Help spread the word

The winter months are a challenging time for the NHS and we often see much higher demand on our services.

We have developed a number of messages that can help people manage their health better and use NHS services more effectively.

But we need your help to spread the word and make sure our messages are heard by everyone across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Below are the key messages, along with useful resource packs containing social media posts, website and newsletter copy, and videos.  Please help us share as widely as possible.  This could be via your organisation's social media/website, your own social media, or simply being aware of the key messages for when you have conversations with your friends and family.

To suppport our communities to keep well this winter we would like you to remember and share these key messages:

It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can worsen any existing health problems, increase the risk of a fall, and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses. But there are lots of things you can do to stay well this winter.

Tips to help you stay warm:

  • If you can get outside for a walk during the day in winter you'll not only maintain your fitness you'll be helping to banish the winter blues. Remember to wear thin layers of cotton, wool or fleecy fibres to keep you warm.
  • Stay inside in bad weather if you don’t have to go out.
  • If you are going outside, make sure you wear shoes with good grip and a scarf around the mouth to protect you from the cold air, and to reduce the risk of chest infections.
  • If possible, try to keep your living room warm throughout the day and heat your bedroom before going to bed.
  • To minimise the risks to your health, if you're not moving about as much at home and inactive for long periods you should wear warm clothing indoors and if possible, heat your home to at least 18°C (65F).
  • Keep your bedroom windows closed at night.
  • If you use an electric blanket always check it regularly for signs of wear or damage. Never use an electric blanket and a hot water bottle at the same time. If you're in any doubt about your blanket, contact the manufacturer before you use it to make sure that it is safe. It may need to be replaced.

Warm spots across Lancashire and South Cumbria are warm, safe and welcoming spaces for people to visit during winter if they need to.


Blackburn with Darwen



Westmorland and Furness

The NHS provide winter health advice with some simple things you can do to help yourself stay well:

Get vaccinated

Getting your flu and COVID-19 vaccines are two of the most important things you can do to keep yourself and others around you safe this winter. Many people get seriously ill from flu, including having complications like bronchitis or pneumonia, and every winter thousands of people die. COVID-19 can also still make people seriously ill. The risk from these viruses is greater during winter when they circulate most as people spend more time indoors. Some people may be eligible for both the flu and the COVID-19 booster vaccines this winter. If you are offered both vaccines, it's safe to have them at the same time. Find out more about the winter vaccinations and who can get them.

Use your local pharmacy

If you, your child, or someone you care for starts to feel ill, first of all get help and advice for treating cold and flu symptoms from your local pharmacy. Pharmacists are highly trained and skilled healthcare professionals with an expert knowledge of medicines and health. They have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. Many pharmacies are easily accessible, open until late and at weekends, you don’t need an appointment. Most also have a private consultation room.

Pharmacies can give treatment advice about a range of common conditions and minor injuries, such as: aches and pains, sore throat, coughs, colds, flu, earache, cystitis, skin rashes, teething, and red eye. If you want to buy an over-the-counter medicine, the pharmacist and their team can help you choose. Ask your pharmacist what medicines should be in your cabinet to help you and your family this winter. Always keep medicines out of sight and reach of children - high, lockable cupboard in a cool, dry place is ideal. Regularly check the expiry dates on a medicine - if a medicine is past its expiry date, don't use it or throw it away. Take it to your pharmacy where it can be disposed of safely.

Don't go to the emergency department unless you have an emergency

If you are in any doubt, contact 111 either by phone or online at to get clinical advice or direction to the most appropriate services for treatment.

Please remember to cancel any unwanted appointments

If you do have an appointment with a GP or other NHS service that you no longer need, please remember to contact the service you have your appointment with to cancel. It doesn’t matter if this is only 30 minutes beforehand, NHS services are so busy they will always have someone on standby to take the appointment.

Tips to help you keep well:

  • You'll naturally feel more tired during the winter, it's important to have a good night's sleep but eating your five-a-day fruit and veg will also help boost your energy levels.
  • Stay as active as you can, regular exercise can help improve your physical and mental health.
  • Try to stock up on food essentials such as long-life milk, tins of soup and bread in the freezer.
  • Make sure you have enough medication and remember to get repeat prescriptions filled in advance during severe weather and be aware that many surgeries and pharmacies will close over the Christmas and New Year period.
  • Keep in touch with friends, family and your community.

Other people, such as older neighbours, friends and family members, may need a bit of extra help over the winter. There’s a lot you can do to help people who are more frail than you:

  • Keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours who may be more susceptible to the cold weather, especially if they suffer from any ongoing medical conditions. Ask how they are keeping warm during cold weather.
  • Make sure they’re stocked up with enough food supplies for a few days in case they can’t go out.

Help and support for rough sleeping and homelessness

During winter, sleeping on the streets poses even more of a risk to life than normal. There are however a number of support options for those who sleep rough, are homeless, or at risk of homelessness. If you see somebody, or know somebody, who is rough sleeping you can report this via Streetlink.

