Go Well This Winter

Every winter, hospitals and the healthcare system see an increase in admissions for respiratory infections and other illnesses associated with the season. 

There are many things we can do to keep ourselves, and others, well this winter – wear a mask, stay home if you’re sick, test for COVID-19 if you have symptoms. But these public health measures only work if we follow them.

See below for some helpful advice, tips and tricks to keep you well this winter!


Keep well and stay active

Taha Tinana, Taha Wairua, Taha Whānau, Taha Hinengaro, our four foundations of wellbeing.

Keeping active is one of the best ways to stay well this winter.

Connecting with nature is not only good for our taha tinana, but also for our hinengaro.

Eating healthy kai is essential for our wellbeing.


Don't wait to sort out medications and repeat prescriptions 

Before you get sick, contact your local pharmacy to stock up on medication to have at home.

You can call Healthline on 0800 611 116 - they can help with prescriptions.

Your local pharmacy is a place for your vaccinations and non-urgent health advice.

Most pharmacies can deliver to your doorstep. 


Plan ahead, be prepared 

Have a plan at home and be prepared for when you or a whānau member gets sick. 

Prepare a winter wellness pack at home with a thermometer, paracetamol, ibuprofen and lozenges. 

If you get sick, test yourself for COVID, stay home and keep your distance from others in your family.

Ask someone to pick up stores and medications for you. 

It's important to drink small amounts of fluids regularly and take paracetamol or ibuprofen to feel better. 

Use a cool towel or have a slightly warm bath to reduce your fever. 


Let's protect our pākeke

Wash your hands regularly and wear your mask in crowded places.

Get your flu vaccination as it's your best defense against the flu.

If you have a medical condition, don't wait until you are sick to get a check-up. Book in with a health professional now. 


Hauora is a warm, dry home!

Always open the curtains during the day and close them at night.

Open the windows for 15 minutes per day to let the house breathe.

Close the door when you’re having a bath or shower – condensation causes mould and bacteria.

Keep a mat on the floor to maintain warmth.

Click here to see if you’re eligible for insulation and heater grants.


Be wise, immunise

It's important your tamariki are up-to-date with their childhood immunisations, and before school checks. 

Diseases like measles and whooping cough can be very dangerous. 

You can call your local GP  or your local health clinic on 0800 935 524 to check if your tamariki are up to date with their vaccinations. 

If you aren't sure what vaccinations your tamariki need click here


Get your flu vaccination 

Getting immunised helps to stop the spread of flu around our community. The flu vaccine is free for people at higher risk of getting very sick from the flu including:

  • people aged 65 years and over
  • Māori and Pasifika aged 55 years and over
  • pregnant people
  • people who have a long-term medical condition like diabetes, asthma, or a heart condition (ages 6 months+)
  • children aged 6 months to 12 years
  • people with mental health and addiction issues

Shoo the flu by getting your flu jab from:

  • Bramwells Unichem Pharmacy
  • Sean Shivnan Pharmacy
  • Horouta Pharmacy
  • Pharmacy 53
  • Any vaccination event held by Ngati Porou Oranga or Turanga Health
  • Your local doctor

Please book ahead via bookmyvaccine.co.nz


Get your COVID-19 Vaccination/Booster

Everyone in New Zealand aged 5 or over can get a free COVID-19 vaccination. It does not matter what your visa or citizenship status is.

Children aged 6 months to 4 years can get the pediatric Pfizer vaccine if they are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Boosters provide an extra layer of protection to your previous vaccination and keep your immunity levels high. Booster doses use the Pfizer BA.4/5 bivalent vaccine.

To get an additional COVID-19 booster:

  • you must have had at least your first two COVID-19 vaccinations
  • it's recommended you wait at least 6 months since your last COVID-19 vaccine
  • it's recommended you wait at least 6 months if you have had a COVID-19 infection

The bivalent vaccine has replaced the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for boosters.

