Health leaders across Coventry and Warwickshire are appealing to people to take extra precautions as colder weather sweeps across the region over the next few days. The Met Office has issued a Level 2 cold weather alert for the West Midlands.
According to the Met Office, temperatures in the area are expected to plunge significantly – with an increased probability of average temperatures of 2 O C or less.
There are around 4,200 avoidable excess deaths in the West Midlands every winter due to the cold conditions. Some of the reasons for these include slips and trips on icy ground where fractured and broken bones led to further complications such as blood clots and pressure sores.
Dr David Spraggett, Chair of NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and speaking on behalf of NHS Coventry and Rugby CCG and NHS Warwickshire North CCG, said:
“The cold weather is a killer and can take its toll on your body, particularly if you are more susceptible to illness because you are elderly or have a long-term medical condition. So, we are urging the most vulnerable to take a few simple precautions to protect themselves from the cold – as it could save their life. Keep yourself warm in and outdoors. If you suffer from a long-term medical condition, are pregnant, or over 65 make sure you book an appointment to have your flu jab if you have not already had one.
“If you take regular medications, make sure you have sufficient supplies and remedies to treat yourself when you are becoming unwell. Ensure that you have access to help and support when you may need it.
“Before bad weather arrives is a good time for everyone to think about how the bad weather may affect 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.
“It only takes a few simple measures to protect yourself and your family from winter-related illnesses and incidents. People can keep warm and healthy by following our five top tips.”
Heat your home well
By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18-21ºC) you can still keep your home warm and lower your bills. If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together. It is especially important if you’re at home all day.
Eat well and have plenty of fluids
Food and water are vital sources of energy, and they help keep your body warm. Try to make sure you and your family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.
Get a flu jab
You can get free flu jabs to protect against seasonal flu from your GP or local pharmacy if you are over 65, pregnant, or have a long-term condition.
Look after yourself and others
On cold days try to avoid going outside. However, if you do need to go out, remember to wrap up warm and take care on slippery surfaces. If you have an older neighbour or relative, look out for them during the winter to make sure they are safe and well.
If you’re on medication, make sure you get your repeat prescriptions in time so you don’t run out. If you haven’t already, talk to your GP practice about registering for Patient Online. Simply complete the paperwork and you’ll be able to request repeat prescriptions online as well as make GP appointments. Check to make sure you have enough over the counter remedies for coughs and colds so you don’t need to leave home unless you have to.