Staying healthy this summer and beyond – summer update from Halton’s Director of Public Health

With the schools summer holidays in full swing and most of us enjoying the sunshine and taking a well-deserved break, summer is a great time to take a few minutes to plan ahead and find ways to keep our health and wellbeing in good shape as we head towards the autumn and winter. We are also asking local people to keep being mindful of COVID after seeing a high number of cases locally in Halton.

Dr Ifeoma Onyia, Director of Public Health for Halton said, “Thankfully summer gives us a break in many ways and certainly the majority of people will feel happier and healthier at this time of year. We want people to keep that good feeling and be well prepared for the autumn and winter which we expect to be challenging with the usual seasonal increases in respiratory diseases such as COVID and flu as well as difficult financial circumstances with rising prices of food and fuel. There is lots we can do now and much local support available to keep our health and wellbeing in as good shape as possible.”

COVID-19

It is still a good thing to be keeping up with extra hygiene measures including wearing face masks which are still required in places like health settings such as doctor’s surgeries and local hospitals. Observing good COVID practice is particularly important if you do have respiratory symptoms or you are spending time with people who are vulnerable to respiratory diseases such as COVID-19. For local information, please visit our website – www.halton.gov.uk/livingwithcovid which has details of who can still get free tests as well as a guide on travel and COVID, information for pregnant women including being protected from COVID in the workplace and support if you have questions about getting the COVID jab.

People aged 50 and over and those with some health conditions will be invited for an autumn COVID jab booster. Please wait to be invited before booking your autumn jab. Getting a COVID jab is an evergreen offer and it is never too late to get fully vaccinated – find your nearest clinic on the NHS website.

NHS Cheshire & Wirral Partnership Trust are offering COVID jabs this Thursday 11 August at:

Lidl Runcorn (10:30am-1pm)

TESCO Widnes (2-4pm)

No need to book.

Flu

We are expecting to see a higher than average number of flu cases this autumn following the pattern seen in the southern hemisphere which is currently in winter. Flu jabs will be available free for the following groups this autumn/winter 2022:

  • All adults aged 50 and over (including those who turn 50 by 31 March 2023)*
  • Secondary school-aged children focusing on years 7, 8 and 9 and any remaining vaccine will be offered to years 10 and 11, subject to vaccine availability. *
  • all children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2022
  • all primary school aged children (from reception to Year 6)
  • those aged 6 months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
  • pregnant women
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers
  • close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • frontline staff employed by the following types of social care providers without employer led occupational health schemes:
    • a registered residential care or nursing home
    • registered domiciliary care provider
    • a voluntary managed hospice provider
    • Direct Payment (personal budgets) or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants

*please note that the vaccine will be available from 15 October for these groups in order to prioritise people who are at increased risk from flu.

Keeping healthy in difficult times

Our health can be put on the back burner when there are other challenges in our lives and particularly if money is tight. If you are able to, now is a good time to do some preparations and look for ways to stay warm and well in the colder months. It is also good to keep details of where to get help if you need it. There are local organisations offering a range of support for everything from dealing with stress of money worries to getting cheaper healthy food and help with household energy bills.

Dr Ifeoma added, “If you think you may struggle with the basics of life such as food and energy bills this year, planning ahead if possible and knowing where to get support from a friendly face can help to take away some of the stress of the situation.  One easy way to get started is to call in to our public health bus and have a chat with our staff. We have already seen hundreds of local people and hope to see many more over the summer.”

Public Health Bus

Our public health bus is regularly visiting community and shopping areas this summer. Over the next few weeks we will be at:

Date

Venue

Time

Mon 8 August

Community Shop, Priory House, Palacefields, Runcorn

Green Doctor will be on board – save money on energy bills

9.30-4.30

Fri 12 August

Trident Retail Park, Runcorn

Mind Halton will be on board – mental health support

9.30-4.30

Sat 13 August

The Barnyards, Widnes

11-2

Sun 14 August

Halton Pride, The Castle, Halton

12-4

Mon 15 August

Derby Pub, Widnes

9.30-4.30

Fri 19 August

Queen of Hearts Pub (next to Aldi) in Murdishaw, Runcorn

9.30-4.30

Mon 22 August

Spike Island, Widnes

9.30-12.30

Mon 22 August

Murdishaw Community Centre Summer Event, Runcorn

1-4

Tues 23 August

Halton Brook Community Pantry

10-12

Weds 24 August

Asda, Widnes

9.30-4.30

Thurs 25 August

Asda, Runcorn

Widnes and Runcorn Cancer Group will be on board

9.30-4.30

Fri 26 August

Queen of Hearts Pub, Murdishaw, Runcorn

9.30-4.30

 

If you can’t get along to the public health bus, you can contact the public health team who can send you some information. Please e-mail public.health@halton.gov.uk or call 0151 511 5200. More information on getting health and finance can be found on the Council’s website – www.halton.gov.uk.

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