People in the Black Country living with a long-term condition are being urged to take extra precaution this winter.

Long-term conditions, or chronic diseases, are conditions that require ongoing care and often are managed by medications and other treatments. Examples include diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, epilepsy, asthma and heart or kidney disease.

During winter, damp and cold weather can aggravate existing health problems and make people more vulnerable to winter illnesses. This is particularly true for those who live with a long-term condition.

Everyone’s experience of living with a long-term condition is different but there are few things people can do to help their manage their condition, including:

• Get the flu vaccine

• Stay protected against COVID-19 with an autumn booster vaccine

• Have a regular review of your condition with your GP or specialist team

• Take your medication as prescribed and see your pharmacist for any medication concerns

• Keep warm

• If you smoke, consider steps to quitting

• Eat a healthy and balanced diet

• Exercise daily: even short walks and housework count as physical activity.

Dr Helen Kilminster, Primary Care Clinical Leadership Executive for Long-Term Conditions and Prevention at NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: “If you have a long-term health condition it’s really important that you look after yourself, especially as the weather gets colder.

“A decrease in temperature and damp conditions can aggravate any existing health problems and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses, while shorter, darker days can affect our mood. However, by planning ahead and taking a few simple steps, you can help yourself to stay healthy and on top of your condition.

“No one likes being ill or wants to spend time in hospital, so we all need to take responsibility and look after ourselves as best we can.

“If you do need help this winter, the NHS is here for you. There’s also plenty of information and support available to help you to take care of yourself on a daily basis.”

Click here for more information on how to help manage your long-term condition.

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