NHS Swindon has issued advice on keeping warm and protecting yourself and your family from viruses this winter.

Keeping warm is one of the best ways of keeping well during winter, helping to prevent colds, flu or more serious conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

Flu is a highly infectious, spread by coughs and sneezes, and symptoms usually include fever, chills, headaches and aching muscles, and maybe a cough and a sore throat.

Anyone can get flu, but it can be more serious for the over-65s, people with serious medical conditions, and pregnant women.

Winter vomiting (Norovirus) is highly infectious causing sickness and diarrhoea. People with these symptoms should stay away from vulnerable people and hospitals.

Some of these top tips on keeping well in winter may seem obvious, but could help you stay healthier through the cold months.

Top tips for keeping warm and well are:

  • Keep your home warm. Your main living room should be between 18-21C (65-70F) and the rest of the house should be a minimum of 16C (61F). Hot-water bottles or electric blanket can also help, but not both together as it is unsafe.
  • Eat well. Food is a vital source of energy, helping keep your body warm. If you can, have hot meals and drinks throughout the day, and keep active in the home.
  • Wrap up warm. Layer clothing, wear shoes with a good grip, and whenever possible, stay inside during cold periods.
  • Check on older neighbours or relatives. Make sure they are safe and well, warm enough, especially at night, and have enough stocks of food and medicines.
  • Get a flu jab. Contact your GP to find out if you are eligible for a free flu jab.

If you are worried about a relative, or an elderly neighbour, contact your local council or Age UK on 0800 00 99 66.