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Play Your Part This Winter

22nd December 2021

The NHS continues to deal with immense pressures on the health system across the country.

From the seasonal issues that come with winter to the ongoing fight with the latest coronavirus variant, we can all play our part to protect each other and avoid putting unnecessary pressures on the NHS.

1. Get boosted now

Every adult in the country now needs to get a COVID-19 booster vaccine because two doses does not give you enough protection again catching Omicron.

Find out more about the vaccines and book or manage your vaccination appointments at

Mild side-effects are common after your booster jab, and these can usually be managed with rest and taking medicines for fever and pain. Find out more at

Play Your Part This Winter

2. Boost your immunity with the flu vaccine

Due to colder weather which favours transmission, experts have warned there could be a significant flu surge this winter coinciding with continuing or rising COVID-19 cases.

Those who are eligible for a free flu vaccine can book an appointment through their GP surgery or local pharmacy. Find out more information about flu vaccination at

3. Use the NHS website

The NHS website has expert clinical advice on the symptoms and treatment for hundreds of common illnesses.
In addition to a complete guide to conditions, there is also information about how your medicine works, how and when to take it, possible side effects and answers to common questions.


4. Ask a pharmacist

Your local Pharmacist is a trained medicine expert who can dispense and advise you on the safe use of prescriptions, repeat prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.

Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. Find your local pharmacy.

For more information about when you should use this service and a link to Christmas and New Year Pharmacy opening times, please visit:

5. Think 111 Online first

If you need medical help for urgent but not life-threatening condition, the NHS111 online service has a detailed symptom checker and can direct you to appropriate nearby healthcare options.

Visiting can tell you:

  • where to get help for your symptoms, if you're not sure what to do
  • how to find general health information and advice
  • where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
  • how to get a repeat prescription

6. Keep a well-stocked cabinet

Be prepared for common illnesses and injuries. Make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked with key items throughout the year. Download this useful guide from the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group:

Play Your Part This Winter

And keep a well-prepared first aid kit to treat minor cuts, sprains and bruises

  • bandages
  • plasters
  • a thermometer
  • antiseptic
  • eyewash solution
  • sterile dressings
  • medical tape
  • tweezers

7. Download the Handi app

This app has been developed by paediatric consultants and provides access to home care plans, as well as GP and hospital clinical guidelines, for the most common childhood health care conditions:

  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • ‘Chesty baby’ illnesses, such as bronchiolitis, asthma and croup
  • ‘Chesty child’ illnesses, such as wheezing and asthma
  • High temperature
  • Abdominal pain
  • Common newborn problems

The App is available for Apple and Android devices.

8. Order repeat prescriptions early and online

If you receive medicine on repeat prescription, there are several apps and websites to order these online and collect from a pharmacy of your choice (or have them delivered to your home).

Ordering online is now recommended. For details of how you can do this, visit: How to order repeat prescriptions online.

9. Look after your mental wellbeing

It’s been a difficult time for everyone, so take time to look after your mind as well as your body. Reach out safely to friends and family, and remember to keep in touch with any elderly friends, relatives or neighbours who may also need support.
A range of resources including links to local NHS, voluntary and charity services is available from the NHS website:

Some useful numbers include:

  • Samaritans 116 122
  • CALM for men: 0800 58 58 58
  • Childline (if you’re under 19): 0800 1111
  • Silver Line (for older people): 0800 4 70 80 90

10. Stay safe

Above all else, the easiest way to play your part in keeping you and your loved ones safe is to follow government guidance. This includes:

  • Wear a face covering in most indoor places and on public transport
  • Continue to sanitise or wash your hands regularly for good hand hygiene
  • Work from home, if you can
  • Let fresh air in if you meet indoors – meeting outdoors is safer
  • Take regular lateral flow tests – the kits are available from a pharmacy or community collection point
  • If you experience any one of the COVID symptoms (high temperature, a new, continuous cough and/or a loss or change to your normal sense of smell or taste), immediately self-isolate and arrange for a PCR test
  • Download the NHS app, where you can also access your NHS COVID Pass
  • Follow the guidance when travelling or contacted by NHS Test and Trace
  • Keep up to date with the latest guidance at

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