As colder weather sweeps across Essex this week, local GPs are urging people to take extra care. Prolonged periods of cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with long term health conditions.
Tricia D’Orsi, Chief Nurse for NHS Castle Point and Rochford and NHS Southend CCG said:
“Encouraging people to keep warm and stay well during cold weather is extremely important as well as caring for those who need extra support at this time of year. When temperatures drop and weather gets extreme, please take some time to check on a neighbour or relative and make sure they are warm and well.”
Top five tips to keep warm and well:
Heat your home well
By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18-21ºC) you can still keep your home warm and lower your bills. If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together. It is especially important if you’re at home all day.
Wear sensible clothing when outdoors
Wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors – add a hat and wear shoes with a good grip, too. If you have a heart or respiratory problem like asthma or COPD, stay indoors during very cold weather – check our #Scarfie for more top tips.
Eat well and have plenty of fluids
Food and water are vital sources of energy, and they help keep your body warm. Try to make sure you and your family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.
Keep your medicine cabinet well stocked
If you’re on medication, make sure you get your repeat prescriptions in time so you don’t run out. Check to make sure you have enough over the counter remedies for coughs and colds so you don’t need to leave home unless you have to.
Look after yourself and others
On cold days try to avoid going outside. However, if you do need to go out, remember to wrap up warm and take care on slippery surfaces. If you have an older neighbour or relative, look out for them during the winter to make sure they are safe and well
If you're worried about a relative or elderly neighbour you can contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8am-7pm every day).
If you're concerned that the person may be suffering from hypothermia you should contact NHS 111.
Flu can lead to serious illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, and even death in vulnerable people. You are more at risk if you are older, have a long-term condition, or are pregnant, so make sure you get your free flu jab if:
- you are 65 and over
- you have a long-term health condition
- you are pregnant
Ask for the flu jab at your GP surgery or at a local pharmacy.
Some children and some carers can also get a free flu jab. Find out more about the flu vaccine, including who should have it.
If you're 65 or over, you are also eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, which will help protect you from pneumonia.
For more information on keeping warm and well visit the NHS website.