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Local NHS and Council leaders are urging people to think about how cold weather and winter viruses may affect you, your family and neighbours.
With a high probability of severe cold weather between early Friday morning (14th December) and Monday morning (17th December), there is a concern that vulnerable people may be affected by the cold snap.
Cold weather can lead to serious health problems and can kill. Older people, those with chronic health conditions and people who have a disability, are particularly at risk during the cold weather. Cold and flu viruses as well as tummy bugs such as Norovirus are also now starting to circulate.
The councils in Coventry and Warwickshire are encouraging people to be good neighbours, to check in on friends, relatives and those nearby who may be vulnerable to the cold and make sure they have enough food and medication, and that they are keeping warm
Everyone is advised to keep warm and healthy by keeping rooms heated to at least 18oC throughout the day and night and to wear suitable clothing – several thin layers is better than one thick layer. It is also recommended that people keep an eye on the weather forecast when planning activities.
Cllr Les Caborn, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health and Social Care said: “A short spell of severe cold is expected in Warwickshire this coming weekend. While for many of us it is a simple case of wrapping up warm and turning up the heating, the reality for the more vulnerable members of our communities is quite different. This time of year can be particularly risky for health, particularly in older people, the very young, and those with long term conditions, but by taking some practical steps, seeking help and reaching out to others we can all play a small part in helping each other to take care.”
People are also reminded to take that extra bit of care, and to wear slip-resistant shoes, when leaving the house in frosty conditions, and help to prevent yourself and your family from nasty falls and sprains.
For protection against flu, those eligible, including carers amongst other vulnerable groups, are reminded to please ensure they don’t delay and take up their offer of a free flu vaccination. Hospital admission rates for flu were the highest ever recorded last year. There are many myths about the jab but it really is one of the best ways to keep well in the colder months. Help challenge some of the myths around flu vaccination and contact your GP, Pharmacy or midwife to book it in. It is not too late - please book in soon.
To prevent the spread of tummy bugs people are reminded to wash their hands with soap and water regularly and clean surfaces frequently if someone within the household is unwell and allow until 48 hours after you last had symptoms before returning to work or school.
Cllr Kamran Caan, Coventry City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Sport said: “We know that one in three people in Coventry and Warwickshire are entitled to a free flu vaccination. Although flu is a mild illness in most, it can kill. We also know that this year we are seeing many more people than last year admitted to hospital. We urge people to contact their GP, Pharmacy or Midwife to make their appointment today and not to delay.”
For anyone living in Coventry who needs advice and is worried about keeping their home warm, there is a free service, run by the Affordable Warmth Team at Coventry City Council. The service can also help with fuel bills and benefits advice entitlements, including whether you are eligible for heating and insulation measures, so call the Affordable Warmth Team on 024 7683 2330.