As the temperatures start to decline, we need to encourage our friends, whaanau and community to be prepared for a challenging winter with more coughs, colds and viral infections like influenza along with continued COVID-19 cases expected this year.
Immunisation through vaccinations against influenza, COVID-19 and preventable diseases are vital to maintain wellbeing this winter. We also continue to encourage everyone to ensure their tamariki are up to date with their childhood immunisations.
Maintaining good hygiene practises like frequent handwashing, coughing into elbows, staying home when unwell and mask wearing when indoors or on public transport are all helpful protection measures against the spread of winter illnesses.
Staying warm at home may be challenging for some families this winter and the Winter Energy Payment commences 1 May for those who are eligible. Some households may be eligible for a grant for a heater and/or home insulation which could be helpful. You can read more about that assistance here.
The winter sport season has started for many which is great for social connection and physical wellbeing. Anyone playing contact sports should make sure they are aware of concussion risks and please ensure you and your team know what to do if someone takes a knock on the head. There is some good information about the signs of concussion on Health Navigator. Please call Healthline on 0800 611 116 if you are unsure what to do, and if it is an emergency please don’t delay in calling 111.
Our Emergency Department and Hospital is busy, and we encourage everyone to call Healthline 0800 611 116 for health advice and information or visit their GP or Medical Centre for illnesses that aren’t life threatening.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not over but a continued uptake in vaccinations, booster shots and good hygiene habits will help us get through what we expect to be a very challenging winter 2022 season.
Kia noho haumaru. Keep safe
Dr Andrew Connolly
Chief Medical Officer