Managing Parkinson's this winter

Cold weather, ice and seasonal illnesses can cause more complications for people with Parkinson's. Here's our advice on managing over winter.

Making simple adjustments and taking extra precautions can all help with managing your 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 are 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 your heating to come on just before you get up, and to turn off after you go to bed.

Ensure you have enough 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, Northern Ireland, or the following areas in Wales: Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay (including Bridgend).
  • 0845 4647 (NHS Direct) if you live in other parts of Wales.

Coronavirus

While some people with Parkinson’s may be at greater risk from such viruses, recommendations to minimise risk are the same for us all. The gov.uk website has current information and guidance.

For people with Parkinson’s, there's no increased risk of catching coronavirus. You can read more on Parkinson's and coronavirus in our dedicated article.

Free flu jabs

  • From 1 December, anyone in England and Wales who is over 50 can get a free flu vaccine. 
  • In Wales, anyone with Parkinson's is eligible for a free flu vaccine.
  • In Scotland and Northern Ireland, free flu jabs are being prioritised for people at highest risk, including those with some health conditions and people aged over 65.

If you’re not included in these groups, but are living with Parkinson’s or care for someone with Parkinson’s, you may still be eligible for a free flu vaccine. Contact your local GP surgery, or local pharmacy offering the service, for more information. 

The vaccination reduces your chance of getting the flu, or can make the illness milder and shorter-lived. Vaccinations are in high demand this year, so allow time to schedule yours.

If you know someone who has Parkinson's

If your friend, relative or neighbour has Parkinson's, it's especially important to check on them regularly during winter. Older people are particularly vulnerable at this time of year.

Regular contact is important. This is more difficult while social distancing guidelines are in place. Our article on coronavirus and Parkinson's has more information on the restrictions, and on support available during this time.

Understanding coronavirus and Parkinson’s

Our priority remains supporting people living with Parkinson’s. That’s why we’ve gathered the facts and guidance to help answer some of your most common questions about coronavirus and Parkinson’s.