PEOPLE in Worcestershire suffering from breathing problems are being advised to take extra care during the winter months to avoid having to go to hospital.

Those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma and other forms of respiratory illness are especially vulnerable during cold weather. Changes in temperature can trigger symptoms and the increase in viral infections such as flu also poses a risk.

As part of a campaign working to ease the burden on hospitals in the county, NHS England is encouraging people to people go visit a pharmacy as soon as they feel ill rather than wait until they need to go to hospital.

Medical director for NHS England in Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Martin Lee said: “By making sure you have had a flu jab and you have all the medication you need you are less likely to pick up a virus that could exacerbate your existing condition.

“Given the right help and support, people living with asthma, COPD and other respiratory illnesses can become expert at managing their own conditions.

“This gives them the best chance of staying well and staying out of hospital.”

People suffering with respiratory conditions are advised to make sure they have a stock of medication, arrange to have a flu jab and pneumonia vaccine and wrap up as warm as possible when going out as even a small drop in temperature can have a real effect.

Patients are also advised to be familiar with their Self Care Plan, or to arrange one with their GP and to dial NHS 111 if they are unsure what to do.

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