What would you like to find out about?
As flu season approaches, eligible patients are encouraged to visit their GP or pharmacist to have a vaccination.
The NHS offers free vaccinations to people who are at-risk from the seasonal flu virus. The vaccination is the best method we have to protect people from this unpredictable and potentially deadly virus.
What is seasonal flu?
Flu is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes. It can be very unpleasant, but you’ll usually begin to feel better within about a week.
It’s not the same as the common cold. Flu is caused by a different group of viruses and the symptoms tend to start more suddenly, be more severe and last longer.
Flu can be unpleasant for a healthy person, but it can be seriously dangerous for young children, over 65s, pregnant people and those who have a long-term health condition.
Who can have the vaccination?
A flu vaccine is available for free on the NHS for:
- anyone over the age of 65
- pregnant women
- children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or lung disease)
- children and adults with weakened immune systems
- children aged 2 and 3
- health professionals, NHS staff and carers
Children aged 2 and 3 can have the quick, painless nasal spray and for older people the vaccination is just a small injection.
The best time to have the vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to early November. If you think you might need it, contact your local GP surgery.
Stay well this winter
We all know that the cold weather can be bad for our health, but there are simple things that can help you and your family stay well throughout the winter months:
- Protect yourself from Flu – If you’re eligible it’s important that you have your free flu vaccination. For people with existing health problems, young children and pregnant women, the flu can be very nasty and even dangerous. Find out more here.
- Seek early advice – If you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets serious – ask for help from your local pharmacist. The sooner you get advice the better. You do not need an appointment and if you live in Hull you may be able to receive medicine for free under the minor ailments scheme.
- Know where to get treatment – Winter can be very demanding on health services. It is important to visit the right service for your needs as this will help you to be seen quickly and effectively. If you’re unsure where to go you can call NHS 111 for advice. Alternatively, find out about local services in Hull and services in the East Riding.
- Keep warm – Keep yourself warm both inside and outdoors. This can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes pneumonia and depression. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F) if you can. You might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer. You can find advice about heating here.
Remember, if you have a long-term health condition such as: COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, heart or kidney disease, or have suffered a stroke, then the cold weather could make these conditions worse. Get advice from your pharmacist at the first signs or symptoms of a winter respiratory illness, before it gets more serious.
Where to get medical treatment and advice
If you, or someone you know, become unwell this winter it is important to know where to go to get medical treatment and advice:
Often over the counter remedies can successfully treat coughs, colds and stomach upsets, plus a range of other minor illnesses. Be prepared by keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet at home; for further information please click here.
Your local pharmacist can give you help and advice. To find a pharmacy near you, click here.
For non-emergencies call 111 for quick medical advice. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is free to call from landlines and mobile phones.
Pharmacy advice and treatment
Pharmacists offer free advice on a number of illnesses and can recommend which medicines to take. No appointment is needed. To find a pharmacy near you, click here.
If you take regular medication, it’s important to order your prescription in plenty of time and make sure you have enough to last over weekends and bank holidays.
Hull Minor aliments scheme
In Hull, people who do not pay for prescriptions can visit a number of pharmacies to receive free-of-charge medication without having to see their GP first. Further information about the scheme is available here.
GP e-Consult (online consultations)
Patients in Hull and the East Riding can now consult their GP online, avoiding the need to visit the practice altogether.
Patients can submit their symptoms online and will get a response, within 1-2 working days. It’s also possible to request prescriptions and test results, referral letters and medical reports.
It’s easy and there’s no need to register, patients simply visit their own GP Practice website.
Make an appointment with your GP if you have an illness or injury which won’t go away, but which isn’t an emergency. Your GP or nurse will be able to treat and manage a number of symptoms and can make a referral to hospital if needed.
If you are not registered with a GP, please click here to find GP services close to you.
Hull Walk in centre
In Hull, you can visit Story Street Medical Practice, between 8am – 8pm without an appointment. The practice sees both registered and unregistered patients and is open 7 days a week and over bank holidays. For more information, click here.
Story Street Medical Practice, Wilberforce Health Centre, 6 – 10 Story Street, Hull, HU1 3SA. 01482 335180
Out of hours GP service
The out of hours GP service is available for patients when doctors surgeries are closed from 6.30pm to 8.00am weekdays and all day at weekends and on Bank Holidays. If you need medical treatment that’s not an immediate emergency, but cannot wait until the next day then access the out of hours GP by calling 111.
Urgent Care Centres / Minor Injury Units
If you have a minor injury which is not an emergency then you can walk in to an Urgent Care Centre or Minor Injuries Unit. Patients over 12 months old can be seen quickly and treated by highly skilled practitioners for injuries including:
- ankle, hand, wrist, knee, and elbow injuries
- animal and insect bites
- burns and scalds
- cuts including those needing stitching
- eye complaints
- minor head injuries
In Hull there is a single, 24 hour Urgent Care Centre (UCC) located at Bransholme Health Centre. Click here for information on Hull UCC.
Throughout the East Riding of Yorkshire there are a number of Minor Injury Units (MIUs). Click here to find the nearest MIU to you.
A&E, Emergency Department and 999
For life threatening and emergency situations, such as: loss of consciousness, acute confused state, fits, chest pain, breathing difficulties and severe bleeding, call 999 or visit your closest A&E /Emergency Department (ED) immediately.
Keep warm, keep in touch, keep well
Being prepared for the cold weather and staying warm can help make you less vulnerable to illnesses that are more common in winter.
Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F), if you can, and try to keep the room you spend most of your time in slightly warmer. Hull and East Riding Citizens Advice can help you to make sure you’re receiving all the help you’re entitled to for heating your home. The local Citizens Advice team have provided the following advice to make sure you’re able to stay warm and keep well:
Keep in touch
Did you know a third of elderly people never or only occasionally socialise with family or friends? This means they may be slow to seek help if they become unwell and it may increase their risk of developing further complications of becoming seriously ill.
Keep in touch with elderly relatives, neighbours and friends throughout the winter season. Even a little support goes a long way toward helping people to stay well this winter. There are a few simple things older people can do each year to help reduce the risk: get their flu jab, seek medical advice as soon as they need it and keep their home warm.
It’s quite common for people to feel a little blue during the winter months. Remember to look after your emotional health. Our Five Ways to Wellbeing page has simple tips and advice to help you stay happy, healthy and well. Find out more here.
Remember: if you are aged over 65, pregnant or have a long-term health condition then seek advice from a health professional as soon as you begin to feel unwell.
When the days are shorter, you tend to feel more sleepy. Try these practical ways to banish winter weariness.