Cold weather can affect your health. Stay warm to keep yourself well during winter. This can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
The most vulnerable groups of people who are prone to suffer during winter are:
- People with long-term health conditions
- Over 65 years of age
- People in low income brackets (so cannot afford heating)
Be a Winter Friend
When the cold weather sets in, you can make a difference by looking in on a neighbour who is elderly or vulnerable. You can make a huge difference.
Older people are particularly vulnerable during the winter as cold weather increases their risk of illnesses. Illnesses can include Colds, coughs, flu, heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems and hypothermia (a dangerous fall in body temperature). Check (ideally in October before winter sets in) if they've had a free flu jab and, if not, offer to make an appointment at the GP surgery.
- Look out for signs of serious illness, such as drowsiness or slurred speech. Also look out for the person not complaining of feeling cold even in a bitterly cold room.
- Read about ways to keep warm and well.
- If you're worried, ask if there's a relative or close friend you can phone, or call the doctor or NHS
- Find out how to spot and treat hypothermia.
- Read about 10 winter illnesses that are triggered or worsened by cold weather.
Ice and snow? Take it slow
Advice for older people when pavements and footpaths are covered in snow/ice:
- Try to minimise the need to go out. Ask friends or neighbours to shop for you or take you to where you need to go
- If you do decide to go out when there's snow and ice about, take time to think what you can do to reduce the risk of a fall
- Where possible, plan a safe route from your home to where you are going. Avoid slopes, steps and areas that have not been cleared or gritted
- Don't take short cuts through areas where the slipping hazards are greater
- Ask a friend or neighbour to clear a safe path from your front door
- Wear proper footwear for better traction on slippery surfaces. Consider fitting anti-slip crampons
- Consider using a stick or better still, a walking pole and take slow, small steps. Try not to hurry and give yourself more time to get from A to B so you do not rush
- Use rails or other stable objects that you can hold on to
- If possible, wear extra layers to protect the more vulnerable parts of your body like your head, neck and spine if you do fall
- Wipe your feet well when entering buildings
- In public places, always report unsafe conditions to the Bucks County Council, Transport for Buckinghamshire on 0845 230 2882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org,so other people do not get hurt