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Winter Wellness

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During the winter months, it’s really important to keep yourself and your whānau well.

Winter Wellness

There are many different things you can do to keep your family well:  
  • Keep your vaccinations up to date. COVID-19 first, second doses and boosters, influenza and MMR vaccinations are available at our walk-in centres and at most General Practices
    • Ensure you and your family follow basic hygiene practices such as:
    - covering mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing
    - washing hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds and drying for 20 seconds
    - avoiding touching eyes, mouth and nose

In the event that someone in your family does get sick, you’ll find information below about the different illnesses you might see in winter as well as where to go.

We have developed a handy Winter Checklist to help you prepare your family for winter. Click on the image above to open a PDF that you can print at home.


Influenza, known as the flu is a serious illness that can sometimes be fatal. Infection with the virus can lead to a stay in hospital for anyone. If you are elderly or have an ongoing medical condition you may be more susceptible and it can be worse for conditions like asthma or diabetes. Some members of the community may be eligible for a free influenza vaccine:
  • If you’re aged 65 and over
  • If you are Māori or Pasifika and aged 55 and over
  • If you are pregnant in any trimester
  • People with a long-term medical condition such as diabetes, asthma or a heart condition aged six months or older
  • Children younger than four years old who have been in hospital with a respiratory illness such as asthma
Immunisation against influenza can help protect yourself and reduce the chance of bringing it home to a baby, elderly person or someone with medical conditions that could develop complications.
Symptoms of the flu:
  • Sudden onset of illness
  • Moderate to severe illness
  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache (may be severe)
  • Dry cough, may become moist
  • Muscle aches
  • Shivering
  • Bed rest necessary
  • Can suffer severe complications 


Gastroenteritis is a caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites. It can be easily spread from person to person especially if hygiene is poor. 
To protect yourself and your family ensure that hand washing is with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds followed by drying hands for another 20 seconds and that this happens after using the toilet and before preparing, handling or eating food.
Symptoms of gastroenteritis:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach pains
Find more information about Gastroenteritis
Measles is highly contagious and easily preventable. It can affect both children and adults.  It spreads from person to person through the air from breathing, coughing or sneezing and contact from those secretions. Measles can be easily prevented by vaccination.
Measles Symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore red eyes
  • Rash (after 3-5 days)
The MMR vaccine protects those immunised against Measles, as well as Mumps and Rubella. Most children get immunised under the age of five, and is delivered as two doses. If you didn’t get your MMR vaccine, or are unsure if you had one, two or any doses, head to one of our walk-in clinics where the MMR vaccine is available for free.
For more information about Measles


Where to get help

I'm not well. Where should I go? Health advice is just a phone call away

Healthline 0800 611 116
For free 24 hour health advice within New Zealand

Some pharmacies can help you with lots more than you may realise. Some of their services include giving influenza vaccinations, Paediatric Gastroenteritis, ECP and much more. Go in and talk to your pharmacist today.

General Practices
Your general practices have both doctors and nurses available to help you with your health needs. Make sure you’re registered at one today, to find out what practices are taking new patients visit the

Central PHO’s website.

After Hours Medical
For minor, non-urgent health issues after hours

Emergency Department
For serious injury or illness our Emergency Department is open 24/7

Further information and resources

  • Winter Wellness - A4 printable checklist
  • Fight flu - For more information about influenza
  • Healthpoint - For information and support to quit smoking
  • Energywise - For information on how to warm your house and be more energy efficient.
​Document Format

Most documents are available in Acrobat (PDF) format. Some documents are also available in other formats (doc, xls, html etc.) or as a printed version (hard copy). Please note, due to cost, a different format or printed version may not be available.

To request a different format or printed version, please contact the Te Whatu Ora Health NZ - MidCentral Communications Unit.

Please tell us what you think of our services.

Send a message to a patient at a MidCentral DHB facility.

General information about Palmerston North Hospital.