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Stay well this winter

Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or older, and people with long-term conditions such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, diabetes or heart or kidney disease. Being cold can raise the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses. But there are lots of things you can do to stay well this winter. 

Take a look at this leaflet for some helpful advice

Please visit the NHS Stay Well website for lots of useful information and resources:

www.nhs.uk/staywell

Coping in very cold weather

Cold weather can dramatically affect your health. The Met Office provides the weather forecasts for broadcasts on radio and TV, so listen in to these bulletins regularly to keep up-to-date with the weather. We will also provide updates on any severe weather alerts to help you prepare.

Follow these tips to keep you, your family and those around you warm and well in extremely cold weather:

  • Draw your curtains at dusk and keep your doors closed to block out draughts
  • Have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter
  • Wear several light layers of warm clothes (rather than one chunky layer)
  • Keep as active in your home as possible.
  • Wrap up warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside on cold days
  • If you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, you should heat your home to at least 18C. It's a good idea to keep your bedroom at this temperature all night if you can and make sure you wear enough clothes to stay warm. During the day, you may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer
  • If you're under 65 and healthy and active, you can safely have your house cooler than 18C, if you're comfortable.

Travel carefully in icy weather

Icy pavements and roads can be extremely slippery. Take extra care if you go out, and wear boots or shoes with good grip on the soles. The Met Office advises putting grit or cat litter on paths and driveways to lessen the risk of slipping. It adds you should wait until the roads have been gritted if you're travelling by car.

Bear in mind that black ice on pavements or roads might not be clearly visible, and compacted snow may turn to ice and become slippery.

Look in on vulnerable neighbours and relatives

Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be more vulnerable to cold weather. Cold weather is especially dangerous for older people or people with serious illnesses, so check in on them if you can. Read about how to spot and treat hypothermia.

People with heart or respiratory (breathing) problems may have worse symptoms during a cold spell and for several days (up to four weeks) after temperatures return to normal.

Weather forecasts

Keep informed of upcoming bad weather by checking the forecasts below. 

More detailed forecasts and weather information for other regions can be found on the Met Office website.

These weather widgets are provided by the Met Office

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