Keep Warm, Keep Well
Cold weather can pose a serious health risk, especially to older people in our communities and those who already have heart and lung conditions
For every degree the temperature drops below 18oC, deaths in the UK go up by nearly 1.5%
The main risk to health from cold weather is not from hypothermia or pneumonia, but from heart and lung problems. People over 70 who have existing heart or lung problems have the highest risk of dying prematurely during winter. Exposure to cold temperature can also lead to an increased risk of bronchitis, pneumonia and other viruses.
If you, or someone in your family or community is at risk over the winter, there are some simple steps to take to keep well
- Be a ‘winter buddy’ – look out for family members or neighbours in case they are confined to their home through illness or bad weather.
- Check the heating system is working and have the chimney swept
- Make sure the home’s temperature is kept between 18oC and 21oC. Hypothermia is only a real risk when home temperatures are as low as 5oC, but spending more than two hours at 12oC raises blood pressure and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- If heating costs are an issue and it is not possible to heat all rooms then the living room should be heated during the day and the bedroom at night.
- Stock up on basic food items in the cupboard and freezer to avoid having to go out in freezing temperatures.
- Bring warm winter clothing to the front of the wardrobe and make sure there are hats, gloves, scarves and appropriate footwear by the entrance door.
- Take advantage of the free seasonal flu and pneumococcal jab for people over 65 or in an at-risk group – ask your local GP surgery
- Keep simple cold, flu and sore throat remedies in the house. Local pharmacists can make suggestions and can also advise on how to manage minor illnesses.
- Order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time, particularly if bad weather is forecast. Check to see if your pharmacist offers a home delivery service.
- Remember to look out for people in your local community who are alone this winter.
Winter needn’t be dangerous if you take the right steps and we all look out for the signs that others may need help.
Tel: 01304 872414