Stay well this winter

Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications, especially if you are 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition.

The NHS tries to help with this with their Help Us Help You - Before It Gets Worse campaign. 

They've created some useful guidance in the documents below for you to use.

BSL and alternative formats

The British Sign Language (BSL) version of the leaflet can be watched on YouTube here.

The winter alternative formats will also soon be available from nhs.uk/winteradvice and other formats about NHS 111 are available from nhs.uk/111 and pharmacy services at nhs.uk/pharmacyadvice.

Flu Jabs

Some people with a learning disability are more likely to become seriously ill or die if they get the flu.

The best way to avoid getting flu is to have a flu vaccine, which is a free injection.

The NHS have made some helpful easy read resources about how to protect yourself from flu this winter, and also how to get the flu vaccine.

Printed copies and other languages

Printed copies of these materials, as well as copies for people whose first language is not English can be ordered from the GOV.uk website here.

Camilla gets a flu jab

Take a look at NHS England's video which shows Camilla, who has a learning disability, getting her flu jab.

The NHS have also created this video to show how to administer flu nasal spray.

Further information

Take a look at the following information to help you stay well this winter.

It's flu season!

According to Public Health England, having a flu vaccine is the best way to stop people getting the flu.

People with a learning disability are more likely than other people to become seriously ill if they get the flue.

You can have the flu vaccination at your GP surgery or at a pharmacy.

It is free if you are:

  • a person with a learning disability
  • a family carer
  • frontline social care staff (e.g. a support worker)

It is important that people with a learning disability and those who support them have the flu vaccine to reduce the chance of the flu virus being passed on to them.

Reasonable adjustments

Flu vaccines for adults are given by injection. Children are usually offered a nasal spray.

Healthcare professionals can make a number of reasonable adjustments to make it easier for people to have the vaccination.

These could include:

  • making sure the person does not have to wait a long time
  • giving more time for the appointment
  • showing them the equipment first
  • talking to them about the things they enjoy
  • numbing the area or using distraction
  • offering nasal spray to adults if they are unable to have the injection (although we understand this will only be offered as a last resort, and is only available at GP surgeries).

Getting support to have the flu jab

No one should miss out on a flu vaccine because they do not have capacity to make the decision for themselves.

With the right support many people with a learning disability will be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to have the flu jab.

If you are worried that the person you support may not be able to make this decision for themselves, speak to their GP.

The GP will assess the person with a learning disability's capacity and if they find they lack capacity, will make a decision in their best interests.

What else you can do to stay well this winter

As well as getting your flu vaccine, NHS England recommend that you:

  • keep warm - heat your home to at least 18 degrees
  • go to the pharmacist as soon as you feel unwell.

See their Keep Well This Winter PDF leaflet to find out more.

Easy read information from Public Health England is also available on the Gov.uk website here.

Other resources

NHS England have also produced these resources for their Help Us Help You campaign:

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