Health experts are urging people to look out for others, to keep warm indoors and to take care when out and about as the Met Office has forecast severe wintry conditions for Cambridgeshire.
Cambridgeshire is due to experience severe cold weather between the early hours of Friday January 18 until early morning on Monday January 21. Temperatures are looking to drop all around the county triggering a Level 2 Cold Weather Alert. Some wintry showers are also expected on Thursday, giving some icy patches overnight.
Severe cold weather can be very harmful, especially for people aged 65 or older, the very young or those with chronic disease.
Val Thomas, Consultant in Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “It’s so important to remember that cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest. Most of our advice on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense, it’s important that we make the point that people should think about how cold can affect them.
“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. Try to avoid going out in cold icy weather but if you do need to go outside wear shoes with slip resistant grip, good grip soles and wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer.
“We are also asking everyone to remember the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk during this period of cold weather. If you, or they, are eligible for a flu vaccination make sure you get it as soon as you can.”
Top tips to keep warm during cold weather:
* Keep your home warm, efficiently and safely:
* heating your home to at least 18°C in winter poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing (see page 40 for full advice).
* get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated
* use your electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every 3 years
* never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket
* 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
Keep in the warmth by:
* 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
Look after yourself:
* 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 5 daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count toward your 5 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
Get financial support:
* there are grants, benefits and sources of advice 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 before winter sets in
For more advice visit nhs.uk/staywell