The first national lockdown took place in the spring and our county was basked in warm sunshine, which made our daily exercise and time spent in the garden more enjoyable. Now, as we head in to the winter and the nights are drawing in, it may be more difficult for some.
South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) is asking the public to take some simple steps to prepare for winter.
The colder months are always busier for paramedics but the additional pressures associated with responding to patients during the Covid-19 pandemic mean the coming months will prove especially challenging.
SECAmb has created a checklist to assist people in preparing for the colder months and in turn help the service.
By following the simple advice, which includes checking use-by dates of household medicines and restocking where necessary, checking on repeat prescriptions, booking a flu vaccination and keeping an eye on vulnerable people, the public can reduce the pressure placed upon the trust and wider NHS.
Everyone is also urged to only call 999 in the event of a life-threatening or serious emergency and make use of alternatives, including calling NHS 111 or seeking advice online at the NHS 111 website – www.111.nhs.uk.
Winter brings additional challenges including the potential for severe weather and peaks in demand at particular times including Christmas and New Year.
Joe Garcia, SECAmb executive director or operations, said: “With Covid-19, in addition to our usual demand, this year has brought with it a unique set of challenges, the like of which we have never experienced before. We know that the next few months and winter will also be extremely challenging. This is why we really need the public’s help to ensure our service is available for those who really need us.
“We’re asking everyone to just take a few precautionary steps to keep themselves, their families and friends safe this winter. In addition, we need everyone to follow the latest government Covid-19 advice to help stop the spread of the virus.
“I also want to take this opportunity to thank every member of SECAmb staff across our 999 and 111 services, all our support staff as well as our volunteers across the communities we serve. These experiences have created a really close knit team and I know that everyone will continue to rise to the challenges which will undoubtedly arise over the coming months and do everything they can to ensure our patients get the help they need.”
The SECAmb winter check list is as follows:
•Check your home medicines cabinet – is everything in date? Restock with essentials including cold remedies, pain killers, indigestion tablets and diarrhoea and constipation remedies.
•Keep up to date with any repeat prescriptions you or your family or friends need.
• If you or someone you look after is in an at-risk group, don’t forget to book a flu vaccination.
•Look out for any vulnerable family or friends – is there anything you can do to help them? Are there any hazards in their homes? Do their slippers need replacing? SECAmb attend falls to older and vulnerable people all-year round.
•Wear appropriate shoes when outside especially during icy weather. There is an increase in slips and trips during colder spells.
•When was the last time your vehicle was serviced? If your car is safer, so are you.
•Carry some useful items in your vehicles such as a blanket and a spade for colder and possible snowy weather.
•Wear bright colours at night. Can you be clearly seen as a pedestrian or cyclist? If walking at dusk or at night use a torch.
• Heat homes to at least 18C (65F). You might prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer.
•Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights – breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections. If outside in the cold, cover your nose and mouth – especially if you have a long-term health condition which might be exacerbated by the cold air.
• Keep active when you’re indoors. Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so.
• Wear several layers of light clothes. They trap warm air better than one bulky layer.
The NHS is calling on people to get healthy and active to help in the fight against Covid-19 but a healthier lifestyle can have a positive impact on your mental health too.
The Government has not put any time restrictions on outdoor exercise, but inclement weather and the closure of gyms and leisure centres will mean many of us are now looking for ways to keep fit at home.
Anyone having to self-isolate as part of the NHS Test and Trace will also have to find ways to keep fit at home.
Joe Wicks has returned for the second lockdown with an exercise class called Wake Up With Joe.
He told followers he would be recording the classes for ‘however long it (lockdown)’ takes.
Anyone who finds Joe Wicks’ workouts too difficult can find a range of online classes to suit their fitness level. Trying www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/10-minute-workouts is a good place to start.
With the coast and South Downs on our doorstep, Sussex is home to some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK and with no limit on the time we spend outside, enjoying green spaces will undoubtedly help us through this second lockdown.
This time, the National Trust has kept its parks and gardens open. Visitors are still be able to get take away food and drink and outdoor play areas will remain open in line with Government guidance. Hilary McGrady, director general for the National Trust, said: “We know how important access to green space, nature and fresh air are to people, and we’ll do everything we can to provide them during the next phase. Our priorities will remain the safety and well-being of visitors, staff and volunteers. We know this month is going to be tough for everyone and we want to give members and visitors as much pleasure, rest and enjoyment as we can.”