Healthy know how

The colder winter months can have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing. Find advice on how to stay healthy and well this winter, including vaccinations and ways to keep warm.

Get vaccinated

The vaccines that will help protect you from flu and coronavirus this winter are now available. NHS Scotland recommends you get your vaccines as soon as they are offered to you.

Keeping warm this winter

It's important to keep warm in winter, both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems. 

What you can do to stay warm

Follow these tips to keep warm this winter:

  • heat your home to a temperature that's comfortable for you. If you can, this should be at least 18°C in the rooms that you regularly use, such as your living room and bedroom. This is particularly important if you have a health condition
  • if you have visitors, try to ventilate the room for a few minutes before and after the visit to help reduce the spread of germs
  • try to keep the heat in your home by closing windows and curtains at night and consider other ways to reduce home heat loss
  • keep your body, hands and feet warm by wearing warm clothing and make sure you stay dry. Several thin layers of clothing are better than one thick layer
  • keep active at home, try to move around every hour
  • eat at least one hot meal a day
  • have regular hot drinks
  • ensure you have a supply of heating fuel
  • if you do need to go out in the cold, snow or ice, wrap up well and wear shoes with a good grip

You can find out more from Age Scotland for information on keeping warm and well in winter.

The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service have information available on heating your home safely this winter.

Prepare for winter weather

Getting ready for the changes in weather can help you stay healthy at home this year.

The Met Office and Ready Scotland have up-to-date advice on how to take care of yourself and others this winter and what you can do to prepare for the colder months.

Help with heating costs

If you're worried about money this winter, you're not alone. You may be entitled to financial support if you need urgent help covering the cost of food or heating your home.

Cost of living help

The Scottish Government have provided the following information on how you can get support during the cost of living crisis for:

Contact your local council if you need urgent help with money, food or fuel.

Tackling climate change together

If global temperatures continue to rise our planet will change in ways that’ll affect us all significantly. In Scotland we’re already seeing the impacts, including summer heatwaves, flooding and higher than average winter temperatures. If we don’t take action to reduce emissions there will be more catastrophic flooding, biodiversity loss and life-threatening rainstorms.

Find out what action Scotland is taking and how you can help to tackle climate change.

Common conditions

NHS inform provides accurate and reliable information on common conditions to help you make informed decisions.

We have advice on common symptoms, a range of self-help guides and information on where to go if you need further medical care.

You can access our information on topics such as:

Check your medicines

Make sure you have some over-the-counter remedies for common illnesses to help prepare for winter. Your pharmacist can advise you on the best medicines for you and your family.

Remember to always follow the advice on the pack and do not get too much to avoid medicines going out-of-date and being wasted.

Regularly check that your medicines are in-date and take any unused or out-of-date medicines to your pharmacy to be disposed of safely.

Check your local pharmacy opening times over the holidays.

Medicines for common illness

To be prepared this winter, check you have:

  • paracetamol and ibuprofen for pain relief (check the label or speak to your pharmacist to check it's suitable for you)
  • anti-histamines to help allergies
  • anti-diarrhoeals for diarrhoea
  • indigestion remedies such as an antacid
  • mild laxatives for constipation
  • a first aid kit which includes plasters, bandages and antiseptic wipes for cuts and scrapes
  • medicines specifically for children (your pharmacist can advise on the most suitable ones to keep in the house)

Access to medicines self-help guide

Self-help guide

Return to Symptoms

Last Updated:

Next Review Date:

Find your local services

Search for a service near you by entering your postcode below.

Please input your postcode in the following format: A12 1BC.


Looking after your mental wellbeing

The winter months can be a difficult time for many people. The drop in temperature and shorter days can have an impact on your mental wellbeing. If you're feeling down, there are ways you can help look after your mental health.

Tips to look after you mental wellbeing
  • keep physically active when you can
  • eat well, include plenty of warm drinks and at least one hot meal each day
  • maintain social connections with friends and family online or by phone if you're unable to get out and about

NHS Inform has many resources with more information on how you can maintain your mental wellbeing.

Check on others

If you have vulnerable neighbours, relatives or know someone with heart and breathing problems, check in with them to make sure they:

  • are feeling well
  • are warm enough at home
  • have enough food and medicines if they are unable to go out in bad weather

Non-urgent advice: Phone 111

If you're concerned someone is unwell or may have hypothermia



If you are concerned that someone isn’t coping, contact your local council or the Age Scotland helpline - 0800 12 44 222, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.