Emma Lawton, a young person with Parkinson's, in front of the River Thames

Managing Parkinson's this winter

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Winter can cause additional complications for people with Parkinson's. Cold weather, ice and seasonal illnesses are just some of the things that can make it harder to stay in control.

Making simple adjustments and taking extra precautions can all help with managing the condition at this time of year.

Keep yourself and your house warm

Parkinson's affects the nervous system, which controls body temperature, so people with Parkinson's can be more sensitive to heat and cold.

There's a few simple things you can do to help keep your body temperature up:

  • Wrap up warm – inside and outside the house.
  • Wear plenty of thin layers, rather than one thick one and wear cotton, wool or fleecy synthetic fibres.
  • Wear a hat and bedsocks in bed if you get cold at night.
  • Keep active – moving about and getting some light exercise will help you to keep warm.
  • Heat all the rooms you spend the day in. Or if you can't keep all the rooms heated, try and keep one room heated for the day and your bedroom heated just before you go to bed.
  • Set the timer on your heating to come on just before you get up and after you go to bed.

Stock up on medicine

Talk to your GP and pharmacist to ensure you have enough medication to last you through any periods of severe weather.

Keep an eye on the weather

Check the weather forecast frequently - especially if you are going to be travelling - so that you can plan around any harsh conditions. 

The Met Office has up-to-date forecasts and advice.

If you're feeling unwell

Call the non-emergency NHS helpline for advice if you start feeling unwell.

  • 111 if you live in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • 0845 4647 (NHS Direct) if you live in Wales

Free flu jabs

People with Parkinson's and their main carers may be eligible for a free flu vaccination. Check with your local GP surgery for more information.

The vaccination reduces your chance of getting the flu, or can make the illness milder and shorter-lived.

If you know someone who has Parkinson's

If your friend, relative or someone who lives locally to you has Parkinson's it's especially important to check on them regularly during cold weather. 

Older people are particularly vulnerable at this time of year, so regular contact is key.