We’re much more susceptible to colds and flu in winter so, as the nights draw in and the weather gets colder, the coughs, sneezes and sniffles tend to return with a vengeance.
At this time of year, it can be tempting to curl up on the sofa and give into eating comfort food.
But a healthy diet, including five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and plenty of fibre, is the way forward if you want to maintain a strong immune system and fight off the bugs and viruses.
And the lower temperatures shouldn’t mean we should stop exercising either. Regular exercise not only helps to boost energy levels and keep off those extra pounds, but it can also help to beat the seasonal blues.
But as much as we try to protect against winter illnesses by keeping fit and eating healthily, getting sick will be inevitable for many of us, and the NHS will be coming under mounting pressure as demand for its services increases.
A&E waiting times are already suffering this winter, according to recent NHS data, with accident and emergency departments missing their target of seeing 95 per cent of cases within four hours.
Many health organisations including Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are encouraging people to take charge of their own health, saying ‘self care’ is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries.
Some also suggest that patients with minor ailments should seek advice from their local pharmacist rather than heading straight to the doctor’s surgery, while hospitals affected by increased patient numbers during a cold snap often say that many people turning up at A&E could have been treated by pharmacies or GPs instead.
But in many parts of the country, there’s a desperate shortage of GPs, so your staff may find it difficult to get a doctor’s appointment.
The Chamber Primary Health Plan, provided by Westfield Health, is available to all members of the Chamber. The cover includes DoctorLine™ - a GP telephone consultation service. This gives your employees unlimited and convenient telephone access to a team of qualified practising GPs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Online ‘face to face’ consultations via webcam are also available. And DoctorLine™ has recently been enhanced further to include a private prescription service, which enables employees to be prescribed medication over the phone and have it delivered to their home or work address.
If you’d like to know more about Westfield Health’s harder working health cover, visit www.westfieldhealth.com/chamber or call 0845 602 1629, available 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.