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Be prepared for winter

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Winter is a time when people are at more risk of injury or illness. By thinking ahead you can reduce risk and be prepared should the cold weather hit suddenly.

We are a member of the West Yorkshire Resilience Forum. This urges people to take some steps to lower the risk of ill-health, accident or injury in winter months.

Useful links

How did you find out about the Winter Wise page?

Please complete our form to let us know: Tell us how you found us.

The advice is to follow these simple steps to be prepared:

Stay well this winter

We can all play our part to protect ourselves and those around us.

The NHS website has lots of useful tips on staying well, looking after your mental health, season advice and more. There is also lots of local information, which includes GP practices, pharmacies and where to go for urgent care. To find out more, visit: Health advice this winter.

Illness and injury

During the winter, people are at more risk of injury or illness. Cold weather also increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, lung illnesses, flu, hypothermia and other diseases. So, it is never too soon to get prepared.

  • If you have prescription medicines make sure you have a stock in. Do not forget COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) inhalers or asthma preventer inhalers, in particular for children.
  • Do not go outside in severe weather unless you have to, instead try to keep active indoors. If you do need to go out, wrap up warm and wear sturdy, non-slip footwear.
  • Keep an eye on elderly friends and neighbours. For more about this, visit: Spread the warmth (Age UK).
  • Have a flu jab! Free flu jabs are available for elderly and vulnerable people, which includes children aged two, three or four. For more about this, see: Flu or visit: Flu vaccine (NHS).

Get vaccinated, get winter strong

There are two essential vaccines that you may need this winter: flu and COVID-19. Vaccines top up your protection, even if you’ve been vaccinated before. They are the best way to protect yourself, friends and family from these dangerous viruses.

GP practices, community pharmacies and midwives are offering the free NHS flu and COVID-19 vaccines to people who:

  • are aged 65 or over (including those who will be 65 by 31 March 2024)
  • have certain health condition
  • are pregnant
  • are an unpaid carer
  • live with someone who has weakened immune system.

Most children can get the children’s flu vaccine. This includes children who were aged 2 or 3 on 31 August 2023, school-aged children (reception to year 11) and children with certain health conditions.

It’s safe to have both vaccines at the same time, but you may need to book them separately. You do not need to wait to be contacted to get vaccinated. Speak to your community pharmacy team, GP practice or midwife. Get more information and book now at Winter vaccinations (NHS) and get winter strong!

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Lady holding a baby flexing her muscles on one arm. Text says Get Winter Strong. Get your flu and COVID-19 vaccines this winter. Your symptoms will be milder and you will recover faster. Check your eligibility and book online at nhs.uk/wintervaccinations

Your pharmacy team can help

three people smiling. Text says Got a minor illness? Your pharmacist can help.

Pharmacists are trained healthcare professionals. They can easily help with minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throat, itchy eye, earache, and tummy trouble.

With no appointment needed, local pharmacy teams offer a fast and convenient service. If needed they can speak to you in the privacy of a consultation room.

If it’s something more serious they can direct you to other NHS services. This could be your GP practice team, A&E, or another healthcare professional to get you the help you need.

There are over 40 community pharmacies in Calderdale, and most are open evenings and weekends.

So, if you’re experiencing a minor health concern speak to your local pharmacy team to get expert advice straight away.

Find a pharmacy near you, visit: Find a pharmacy (NHS)

Do more with the NHS App!

Did you know that the NHS App provides a single place to manage your healthcare 24/7?

Depending on your GP practice you may be able to use the NHS App to:

  • order repeat prescriptions
  • access NHS 111 online for urgent medical help
  • find NHS services
  • view your health records
  • book appointments
  • and much more

The NHS App doesn’t replace existing services and you can still contact your GP practice in the usual ways.

The NHS App is available to download on iOS and Android.

Get more information from: NHS App (NHS). 

Mental health

Looking after your wellbeing this winter

If you, or a loved one, need help with your mental health help is available.  You do not need to have used mental health services before. 

In autumn and winter, the days are shorter, colder and wetter, which can affect our mood and mental wellbeing.

  • If you leave the house for 30 minutes a day, it can really improve your mood and sleep.
  • For advice on how to keep mentally well, visit: Every Mind Matters (NHS).

If you experience low mood and mild/moderate mental health issues, our libraries have a range of self-help books. To find a book of your choice, see: Health and Reading Well.

There is local advice on staying well this winter and mental service for adults and children. For more details, please visit: Looking after your emotional health and wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.

NHS talking therapies

Feelings of stress, low mood, worry, anxiety and depression can affect us all.

NHS Talking Therapies can help people aged over 18 with common mental health problems. Support is available in person, by video, over the phone or online.

You can refer yourself to NHS Talking Therapies. Visit: NHS talking therapies

24-hour mental health support

Confidential helpline offering support, advice, information, and guidance to anyone over 18 registered with a GP practice in Calderdale.

  • Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, freephone 0800 183 0558.

The helpline is for anyone concerned for their mental health or worried about someone they care for.

