|With significantly cold weather forecast by the Met Office for much of the country as we go through this week, Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands is reminding people how to stay warm and well and to look out for those more vulnerable. While the region could see another coating of snow – temperatures are still set to plummet.|
|People more vulnerable to the health impacts of cold weather include older people aged over 65 years, people who are frail or socially isolated, those with pre-existing chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory conditions and people with mental health conditions or learning difficulties.
During cold temperatures the risk of death, severe illness and injury across these vulnerable groups increases, but in many cases this can be prevented. With the NHS under additional and significant pressure this winter due to COVID-19, taking simple preventative actions has never been more critical.
Dr Owen Landeg, Group Leader, Extreme Events and Health Protection at PHE, said: “Cold weather isn’t just uncomfortable it can have a serious impact on health. For older people and those with heart and lung problems it can increase the risks of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections.
“So, it’s really crucial at this time, ahead of a potentially very cold snap, to remember to check on frail or older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses.
“Make a call, or socially-distanced doorstep visit if they live close by, to remind them of some simple but important health tips such as heating their home to at least 18 Celsius, 64.4 Fahrenheit and wearing shoes with a good grip if they need to go outside. It’s also good to check they have enough food and drinks and any necessary medicines. This will help them to stay warm and stay well.”
To help protect vulnerable groups during very cold weather, PHE is giving some important health reminders:
Wintry conditions are expected to bring temperatures much lower than usual for February and for a typical winter season.