Don’t be a victim of the cold weather

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PEOPLE are being advised to ensure that they don’t become victims of the cold weather and end up in hospital.

NHS Cambridgeshire and NHS Peterborough are advising people to ‘Keep Warm, Keep Well’ and take a few basic measures that can make a big difference to your own safey and wellbeing and those at risk.

Icy pavements and roads can be very slippery, so people who are vulnerable to falling are advised not to go out in icy weather unless absolutely necessary. If you have an elderly relative or neighbour you can help by offering to go to the shops for them. For everyone else the advice is if you do go out wear boots or shoes with good grip on the soles.

If you know someone who is at risk you can help them by:

- checking on them to make sure that they are safe and well

- making sure they are warm enough especially at night

- stocking up on food and medicines

Dr Liz Robin, Director of Public Health at NHS Cambridgeshire said: “For vulnerable groups, such as older people and people with long term health conditions, getting too cold during the winter months can trigger chest infections and heart problems. This time of year it is important that people wrap up warm and eat as well as possible to avoid health problems that can be triggered as a result of cold weather. And it’s important for all of us to remember the needs of friends, elderly relatives and neighbours who could be at risk.”

Your six tips for keeping warm and well this winter are:

• Heat your home well. By setting your heating to the right temperature -21c during the day and 18c at night, you can keep your home warm and your bills as low as possible.

• Get financial support. There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to.

• Eat well. Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.

• Get a flu jab. You can get a free flu jab from your GP to protect against seasonal flu if you are over 65, have a long-term health condition or are pregnant.

• Look after yourself. Keeping active is important for your health. But if you go out in cold weather it is important that you wear extra clothes to make sure that you wrapped up warmly. During very cold and icy weather conditions it is safer for older people, very young children and anyone with health problems to avoid going out.

• Look after your family and neighbours. If you have an older relative or neighbour look out for them during winter to ensure that they are well, warm and able to have hot meals and drinks.

More information on how to stay warm and well is available on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk.