Winter can be a tough time of year for many in Bridgend and with the rising cost of living, this winter may become increasingly difficult. However, there is a lot of support available. We’ve put together some tips and advice on how you can stay well this winter or where you can access help if you or your loved ones need it.
Keeping warm over the winter months helps prevent colds, flu and other more serious health issues such as strokes, heart attacks, pneumonia and even depression. Try heating your home to a temperature that’s comfortable to you. If you can, heat to at least 18°C in the rooms that you regularly use, such as your bedroom. It’s also best to keep your bedroom windows closed at night.This is particularly important if you have a current health condition.
Although, with the current rise in the cost of living, it may feel difficult to heat your home, that’s why it’s important to make sure you’re getting all the help that you’re entitled to. There are grants, benefits and advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating and help with bills, such as Age Cymru and Nest. You can also find out more from GOV.UK about benefits and financial support if you’re on a low income.
Support with the cost of living
The cost of living is making an impact on many across Bridgend. For many, it may feel like more than a rise, it may feel like a crisis. No one should suffer in a crisis or choose between heating and eating. As well as the help available above to get support with your heating, you can also reach out to your local food bank for help with food supplies for you and your family. For more information on food bank support, click here.
Worrying about money can also affect your mental health. The health board has put together a series of support to aid the mental wellbeing for everyone and every community in Bridgend. You can find all the support here.
If you feel unwell this winter, it’s important to get medical help as soon as possible, especially if you are over 65, or in one of the other at-risk groups.
You can receive medical help and advice outside of your GP from:
- Your local pharmacy – pharmacists can provide treatment and advice for a range of minor illnesses
- NHS 111 – you can visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you have a medical problem and you are not sure what to do
The sooner you receive advice, the sooner you’re likely to feel better.
In an emergency call 999
COVID-19 & flu vaccinations
If you’re at greater risk from becoming unwell with COVID-19 and the flu, it’s important to get vaccinated this winter when you’re invited to. Both vaccines are safe and effective, and offer the best protection against both viruses. Even if you had the flu vaccine last year, you will need protection again, as the viruses that cause flu change every year. Your immunity from the COVID-19 vaccine will also reduce over time, that’s why those at greater risk are being invited to get a booster.
The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu begins to spread, however, you can still get the vaccine later.
Check in on vulnerable neighbours and relatives
Remember that other people, such as older neighbours, or vulnerable friends and family members, may need some extra help over the winter. Support your neighbours and loved ones by:
- Keeping in touch and asking if they need any practical help, or if they’re feeling unwell
- Making sure they’re stocked up with enough food for a few days, in case they cannot go out
- Making sure they get any prescription medicines before the holiday period begins and if bad weather is due
If you’re worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, you can contact the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1602 (8am to 7pm every day).