Are you ready for the cold snap?
Bedfordshire residents are being advised to take extra precautions as colder weather sweeps across the area later this week. NHS Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) is warning that prolonged periods of cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic diseases.
The Met Office has issued a Level 2 cold weather alert for Bedfordshire for severe cold weather between Friday 18 January and Monday 21 January.
Heather Moulder, BCCG Clinical Chair, said: “Cold weather can be dangerous, 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 today, if you haven’t already had it.
“If you take regular medications, make sure you have enough to see you through the cold spell. Ensure that you have access to help and support should you start to feel unwell.
“Before the bad weather arrives everyone should think about how severe cold 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 what you can do to help keep them safe and well.
“By taking a few simple measures you can protect yourself and your family from winter-related illnesses and incidents. To keep warm and healthy follow our five top tips.”
1. 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. It is especially important if you’re at home all day. If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together.
2. 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.
3. Get a flu jab
If you haven’t had it, 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.
4. 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.
5. Keep your medicine cabinet well stocked
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. If you’re on regular prescribed 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.