Need health advice? Help us help you stay well this winter

It’s getting chilly out there and many people are suffering from coughs, colds and other seasonal bugs. Whatever the weather, the NHS in London is here to help with all your healthcare needs:

Advice from a pharmacist

Visiting your local pharmacy can be the fastest way to get advice and medication if you have a minor health problem. Pharmacists are highly trained medical professionals who can help with a wide range of issues – from stomach bugs, to coughs and colds and minor injuries like strains and sprains. Find out more about treating minor health conditions on

Getting a flu jab

Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications. Flu can be unpleasant but, if you’re otherwise healthy, it’ll usually clear up on its own within a week.

The flu vaccine is routinely given on the NHS to:

Speak to your GP or pharmacist about getting vaccinated, and you can read more about how millions of Londoners are getting protected.

Norovirus – the winter vomiting bug

Norovirus, also called the “winter vomiting bug”, is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be very unpleasant, but usually goes away in about 2 days. Stay off school or work until the symptoms have stopped for 2 days. Also avoid visiting anyone in hospital during this time as this is when you’re most infectious. One of the best ways to protect yourself against the winter vomiting bug is to practice good hand hygiene. Find more advice on the website.

Getting a repeat prescription

It’s a good idea to collect repeat prescriptions in good time, especially before the festive period. You can find out how to get an emergency prescription here.

Seeing a GP or a practice nurse

If you think you need an appointment with your GP or practice nurse, you should be able to book online, by phone or in person.

If you contact your GP surgery outside of normal surgery hours, or during the festive Bank Holidays, a recorded message should tell you who to contact. It may be possible to arrange an evening or weekend appointment at a nearby practice. You can also call 111 who will be able to give advice and book you an appointment if needed.

Urgent medical issues – choose NHS 111

If you have an urgent medical issue and you’re not sure what to do, you can call 111 to speak to a fully trained advisor. You can also get help through, where you can answer questions about your main symptom and find out when and where to get help. If necessary, 111 advisors can connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist or a GP and they can arrange face-to-face appointments. They will also tell you if you should seek emergency care.

Getting help in an emergency

If you have a medical emergency, call 999 or go to your Accident and Emergency department. A&E departments are for seriously ill people with life-threatening conditions and will be very busy during winter months. We would encourage people to use alternative health services if the issue isn’t an emergency.