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Winter tips to keep you healthy over the cold spell

04 Jan 2019

Some health problems, such as respiratory conditions and arthritis, are triggered or worsened by cold weather – with older people and those with chronic health problems being more at risk.

The reason that older people are more likely to suffer in winter is because as we age, our bodies react differently to the cold, leading to a greater chance of having a heart attack, stroke, breathing difficulties or pneumonia.

Fiona Lemmens, a local GP and Chair of Liverpool Clinical Commission Group (CCG), said:

“During the winter period, we do see a rise in people suffering from respiratory conditions, particularly amongst older people and those with long-term conditions or chronic health problems, which the cold weather can easily exacerbate. 

“That’s why we advise these patients that if you feel your condition is worsening, you should make an appointment with your GP as soon as you can. Don’t wait until it gets more serious.”

She adds, “In addition, we also see an increase in injuries sustained by those who have slipped or tripped due to adverse weather, so we’d also encourage people to take extra care during the very cold weather, ensuring that any prescriptions are up to date, and that elderly loved ones and neighbours are well looked after by regularly checking in on them.”

To help you and your family keep well this winter, we have pulled together some helpful tips:

Ways you can help yourself

  • Find out if you can get the flu jab for free on the NHS.
  • If you start to feel unwell, even if it's a cough or cold, don't wait until it gets worse. Seek advice from your pharmacist, a local NHS walk in centre, or a GP.
  • Make sure you keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home. Your pharmacist can advise you on what’s good to have in.
  • For tips on how you can improve your mental health, try downloading the Woebot app here. Or for further advice and support, you can also contact Mindor Samaritans at any time.

Ways you can help others

  • Check up on older neighbours and relatives regularly to make sure they are safe, well and are warm enough.
  • Check that they are well stocked up with food and any prescribed medications they take, so they don't need to go out during very cold weather.
  • If you're worried about a relative or elderly neighbour who you think may be vulnerable, you can contact your local councilor call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8am-7pm, every day).

Keep Warm, Keep Well

  • If you are 65 or over, not very mobile, or have a long-term health condition such as heart or lung disease, try to heat your home to at least 18C (65F) – especially at night
  • The Met Office provides regular forecasts on TV and radio, so listen in to these bulletins regularly to keep up to date with the latest weather conditions. You can also visit the Met Office website.
  • Avoid slips trips and falls by wearing suitable footwear - especially in icy weather.

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