09/02/2018 / Leave a comment / Permalink

Cold weather alert: advice on hand to help you stay safe and well this winter

Related topics: Adult services / Health / Health events / My area / Partner organisations

Shropshire Council and Public Health England (PHE) are continuing to urge people in the wintry conditions to check on older friends, family and neighbours who may feel isolated.

The Met Office has said that cold conditions, presently affecting some parts of the country, are likely to stay in place for several days, meaning a lot of people will have to contend with snow, ice and low temperatures.

Stay Well This Winter logo

Stay well this winter

Spells of weather like this can put older people, those with underlying health conditions and young children, at risk from a range of conditions, because cold weather forces their bodies to work much harder than usual.

Dr Angie Bone, of PHE’s Extreme Events team, said:

“In events like this it’s possible that some people who are not in the best of health will stay at home, rather than risk venturing out in cold and icy conditions, and this can lead to feeling more isolated than usual.

“That’s why as this colder period continues we should all check in on those we know, whether they’re friends, family or neighbours, who may be at risk, and offer to lend a helping hand. Do they need shopping or a prescription fetching? Can they get to GP or hospital appointments? Do they just need some company? It can be all too easy for those of us who are fit and well and able to cope with the cold – but it’s really important to remember that it can leave some people feeling a bit cut off.”

Shropshire Council’s ‘Stay safe and well this winter’ website offers a range of advice and information, from helping vulnerable people to remain safe and well, to notifications of school closures and travel updates.

The website signposts people to a wide range of both local and national winter-related information which includes:

         Stay well this winter, NHS advice – to help those people who are most at risk of illness during winter to take steps to stay well, including make sure you get your flu jab. Pharmacies offer flu vaccinations in Shropshire.

         Keep well and warm– Government advice on staying well in cold weather, covering issues such as financial help, healthy lifestyle and heating.

         Road gritting– updates on where and when gritters are out in Shropshire.

         Get Ready for Winter– Met Office advice and information of the dangers posed by winter weather and provide tips and advice on how to minimise its impact.

         Winter advice for older people– advice and information from Age UK.

         Shropshire Newsroom– news and updates from Shropshire Council.

         Travel updates– travel updates from Highways England.

         School closures– updates of any school closures in Shropshire.

Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, adult social care and housing, said:

“Shropshire Council’s ‘stay safe and well’ pages are designed to help residents in Shropshire remain well throughout the winter period.

“Much of this advice is common sense but it’s always worth making the point as there are many people out there, the very young and very old and those with heart and lung problems, who will feel the effects of cold weather very much more acutely than others, that’s why we issue these warnings, so that people think about what activities are appropriate for them and their situation.

“We therefore urge people to take practical steps such as to wrap up warm before the temperature dial hits freezing, so I’d really encourage everyone to view our stay safe and well pages, which offer invaluable advice and tips, as well as useful contacts, on keeping safe and well.”

Top tips to prepare for colder weather

You should

  • look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately
  • try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over
  • stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance, have deliveries or ask a friend to help
  • take weather into account when planning your activity over the following days
  • seek entitlements and benefits such as Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments, which are available to some
  • avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls
  • discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby.

Power and utility companies have schemes which make at-risk groups a priority for reconnection following power cuts. Find out if you meet the criteria and if so, sign up. Visit ofgem.gov.uk for more information.

There’s lots of useful advice on the Stay safe and well this winter

Latest winter health news

For up-to-date news on keeping well in winter follow @shropcouncil.

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