Residents in the Bradford District and Craven region are experiencing the harsh effects of winter as instances of winter-related colds and illnesses are on the rise.

Bradford Royal Infirmary and Airedale General Hospital are witnessing an increase in the number of individuals hospitalized with respiratory conditions, and this trend is anticipated to escalate as the Christmas and New Year festivities draw near.

Helen Farmer, Programme Director for the Access to Care Programme at the Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, emphasised the heightened risk of illness during winter due to the cold weather and increased indoor activities.

“If you’re feeling unwell, it’s advisable to stay at home and minimise contact with others until you recover, especially if you’re pregnant, over 60, or have a weakened immune system due to a health condition or medical treatment,” she advised.

To safeguard one’s health during winter, Farmer suggested considering flu and COVID-19 vaccinations, with information available at nhs.uk/wintervaccinations. Additionally, she recommended taking steps to manage symptoms at home, such as staying warm, getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, having a daily hot meal, and using over-the-counter medications for relief.

While many winter viruses resolve on their own, some can lead to severe illness. In case of health concerns, individuals are encouraged to use NHS 111 online as their initial resource and to reserve the use of emergency services (999) for life-threatening situations.

In preparation for the holiday season, residents are advised to arrange for repeat prescriptions through their GP practice or the NHS App. Regularly checking the medicine cabinet and consulting with local pharmacists can help individuals determine the necessary medicines to stay well during winter.

Pharmacists, who undergo a minimum of four years of training, provide expert clinical advice on various long-term conditions and common illnesses. Some pharmacies may also be open during bank holidays, and individuals can find the nearest one at nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy.

For mental health support, Guide-Line is available between 8 am and 12 am at 08001 884 884 or www.healthyminds.services/. In urgent mental health crises, individuals should contact First Response at 0800 952 1181, which offers 24/7 support.

Amidst the rising cost of living, local health and care organisations in the Bradford district have introduced www.costoflivingbradford.co.uk. This website aims to assist people during the cost of living crisis by providing information on warm spaces, government support, energy and bills, food resources, housing support, debt and gambling, savings, scams, and safeguarding.