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People urged to check on neighbours during cold snaps

HealthBy Sunday World
People urged to check on neighbours during cold snaps

People are being urged to keep an eye on their elderly relatives and neighbours as temperatures plummet and freezing fog disrupts travel across the U.K.

Public Health England (PHE) has issued its first "level three" weather alert since January (16), after forecast colder weather arrived across North West England, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England.

Accordingly, now is a good time to think about how the cold temperatures may affect friends and family, particularly if they are older or very young or have long term health conditions.

Dr. Thomas Waite, consultant in Extreme Events and Health Protection at Public Health England, said that effects of cold can be severe, in particular for those who are over 65, have a long term illness, or are not mobile.

“Our advice to these groups is when indoors, have plenty of warm food and drinks and try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C,” he said in a statement.

“If mobility isn’t an issue, keep active as best you can. If you need to go out wear lots of thin layers and shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip to prevent any accidental falls. It is particularly cold at night this week, so drawing the curtains at dusk will keep the heat in.”

A level 3 cold weather alert is declared when average temperatures have fallen, or are about to fall, to 2C and if either widespread ice or heavy snow is present. The level 3 alert is forecast to continue until Friday (30Dec16).

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 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 with food and medications in advance, have deliveries or ask a friend to help.

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 houses and public walkways.

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