Patients urged to look after themselves this winter

Residents with a respiratory condition are being warned to stay safe this winter.

Officials at NHS England in Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear are anticipating an annual spike in hospital admissions for those with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Asthma sufferers are particularly vulnerable as the cold weather and viral infections, such as flu can lead to patients needing more care and support than usual and often resulting in admittance to hospital.

There are a few simple steps that those with, asthma, COPD or other respiratory health conditions can do to keep well:

• Avoid going out in cold weather, if at all possible, by asking friends and neighbours for help with essentials, such as shopping or medicines;

• Have the flu jab. If you’ve not been offered it contact your GP surgery or local pharmacy;

• Be familiar with your self-care plan. If you don’t have one contact your GP or practice nurse;

• Make sure you have a rescue pack at home in case things do go wrong;

• Have the pneumonia vaccine if you’ve been offered it;

• If you are breathless and/or have chest pain seek urgent medical help.

Dr Claire Bradford, head of Public Health Commissioning (Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear) at NHS England, said: “Many people would not need to be admitted to hospital if they took a few simple self-care steps.

“I’ve worked with many patients with respiratory conditions over the years and I’ve seen how those with help and support have become experts at managing their own conditions.

“I know that most respiratory crises can be dealt with at home or in the community.

“Patients with asthma or COPD should all have self-management and action plans in place.

“My message to patients and the public is simple: Look after yourself this winter.”