28/02/2018 - Permalink

Winter advice on hand to help you stay safe and well during the cold spell

Related topics: Adult social care / Health / Partner organisations

As the ‘Beast from the East’ continues to affect Shropshire, health teams across the county along with PHE Extreme Events team, are urging residents across the county to keep warm, and stay safe and well as temperatures continue to be very low.

The Met Office have issued a Amber Warning of Snow and Ice and said that the weather system is expected to continue to move north through Friday and into Saturday, and has potential to produce widespread snow, accompanied by strong winds, meaning a lot of people will have to contend with snow, ice and low temperatures.

Spells of weather like this can put older people, those with underlying health conditions and young children, at risk from a range of conditions, because cold weather forces their bodies to work much harder than usual.

Care assistant

Person seated in a chair talking with a care assistant.
Copyright: ©Crown Copyright

Dr Julian Povey, Clinical Chair, Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: 

“When the temperature drops and outdoor conditions worsen, staying well, warm, and being prepared is highly important to maintaining health.  

“Adverse weather can trigger asthma symptoms and is a particular concern for certain at-risk groups, those with long-term health conditions, and the elderly.  

“To help keep well during a cold spell, Shropshire residents should follow some simple advice, such as ensuring you have enough medications, stocking up on cold and flu remedies, wearing extra layers and popping in to check on elderly neighbours. 

“If you do start to feel unwell and need urgent medical advice you can call NHS 111.”

Dr Angie Bone, of PHE’s Extreme Events team, said:

“In events like this it’s possible that some people who are not in the best of health will stay at home, rather than risk venturing out in cold and icy conditions, and this can lead to feeling more isolated than usual.

“That’s why as this colder period continues we should all check in on those we know, whether they’re friends, family or neighbours, who may be at risk, and offer to lend a helping hand. Do they need shopping or a prescription fetching? Can they get to GP or hospital appointments? Do they just need some company? It can be all too easy for those of us who are fit and well and able to cope with the cold – but it’s really important to remember that it can leave some people feeling a bit cut off.”

Saving energy

Saving energy by dressing warm and adjusting your thermostat.

Shropshire Council’s ‘Stay safe and well this winter’ website offers a range of advice and information, from helping vulnerable people to remain safe and well, to notifications of school closures and travel updates. 

The website signposts people to a wide range of both local and national winter-related information which includes:

  • Stay well this winter, NHS advice – to help those people who are most at risk of illness during winter to take steps to stay well, including make sure you get your flu jab. Pharmacies offer flu vaccinations in Shropshire.
  • Keep well and warm– Government advice on staying well in cold weather, covering issues such as financial help, healthy lifestyle and heating.
  • Road gritting– updates on where and when gritters are out in Shropshire.
  • Get Ready for Winter– Met Office advice and information of the dangers posed by winter weather and provide tips and advice on how to minimise its impact.
  • Winter advice for older people– advice and information from Age UK.
  • Shropshire Newsroom– news and updates from Shropshire Council.
  • Travel updates– travel updates from Highways England.
  • School closures– updates of any school closures in Shropshire.
Pharmacy team

Pharmacy team

Lee Chapman, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, adult social care and housing, said:

“Shropshire Council’s ‘stay safe and well’ pages are designed to help residents in Shropshire remain well throughout the winter period.

“Much of this advice is common sense but it’s always worth making the point as there are many people out there, the very young and very old and those with heart and lung problems, who will feel the effects of cold weather very much more acutely than others, that’s why we issue these warnings, so that people think about what activities are appropriate for them and their situation.

“We therefore urge people to take practical steps such as to wrap up warm before the temperature dial hits freezing, so I’d really encourage everyone to view our stay safe and well pages, which offer invaluable advice and tips, as well as useful contacts, on keeping safe and well.”

Top tips to prepare for colder weather

  • Look out for other people – 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.
  • Keep warm! – try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over. Seek entitlements and benefits such as Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments, which are available to some.
  • Keep updated – stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked 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
  • Feeling unwell – If you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious. Local pharmacies can offer fast and convenient clinical advice for a wide range of minor health concerns, with no appointment needed.
  • Health advice – If you’re worried you have an urgent medical concern, depending on the situation, the NHS 111 team can access a nurse, emergency dentist, or even a GP. CALL 111

    NHS111 staff

    NHS111 staff

  • Only go out if you need to – avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls
  • Please ask for help – discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby.

Power and utility companies have schemes which make at-risk groups a priority for reconnection following power cuts. Find out if you meet the criteria and if so, sign up.

Visit ofgem.gov.uk for more information.

There’s lots of useful advice on the Stay safe and well this winter 

Latest winter health news

For up-to-date news on keeping well in winter follow @shropcouncil.