Along with cold, wet weather and dark nights, Winter brings along a higher risk of bugs and germs which can make us feel unwell – especially for those who are more vulnerable such as babies, young children and the elderly.

There are a number of things you can do to keep you and your family fit and well this Winter.

Flu Vaccination

Getting the flu vaccination is a great way of protecting yourself from flu this Winter, especially for those who are at a higher risk of developing potentially serious complications from flu. It’s also the most effective way of reducing the spread of the virus with those we come into contact with, helping ensure Surrey residents stay fit and well this Winter.

The flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help us all against the risk of flu and its complications, and for many Surrey residents, it is completely free if you fall into one of the ‘at risk’ groups below:

  • Adults aged 65 and over
  • Pregnant women
  • Children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart, respiratory disease or severe asthma, see full list)
  • Children aged 2 and 3
  • Those with a learning disability & their carers
  • Those living in a residential or nursing home
  • The main carer of an older person or disabled person

The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to the end of November, but don’t worry if you have missed it, as you can have the vaccine later in winter. If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccination, you can have it at: your GP surgery; a local pharmacy offering the service or your midwifery service if they offer it for pregnant women.

For more information on the flu vaccination, contact your GP surgery or local pharmacy.

To read more about the flu and how to reduce the risk of catching it for you and your family, download this PHE guide. An easy read version is also available.

Pharmacy Advice

Help us help you by speaking with your local pharmacy team about minor health concerns before they get worse. They can help with clinical advice for all sorts of illnesses right there and then, and if your symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, they have the right training to ensure you get the help you need. It may also save you lots of time by receiving advice and treatment there and then, without the need to go to your GP or A&E.

If they think it is something more serious they can make sure you get the help you need from a doctor or at a hospital.

Why visit the pharmacy?

Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals with the clinical know-how to give you the help you need. They can assess your minor illness and recommend the right treatment, whether it’s over-the-counter medicines, a few days rest or a bit of reassurance.

What can pharmacists help you with?

They are the right people to see for minor health concerns such as:

  • Sore throats
  • Coughs, colds and flu
  • Tummy troubles
  • Aches and pains
  • Red eyes
  • Sleeping problems
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Constipation and diarrhoea

The quickest way to get the help you need

You can talk to the pharmacist or pharmacy technician in your local pharmacy. Most people live within easy reach of one, and with many now offering longer opening hours, it’s easier to get the help and advice you need, without booking an appointment.

Get more information and to help you find your nearest pharmacy.

NHS 111

Urgent medical concern and unsure of what to do? Call NHS 111.

NHS 111 is more than a helpline – if you're worried about an urgent medical concern, call 111 to speak to a fully trained adviser. Depending on the situation, the 111 team can connect you to the most appropriate service & can arrange face-to-face appointments if required.

For more information visit the Surrey NHS 111 website

General Winter advice

There are a number of simple things you can do this winter to stay healthy and reduce the risk of winter-related illness such as coughs, colds and stomach bugs. Visit the Health Surrey website for top tips.