Cold weather can lead to serious health problems and can kill. Older people, those with chronic health conditions and people who have a disability, are particularly at risk during the cold weather. Cold and flu viruses as well as tummy bugs such as Norovirus are also now starting to circulate.
The councils in Coventry and Warwickshire are encouraging people to be good neighbours, to check in on friends, relatives and those nearby who may be vulnerable to the cold and make sure they have enough food and medication, and that they are keeping warm
Everyone is advised to keep warm and healthy by keeping rooms heated to at least 18oC throughout the day and night and to wear suitable clothing – several thin layers is better than one thick layer. It is also recommended that people keep an eye on the weather forecast when planning activities.
Shade Agboola, Director of Public Health at Warwickshire County Council said:
“A short spell of severe cold weather is expected in Warwickshire this coming weekend. While for many of us it is a simple case of wrapping up warm and turning up the heating, the reality for the more vulnerable members of our communities is quite different. This time of year can be particularly risky for health, particularly in older people, the very young, and those with long term conditions, but by taking some practical steps, seeking help and reaching out to others we can all play a small part in helping each other to take care.”
Liz Gaulton Public Health and Sport said:
“With a cold weather snap approaching on Friday, it is important to remember it can be dangerous, especially for older people, those with underlying health conditions, and young children. If you’re able to, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support. Also with one in three people in Coventry and Warwickshire entitled to a free flu vaccination, it is important to avoid further illness and possible hospitalisation from the flu. We urge people to contact their GP, Pharmacy or Midwife to make their appointment today and not to delay.”
For protection against flu, those eligible, including carers amongst other vulnerable groups, are reminded to please ensure they don’t delay and take up their offer of a free flu vaccination. Hospital admission rates for flu were the highest ever recorded last year. There are many myths about the jab but it really is one of the best ways to keep well in the colder months. Help challenge some of the myths around flu vaccination and contact your GP, Pharmacy or midwife to book it in. It is not too late – please book in soon.
To prevent the spread of tummy bugs people are reminded to wash their hands with soap and water regularly and clean surfaces frequently if someone within the household is unwell and allow until 48 hours after you last had symptoms before returning to work or school.
For anyone living across Coventry and Warwickshire who needs advice and is worried about keeping their home warm, there is a free service, run by local energy advice charity Act of Energy. The service can also help with fuel bills and benefits advice entitlements, including whether you are eligible for heating and insulation measures. They can be contacted 0800 988 2881.
For information about flu vaccinations, visit: www.nhs.uk/flu
For a map of pharmacies delivering NHS flu vaccinations across Coventry and Warwickshire – please see: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/flu