Go well this winter

There are many things we can do to do keep ourselves and others well this winter. 

Find posters, social media tiles and other assets to use for your organisation’s communications this winter: COVID-19 Resource Toolkit

Keep up those healthy habits

Our experience with COVID-19 has taught us a lot about how effective public health measures are at protecting us from all airborne viruses, such as the flu. Let’s keep practising these throughout winter to keep ourselves and our communities safe:

  • Wear a face mask - we still need to wear face masks with visiting most healthcare services. It’s also a good idea to wear a mask when on public transport, in taxis, in indoor settings like retail stores and supermarkets, in poorly ventilated spaces, or when it is hard to physically distance from other people. 
  • Maintain good hand hygiene by washing and drying your hands thoroughly or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser.  
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow or a tissue. Avoid touching your face, dispose of tissues in a waste bin immediately and wash or sanitise your hands. This will prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other viruses such as colds or flu. 

Get winter-ready

  • Develop a winter plan for your whānau so family members know what to do if people become unwell. Familiarise yourself with what is expected of you by your employer if you become sick yourself.  
  • Get your Winter Wellness Kit together: this might include painkillers, a thermometer, tissues, cold and flu medications, enough food and household items for a few days, and a good stock of the regular medicines you or your whanau will need.

Stay home if you’re unwell and get a COVID-19 test

The symptoms of flu can be the same as, or similar to, the symptoms of COVID-19. Both are highly contagious so if you feel sick, stay home and take a COVID-19 test. Read about COVID-19 testing.

People with COVID-19 must isolate for 7 days, It’s recommended household contacts test daily for five days. Find advice on the COVID-19 Health Hub or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

If someone in your whānau gets sick, it’s a good idea for them to stay in one room or area until they are well. Wear a mask to care for them, and if possible, get them to wear a mask as well. Regularly ventilate or air your home by opening windows and doors. Be sure to wipe clean any surfaces around the house that are frequently touched such as door handles, benchtops, and tables

There are medicines to treat COVID-19. These medicines are a 5-day course of tablets that can be taken at home, to help manage the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.

They are prescribed to people with COVID-19, who are at a higher risk of becoming significantly unwell. They must be taken within 5 days of a person first becoming unwell with COVID.

If you are Māori or Pacific, have complex health needs, are over 65, unvaccinated or have a disability, please speak to your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or health practitioner about whether these medicines are suitable for you.

If you are not enrolled with a doctor, a clinical assessment will be carried out by the nearest COVID-19 Care Coordination Hub.

If your flu or COVID-19 symptoms get worse or you are concerned about someone you care for, seek help. Call Healthline on 0800 611 116. It’s free and you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For information and advice about COVID-19, call the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free on 0800 358 5453 or on +64 9 358 5453 if you have an international SIM.

Whooping cough and flu / respiratory illness in young children this winter

This winter we are likely to see more respiratory (breathing) illnesses in children. If you have a sick child with breathing difficulties, seek medical care from your doctor immediately. You can call Healthline anytime on 0800 611 116 for free health advice and information.

A baby that has difficulty breathing could have flu, whooping cough or another illness which can make them sick very quickly.

Symptoms can also include fever, cough (can turn into a coughing attack, with vomiting and sometimes has a whoop sound) and a runny nose. Please seek medical advice if your child has any of these symptoms or has had a cough for two weeks or more.

Please keep your child at home if they are sick or awaiting whooping cough test results. Please don’t visit young babies if you are sick this winter. Flu and whooping cough are very infectious, and babies can get very sick from them quickly.

Hand washing, covering coughs, sneezes and staying home if you are sick also help reduce the spread of winter illness.

Vaccination saves lives

Vaccination is one of the most important ways we can protect ourselves, our whānau and our communities from many infectious diseases.

  • Getting a flu vaccine is the best defence from the flu this winter. Its available now and are free for those most likely to get very sick.
  • Make sure you have all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine – it will protect you from the worst effects of COVID-19.
  • Check that your family are up to date with their routine vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
    Some people missed their routine MMR immunisations due to COVID-19 and will not be protected from this highly contagious illness.
  • For more information on immunising your child visit the immunise website 

Look after your mental wellbeing

The change of seasons can also be hard on our mental health. As we head into winter, it is important to look after our wairua (spirit), hinengaro (mind), relationships and overall wellbeing.

There are a number of simple things you can do every day to support your mental wellbeing:

  • Stay connected with friends and whānau.
  • Stick to a schedule or routine as best you can.
  • Move your body daily.
  • Get outside and spend time in nature.
  • Limit your time online and the amount of news you follow.
  • Notice and appreciate small moments of joy.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs as these can make things worse.

Find more information and advice on our mental health services webpage.  

Back to top