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06 December 2013
Although winter weather and snow can be fun, it is also associated with an increase in illnesses and injuries. There’s more to feeling ‘under the weather’ than most people realise.
Cold and wintry conditions can cause severe illness and, in the worst cases, people can die. There were an estimated 31,100 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2012/13 –the highest number of excess winter deaths since 2008/9.
Of these excess winter deaths, a majority were attributable to circulatory and respiratory diseases. However, with some simple precautions, most people can be prepared for the cold weather and prevent much of the misery that is often associated with winter weather. Severe cold snaps can have dramatic effects on everyday life, especially for those people who are already vulnerable because of their age, illness or disability.
Dr Mary Fenske, Bedford GP, explains ‘"Cold weather can cause misery, distress, avoidable illness and, sadly, even death for some older people. One of the best ways of keeping well during winter is to stay warm.”
Here are 5 tips to keep warm and stay healthy over the winter months.
Public Health registrar, Dr Hannah Goodchild said: “We recognise that cold weather can be dangerous for older and vulnerable people. It is important we work in partnership to offer advice and support for those most at risk to stay well during the winter period."
There is a free useful hints and tips booklet available from Age UK on www.ageuk.org.uk or call 0800 169 65 65.
There is also information available on Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group website www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk on the top tips for keeping warm this winter https://www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk/page/?id=3859