Get ready for winter
There are not many instances in life where it doesn’t pay to be prepared. Winter can be a particularly unpredictable time with bad weather and unwelcome bugs so get ahead of the game and get the information you need to make sure you won’t get caught out when the mercury drops.
In our winter guide you can find helpful information and advice on looking after yourself throughout winter, as well as practical preparation tips, numbers to have on hand and useful links.
Communications and staying up to date
Keeping well informed is one of the key things you can do to prevent yourself from feeling isolated if severe weather hits. There are plenty of ways for you to get the latest information. We promote any new information about service disruptions, for example due to bad weather through the following media channels:
Our website and social media channels
You can find out information about hospitals, departments and wards as well as up to date healthcare news at our website; www.nhsfife.org. Or for specific advice around the current coronavirus pandemic you can follow local updates and find out about local testing and self isolation procedures on our dedicated Coronavirus section.
We have very active social accounts that we use to keep both staff and public informed about breaking news and ongoing issues which you can follow
- Kingdom FM - 95.2 & 96.1
- Radio Forth - 97.3
- Tay FM - 96.4 & 102.8
Over at FifeDirect, you can also sign up for email or text alerts on school closures, road updates and service disruptions.
Weather and Traffic Information
It's important to plan well for winter to know what the weather has in store and how this will affect any travel plans.
- Met Office Weather forecasts
- Severe weather advice
- Traffic Scotland- live traffic information and incident updates
- Fife Council Emergency Closures & Disruption
- ScotRail Live JourneyCheck
- Queensferry Crossing
- Stagecoach Bus Service Updates
- Tay Road Bridge
Winter travel advice
Consider whether you need to travel at all right now, or if you can wait until the weather improves – remember there is no visiting other households at present.
- Check the weather forecast and road conditions
- Think about alternative routes and other modes of transport
- Allow extra time for your journey
- Make sure your vehicle’s ready for a journey in poor weather
- Fully charge your mobile phone
- Make sure you have appropriate clothing, equipment and food
- Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive
- In winter, think about getting winter tyres
- If you do travel, carry an emergency kit*
If you do need to travel
Due to the Covid19 pandemic, the advice from Scottish Government remains that we should all avoid non-essential travel. If you do need to get around however, public transport is still available though you are required to wear a face covering on all journeys. Remember too, that car sharing with anyone outside your household is no longer permitted.
Local travel options
For information on Stagecoach services
For information on Bay Travel services
For information on Moffat & Williamson services
Information is also available on the Traveline Scotland website or by calling 0871 200 22 33.
For rail information see the Trainline website.
Plan your journey by bus, train, ferry or (internal) plane across Scotland using the Traveline Scotland Journey Planner
More Information about being prepared is available at Ready Scotland
Your local Pharmacist offers expert advice on medicines, general healthcare and lifestyle, as well as providing help for many common minor ailments.
Community Pharmacies can help over weekends and public holidays when GP surgeries may be closed.
Contact your Pharmacist, by telephone or in person, for health advice on a range of treatments.
You can find out more information on the services local pharmacies provide here.
Remember - If you run out of medicine you can also seek advice from your Pharmacist.
Accessing emergency contraception
A free emergency contraception and advice service may be available at your local Pharmacy. Sexual Health Fife can also assist you can find more information on their services here.
NHS Pharmacy First Scotland is an NHS service provided by your local community pharmacy.
You can use NHS Pharmacy First Scotland if you are registered with a GP practice in Scotland or you live in Scotland.
If you have a minor illness, a pharmacy is the first place you should go for advice. You do not usually need an appointment and you can go to any pharmacy.
Your pharmacist can give you advice for a minor illness, and medicine if they think you need it.
Know your first aid
Every year in the UK, thousands of people die or are seriously injured in incidents. Many deaths could be prevented if first aid is given before emergency services arrive.
What to do
If someone is injured you should:
- first check that you and the casualty aren't in any danger, and, if possible, make the situation safe
- if necessary, dial 999 or 112 for an ambulance when it's safe to do so
- carry out basic first aid
See more about basic first aid at NHS Inform
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
To find advice on Coronavirus; symptoms, the test and protect programme, and up to date local news on the virus, visit our dedicated Coronavirus section.
Looking after mental health
The winter months are dark and with current advice to stay at home and avoid travel, some of us will experience periods of loneliness and even symptoms of depression. If you, a family member, a close friend or neighbour is experiencing despair or distress please call:
- For medical emergencies, call 999.
- NHS 24 on 111
- Samaritans on 116 123
- Breathing Space on 0800 838 587
Staying positive this winter
For general advice and tips about keeping well and staying positive during the winter months have a look at NHS inform’s 5 Steps guide. It has valuable advice about the value of building and maintaining relationships (especially when inter-household visiting is not possible), staying fit and healthy and how supporting others can have benefits both ways for our mental wellbeing.
Utilities emergency advice
Loss of electrical power
Call 105. This number will connect you to the network operator for power in your region. You can find out more about 105 here.
See the SP Energy Network page ‘What to do in a power cut’ for more advice on how to prepare for and what to do during a power cut
Interruption to the water supply
Use the Scottish Water location search tool to check for supply issues in your area. You can contact Scottish Water on 0800 0778 778.
Click here for advice from Scottish Water on interrupted water supplies. It's always a good idea to make sure you have an emergency water supply already. Think about filling some large plastic bottles with water in preparation.
Issues with gas supply
If you can smell gas, please call the national gas emergency number on 0800 111 999.
For all other enquiries, please call Scottish Gas Networks (SGN) on 0800 912 1700.
Protect your pipes
Follow Scottish Water’s winter code to protect your pipes.
Heating your home
The Met Office has advice on how to keep your home warm.
Head to Home Energy Scotland for information and support on how you can insulate and/or improve the efficiency of your home heating system.
Sign up for flood alerts
If you live in an area that's likely to flood, you may want to consider installing flood protection on your property. The Scottish Flood Forum provides advice and support for communities at risk of flooding.
Register to SEPA’s Floodline direct warning service to find out if you can receive Flood Alerts and/or Flood Warnings for your property. You will be given the quick dial number for the Flood Alert and/or Flood Warning area that relates to your registered property.
There is further information around being prepared at home on Fife Council’s website on the Ready at Home section.