Winter can bring extra challenges to keeping well. It may be tough, but there are things we can do to help to keep us well.
Keep your home warm and save money on energy bills
There's lots you can do around the home to save energy, keep the heat in and spend less on your bills.
Heat the rooms you use most to a comfortable temperature
It's more efficient to stick with a constant temperature and tweak it when you need to rather than turning the heating off and on again. For many people, usually around 18°C (64°F) is ideal. If there are rooms you don't use, like a spare bedroom, turn off the radiators in them and close the doors. Get to know your heating controls, such as thermostats and timers, so that you can heat your home without wasting energy.
Don't let heat escape through windows and doors
It's a good idea to draw your curtains in the evenings to reduce heat loss through windows, and tuck long curtains behind radiators so that heat isn't trapped. And make sure warm air can circulate by keeping radiators and heaters clear – don't put furniture in front of them or dry washing on them.
Think about your appliances
When buying new appliances, choose energy-efficient ones. Many new appliances come with an energy rating – choose the best energy rating you can. You might also want to invest in some energy-saving or LED lightbulbs, because these use less energy than traditional bulbs.
Get your free flu vaccine if you are aged 50 and over or a carer from your GP or local pharmacy. Make sure you check which other winter vaccines you are eligible for.
If you’re worried about your health – get it checked out.
If you have a health concern speak to your GP. You can also call 111 or go to your local pharmacy. Putting things off can make things worse so if you have concerns, get it sorted.
Ask for help
Winter can be hard, don’t be afraid to ask for help whether from friend or family or Age UK, we are here to help.
Keep your spirits up
If you are struggling to keep your spirits up, you are not alone. Talking to friends and family about how you are coping can help, but if you’ve been feeling low for a while and are struggling to cope speak to your GP.
Keep moving and eat well
Try not to sit still for more than one hour at a time. Moving even a little bit can help you to keep strength and mobility.
Eating and drinking enough is also important. If you are finding it difficult to prepare and eat three big meals, try smaller ones throughout the day. Age UK can give you advice if you are concerned about weight loss or mobility.
Should you get the flu vaccine and Covid-19 booster jab this Winter?
In short? Yes! If you're aged 50 and over, live in residential care or another long-stay care facility, provide care for an older or disabled person, live in the same household as someone who is immunosuppressed, or you have certain health conditions, you can get your flu jab free from a GP or Pharmacist. This winter it’s more important than ever to get your vaccines.
Myths: There are a lot of untruths around vaccinations floating about. Friends and family may share posts on social media or say things that have no basis in fact, so be sure to question what you hear and see. You don’t have to be an expert, just make sure you get your information from a trustworthy source such as news, NHS or Age UK websites.
If you are aged 50 and over or have certain health conditions then you will also be eligible for a Covid-19 booster vaccination. You should take up the offer of both the flu vaccine and Covid-19 vaccine when they are offered to you to protect yourself this winter. You may be offered both at the same time, or separately but don’t delay getting either vaccine when you are invited.
Let’s protect ourselves and those around us. Flu is most prevalent from October to March, but it is much more than just a nasty cold. In England, flu caused over 1700 admissions to hospitals in people aged 65 and over in 2018-19. This winter it is more important than ever to make sure that we protect ourselves and others around us.
See our FAQs on both the flu and the Covid-19 vaccines here
Myth Buster – 7 things you might not have realised about the Flu and Covid-19
1.The flu is worse than having a heavy cold
Flu kills - flu is much worse than a heavy cold. While some people will get the flu and recover others will get complications caused by flu and become seriously ill and have to go to hospital.
- The flu vaccine does not give you flu
It is impossible to get the flu from the adult vaccination as it doesn’t contain the live virus. It takes two weeks from being vaccinated to it becoming fully effective, so it is important to get it as soon as possible.
- Vaccination side effects are likely to be mild
Risk of a serious side effect from having winter vaccines is very low. For the most part, the side effects are mild, and short-lived. Most common is experiencing soreness around the site of the injection and aching muscles.
- There are more places to get vaccines now than ever before
GP surgeries, some community pharmacies such as ones in supermarkets provide the adult flu vaccination.
- You can get the flu or Covid-19 vaccine if you aren’t feeling your best.
If you have a minor illness like a cold you are ok to book in your flu vaccine, but it is recommended that you wait until significant illness or fever have passed before having the jab.
- The flu and Covid-19 vaccines are different and protect against different illnesses
It’s important to get both vaccinations this winter as one will not protect you against both illnesses. It is also possible to have both vaccinations at the same time.
- For the most protection from Covid-19 this winter’s Covid-19 booster vaccine is important
The first two doses of the Covid-19 vaccination were crucial in reducing your risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19. However, over time, as with many vaccines, the immunity imparted declines so to keep yourself safe this winter getting the booster vaccine is really important.
- The Covid-19 booster vaccine can be of a different type to your first doses
The Pfizer vaccine has been recommended as the best vaccine to get for your Covid-19 booster, irrespective of which vaccine you had for your first two doses.