Local authorities also have a duty to help homeless people who fit certain criteria, and those who may be about to become homeless. Anyone requiring information on services for the homeless should use the related information links on their district or unitary authority web page. Alternatively, the Homeless UK website provides details on the range of help available for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. Information can also be found on the GOV.UK and Shelter websites.

Practical tips for rough sleepers to try and protect against the cold:

  • Try and find a sheltered place
  • Wear layers of thin clothing, use a sleeping bag and blankets
  • Avoid sleeping directly on the ground by, for example, sleeping on layers of card

Winter can be a hard time for some people. Colder weather and darker nights may mean it's harder to get out and about and could leave you feeling isolated. Every minds matter provides advice, information, support and resources to help you manage your mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Talking Therapies is free to Lancashire residents and people can contact the services themselves. It offers support with a wide variety of issues. Christmas is traditionally a time when many people feel pressure to spend more than they can afford on elaborate gifts and food. Sometimes when people are in debt, they can become so worried about it that they consider taking their own lives.

For more information please visit: LSC Integrated Care Board :: Debt and money (

You can find a wealth of information to help look after yourself, your friends, your family and community on the NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria website. To stay healthy, prevent illness and get the right care, please visit: LSC Integrated Care Board :: Your local services (

Information is available on:

  • Community services
  • A&E
  • Virtual wards
  • Pharmacy
  • Mental health support
  • NHS 111
  • Cost of living support
  • Optometry
  • GP practices
  • Urgent care
  • Dentistry
  • Falls prevention
  • Keeping safe during a hospital stay
  • Self-care
  • Seasonal vaccinations and winter health
  • Long Covid
  • Bereavement support

Download and read the NHS Help Us Help You winter booklet. If you’d like some hard copies of the booklets for sharing in your community or using at a meeting or event, please email to arrange collection.

Help with the rising cost of living

Blackburn with Darwen

Blackburn with Darwen Council is working with a number of local organisations who can offer support. Visit their website at to find out how they can help you including information about the Household Support Fund, food, and money and debt.


Blackpool Council is working with a number of local organisations who can offer support. Visit their website Blackpool Together to find out how they can help you including information about the Household Support Fund, food, and money and debt.


Lancashire County Council is working with a number of local organisations who can offer support. Visit their website at to find out how they can help you including information about the Household Support Fund, food, and money and debt.

South Cumbria

As South Cumbria covers the geography of the newly created Westmorland and Furness Council (without the Eden District), some parts of the Borough of Copeland which sit within the newly created Cumberland Council and some parts of the District of Craven which sits within the newly created North Yorkshire Council, we have provided links to each of the Council websites which provide information about how they can help you including information about the Household Support Fund, food, and money and debt.

Cost of Living Support | Westmorland and Furness Council

Cost of living support | Cumberland Council

Cost of living support | North Yorkshire Council

Government support with energy bills

The government is providing support to millions of people across the UK to help them with their energy bills this winter. Get suggestions on ways to save energy in your home and get help with your energy bills.

The Priority Services Register

Check if you're eligible to register on your energy company's Priority Services Register, a free support service for people in vulnerable situations. For more information visit the Ofgem website.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding these key messages or insight from the conversations you have, please share it with us. Please email the NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board team at:

How can I share these key messages?

We want to encourage partners, health professionals, community groups and voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) organisations to share these five simple messages and the top tips and signposting information under each one. Here are some examples of how you might help to share them:

  • Share this webpage with your staff and teams and highlight the importance of keeping well and looking out for others - this is particularly important if you are a VCFSE organisation working with vulnerable groups and people
  • Follow the ICB or other NHS organisations in Lancashire and South Cumbria on social media and like and share posts about keeping well
  • Ask members of the public or community groups that you are connected with "how are you?" and look out for topics to share advice around keeping well, keeping ward and looking after mental health.  

Sharing these messages in alternative languages

Self Care

Self-care is all about finding ways to improve your physical and mental health and wellbeing. This includes staying active, knowing how to prevent falls, checking your medication/stocking your medicine cabinet and knowing how to treat common illnesses and ailments yourself. All of these are little things we can do to prevent health and wellbeing issues getting to the point of needing medical help. 

Here are some top tips for how to exercise self-care in your daily life:

  • Take vitamin D supplements, especially if you’re unable to get outside regularly.
  • Boost your natural immunity to colds and viruses with good nutrition and regular exercise.
  • Support your mental wellness by keeping connected to friends and family.
  • Note your daily achievements and celebrating the little things.
  • Learn something new every day and take time to notice the world around you.
  • Get plenty of fresh air.
  • Speak to a local pharmacist to review your medication if you have a lot of medications.
  • Adopt positive lifestyle choices.
  • Understand how to manage minor and long-term health conditions.

Primary Care

With the NHS being much busier during the winter months, the public are being urged to ensure they’re using the right service for them. 

