Protect yourself and your loved ones ahead of winter

The NHS is encouraging people in Humber and North Yorkshire to take steps to protect their health ahead of winter.

In its latest weekly report, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) pointed to a slight uptick in flu cases, though overall “flu case rates remain low and stable”.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, has reiterated calls for people to get “winter strong and protect yourself before the anticipated rise in cases through the colder months”.

“We will continue to monitor rates closely and remind people that when you have respiratory symptoms you should avoid mixing with others, especially those who are particularly vulnerable,” she added.

“Young children continue to be the age group with the highest rates of hospitalisation with flu. Young children aged two to three years are eligible for a simple nasal spray flu vaccine, and you can help protect yourself and your child even before birth by getting vaccinated while you are pregnant. The flu vaccine is the best protection against serious illness and hospitalisation.”

NHS Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) says it’s important those who are eligible come forward for their flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

The ICB and wider Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership have launched a new website – – to help people find out more about vaccinations.

Jack Lewis, Consultant in Public Health at NHS Humber and North Yorkshire ICB, said: “We expect to see a rise in flu and COVID-19 over the coming months, and therefore, it is vital for people to take up the offer of vaccination if they’re eligible.

“Vaccinations are the best way to protect people from serious illness and in doing so help prevent local NHS services from being overwhelmed.

“As well as vaccinations, remembering good hygiene is an important step we can all take to limit the spread of flu and COVID-19 which can actually be quite serious for some patients.”

For some, catching COVID-19 and flu at the same time increases the risk of serious illness, especially older people or those who already have health conditions.

Even for the fit and healthy, people can still catch these viruses and spread them to more vulnerable people around them.

There are steps we can take to reduce the risk of spreading viruses and other winter illnesses:-

  • Have the flu jab as soon as possible (available free to certain groups via the NHS and for anyone – for a small fee – at their local pharmacy) and autumn COVID-19 booster if eligible
  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap
  • If you have a cold, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Bin used tissues as quickly as possible
  • Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have a high temperature, or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities.

This autumn and winter, people in Humber and North Yorkshire are also being encouraged to visit their local pharmacy if they need help with a minor, short-term ailment; use the NHS App to order prescriptions and manage appointments (where this functionality is available), use NHS 111 if they’re unwell and aren’t sure where to go to get help; and only use hospital A&E departments if it’s a genuine “life and limb” emergency.