You can get vaccinated against COVID-19 at: 

  • Bramwells Unichem Pharmacy
  • Sean Shivnan Pharmacy
  • Horouta Pharmacy
  • Pharmacy 53
  • Any vaccination event held by Ngati Porou Oranga or Turanga Health
  • Your local doctor


Collect free RAT tests and masks from:

  • Salvation Army 389 Gladstone Road
  • Sean Shivnan Pharmacy
  • Gordons Pharmacy
  • Bramwells Unichem Pharmacy
  • CSS Disability Action, 7 Kahutia Street


Know when to take a COVID-19 test

If you have one or more of these symptoms: a runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, headache, loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath.


Know what to do if you test positive for COVID-19

Report your positive result

Self isolate for 7 days

Call 0800 TAKATU for COVID-19 support 


Boost your wellbeing this winter

There are a number of simple things you can do every day to support your mental wellbeing:

Go easy on yourself

Make time for inexpensive fun – visit a local beach or park or take the family to the library to pick up some new books

Make plans with friends and family

Find time to exercise

Practice relaxation and mindfulness – there are lots of free video resources online

Get plenty of sleep

For more information click here


Where to get health advice

Your local pharmacy is a place to go for any non-urgent health needs this winter.

If you need non-urgent flu/cold related health advice, you can call 0800 TAKATU from 9am to 5pm, Monday-Friday to talk to local health professionals.

You can get free health advice and help with your prescriptions from Healthline who are open 24/7. Free phone 0800 611 116 anytime, day or night.

You can also contact your GP. 


Know what to do if a family member (or household member) is sick

Isolate the unwell person to an area or room within your home if you can.

Wear a mask to care for them, and if possible, get them to wear a mask too.

Ventilate your home and any rooms the unwell person has been in several times a day by opening windows to increase fresh air flow into each room.

Keep doors closed (such as bedrooms) to reduce contaminated air spreading between rooms.

Clean frequently touched surfaces using general cleaning products.

If someone needs to see a GP or nurse, call ahead, follow their instructions and wear a mask for the appointment.

For free health advice you can free phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 anytime, day or night.


Know when to seek help if you have a sick pēpi or sick tamariki

This winter we are likely to see more respiratory (breathing) illnesses in children.

If you have a sick child with breathing difficulties, seek medical care immediately.

You can call Healthline anytime on 0800 611 116 for free health advice and information.

A baby that has difficulty breathing could have flu, whooping cough or another illness which can make them sick very quickly.

Symptoms can also include fever, cough (can turn into a coughing attack, with vomiting and sometimes has a whoop sound) and a runny nose.

Please seek medical advice if your child has any of these symptoms or has had a cough for two weeks or more.


Where to find Manaaki Support

If you or your whānau need manaaki support, call 0800 TAKATU to speak to a local Mataora.

Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor

The Depression Helpline (0800 111 757) 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions)

Healthline (0800 611 116)

Youthline (0800 376 633)

The Lowdown Text 5626 for support to help young people recognise and understand depression or anxiety

Alcohol Drug Helpline (0800 787 797)


Collect your prescriptions for free

There's no longer a $5 collection charge to pick up most prescription items from your local pharmacy. This means most prescriptions will now be free for you to collect.

You may still have to pay to collect some prescription items, for example for medicines prescribed by private specialists and private dentists.

Any family which pays for 20 prescription items in a year is eligible for a Prescription Subsidy Card, which means they won’t have to pay for any more prescription items until 1 February the following year. A family includes a person’s partner and dependent children aged from 14 to 18.

Collecting prescription items for children under 14 is already free.

For more information click here


Keep ED for Emergencies 

Emergency departments get particularly busy over winter. Please note that emergency departments will always see the sickest patients first and there may be a bit of a wait.

Remember, calling Healthline (0800 611 116, www.healthline.govt.nz) is a great option if you're not sure what type of care you need, as they can give you free advice and are available to chat 24/7.

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