GP practices have a range of different healthcare professionals who can support a variety of conditions, from nurses who can offer health checks, take blood samples and prescribe some medications to social prescribing workers who can connect patients to community-based support.

To access the different services available, the receptionist or health navigator will ask the patient a few questions about their condition and help book an appointment with the right health professional.  

GP practices also offer appointments in the evening and at weekends making it easier for patients to be seen at a time that suits them.

Most people with minor conditions will be best served by visiting a pharmacy as they have clinicians who are experts in a range of different medications and treatments. GP practices are directing some patients to the pharmacy for a consultation which we recommend people accept. 

Unless someone has a life-threatening accident or becomes seriously unwell, it is unlikely they will need to go to A&E. However, the best place to get advice is online at or by calling 111.

For urgent dental treatment or advice, patients should contact their usual dental practice or call the Lancashire and South Cumbria dental helpline on 0300 1234010 between 8am and 9pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm weekends and bank holidays. 

For urgent dental support call 111.

Falls prevention

A lot of slips, trips and falls actually happen around the home so making a few simple changes can make your home a much safer space.

One change could include removing any loose rugs or mats that you may have at the top or bottom of your stairs as these can be a trip hazard. Another home adaptation would be installing a night light near your bed so if you get up in the night you can see where you’re going. A motion-activated light which would only come on as needed wouldn’t disturb your sleep and would be helpful, especially in bathrooms and by the stairs.

Having a look around your home and spotting potential hazards would also help, so keep an eye out for anything that could cause you to trip, like cables and clutter, and make sure you remove it. I also like to advise people to avoid any clear glass furniture as it can be harder to see.”

Having a relative, friend or neighbour to ring if a fall occurs means help can be accessed quickly so it’s recommended to always have a personal alarm or mobile phone close by. 

If someone has a fall, the NHS advice is to remain as calm as possible - trying not to move too suddenly and taking a few minutes to check for any pain or injuries. 

A few other things people can do to reduce the risk of a fall: 

  • Taking part in exercise as muscle strength and balance reduce as people get older. 
  • Regular sight and hearing check-ups as this can impact balance and cause a fall or trip.
  • Ensuring shoes and slippers fit properly and have grips on them. 
  • Avoid walking around the house in socks, tights or even bare foot. 
  • Make sure your eye tests and hearing check-ups are up to date and your glasses fit properly.
  • Some medicines can cause drowsiness or dizziness. If this is the case for you then ask your pharmacist for a review of your medication, as there may be suitable alternatives that do not have these unwanted side effects.

Long term conditions

Long-term conditions, or chronic diseases, are conditions that require ongoing care and often are managed by medications and other treatments. Examples include diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, epilepsy, asthma and heart or kidney disease. 

During winter, damp and cold weather can aggravate existing health problems and make people more vulnerable to winter illnesses. This is particularly true for those who live with a long-term condition. 

Everyone’s experience of living with a long-term condition is different but there are few things people can do to help them manage their condition, including:  

  • Get the flu vaccine.
  • Stay protected against COVID-19 with an autumn booster vaccine.
  • Make sure that you have had any planned reviews of your condition.
  • Take your medication as prescribed and see your pharmacist for any medication concerns. 
  • Keep warm.
  • If you smoke, consider steps to quitting.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Exercise daily: even short walks and housework count as physical activity. 

There are a few other things you can do too: 

  • If you feel unwell don’t wait – get advice from your nearest pharmacy.
  • Think ahead - make sure that you have enough medication to last when your GP surgery may be closed. Don’t use A&E or 111 as a back-up pharmacy; plan ahead. But if you do need emergency advice, community pharmacies can often help.
  • Eat well and wrap up warm - keep active and have regular hot drinks and nutritious meals. If you have breathing problems, even a small change in temperature can affect you. 

Respiratory conditions

Our latest respiratory toolkit features messaging around the importance of managing respiratory conditions for both adults and children.

Respiratory disease affects one in five people and is the third biggest cause of death in England after cancer and cardiovascular disease.

For many, the winter period can be a source of concern and worry. People with respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, can be particularly susceptible to the effects of cold weather, finding themselves shorter of breath and coughing more than usual. In addition, the risk of catching COVID-19 and flu this winter remains significant.

If you have long-term respiratory conditions like COPD or asthma, winter can worsen your symptoms, often leading to shortness of breath or more coughing than usual. To manage your symptoms, you must be ‘weather-wise’. Being weather-wise means:

  • Knowing why it is important to manage your condition more carefully during winter
  • Having information to manage your condition during the winter months
  • Making changes to your lifestyle to prevent your condition from getting worse

Discharge from hospital

If your loved one is set to be discharged from hospital, here are some things to consider:

  • Is there enough food at their home for when they return?
  • Do they have their house keys with them?
  • Have they got transport to get home (speak to the hospital if they need help)?
  • Have they got all the medication they need to recover at home?
  • Do they have suitable clothing to leave hospital in?

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