Keep well in winter
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: If you are concerned about the welfare of a vulnerable or elderly person who may not be coping during this cold weather, please call our adult social care team on 0207 364 5005.
Preparing for the wintry season can help minimise the risk of illness and distruption caused by the cold weather. Browse for more on:
As temperatures continue to drop there are a few things you can do to benefit your health and home over the winter months.
Feeling unwell? Don’t wait – get advice from your nearest pharmacist
Speak to your pharmacist about medicines you can stock up on, treatment options for coughs and colds and minor injuries.
If you can’t get to a pharmacist yourself, ask someone to go for you or call your local pharmacy.
Winter is the busiest time of year for the NHS, which puts pressure on GPs and hospitals. Many common winter illnesses can be treated at home with over the counter products and rest.
If you need help, call the free NHS helpline on 111, available 24 hours a day or visit the NHS website which can direct you to a local health service.
Details of GP surgeries that are open during the Christmas holiday period will be available in the forthcoming edition of Our East End.
Make sure you get your prescription medicines before your pharmacy or GP practice closes for Christmas. You can also order your repeat prescriptions online. To sign up to GP online services ask at your practice or to find out more visit NHS GP online services.
Make sure you get your flu jab
The flu virus strikes in winter and it can lead to serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia. That’s why the flu jab is free if you’re aged 65 or over, or if you have a long-term health condition.
Other groups eligible for the free flu vaccine are pregnant women and young children. And if you are the main carer of an older or disabled person you may also be eligible for the free flu jab. Just speak to your GP or pharmacist. You can also find more information on the NHS website.
Keeping and staying warm
It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
- Set your heating: Keep warm by setting your heating to the right temperature (18-21°C).
- Take care of those close to you: Look out for friends, family and neighbours who may be vulnerable to the cold. Keep an eye out for each other and where possible, call in to check those most vulnerable are OK.
- Plan ahead: stay tuned to the weather forecast . Consider alternative commuting plans for severe weather and alternative childcare plans in case of school or nursery closures. Consider how you would access vital information if a storm takes out power and phonelines.
- House maintenance: Think about what may be impacted by strong winds or flooding – guttering, pipes, roof tiles/slates, garden items and things stored on your ground floor. Check your pipes are insulated and know where your stoptap is. Learn how to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating and keep up with your energy bills by reading the keep well, keep warm guidance.
- Stock-up on basics: Make sure you have basic supplies in case you have to leave home quickly or your power and water are disrupted. Speak to your pharmacist about medicines you can stock up on, treatment options for coughs and colds and minor injuries.
- Use appliances wisely: Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they’re operating properly and ensure appliances are checked regularly.
- Eat well: regular hot meals and drinks helps keep your energy levels up. Try to make sure you continue eating five fruits and vegetables a day.
- Stay active: exercise is always good for you and can help keep you warm. Even if you are indoors, moderate exercise can bring health benefits.
- Layer up: wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer, and when you need to go outside wear shoes with slip resistant, good grip soles.
- Insulate your hot water tank: this will only cost about £10 and you'll get your money back in under a year. Set the thermostat on the hot water tank to 60°C / 140°F
- Radiator shelves and reflectors: putting radiator reflectors or kitchen foil behind the radiator can help heat reflect into a room rather than being lost to the wall or the ceiling.
- Room heaters: if you need an individual room heater for additional heat, or if you do not have central heating, the most efficient type is a thermostatically controlled convector heater with timer.
- Get your flu jab: If you haven’t already, get your flu jab.
- Prepare your vehicles: Top up anti-freeze screen wash, check your tyres and think about a winter kit for your vehicle.
For more information visit the energy efficiency page.
Many of our services offer activities and opportunities to socialise to help tackle loneliness and social isolation especially amongst older people who may be at risk of feeling lonely during winter months, often because of reduced mobility, or not having friends or family close by.
For example, our network of LinkAge Plus centres offer a range of events for people over the age of 50.
For more information visit our Tackling Loneliness page
We have a winter service procedure in place to deal with frost, hoar frost and snow fall. Find out more on our winter weather and gritting page.
Check out our Veolia UK team out in the borough gritting the streets.
Bad weather shouldn't usually affect your normal collection day but in extreme cases, it might not be possible.
We will reschedule your collection and attempt to pick up the relevant waste items once the weather improves.
If your waste still hasn't been collection, you can report it to us.
Please note, revised collection times for waste and recycling over the Christmas holiday period are now available. A dedicated recycling service for real Christmas trees is also available.