New Winter Wellbeing Manifesto to stay healthy and safe this season launches in Hertfordshire

Actions include ways to beat winter viruses and how to stop the spread of them

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 2:48 pm

Hertfordshire County Council, the local NHS and district council partners, are sharing with residents how they can stay well and keep loved ones safe this winter.

Actions include ways to beat winter viruses, how to stop the spread of them and being prepared if you do get ill.

The manifesto comes after vaccination update hits a new high of 84 per cent of Hertfordshire residents aged 35 and over having had their second vaccine.

New Winter Wellbeing Manifesto to stay healthy and safe this season launches in Hertfordshire (C) Hertfordshire County Council

It is hoped, by following the simple steps and not letting their guard down in the winter months, Hertfordshire residents can do their bit to help prevent a rise in Covid-19 cases which leads to additional pressure on the NHS.

Hertfordshire’s executive member for public health and community safety, Cllr Morris Bright MBE, said: “It has been a tough 18 months, and I want to thank everyone for the progress we have made.

"With restrictions now gone, schools back and the vaccine programme continuing to roll out, we’ve begun to experience some much-needed normality again.

“But there is more to do - Covid-19 is still here and the colder months are where we see other illnesses like colds and flu increase too.

"It is still important we continue to work together to reduce the pressure on the NHS, and protect ourselves, our families and our communities – especially the vulnerable in our county.

"Our winter manifesto reminds residents of the easy steps they can take to ensure they do their bit and stay well during this time.

“Together we can keep infection rates down over the winter months and protect the more vulnerable members of your villages, towns and city. Let’s stay well together!”

Top things you can do to protect your health and NHS services this winter, which work for colds and flu not just Covid, are:

> Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home and check the medicines are in date

> Visit your pharmacist (chemist) for advice on medicines or when you are suffering from common ailments that don’t need to be seen by a nurse or doctor, such as coughs and colds

> Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and water, especially if you are ill

> Get your Covid-19 jab or booster jab when you are called

> Get your flu jab if you’re invited to have it. You might be offered both your Covid and flu jab together, that’s fine

> Get tested - take a rapid ‘lateral flow’ test twice a week – even if you don’t have Covid-19 symptoms. Follow up with a PCR test if your result is positive. If you test positive you must self-isolate at home for 10 days.

> Wear a face covering in crowded places still, where possible. This works for flu and colds not just covid

> For colds and flu, rest, keep warm, drink plenty of fluids and take painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen

> For sickness and diarrhoea, rest and drink plenty of fluids

> Stay away from others for 48 hours after you’ve had sickness and diarrhoea, particularly care homes and health settings.

Infection control over the coming months is critical to prevent tougher restrictions outlined in the Government’s plan B for tackling Covid-19 which would only be enacted if the data suggests further measures are necessary to protect the NHS.

So far, over 803,300 people in Hertfordshire have had have both their Covid-19 vaccines. HCC and partners are encouraging anyone who is eligible to take up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccination, as this is the best protection against serious illness. This includes getting a booster vaccination or taking up the offer of a third dose, where you have been invited to.

Dr Rachel Joyce, director of clinical services for the Hertfordshire and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “It’s really important that people who are most vulnerable to Covid-19 get the vaccinations they need – whether that’s a ‘booster’ or a third dose to protect them from the virus ahead of winter, giving longer-term protection to those who need it most.

“Don’t forget that, if you haven’t had any doses of the vaccine yet, it’s not too late. Please come forward and get your vaccine through the national booking service, by calling 119 or asking your GP practice. The national online booking system is now open to anyone aged 16+, so it’s easier than ever to get your vaccine.

“If you are not registered with a GP practice, don’t worry. There are locations where anyone can ‘drop-in’ to claim their vaccination without an appointment. Protecting everyone who lives or works in our area is our top priority.”

Partners across Hertfordshire have also just launched a dedicated microsite for young people called Get More from Your Jabs.

Debunking myths around the Covid-19 vaccination through vlogs and user-friendly fact sheets, it aims to encourage more 16 to 34-year-olds to take up the offer. So far over 61 per cent of 16–17-year-olds have had their first jab, with those from 18 up to 34 years old standing at around 70 per cent.

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Norovirus - also known as sickness and diarrhoea, or a tummy bug - is very easily transmitted and can have a huge impact on health services.

To protect yourselves, the community and the NHS, please keep washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water. This is the best option for hand hygiene, with sanitiser as a back-up if no soap and water is available.

If you do need the NHS, there are a huge range of services available. Using the right NHS service first time is better for you and helps the NHS to make sure that resources are used in the best way. The NHS website provides advice on symptoms and the best source of help to meet your needs.