With just over a week to go till Christmas, it’s set to turn wintry in much of the UK this weekend, prompting a timely reminder to look after your health in the cold weather.
Cold weather puts people over 65, young children and those with underlying heart and lung conditions at particular risk when temperatures plummet. Many parts of the UK are set to receive their first icy blast of wintry weather this weekend, with temperatures below zero degrees and warnings of possible snowfall.
Most of Scotland could be affected, while in England the Met Office is issuing warnings for the north east, north west, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands, and West Midlands. As a result, Public Health England (PHE) is urging people all over the country to think about what they can do to keep warm and well during the cold.
Dr Owen Landeg said: “This cold is likely to arrive late on Thursday and into Friday. It’s really important to think about what you can do to prepare and protect more vulnerable friends and family from the ill-effects of the cold.
“It is best to wear lots of thin layers, have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm, and check weather forecasts before heading out. Also, wear shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip to prevent any accidental falls.
“When indoors, stay warm, heat homes to at least 18°C, and keep up-to-date with the weather forecast - all of this is particularly important if anyone in the home is very young, 65 or over or has a long-term heart or lung condition, as they can feel the ill-effects of cold more than the rest of us.”
Frank Saunders, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “It’s going to be cold over the next few days, with temperatures for many parts limited to between 3 and 6°C through the day. Many of us will wake up to a frost on Friday and Saturday morning, before wet and windy weather moves in later on Saturday.”
To prepare for cold weather:
- 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 a 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
- if eligible, seek entitlements and benefits – power and utility companies have schemes which make at-risk groups a priority for reconnection following power cuts
- avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold-related illness or falls
- discuss with your friends and neighbours the need to clear snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby.
You can find more good advice by clicking here to visit the NHS ‘Stay Well This Winter’ website.