Here for you this winter
Here for you this winter
As we head into winter it’s more important than ever to be healthy and prepared.
Every year there are a number of cold and flu like illnesses in our communities. Looking after your health and wellbeing helps reduce the risk of illness for you and all those around you.
We hope you're staying warm and dry as we head into the colder winter months. Hopefully you don't need to call us, but if you do, be assured we’ll work with you to provide the best possible care in the best possible time.
To help you look after yourself and your loved ones this winter we've put together some helpful tips below.
Having a vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against flu. You need to be immunised against the flu every year. For more information about flu vaccinations visit the Fight Flu website.
Wash hands regularly
Wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and dry thoroughly. Remember to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Why is it important to wash hands with soap and water?
Where possible, keep at least one room is your home warm, dry and well ventilated. Wear warm clothing when you go outside and check in on those who may need help keeping their home warm. Read these tips on keeping your house warm and dry.
Eat a balanced diet including fresh fruit and vegetables, especially those containing vitamin C, to help prevent coughs and colds. Eating well helps with your physical health and immune system. For some fresh inspiration visit the 5+ a day website.
Staying hydrated is really important, particularly if you have been exercising. You don't have to feel hot or puffed out to be thirsty. To be sure to drink plenty of water even when it's cold outside. Read some tips on how to avoid dehydration.
If you have an existing medical condition where symptoms exacerbate during winter, such as asthma, keep on top of your routine medication and have these readily available.
Keeping in contact with friends and family helps with your mental health and wellbeing. Engaging in activities you enjoy, taking time to relax and being aware of how you're feeling all help with improved physical and mental health. The Unite for Recovery website has some great advice on how to look after your emotional and mental wellbeing.
Keep active with moderate exercise every day by walking, running or doing a workout. 20 minutes is a good amount of time to increase your heart rate and get your muscles moving. Get your body moving with some activity tips and suggestions from the Ministry of Health.
Good sleep helps support a healthy immune system. Making sure you get enough sleep allows your body and mind to rest and recuperate. How to improve sleep habits.
Make the call
Respiratory infections are usually caused by viruses and include the common cold, influenza and new outbreaks of flu-like illnesses such as COVID-19.
You can treat most colds and flu-like illnesses with self-care and rest at home, but make sure you know when to seek medical help.
Talk to your doctor or medical centre if you:
- Are not getting better after 2-3 days
- Are coughing up yellow, green or brown spit
- Are pregnant
- Are aged 65 or over
- Have heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or cancer
- Often use an asthma preventer
- Are concerned or not sure what to do
For health advice anytime call Healthline on 0800 611 116
Always phone first if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19
When to call 111:
If you are unwell with cold or flu like symptoms call 111 for medical help if you:
- You are finding it difficult to breathe or have chest pain
- Your symptoms are quickly getting worse
- You have a reliever inhaler but it is not making you feel better
If you have a medical emergency call 111. Do not hesitate for a moment – if you need us, call us and let our team work out the best help.
What happens when you call:
When you call 111, the first thing we do is work out where you are and what is happening for you.
We will ask a series of questions to make sure we can get the best help to you in the best possible time. We repeat some questions to be sure we understand the nature of your emergency, where you are and what you need from us.
We will ask you:
Your street number, street name and suburb
The phone number you are calling from
What is happening for you
If you are helping someone else we will ask you if they are conscious and breathing.
Our call takers work with you to understand the seriousness of your condition and work out the best sort of help. The more life-threatening your condition, the greater priority we give your call.
If we are delayed we will call you back to find out if anything has changed, and see if there is anything we can do for you over the phone until an ambulance arrives.
Getting better together
Depending on how unwell you are, your medical history, and how much support you have from people around you we can help you a number of ways.
With specialists on hand, we’ll work out the best help for you. Sometimes this will be an ambulance but often there are other ways we can help:
Our nurses from Homecare Medical will talk through your conditions or symptoms and offer advice and support around managing this. They are experienced to help with lower acuity emergencies and can organise an ambulance or a conversation with our Clinical Paramedic Advisors if needed.
Our Clinical Paramedic Advisors will do an assessment over the phone, talking through your injury or illness. They will discuss with you the best options for medical care, organising a doctor’s appointment or arranging an ambulance to come and see you at home. Read more about how our advisors help you over the phone.
Extended care paramedics
Our extended care paramedics work in the Urgent Community Care team, aimed at helping you at home. Paramedics work with you and your GP to help when an unexpected or urgent health need arises, that can be safely treated without a trip to hospital. Last year we celebrated 10 years of our Extended Care Paramedic team.
The emergency paramedic team help people who are sick, injured or in a life threatening condition. Depending on how serious your situation is they might take you to hospital urgently, or they might be able to help manage your pain or illness at home. Their quick and responsive action is what helps save lives across our region.
Flight paramedics are the highly trained paramedics on board the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Our specially trained team knows when every second counts or we need to get emergency care to someone in a remote part of our region. Learn more about how our Flight Paramedics are crucial members of the crew.
Rescue Squad team members are specially trained paramedics who work as part of our region’s search and rescue teams. They are equipped with four wheel drives, are highly qualified clinicians and sometimes trek for hours through bush day or night to reach people who are seriously injured.
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