Night Owls

Night Owls is a confidential overnight listening and advice service line available every day. 8pm -8am. The helpline is for children, young people, their parents and carers who live in Calderdale.

If you are concerned about the emotional wellbeing of a young person you care for, contact Night Owls.

Night Owls can help if you:

  • feel you have nowhere to turn
  • feel you can’t go on living
  • are in a crisis
  • are finding it hard to cope with life
  • are feeling angry, lonely, anxious or depressed
  • are feeling confused or finding it hard to think straight
  • are feeling unsafe
  • are caring for a young person
  • just want to talk.

More help and advice

  • Stay Well This Winter (NHS). This gives more information on what you can do to stay well. There is lots of valuable advice on how to protect your health in the cold. This includes advice on where to go for help. If you are not sure which NHS service you need, phone: 111. An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms. They will then give you advice or direct you to the best service in your area.
  • Making you our priority (Northern Powergrid). Priority Services Register (PSR), sign-up with the energy companies for extra care in a power cut.
  • How cold weather affects your health (Met Office). Information on how the cold weather affects your health.

For more useful winter advice, visit: Seasonal Advice (Met Office).

Keep warm

  • Wear layers of clothes to trap warm air and wrap up warm in bed.
  • Eat at least one hot meal a day. Also, drink plenty of fluids (not alcohol), in particular hot drinks like tea, coffee or hot squash.
  • Heat your home (or at least the rooms you use often) to 18oC.

Many more people are struggling this year with the increases in the cost of living. We offer lots of practical advice and information on what support there is if you need help:

Being prepared at home

Purchase heating oil supplies

  • Householders who rely on heating oil are urged to stock up in the autumn period. Prices tend to be lower and suppliers can deliver quicker.
  • Do you know anyone who uses heating oil? Please pass this information on to assist them in being prepared in the event of another severe winter.
  • For details of oil-buying groups, visit: Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE).
  • The Council's Housing Energy Action team (HEAT) can help owner occupiers and tenants in privately rented properties. If you need to make your home warmer, more comfortable and cheaper to heat, please see: Energy efficiency.

Food and other preparations

  • Keep food cupboards well stocked.
  • Make sure you have enough money on your electric and gas meters and keep a torch somewhere handy.
  • As far as possible stock up on animal feed! Deliveries may not be able to get through for several days if the worst snow hits.
  • Listen to the weather forecasts or visit: Severe weather warnings (Met Office).
  • There are a number of tasks you can do to prepare your home, garden or business from the winter weather. For more details, visit: Your home (Met Office).

Affordable warmth

This is a household's ability to heat their home to a minimum standard, which is recommended to be 18oC.

Also see our cost of living page for support available: Money and Wellbeing in Calderdale.

Follow the ‘snow code’

When clearing snow follow these tips to make sure you clear snow and ice safely: The Snow Code (Met Office).

Keep in touch

  • Make a note of important phone numbers, like the NHS 111 service. Just phone: 111.
  • There is a national power cuts phone number you can call. It gets you through to the control room of the company, wherever you happen to be calling from. Just phone: 105.
  • Keep up with weather warnings! Listen to local radio or visit: Met Office. You can also see their Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

Staying safe on the roads

  • Sometimes it is not safe to make a journey, so stay at home. If you have to travel, be prepared for all weather conditions and plan your route accordingly. Get your vehicle serviced and carry an emergency kit in the boot. For on this, visit: Driving through ice and snow (GOV.UK).
  • Visibility is reduced at night or in snowy or freezing fog conditions. So, pedestrians are advised to wear high visibility clothing. Also, consider carrying a torch. For lots of useful information on winter driving and home safety visit: ROSPA.
  • Avoid driving through flood water; just 30cm of fast flowing water is enough to move your car.
  • When cycling in the winter months, it is important to:
    • Stay safe;
    • be bright;
    • be seen;
    • maintain your bike;
    • and keep warm.

    For more about this, please visit: Winter cycle tips.

Support from the Council

Gritting

For more about when and where the Council grits:

We try to keep the most important roads safe and as free as possible from wintry hazards.

  • To do this we have 22 precautionary gritting routes. These cover over 600kms (around 67%) of the Calderdale road network.
  • It is impossible for the gritters to spread salt on every road. Over 600 salt bins are provided at key points throughout the district for use by residents, motorists and pedestrians.

Waste and recycling

In severe weather, your waste and recycling collections may be affected.

  • Leave containers out, we will get to them as soon as it is safe for our vehicles and crews.
  • Remember that roads may be safe and accessible for your car, but not for larger refuse or recycling vehicles.
  • Keep an eye on our Emergencies page for updates during bad weather.
  • We can send you emails to remind you when your bin is due to be collected. For more about this, see: Collection day finder.

Financial support

Did you know that there are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to:

  • Make your home more energy efficient.
  • Improve your heating.
  • Help with bills.

It is worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to and to access these before winter sets in.

For more advice and information on what is available, please see: Money and Wellbeing, our cost of living support webpage.