UKHSA and the Met Office have issued an amber Cold-Health Alert (CHA) for the South West, South East, West Midlands, East Midlands and North West regions of England until 12noon on Friday 12 January.
A Yellow Cold-Health Alert remains for the North East, Yorkshire and Humber, East of England, and London regions.
All regions had previously been placed under a yellow alert from 09.00 on Saturday 6 January, with the Met Office forecasting a period of lower-than-average temperatures during the past weekend and the week ahead.
Under the new CHA system introduced by UKHSA and the Met Office, an amber alert means that cold weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service for an extended period of time, with potential for the whole population to be at risk and where other sectors may also start to observe impacts, indicating a coordinated response is required.
Professor Dominic Mellon, Regional Deputy Director for UKHSA South West said:
“With the Met Office forecasting drops in temperature across the UK including the South West this week, it is important to check in on the wellbeing of those most vulnerable to the cold.
“Cold weather can increase the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections, so it can have a serious impact on health, particularly for older people and those with pre-existing health conditions.“
“Temperatures are expected to turn particularly cold overnight, as we would expect at this time of year. If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65 it is important to try and heat the rooms where you spend most of your time, such as your living room or bedroom, in the coming days.”
Here are the ways in which you can keep yourself and others safe during periods of cold weather:
- check the weather forecast and the news
- make sure you have sufficient food and medicine
- take simple measures to reduce draughts at home
- keep bedroom windows closed
- wear multiple layers of thinner clothing
- if you’re eligible, get vaccinated against flu and COVID-19
- get help if needed – call NHS 111 or 999 in an emergency
For people struggling to afford heating bills, Simple Energy Advice provides free advice on energy efficiency and national grants that are available to help keep you warm this winter.
If people can’t heat all the rooms they use, it’s important to heat the rooms they spend most time in (for example, the living room during the day and the bedroom just before going to sleep). They should aim to heat these rooms to at least 18 degrees if they can. Wearing a few thin layers is better at trapping heat than wearing one thick layer.
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