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People in Bradford District and Craven are feeling the bite of winter as winter colds and illnesses increase.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals and Airedale General Hospital are seeing a rise in the number of people in hospital with respiratory conditions, and are expecting this to increase as Christmas and New Year approach.

Helen Farmer, Programme Director for Access to Care Programme at the Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership said: “In winter, cold weather and spending more time indoors mean these illnesses spread more easily.

“If you feel unwell try to stay at home and try to avoid contact with other people until you feel better, especially people who are pregnant, are aged 60 or over, or who have a weakened immune system due to a health condition or because they are undergoing medical treatment.

“There are some things you can do to help yourself stay well in winter – it’s not too late to get your flu and COVID-19 vaccinations, just visit nhs.uk/wintervaccinations and find a pharmacy near you.”

To manage winter illness symptoms at home, the advice is to keep warm, rest, drink plenty of fluids, have at least one hot meal a day to keep energy levels up and use over-the-counter medications to help provide relief.

Most winter viruses will often get better on their own, but it can make some people seriously ill. People are advised to use NHS 111 online as the first port of call for health needs and to only use 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency.

There are other things people can do to protect themselves and vulnerable friends, family and neighbours this season. Remember to order in advance any repeat prescriptions in the run up to Christmas via your GP practice or using the NHS App. People should check their medicine cabinet and ask their local pharmacist what medicines they need to keep well over winter.

Pharmacists train for a minimum of four years to offer expert clinical advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats, stomach upsets, aches and pains. Some pharmacies may also be open on the bank holiday so visit nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy to find the closest one to you.

Mental health support is also available through Guide-Line between 8am and 12am on 08001 884 884 or www.healthyminds.services/, the Healthy Minds website. For 24/7 urgent mental health crisis support, people should contact First Response on 0800 952 1181.

With the rising cost of living local health and care organisation have launched www.costoflivingbradford.co.uk, a website which aims to support people through the cost of living crisis. It includes information about warm spaces, government support, energy and bills, food resources, housing support, debt and gambling, savings, scams and safeguarding.