Winter and cold weather can have a significant impact on our day to day lives and people’s health. This information and guidance will help you and your family to stay safe and healthy during the winter months.
From snow to freezing rain, we are prepared for winter weather. Our partner contractor SWISCo manages a fleet of six gritters which are available 24 hours a day to react to our decision on gritting action.
We monitor weather every day from October to April and have inspectors that can check road conditions. Visit the winter maintenance page for more information on gritting and our routes.
Electricity and Gas emergencies
- In an electricity power cut call 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999.
- Keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Vulnerable households can also get extra support by signing up to the Priority Services Register, a free service eligible for anyone who is of pensionable age, disabled, has children under 5 years old or relies on medical equipment. Visit the Western Power website for more details and to register.
- Keep an eye on the weather forecast and, if you have a power cut or a gas emergency, check on your neighbours.
Stay Warm this Winter
Winter and cold weather can have a significant impact on people’s health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself healthy and well during winter is to stay warm. Visit the keeping warm page for help on warmth, heating your home and the cold weather benefits available to you.
Stay well this winter
Some health problems get worse in the cold weather, especially for those over 65, children, and people with a long term health condition. General advice about keeping well and looking after yourself and your family this Winter can be found on the NHS website.
Flu and the flu vaccine
Flu is a highly infectious illness that spreads rapidly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are carrying the virus. Adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from COVID-19 and the free vaccine is more important than ever, to help protect the nation from a double threat this winter.
This year, the programme is being expanded to help protect people from flu and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services. If you’re at risk of complications from flu, make sure you have your annual flu vaccine, available from September onwards.
Children aged 2 to 11, those aged 65 and over, people with a chronic health condition, pregnant women and carers are eligible for a free vaccination. This year the programme also includes children in school year 7, household contacts of those on the NHS shielded patients list, health and social care workers who have direct contact with the people they care for and those aged 50-64 years later in the season. Find out if you are eligible for a free flub jab.
More information is available on the NHS flu pages.
Also known as the winter vomiting bug, Norovirus is highly contagious and causes vomiting and diarrhoea in people of all ages. Having norovirus is unpleasant but not generally dangerous and most people make a full recovery within a couple of days. If you have symptoms, make sure you stay away from work or school until you’ve been symptom clear for two days. Be especially careful to avoid visiting hospitals or care homes, and passing on the bug to others.
Worried about a vulnerable or elderly person?
Check on older friends, neighbours and relatives, especially those living alone or who have chronic health conditions, to make sure they are safe, warm and well. If you’re worried about a vulnerable or elderly person there is advice on the keeping warm page.
The risk of falling is higher in the Winter when rain and ice make it easier to slip, and we are less mobile so our joints and muscles stiffen up. Take simple measures to protect yourself or family members from the risk of falling. These fall prevention videos explain how you can avoid falling at this time of year.
Medical services over Christmas and the New Year
Make sure you order your prescription medicines in advance of the bank holidays so you don’t run out. If you are 65 or over, or have long term health conditions, see a pharmacist as soon as you feel unwell. They can give treatment and advice for a range of minor illnesses and tell you if you need to see a doctor. The sooner you get advice, the sooner you are likely to get better. You can also get advice and help by ringing 111 or visiting the NHS 111 website.
Pharmacy opening times
For pharmacy and service availability over Christmas and the New Year visit the Devon Local Pharmaceutical Committee website.
For sexual health clinic opening times and free emergency contraception for under 25 year olds visit the Devon Sexual Health website.
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