The Met Office has today issued a Level 2 cold weather alert across the North West and PHE North West is reminding people to look out for vulnerable neighbours, family and friends and take care when out and about.
A Level 2 alert means that within the next 48 hours, there is a 60 per cent chance of severe weather, with average temperatures of 2C or below. There is also the possibility of wintry showers, overnight frost and a chance of icy patches.
Dr Rosemary Mc Cann, Deputy Director for Health Protection, PHE North West said: “It’s very important to remember that cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest. Most of our advice on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense, but it’s important to remind people how cold can affect them.
“Our advice is that when indoors, have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm and try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you have to sit still for long periods, have long term illness or are 65 or over.
“Before bad weather arrives is a good time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends and family, particularly if they are older or very young or have pre-existing health conditions. These groups can be particularly vulnerable to the ill-effects of cold so think now what you could do to help - if you, or they, are eligible for a flu vaccination make sure you get it as soon as you can.”
The Cold Weather Plan for England sets out a series of actions that health and social care organisations, voluntary and community groups, and individuals can take and plan for cold temperatures to help reduce cold-related illnesses and deaths.
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 and drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately.
• Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over.
• Stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked 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.
• If eligible seek entitlements and benefits such as Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments, which are available to some.
• If you meet the criteria register for priority service with your energy and water suppliers.
• 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.
For lots more useful advice visit www.nhs.uk/staywell