Keep well and keep warm during this cold weather

As the temperature has suddenly dropped this week, Bay Health and Care Partners are urging people in Morecambe Bay to take care and stay warm.

Cold weather can be a major problem when temperatures drop to below 8°C, and in some cases, it can be dangerous and life threatening for vulnerable people.

As we get older, our bodies respond differently to the cold which can leave us more susceptible to serious health problems.

Dr Andy Knox, GP Executive Lead for Health and Wellbeing at Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Cold temperatures can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of flu and other respiratory-related problems. Our blood pressure takes longer to return to normal and this can put you at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke. That’s why it’s so important to look after yourself during cold weather. 

“It’s vital that we help those most at risk to keep warm when temperatures plummet. Supporting the most vulnerable in our community is a priority every winter.”

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

  • You’re 65 or over
  • You’re on a low income and struggle with heating costs
  • You have a long-term health condition
  • You’re disabled
  • You’re pregnant
  • You have young children (new born to school age)
  • You have a mental health condition

With a little preparation and by following some simple suggestions, you can stay healthy, safe and comfortable during these colder temperatures.

Be prepared. The Met Office provides weather forecasts on radio and TV so listen to these bulletins regularly to keep up to date with the weather. Severe weather warnings are also issued on the Met Office website, through their Twitter feed or you can call the Weather Desk on 0370 900 0100 or 01392 885 680.

Keep your home warm. If you’re not very mobile, over the age of 65 and have a health condition keep your home to at least 18°C. To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, babies should sleep in rooms heated between 16°C and 20°C. Keep heat in by drawing your curtains at dusk and keeping doors closed to block out draughts. Remember to get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional.

Get help with heating costs. You may be eligible for a grant, including the Winter Fuel Payment and the Cold Weather Payment. Contact the Energy Saving Trust for advice on how to reduce bills and make your home more energy efficient. They can also advise on grants. Either go on their website or call them on 0300 123 1234.

Seek advice from your pharmacist. If you start to feel unwell, don’t wait until it gets more serious, visit your pharmacist for advice.

Check in on vulnerable relatives and neighbours. Checking up on elderly, vulnerable relatives and neighbours can really make a difference to someone’s life. Make sure they’re safe and well, they are warm enough - especially at night and they are well stocked up on food and medicines.

If you’re worried about someone then contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174.

Other things you can do to keep warm and well this winter is:

  • Find out if you’re eligible for a free flu jab on the NHS
  • Wear several layers of clothes
  • Use a hot water bottle in bed at night
  • Have at least one hot meal a day
  • Stay active.

For more information please visit https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/keep-warm-keep-well/#why-is-cold-weather-a-problem