Health chiefs alert as temperatures plunge

A cold pensioner.

A cold pensioner.

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Health leaders are reminding people to be extra prepared following a Level 3 cold weather alert issued by the Met Office.

NHS Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging people to make sure they are well nourished and keep warm as much as possible indoors.

They are advising people to have basic medications such as paracetamol and some basic food items and to wear extra layers of clothing.

The CCG is also asking people keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable neighbours and family to make sure they don’t get caught out.

The warning comes as weather experts predict temperatures to continue to fall in many areas this week .

AGE UK recently revealed that one older person dies every seven minutes from the cold weather and many more become seriously ill as a result of the cold weather.

Dr Gavin Lunn, GP and clinical advisor for NHS Mansfield and Ashfield Clinical Commissioning Group said: “There is also common mis-placed belief that that leaving a window open on a cold winter’s night to let in fresh air is good for your health.

“In fact, the opposite is true when it is very cold - breathing in cold air lowers body temperature and can increase the risk of chest infections.

“If you are particularly vulnerable to the effects of severe weather, have plenty of basic food and medications such as paracetamol in advance so that you can keep safe indoors until the bad weather has passed.”

Top tips to prepare for colder weather:

Look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately.

Wear extra layers of clothing, e.g. socks in bed.

If on a budget, consider heating only those rooms you are likely to use most of the time.

 Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over.

If you are on a budget consider heating only the rooms where you spend most of the time.

Stock up 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.

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, if unable to do so yourself.

For more advice on winter wellbeing see www.nhs.uk/asap