Keep Your Condition Under Wraps

Winter is coming, and with it comes the risk of respiratory conditions. This is especially true for those with pre-existing lung conditions, who are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. But don’t worry, there are plenty of simple actions you can take and reduce your symptoms this winter! Here are some tips to help you whether our home or not:

Going out and about?

    • Use a scarf around your nose and mouth to warm up the air you breathe. This can help prevent cold air from irritating your airways, triggering coughing or even an asthma attack.
    • Wear layers of clothes to keep warm.
    • If it’s icy outside, consider exercising (where appropriate to your condition) indoors at places such as supermarkets or shopping centres.
    • Use your inhaler medication (bronchodilators) half an hour before leaving the house, especially if cold weather usually makes you wheezy or breathless. Make sure you carry your medication with you at all times.

Staying at home?

    • Keep the living room temperature around 21°C (70°F) and the bedroom temperature around 18°C (64°F).
    • During really cold weather, wear warmer night clothes. Your body temperature drops as you sleep, so it’s important to stay warm.
    • Stay active and do some exercise to keep your blood circulating and your body warm. Appropriate exercise is generally good for strengthening lung health at any time of year – if you have a lung condition, your GP will be able to advise you of a suitable level of exercise for you.

Staying healthy and well during the winter months is important, and getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and avoid getting sick:

  • Remember to get booked in for your vaccinations!
    • Take advantage of the vaccinations you are entitled to. It’s never too late to book an appointment if you haven’t already. You may be eligible for the following vaccines:
      • Flu
      • Covid
      • Pneumococcal
      • Shingles (check for eligibility criteria)
  • Avoiding Illness
    • Avoid people with coughs, colds, or Covid-19.
    • If possible, wear a mask in crowded and enclosed spaces.
    • Remember the “Hands, Face, Space” rule. Wash your hands well to avoid all those winter bugs.
  • Is your smoking affecting you?
    • If you have a respiratory condition and smoke, quitting smoking is one of the best ways to prevent developing viral infections. People who smoke are five times more likely to get flu and twice as likely to get pneumonia.
    • There is plenty of help and support available in Derby and Derbyshire for those who want to quit smoking.
  • Respiratory Action Plan
    • If you have a respiratory condition, you will have developed a personalised respiratory action plan with your health care provider, sometimes called a RAP. This is a useful document that will tell you what to do if your condition worsens. Your RAP should be updated every year during your annual condition review.
    • Attend your annual condition review to discuss your condition with a healthcare professional.
  • Medication
    • Use your medication as prescribed. It’s important to understand how to use the medications as this will help control respiratory conditions.
    • The pharmacy is a great place to get support and advice over the winter. A pharmacist can provide lots of additional services such as a review of new medication prescribed (NMS Service). To find out more about what pharmacy services are available visit or visit your local pharmacy.
    • Make sure you have enough of your regular medicines at home. If you have ‘rescue packs’, make sure you have these in stock, and they are in date.

Staying warm is a concern for many people in the UK, especially with the cost of living being at an all-time high. But don’t worry, there is support available! Here are some additional resources to help you stay warm and healthy this winter:

  • Derbyshire County Council & Derby City have given grants to communities to support ‘warm spaces’ with the aim to provide a warm refuge for residents and their families struggling to heat their homes. See if there is a venue near you.

Remember, taking care of yourself is important all year round, but especially during the colder months. Stay healthy and stay safe!