Wokingham Borough Council’s Public Health team is encouraging residents to look out for each other this winter.
Cold weather can be bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 and older, so the council is asking us all to keep wrapped up warm and, if possible, check on older relatives, friends and neighbours.
As we age it takes longer to warm up, which raises the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. The council has offered simple suggestions to keep warm indoors which include ensuring you heat your home to at least 18°C, keeping your curtains closed and tucked behind radiators helps to trap heat and trying not to sit still for more than an hour.
The council also recommend that you have plenty of warm food and drinks and wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer as this will trap the heat better to keep you warm.
Grants, benefits and sources of advice are also available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills with further details, including eligibility, available on the government website.
If you have to go out and about in cold weather, breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections so rap a scarf around your mouth to protect your lungs from the cold air and also ensure you wear shoes with a good grip to avoid slipping over.
It also is recommended that you don’t delay in getting treatment for minor winter ailments like colds or sore throats. If possible, visit your local pharmacist who can offer expert advice on treatment before it gets worse so you can recover quicker.
Free flu jab are also available if you are aged 65 or over, have an underlying health condition, live in a residential or nursing home, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person. Some children are also eligible. Further information can be found on the NHS website.
“Although winter weather and snow can be fun, it is also associated with an increase in illnesses and injuries. With some simple precautions, most people can be prepared and avoid much of the misery often associated with winter weather,” said Matt Pope, director of adult services at Wokingham Borough Council.
“However, 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. I would encourage our residents to please check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they’re safe and well. Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during very cold weather”.
If you’re worried about an older person, the council recommend that you either contact a family member, report your concerns to them via the council website or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 055 6112.
For further and advice about to keep warm and keep well this winter visit the NHS website and the Met Office website.