There are things we can all do to help us stay well. On this page you will find useful advice and information for a range of local and national services that offer care and support. If you’re worried about your health, don’t delay, your NHS wants to see you.
Find out what to do if you need help with an urgent health problem. If you’re not sure what to do, contact NHS 111. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111.
Advice for parents and carers
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been a worrying time and may have made it harder for parents and families to know when and how to use local health services safely. Read our Health advice for parents and carers booklet for advice on where and when to seek advice and help if you are concerned about your child’s physical or mental health. It’s available as an Easy Read booklet and in various languages and aims to help make sure your child receives any care and support they need at the right time and in the right place.
The booklet contains information on respiratory illness (coughs and colds) in children. For the majority of children, respiratory illnesses are not serious and they will soon recover following rest and plenty of fluids. But some children under two, especially those born prematurely or with a heart condition, can experience more severe illness. Parents and carers are encouraged to look out for symptoms of a severe infection and to contact a healthcare professional when concerned.
Fire safety at home
Most fires in the home start accidentally. Understanding why fires start and what you can do to prevent them will help keep you, other people and your property safe.
Visit www.ohfsc.co.uk to complete a free online home fire safety check yourself. After answering a few questions about you and your home, it will provide fire safety advice specific to you and tips on how to keep you and your household safe from fire.
O2 guidance and impact
Oxygen is a drug which requires a prescription. Oxygen should not be started without a clinical and safety assessment and should not be purchased from internet sources. Purchasing oxygen from internet sources without assessment can lead to a number of health and safety risks. Find out more about the risks of buying home oxygen online by clicking here.
How to care for common conditions
There are often things you can do yourself at home to treat common illnesses and problems – sometimes with the advice of a pharmacist. If you’re not sure what to do, contact NHS 111. It’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111. Find out more about the following common conditions on the NHS website:
How handwashing can help protect us
Wash your hands thoroughly for the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice (around 20 seconds).
Washing your hands properly removes dirt, viruses and bacteria to stop them spreading to other people and objects. If you do not have immediate access to soap and water then use alcohol-based handrub. For more information go to www.nhs.uk/handwashing
You should wash your hands:
- once you get home, or into work
- after using the toilet or changing a nappy
- before and after handling raw foods like meat and vegetables
- before eating or handling food
- after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
- before and after treating a cut or wound
- after touching animals, including pets, their food and after cleaning their cages.
How a pharmacy can help you
Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals, who can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as hayfever, sunburn, insect bites and stings, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.
Pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need and can tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.
Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends and many have a private consultation room where you can ask for advice without being overheard. You do not need an appointment.
Don’t go to a pharmacy if you have symptoms of COVID-19.You can order prescriptions online via your NHS account or by calling your GP. Ask a friend, relative or volunteer to collect medicines for you.
Keep your medicine cabinet well stocked
Ask your pharmacist what medicines should be in your cabinet to help get you and your family through spring and summer.
Many over-the-counter medicines are available to help relieve symptoms of common summer ailments such as hayfever, allergies, sunburn, scrapes and grazes, and insect bites and stings. . You may want to consider having some items at home such as pain killers, plasters, allergy relief, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, sun cream and after sun, indigestion treatment and anti-diarrhoea tablets. Your pharmacist can help if you need any advice.
How to register with a GP
How to order repeat prescriptions
You can order your repeat medication online without needing to go to a GP surgery or pharmacy using your NHS account.
You can collect a prescription yourself, or ask a friend, relative or volunteer to collect it for you. You could also speak to your pharmacy about whether they can deliver your medicine to your home.
If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics or any other medication, make sure you take them as directed.
How to cope in hot weather
Many of us welcome hot weather, but when it’s too hot for too long there can be health risks. In England, there are on average 2,000 heat related deaths every year. If hot weather hits this summer, make sure it does not harm you or anyone you know.
The main risks posed by a heatwave are:
- not drinking enough water (dehydration)
- overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing
- heat exhaustion and heatstroke
A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:
- older people – especially those over 75
- those who live on their own or in a care home
- people who have a serious or long term illness – including heart or lung conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease and some mental health conditions
- those who may find it hard to keep cool – babies and the very young, the bed bound, those with drug or alcohol addictions or with Alzheimer’s disease
- people who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places – those who live in a top floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outside
Tips for coping in hot weather include:
- look out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying health conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
- close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
- drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
- never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
- try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm
- walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide brimmed hat, if you have to go out in the heat
- avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day
- make sure you take water with you, if you are travelling
- if you are going into open water to cool down, take care and follow local safety advice
For more information visit GOV.UK: Heatwave Plan for England.
Watch out for signs of heat related illness
If you or someone else feels unwell with a high temperature during hot weather, it may be heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Find out about the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, and when to get help
There are many activities you could do at home, such as walking up and down stairs, dancing, gardening, housework, or taking part in online fitness classes. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s something you enjoy and keeps you moving. Try to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down during the day. Break up your time spent being inactive by walking around your home or standing up from your chair during TV advert breaks or when you’re on the phone.
Don’t do anything that feels uncomfortable and trust your instincts about your own limits. Stop if you are feeling any pain or lightheaded and stay hydrated.
