Health advice issued for this weekend’s Cold Health Alert

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People in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes have been urged to plan now for a cold snap, following a warning about incoming weather conditions this weekend and into next week.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a yellow level cold weather alert covering the whole of England, valid from 9:00 am on Saturday 6 January to 12:00 noon on Tuesday 9 January.  The Met Office advises that temperatures are likely to be below average, especially overnight, with frost and ice set to cause a problem, given the very wet ground in much of the country.

As with the Heat Health Alerts which have become a common feature of the British summer in recent years, the Cold Health Alert service also has four colours – with the yellow warning being at Level 2.

Dr Sarah Whiteman, chief medical director at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“Cold weather arrives every year, but the first cold snap of winter always seems to catch us by surprise.  Fortunately there is plenty of good advice out there from the NHS and other reputable sources which can help us to stay warm and well over the next few days and throughout the winter.

“Heat your home to a temperature which is comfortable for you: this should be at least 18⁰C in the rooms you tend to use most, if possible.  If you’re struggling to heat your home, you may be eligible for help.  Keep busy at home and move around regularly, even if it’s just to get a cup of tea every so often.

“If you feel unwell, get advice as soon as your symptoms develop.  Your local pharmacy is an excellent source of advice, and can offer immediate access to treatment for lots of conditions.  If you are unsure of what to do, 111 Online is available 24 hours a day to help you get the right treatment, but in a genuine emergency, go straight to A&E or call 999.

“Don’t forget that some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather, so it’s a good idea to check in with family, friends and neighbours who might struggle over the next few days.

“Finally, if you haven’t yet got your winter vaccinations, there’s still time.  Ask your practice or local pharmacist whether you’re eligible or check online.”

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