger communities.

“However, flu can be more severe in certain people, such as anyone aged 65 and over; pregnant women; children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or respiratory disease) and children and adults with weakened immune systems.

“Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as lung infections – including pneumonia – so it’s recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to protect them. So, please ask at your GP surgery or call into your local chemist to find out more about the free jab and if you’re eligible for one”.

The County Council is also asking people to think about preparing for winter by making sure they are warm enough at home by keeping rooms heated to more than 17 degrees Celsius (63F). If anybody is concerned about being able to pay for additional heating may be eligible for help as part of the Warm and Well in North Yorkshire project.

Those who are struggling to afford their gas and electric bills, are unable to heat their home or are worried about winter’s effect on their health can complete a quick and simple referral into the project for practical support. – just complete the simple form at www.first4contact.org, or call 01423 740 001 (Monday to Friday). Both individuals and professionals can request support through this single point of contact.

Cllr Chance is also urging people to find out if they are eligible for a free NHS Health Check. NHS Health Check invites adults aged 40 to 74 years – without previously diagnosed heart disease, diabetes or chronic kidney disease (CKD), and have not had an NHS Health Check in the last five years – for a free health assessment to see if someone is at risk of serious, but potentially avoidable, conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.  

“During the cold weather there’s an increase in hospital admissions and deaths due to heart disease, so with the winter months just around the corner it’s a good time to take a few minutes to get your health checked out for free” said Councillor Chance.

“The NHS Health Check is one way people can help to keep well: it detects issues that could increase the risk of heart disease during winterand  checks that some of your body’s most important systems are all running smoothly. Crucially, your NHS Health Check can detect potential problems early and allow you to put them right before they do real damage. Among other things, your blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI will all be properly checked.

“Having an NHS Health Check is both quick and straightforward. Your GP will invite you to have one so please look out for the invite letter. It’s free of charge, including any follow-up tests or appointments”.

The NHS Health Check interactive website provides information about what happens at the check, when and how to get one, and how to lower your risk. For further information please visit www.healthcheck.nhs.uk  You can also visit the Council’s website at www.northyorks.gov.uk/healthcheck   or ask for more information at your GP surgery.

The County Council is also asking people to do what they can to help vulnerable family members and neighbours through the winter.