Winter ailments


Seasonal flu

Flu can occur at any time but it is particularly prevalent in the winter months. This year, NHS Fife is delivering the flu vaccine to everyone who is eligible. This includes those in the following categories:

  • Children aged 2 to 5 years (not yet in school) 
  • People with eligible health conditions 
  • Everyone aged 65 and over 
  • Household members of people who are shielding 

All vaccinations will be appointment only - there will be no drop-in clinics due to COVID-19 guidance. It is important to get your flu vaccination to protect yourself and others. 

To find out more about this year's flu vaccination arrangements, please visit our dedicated flu section


Norovirus, also known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’ can be caught at any time of the year, although it is more common in the winter. It spreads easily and can affect anyone of any age, causing vomiting, diarrhoea, mild fever and headaches. Although unpleasant, Norovirus is not usually dangerous.

There’s no cure, you just have to let the bug run its course and avoid contact with other people until you feel better. This will usually take just a few days.

If you do become unwell with Norovirus:

  • Stay at home until you no longer have symptoms for 2-3 days
  • Drink plenty of liquid to prevent dehydration, water is best
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Avoid preparing food for your family until you no longer have symptoms
  • Don't visit friends and relatives if you feel unwell - you can still be infectious up to 48 hours after your symptoms go

It's especially important to avoid visiting anyone in a hospital or a care home, as norovirus is more serious for people who are already ill.

Hospitals and care homes may temporarily suspend visiting in certain areas if norovirus is prevalent. This is to stop the virus spreading - especially to ill or elderly people.

To reduce your chances of catching Norovirus:

  • Keep your hands clean
  • Don't share towels, flannels and toothbrushes
  • Keep household surfaces clean
  • Avoid raw, unwashed fruit, rinse fruit and vegetables before eating them


The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are, a new:

  • continuous cough
  • fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater)
  • loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

A new continuous cough is where you:

  • have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour
  • have had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • are coughing more than usual

A high temperature is feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back (you don’t need to measure your temperature). You may feel warm, cold or shivery.

If you have symptoms, self isolate and book a test by calling 0800 028 2816.  For further local information see our dedicated Coronavirus section.

Long term conditions


For those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or other long term chronic conditions, it is particularly important to keep well so as not to make the symptoms more severe. 

Simple measures are important in winter for patients with chronic disease/COPD. For example, keeping warm during cold weather and where possible, avoiding family and friends if they are suffering from illness.   These measures can reduce the risk of exacerbation of the condition and help to avoid a spell in hospital. See the section on Winter fuel payments in our Emergency Contacts section.