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Remember to keep warm, keep well

15 January 2013


As the cold and wintry weather sets in, the NHS is Bedfordshire is reminding residents to keep warm and keep well.

It has been estimated that for every degree change in the average weather temperature there is a rise or fall in the number of deaths by approximately 8,000. Which is why it’s vital people keep warm.

Of these excess winter deaths, a third are attributable to respiratory disease and over half to cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes.

There are around 190 avoidable excess deaths in Bedfordshire every winter due to the cold conditions. Some of the reasons for these include slips and trips on icy ground where fractured and broken bones have led to further complications such as blood clots and pressure sores.

One of the best ways of keeping well during winter is to stay warm. Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is providing five top tips to keep your home warm, keep on top of your bills, and keep healthy. Some may seem obvious, but they could help you to stay warmer and maintain good health over the coming weeks.  

  1. Heat your home well
    By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18-21ºC) you can still keep your home warm and lower your bills. If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together. It is especially important if you’re at home all day. 
     

2.    Get financial support
There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all of the benefits you are entitled to. The Government recently announced it was making an extra £10 million available to support existing schemes for those at risk of fuel poverty. Contact the Warm Front scheme free on 0800 316 2805 or Age UK on 0800 169 6565 for help and advice.
 

  1. Eat well and have plenty of fluids
    Food and water are vital sources of energy, they help keep your body warm. Try to make sure you and your family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.
     
  2. Get a flu jab
    You can get a free flu jab to protect against seasonal flu from your GP if you are over 65, pregnant, or have a long-term condition.
     
  3. Look after yourself and others
    On cold days, remember to wrap up warm and take care on slippy surfaces. If you have an older neighbour or relative, look out for them during the winter to make sure they are safe and well.  

Dr Frances Ross, GP Urgent Care Lead for Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Encouraging people to keep warm and healthy during the winter is one of our key priorities, particularly for older residents and those that spend all day at home. The five top tips show that it only takes a few simple measures to protect yourself and your family from winter-related illnesses and incidents.”  

There is a free online booklet full of hints and tips from Age UK - Spread the Warmth – is available on www.ageuk.org.uk or call 0800 169 65 65 for a free copy. 

For more information on winter health, go to www.nhs.uk and visit the ‘Winter Health’ section.

The local NHS is also reminding people that 999 and A&E should only be used for emergencies and life threatening conditions. For everything else there’s a range of other options available to help you get well. For more information visit www.nhs.uk

 

 

Notes to editors

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) is a new organisation, run and led by GPs and other local clinicians, that has been created to take over responsibility for commissioning healthcare from NHS Bedfordshire primary care trust in April 2013. BCCG, which comprises the 55 GP practices in Bedfordshire, will have a budget of more than £400m to plan and buy healthcare services for the 430,000 people who live in Bedfordshire. 

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