Public Health Liverpool is reminding residents to take extra care and to check on their neighbours.
Illnesses related to cold weather cost the NHS £1.36bn every year, and are responsible for more than 27,000 deaths in the UK each winter, according to new research from Age UK, so it’s more important than ever to look after yourself and vulnerable neighbours during a cold snap.
Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, Dr Sandra Davies, explains: “All residents should take precautions to stay warm. This is particularly important for elderly people, very young children and people with medical conditions, like high blood pressure or heart problems.
“Cold weather increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, lung illnesses and flu and, every year, people suffer serious injuries due to slipping and falling on ice.”
There are simple precautions that people can take to protect themselves.
• Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold-related illness or falls. If you have to go out, make sure you dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes. Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothes to trap body heat. Don’t forget gloves and a hat.
• Make sure to keep your home warm. The main living room should be kept at least at 18°C during the day. This is really important for rooms where disabled or vulnerable people spend most of their time. Bedrooms should be kept at 18°C at night.
• Keep active to stay warm. Try to move around at least once every hour as moving generates extra body heat and is also good for your health. Dress warmly, eat warm food and take warm drinks regularly • Keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable neighbours to ensure they have warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their home adequately.
• Stay tuned to the weather forecast so that you are not caught out.
• Flu is more common in the cold weather also. Make sure you are protected against flu if you are in at –risk group. A free flu jab is available from your GP for all pregnant women, for people of any age with underlying health conditions even if you feel healthy, as well people aged 65 or over. All children aged 2, 3 and 4 years old are offered a simple quick flu nasal spray through the GP to protect them against flu and help to reduce its spread to those around them.