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Winter advice

Information and advice on staying safe and keeping well during the winter months.

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.

Enjoying what Torbay has to offer in the winter months can benefit your health but it’s important to remember that for some, we need to take extra care and look out for signs that they may need extra help including medical support:

  • older people aged over 65 years old
  • people with pre-existing chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke or TIA, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or diabetes.
  • people with mental ill-health that reduces individual’s ability to self-care (including dementia)
  • pregnant women
  • children under the age of 5
  • people with learning difficulties
  • people assessed as being at risk of, or having had, recurrent falls
  • people who live alone and may be unable to care for themselves
  • people who are housebound or otherwise low mobility in the winter
  • people living in houses with mould
  • people who are fuel poor
  • people experiencing homelessness or people sleeping rough

General Tips When It’s Cold – Planning Ahead

Keeping well

  • Get your vaccines! Vaccines are very effective at preventing serious illness and reducing transmission – don’t hesitate, get protected.  Find out more information including how to book.
  • Keep washing your hands – this helps protect from all kinds of germs including Norovirus so keep up the 20 seconds handwash.
  • Keep crowded spaces ventilated – open windows as much as possible. If it gets too cold, open them for a short time every hour or so.

Make sure any prescription medications are refilled regularly and before any bank holidays. 

Find out what pharmacies are open during the upcoming Bank Holidays and remember most GP Practices ask patients to order prescriptions at least three working days in advance.  For Christmas and New Year’s pharmacy opening times, visit the NHS England and NHS Improvement South West website

For sexual health clinic opening times and free emergency contraception for under 25-year-olds, visit the Devon Sexual Health website.

Avoiding falls

The risk of falling is higher in the winter when rain and ice make it easier to slip and we’re less mobile, so our joints and muscles stiffen up. Take simple measures to protect yourself or your family members from falling. Take this steady on your feet survey to see what else you can do to prevent falls. Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust has further guidance and video tips.

Register for the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA Weather-Health Alerting systemafter signing up you will receive weather alerts to your email address.

Stay up to date with the weather forecast via Met Office forecast (including links to flood and weather alerts).

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’re safe, warm and well and not feeling lonely. If you’re worried about a vulnerable or elderly person there is advice on the keeping warm page. 

You can also phone the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66 or visit their website on ‘keep well this winter’.


  • Highways - Report problems and find travel, parking, road safety and highway maintenance information on the parking, roads and travel page.
  • You can also get winter driving advice from the AA and RAC.
  • Gritters - Visit the winter maintenance page for more information on gritting and our routes.

In the Home

  • Electricity and Gas emergencies - In an electricity power cut call 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999.
  • If you have a power cut or a gas emergency, check on your neighbours.
  • Flooding and extreme weather - For information and advice on how to be prepared for extreme weather, including flooding, and where to turn for information during extreme weather events, go to our flooding and extreme weather pages.

Useful Guidance and information


Winter Illnesses


Also known as the winter vomiting bug, Norovirus spreads very quickly and causes vomiting and diarrhoea in people of all ages. Having Norovirus is very 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.

Contact your GP to seek advice if your symptoms last longer than a few days or if you already have a serious illness. For more information visit:

How to stop norovirus spreading, NHS Norovirus and diarrhoea and vomiting pages.

Good infection measures like handwashing can help to prevent you catching norovirus as well as other bugs.

Contact Public Health