It’s that time of year when coughs, colds and sore throats seem to take more of a hold. The winter weather can also worsen some health problems like asthma and joint aches and pains.
NHS advice for elderly folks
NHS choices have some great tips and advice for everyone – not just elderly folk like the Jellyatrics – to help your body deal with cold weather ailments.
- Colds. You can help prevent colds by washing your hands regularly and keep one of those mini hand sanitisers handy. If you get a cold, use tissues instead of handkerchiefs and flush used ones down the toilet. Read some surprising cold facts
- Sore throat are almost always caused by viral infections, and changes in temperature (like going from a centrally-heated room to the cold outdoors) can affect the throat. Gargling with warm salty water is one way to treat a sore throat
- If you suffer from asthma, you may find your symptoms are triggered when the air is colder. If possible, try and stay indoors on very cold, windy days. Keep inhalers handy and read some tips on how to avoid cold-weather related asthma attacks
- Norovirus is also known as the winter vomiting bug and can be extremely infectious. The young and the elderly are especially at risk, and if you or an elderly relative or neighbour are affected, the message is to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. The NHS also has some tips on preventing food poisoning
- Does your arthritis/ joint pain become more intense during the winter? If this is the case, and if you can, try and exercise daily. Swimming is beneficial in so many different ways to our health and well being.
- Heard of the saying “Cold hands, warm heart’? Well to help prevent the common known as Raynaud’s phenomenon it is advisable to avoid smoking and caffeine and always wear warm gloves, socks and shoes in cold weather.
Other things when advising an elderly friend
Other things to think about – whether you are elderly or you are advising an elderly friend, relative or neighbour:
- Consider fitting a grab rail if you have steps at your front or back door.
- Keep simple cold, flu and sore throat remedies in the house.
- Follow up your GP’s invitation to have a flu jab.
- Order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time, particularly if bad weather is forecast.
- Ask your local pharmacy if they offer a prescription pick-up and delivery service.
- Keep basic food items in the cupboard or freezer in case it’s too cold to go shopping. You could also do or get your food shopping online and get it delivered to your door.