Keep warm this winter

Cold weather alert - stay well this winter

East Kent Hospitals would like to remind all our staff and patients to keep warm this winter as a cold weather alert has been issued for this week. 

Cold weather is expected this week which could last for the rest of the month. Currently the forecast is for daytime temperatures of below 4 degrees with a wind-chill below freezing. In addition penetrating frosts at night are likely.  You can read the full alert on the Met Office website.

Getting to your appointment

If you have an appointment or operation scheduled and you are able to travel safely, please attend as normal unless we contact you.

Please don't travel to hospital unless it is safe to do so.  If you can't attend an appointment or procedure please let us know by calling the number on your appointment letter. We'll be able to rearrange your appointment for you.

If you find that you aren't able to get to your appointment on time, don't worry you will still be seen, although it's possible your appointment time will need to be rescheduled. If you are able to let us know in advance - and it is safe for you to call - please ring the number on your appointment letter.

Please take extra care when you are out and about.

Stay warm and well

Keeping warm over the winter months can help you stay well.

Those aged over 65 and suffering from a disability or a long-term health condition such as heart, lung or kidney disease are more vulnerable to becoming ill in cold weather.

  • Try to keep your home warm. Keep your main living room at around 18-21°C (65-70°F). If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and the bedroom just before you go to sleep. You can also use a hot-water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you're in bed.
  • Eat well. Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can.
  • Wrap up warm, inside and out. Layer your clothing to stay warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.
  • Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they're safe and well. Make sure they're warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather. If you're worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, contact your local council or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66.

Why is cold weather a problem?

When the temperature drops to below 8C, some people are at increased risk of:

  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • flu
  • pneumonia
  • falls and injuries
  • hypothermia

Cold weather can also affect people with mental health conditions, such as depression and dementia.

Who is most at risk?

Very cold weather can affect anyone, but you are most vulnerable if:

  • you're 65 or older
  • you're on a low income (so can't afford heating)
  • you have a long-term health condition, such as heart, lung or kidney disease
  • you're disabled
  • you're pregnant
  • you have young children (newborn to school age)
  • you have a mental health condition

Be prepared

The Met Office provides weather forecasts on radio and TV, so listen in to these bulletins regularly to keep up to date with the weather.

Severe weather warnings are also issued on the Met Office website, through the Met Office Twitter feed, or you can call the Weather Desk on 0370 900 0100 or 01392 885 680.

The Met office also has advice on getting ready for winter. This includes suggestions for practical things you can do to prepare for winter weather, including cold, ice and snow, high winds and flooding.

To find out more, visit the NHS Choices Keep Warm, Keep Well page here.