Health services across the East Midlands are urging the public to keep themselves healthy during the current cold weather and to choose well if they need to use the NHS.
The NHS and emergency services across the region are predicting a busy period over the next few days as the cold snap continues.
Health officials are also urging residents not to visit A&E or ring 999 if it’s not an emergency, please don’t go to A&E or ring 999.
People can help the NHS during these busy times by making sure they consider using other parts of the NHS, such as a pharmacist, GP, NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or on-line at www.nhs.uk.
If you need treatment, consider using a walk-in centre or minor injuries unit. Nearest ones can be found at www.nhs.uk or by texting ‘walk’ to 64746.
The best way of warming up is to keep active, which is also good for the heart. A few gentle exercises at home can keep the blood flowing properly. Extra layers of clothing, including wearing a hat to go out, and regular hot drinks and meals are just what the doctor orders for the cold weather.
It’s also important to make sure you check on elderly relatives or neighbours who live alone.
Illnesses such as norovirus and flu can be exacerbated by cold weather, particularly in those who are already ill or who have a long term condition.
Outbreaks of these viruses are common during the winter, especially within contained environments such as hospitals and nursing homes. The best way of preventing infections and viruses is by basic hand hygiene – washing your hands with soap and warm water.
David Walker, director of public health for NHS Midlands and East, said: “Heavy snowfall, ice and cold temperatures do mean an increase in slips, trips and falls, which can occasionally result in serious injury.
“During inclement weather, make sure you only go out if you really need to. However, if you do, practical things like wearing extra layers of clothing and wearing sensible footwear can make all the difference.
“Most trips to A&E are unnecessary, and if you do suffer a more minor injury like a twist or a sprain, you might be better visiting your GP or minor injuries unit.”