To assist at this time, the Met Office, in conjunction with Public Health England, is issuing the following cold weather advice:
“Make sure that you stay warm. If going outside make sure you dress appropriately. If indoors, make sure that you keep your heating to the right temperature; heating your home to at least 18° Celsius in winter poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing.
“If there is anyone you know who might be at special risk, for example, an older person living on their own, make sure they know what to do to stay warm and are well stocked with food and medications.
“If you are worried about your health or that of somebody you know, ring NHS 111.”
More information can be found at www.nhs.uk/staywell.
Advice can also be found in the NHS ‘Stay Well This Winter’ guide published just before Christmas and available by visiting www.mylifeafulllife.com . Age UK also have a ‘Winter Wrapped Up’ booklet available by visiting www.iow.nhs.uk.
The following key public health messages are being given
Contact your GP or pharmacist if you think you, or someone you care for, might qualify for a free flu jab. There are four flu leaflets: one general, one for pregnancy and, one for people with learning disability, and one about children.
Free flu vaccinations are available for
people aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2017);
people aged from six months to less than 65 years of age with a serious medical condition such as:
- chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis;
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure;
- chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or five;
- chronic liver disease;
- chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease, or learning disability;
- splenic dysfunction;
- a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment).
all pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season);
all those aged two, three, and four years (but not five years or older) on 31 August 2016 (i.e. date of birth on or after 1 September 2011 and on or before 31 August 2014) through general practice;
all children of school years 1, 2 and 3 age:
- Year 1 is defined as five rising to six year olds (i.e. date of birth between 1 September 2010 and on or before 31 August 2011).
- Year 2 is defined as six- rising to seven-year-olds (i.e. date of birth between 1 September 2009 and on or before 31 August 2010).
- Year 3 is defined as seven- rising to eight-year-olds (i.e. date of birth between 1 September 2008 and on or before 31 August 2009).
- Some children in years 1, 2, and 3 might be outside of these date ranges (e.g. if a child has been accelerated or held back a year). It is acceptable to offer and deliver immunisations to these children with their class peers.
primary school-aged children in areas that have been participating in primary school pilots since 2014/15;
people living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality. This does not include, for instance, prisons, young offender institutions, or university halls of residence;
people who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill;
those who are a front-line health and social care worker - it is your employer's responsibility to arrange vaccination for you;
consideration should also be given to the vaccination of household contacts of immunocompromised individuals, specifically individuals who expect to share living accommodation on most days over the winter and therefore for whom continuing close.
Keep your home warm, efficiently and safely
- Heating the room you use in your home to at least 18° Celsius in winter poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing.
- Get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated.
- Use your electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every three years. Never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket.
- Do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient.
- Make sure you have a supply of heating oil or LPG or sold fuel if you are not on mains gas or electricity – to make sure you do not run out in winter.
Keep in the warmth by
- fitting draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors;
- making sure you have loft insulation - and if you have cavity walls, make sure they are insulated too;
- insulating your hot water cylinder and pipes;
- drawing your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms;
- making sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.
Look after yourself
Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks.
- Aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count toward your five a day.
- Stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy.
- Exercise is good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter.
- If possible, try to move around at least once an hour - but remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans.
- Wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat.
- Wear good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent trips, slips and falls.
- Make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out.
- Check if you are eligible for inclusion on the priority services register operated by your water and power supplier.
Look after others
- Check on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well.
Get financial support
- There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. To find out more from Gov.uk, please visit their website by clicking here.