Health risk warning issued as severe cold weather forecast

Freezing temperatures are forecast for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire
Freezing temperatures are forecast for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire
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A health risk warning has been issued for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire as severe cold weather is forecast for the area

The severe weather forecast for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough could cause major health risks and local health experts are reminding residents of the simple steps to help vulnerable friends, families and friends.

A ‘Level 3 Cold Weather Alert’ has been triggered in Cambridgeshire until Saturday (9am, December 30) with parts of the county likely to experience severe wintry weather over the coming days.

Severe cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young or very old or those with chronic illnesses. The Public Health team at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are recommending some simple measures to help people stay warm and well during the cold weather.

Val Thomas, Consultant in Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said:

“It is vital that during this period of cold weather, people act to keep themselves and their home warm. Cold weather increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, lung illnesses, flu and other diseases and people slip and fall in the snow or ice, sometimes suffering serious injuries. Some groups, such as older people, very young children, and people with serious medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather.

“To keep warm, wear several layers of clothes rather than just one thick layer, and when you need to go outside wear shoes with slip resistant, good grip soles. If indoors, keep your heating to the right temperature as heating your home to at least 18°C in winter poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing.

“We are also asking those who can to keep an eye on older or vulnerable relatives and neighbours and make sure they are keeping warm and well. If you, or they, are eligible for a flu vaccination make sure you get it as soon as you can.”

The Stay Well This Winter campaign can help you and your family prepare for winter. For more information, visit nhs.uk/staywell.

Follow #winterready and #weatheraware on Twitter for winter health advice.

Top tips to keep warm during cold weather:

Keeping yourself warm

· It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes pneumonia and depression. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F), if you can, you might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer.

· Use your electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every three years. Never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket

· Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks

· Aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count toward your five a day

· Stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy

· Exercise is good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter

· If possible, try to move around at least once an hour. But remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans

· Wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat

· Wear good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent trips, slips and falls

· Make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out

· Check if you are eligible for inclusion on the priority services register operated by your water and power supplier.

Look after others:

· Check on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well

Keeping your home warm :

· Get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated

· Fitting draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors

· Making sure you have loft insulation. And if you have cavity walls, make sure they are insulated too

· Insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes

· Draw your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms

· Make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains

· Do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and this can kill

· Make sure you have a supply of heating oil or LPG or sold fuel if you are not on mains gas or electricity – to make sure you do not run out in winter