Vaccinations are the most important thing you can do this winter

OUR NHS is facing extraordinary pressures at the moment.

Nothing out of the ordinary for this time of year – I can’t remember a single year since I got through qualifying where we didn’t have a challenging winter.

Dr Zoe says 'My advice is to inject and get boosters - get every vaccine available to you'


Dr Zoe says ‘My advice is to inject and get boosters – get every vaccine available to you’

When the temperature drops sharply below zero, we see a significant increase in the number of people having heart attacks and strokes, as the blood is more likely to clot.

The risk of catching pneumonia is higher and of course, this is also flu season. And that’s all before you add Covid into the mixture.

This year, like last winter, we are seeing a system that was already operating at full capacity being pushed beyond its limits.

The health service couldn’t take longer, and the incredible staff working in the NHS have endured two grueling years with no respite.

So with the inevitable pressures that NHS are facing, it is important to remember that each of us can do our best to help. First of all, you can protect yourself against Covid. Immunization is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself, your family, friends, the wider society and our NHS.

I understand there are still people who are hesitant, but my advice is to get vaccinated and booster shots – get every vaccine available to you. We know they are safe and effective. And recent data have shown they make a huge difference to Omicron, with 90% of patients in some ICUs uninjured.

For those who are worried that “we don’t have enough data”, let me put it this way: The Covid vaccine is arguably the most extensive medical intervention we have ever seen, with more than nine Billions of doses have been administered worldwide.

Others will worry about possible long-term effects, and again I get that. But you could say that there is a hidden danger involved in literally anything in this day and age.

We don’t know the long-term effects of wearing wireless headphones or using a smartphone, but we all balance risks and benefits.

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The same goes for the Covid bump, and the known benefits far outweigh any future theoretical risks.

Keep warm to keep warm

Besides your Covid support, we can all take other steps to help ease some of the pressure on the medical service right now.

With weather conditions, if you are someone with heart or lung problems, you need to be extra careful. Try to stay warm outside and, if you can, turn on the heating at home – although I know this can be difficult for some people due to rising energy prices.

Eating nutritious, warm foods and drinking plenty of hot beverages is another good way to stay warm. If you take your medication regularly, make sure you don’t run out and continue to take it exactly as directed by your doctor.

And if you’re fit and healthy, small changes to the way you access the NHS can really make a big difference. Use your local pharmacy – it’s not just a place where you can get hold of lateral flow tests.

Pharmacists are trained for five years and are ranked as excellent for treating minor injuries and illnesses – the added bonus of no appointment required.

This is followed by NHS 111 and 999. While both are facing huge call volumes and overcrowding at the moment, NHS 111 can be very helpful in pointing patients in the right direction.

And last but not least, we can all remember the “be kind” message. During the first lockdown, we all stepped outside, banging pans and clapping for our NHS.

Two years on, they are still facing the same challenges – arguably their job is now even harder than ever.

Our small actions can make a big difference and help our NHS weather this winter storm.

Dr. Zoe

I know it can be difficult when you’re sick or unwell, but think of the doctors, nurses, clinic staff, administration team, doctor front desk, porters, paramedics and ancillary staff. charge your NHS call.

Every staff member who works for the NHS is working at their best – and they’re completely exhausted.

Our small actions can make a big difference and help our NHS weather this winter storm.

People without boosters account for almost 50% of daily cases, expert reveals Vaccinations are the most important thing you can do this winter

Bobby Allyn

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