For advice on keeping active in your borough visit:
Look after your mental health
There are little things we can all do to help look after our mental health. Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. You can find expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing on the Every Mind Matters website.
Information on how to get help if you or a child or young person in your care is experiencing a mental health crisis is available on our website.
Look out for friends, family and neighbours
Remember that other people, such as older neighbours, friends and family members, may need a bit of extra help during periods of hot weather. Those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated are particularly at risk.
Keep in touch with your friends, neighbours, and family and ask if they need any practical help, or if they’re feeling under the weather. Make sure they’re stocked up with enough food supplies for a few days, in case they can’t go out.
If someone feels unwell with a high temperature during hot weather, it may be heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Find out about the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, and when to get help.
If someone does need to go out in the heat, encourage them to try to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly, wear a wide brimmed hat, and take water with them.
Make sure they get any prescription medicines before bank holidays start or if hot weather is forecast.
If they need help at times when their GP practice or pharmacy is closed or they’re not sure what to do, NHS 111 can help. The service is available online at 111.nhs.uk and also by phone. By answering questions about their health problem they will be told what to do and where to go. You can also find information at www.nhs.uk
Support with the cost of living
If you are struggling with the cost of food, energy, and other bills you are not alone and help is available:
- GLA Cost of Living Hub provides information about benefits, grants and discounts you can get if you’re in financial difficulty, from the Mayor of London, the government, your local council, charities and advice centres. The website also provides support if money worries are affecting your mental health.
- Debt Free London can offer help with budgeting, money worries and more.
- Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) England offers free advice to individuals on a wide spectrum of issues e.g. cost of living, debt management, housing health, immigration etc.
- Moneyhelper brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.
Visit barnet.gov.uk/costofliving or call Barnet Council on 020 8359 2000 for support and advice.
Visit camden.gov.uk/costofliving or call Camden Council on 020 7974 4444 (option 9) for support and advice.
You can also contact Citizens Advice Camden on 0808 278 7835 or any organisation in the Camden Advice Network – visit camden.gov.uk/costofliving or call 020 7974 4444 (option 9) for details.
Visit enfield.gov.uk or call Enfield Council on 020 8379 1000 for support and advice.
Visit haringey.gov.uk/heretohelp or call the Haringey Council Financial Support Helpline on 020 8489 4431 for support and advice.
Help with healthcare costs
Although most NHS treatment is free, there are still some costs you may need to pay – for example to get your prescriptions or to travel to your hospital appointment. Visit the NHS Business Services Authority website to find out if you can get help to pay for these health costs.
What to do if you suspect you have COVID-19
You may be able to look after yourself at home if you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19.
Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you or your child have symptoms and either:
- have a high temperature
- do not feel well enough to go to work, school, childcare, or do your normal activities
You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.
You should avoid being in close contact with people at increased risk of getting ill from COVID-19 if you have symptoms or have tested positive.
This includes people who are pregnant, are aged 60 or over, or who have a weakened immune system due to a health condition or because of a medical treatment.
How to avoid passing COVID-19 on to others
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, there are things you can do to help you avoid passing it on to other people, including those you live with:
- try to work from home if you can – if you’re unable to work from home, ask your employer about options available to you
- try to stay away from other people, including those you live with, until you feel better
- wear a face covering that fits snugly against your face and has more than 1 layer when you are in shared rooms, or if you need to leave your home
- keep windows open for at least 10 minutes after you have left shared rooms to let in fresh air
- do any exercise outdoors and where you will not be in close contact with other people
- let people who need to come into your home know that you’ve tested positive or have symptoms
- think about asking friends, family or neighbours to get food and other essentials for you
- avoid indoor or crowded places (including public transport or large social gatherings) or places where there is not much fresh air if you need to leave your home
- let any healthcare professionals know about your positive test result or symptoms if you’re asked to attend an appointment in person
Treatments for COVID-19
The NHS offers treatment to people with COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill.
The way you access COVID-19 treatments is changing from Tuesday 27 June 2023.
Your NHS account
Download the NHS App, or open the NHS website in a web browser, to set up and log in to your NHS account. Owned and run by the NHS, your NHS account is a simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services online. Use your NHS account to:
- get your NHS COVID Pass – view and share your COVID Pass for places in England that have chosen to use this service and travel abroad
- get advice about coronavirus – get information about coronavirus and find out what to do if you think you have it
- order repeat prescriptions – see your available medicines, request a new repeat prescription and choose a pharmacy for your prescriptions to be sent to
- book appointments – search for, book and cancel appointments at your GP surgery, and see details of your upcoming and past appointments
- get health advice – search trusted NHS information and advice on hundreds of conditions and treatments. You can also answer questions to get instant advice or medical help near you
- view your health record – securely access your GP health record, to see information like your allergies and your current and past medicines. If your GP has given you access to your detailed medical record, you can also see information like test results and details of your consultations
- register your organ donation decision – choose to donate some or all of your organs and check your registered decision
- find out how the NHS uses your data – choose if data from your health records is shared for research and planning
- view your NHS number – find out what your NHS number is.