Health chiefs offer advice for staying well in cold weather

Local health chiefs have issued important guidance ahead of next week’s predicted cold spell.

The Met Office, in conjunction with the UK Health Security Agency, has issued a level 2 cold weather alert, which will be in place from Monday 6 March to Wednesday 8 March, as severe winter weather is forecast.

A level 2 alert is issued when temperatures are expected to drop to 2 degrees Celsius for 48 hours or longer, and/or widespread ice and heavy snow is predicted.

In the Black Country, forecasters have predicted icy conditions and snow showers, with temperatures expected to dip below zero next week.

People are encouraged to take extra precautions to keep safe while the alerts are in place, such as checking on vulnerable friends and neighbours, keeping food and medications in stock and ensuring homes are adequately heated. Dr Ananta Dave, Chief Medical Officer for the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said:

“Taking extra care during cold weather is really important, particularly for people who are more vulnerable to suffering ill health due to the cold, such as babies and very young children, older people, pregnant women, and people with pre-existing medical conditions.

“It is recommended that we should heat our homes to at least 18 degrees Celsius in winter as this minimises risks to our health. If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and your bedroom just before you go to bed.

“Try to avoid going out in cold icy weather but if you do need to go outside wear shoes with slip resistant grip and wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer to trap in heat.

”It is also important that you have frequent hot food and drinks as these can help to keep you warm.

“Make sure you also take the current weather alert into account when planning any activity over the following few days and try to avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions, especially if you are at a higher risk of cold-related illness or falls.

“We are also asking everyone to remember the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk during this period of cold weather.”

For more advice on staying well in cold weather, visit the NHS website.


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