UK Government

Department of Health: Take extra precautions now to keep warm and well

Press Release   •   Jan 06, 2010 11:10 GMT

The Met Office is predicting that the current cold spell will continue across the county with heavy snowfall expected across parts of central and southern England later today and on Wednesday. Cold weather warnings are in place across the country and the significant accumulations of snow expected could lead to major transport problems in affected areas.

The Department of Health is urging people in all areas of the country to protect themselves against the risks faced during this period of cold weather. This is particularly important for older people, families with young children and people with disabilities or long-term health conditions.

People should start preparing now – for themselves and for vulnerable neighbours, family and friends:

• Ensure that you or vulnerable people you know have enough food and medicines in stock, and check that they are able to keep themselves warm.
• Have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day – if possible, eating regularly helps to keep energy levels up during winter. Keep as active indoors as possible.
• Wear several light layers of warm clothes, and if you’re going outside wear boots, hats, gloves and scarves. Remember, the roads and pavements may be slippery. Take a mobile phone with you.
• Keep your living room and bedrooms warm - between 18- 21 degrees centigrade - and avoid going outside if possible.

Cold weather is serious and claims lives every year. In particular, it can make heart and respiratory problems worse and threatens those in or approaching fuel poverty who are unable to afford to heat their homes adequately.

Public Health Minister Gillian Merron said

“Cold weather is especially dangerous for older people or those with serious illnesses.

“The Government's 'Keep Warm Keep Well' campaign gives important advice to older people on how to stay fit and healthy through the winter. "Keep warm keep well" leaflets are available online at www.nhs.uk and in local GP's surgeries, pharmacies or council offices."

Yvonne Doyle, Regional Director of Public Health (South East Coast) said

“Remembering the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk is essential. In particular, they need to keep their home at the right temperature - between 18 and 21 degrees centigrade or 64 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit -, and if they can’t heat all the rooms they use, they should heat the living room during the day and the bedroom just before they go to sleep. The elderly, and those who are ill, are particularly vulnerable during cold weather.”

Contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk for advice

Notes to editors

  • Information on Keep Warm Keep Well can be found here: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/SocialCare/Deliveringadultsocialcare/Olderpeople/DH_4076849
  • The Keep Warm Keep Well campaign has been run annually for the last 20 years by the Department of Health. The campaign contributes to the government's PSA target to eliminate fuel poverty in vulnerable households in England by 2010 and also aims to diminish excess winter mortality and relieve the pressures of winter on the NHS.
  • The latest severe and extreme weather warnings covering this event are available on our website at:  http://www.metoffice.com/weather/uk/uk_forecast_warnings.html?day=1
  • For general safety advice, please visit:http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/advice/snow.html]
  • For more information please contact the Department of Health newsdesk on 020 7210 5221.
  • Contacts

    NDS Enquiries
    Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department
    ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk