Winter health guide

What can you do to be better prepared for Winter?

Can you prepare better in case you or a member of your family is ill during the Winter months?

There are all sorts of precautions you can take, medicines and bandages we should all stock up on (see the list below), and perhaps plan in advance where we would best get medical help if we need it. Most people can treat themselves for simple illness and minor cuts, sprains and burns.  Keep simple painkillers and cough remedies in a safe place at home and have a first aid kit handy.

Many people don’t realise that your local pharmacist (chemist) is qualified to give you medical advice on treatment for common illnesses. Your GP (doctors surgery) is there for every kind of medical problem except life threatening emergencies. If you’re in doubt and can’t get to the GP quickly, then please call the new 24 hour NHS helpline number: 111. Trained advisors will help you get the right treatment at the right service, and can often give you reassurance when you’re worried about your health. Paramedics and nurses are there at 111 too if it’s a more complicated issue and 111 staff can refer you to the GP Out of Hours service if needed.

There are a number of other services locally where you can get help quickly:

North Colchester Walk-in centre

Colchester Primary Care Centre, Turner Road, Colchester, telephone 01206 286500: GP-led service providing treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, no appointment necessary.  Please note that as there are no x-ray facilities on site they cannot treat suspected fractures.  Open from 7am until 10pm seven days a week.

Clacton Minor Injury Unit

Clacton Hospital, Tower Road, telephone 01255 201717Nurse-led service providing treatment for minor injuries, e.g. cuts, sprains and fracturesOpen from 9am until 9pm seven days a week.

Harwich Minor Injury Unit

Fryatt Hospital, Main Road, Dovercourt, telephone 01255 201201:  Nurse-led service providing treatment for minor injuries, e.g. cuts, sprains and fractures.  Open from 9am until 5pm seven days a week.

On the web

All local NHS services can be found via

Please only use the accident and emergency (A&E) department at Colchester General Hospital in Turner Road for critical or life-threatening situations requiring medical attention. That way patients who really need to be treated there can get treated quickly. Often waiting times at A&E for less seriously ill patients can be several hours, and we know that one out of every four people who go to A&E could have been treated elsewhere in the community, or even at home.

Now you can also visit a website developed with advice from local clinicians to direct people to the most appropriate local NHS service. The striking yellow and black campaign is being advertised across Essex. You can simply type in your postcode and symptoms to be directed to the most convenient and appropriate service.

So, instead of spending time in the waiting room this Christmas, stock up on medicine cabinet essentials to ensure you’re prepared for winter. Check that you have the following basics and that they’re in date:

  • Your usual painkillers, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin
  • Cold and flu remedies
  • Anti-diarrhoea medicine
  • Oral rehydration salts
  • Indigestion remedies
  • Plasters
  • Bandages
  • Thermometer
  • Tissues

If you are already taking other medication, check first with your pharmacist to make sure the medicines are right for you.

Last updated on: 24/07/2017 - 14:11