With very cold weather forecast for Gloucestershire from the end of this week, the NHS and county council are urging people to do what they can to keep themselves warm, well and healthy.

Although cold weather can worsen some health conditions, there are lots of simple things people can do to help keep well.

Dr Hein Le Roux, Clinical Lead for Health and Wellbeing for NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“There is always a clear link between the very cold weather and ill health and we want to do all we can to promote some very simple preventative measures to help minimise its impact on people.

Older people and those with long term health conditions can be at particular risk and we also want family members, carers, and neighbours to be aware of what they can do to help.

If you are an older person and feeling under the weather, the best thing to do is to get some early advice, for example from the community pharmacy or by calling NHS 111.”

Councillor Dorcas Binns, cabinet member for older people at Gloucestershire County Council, said:

“The cold weather is especially dangerous for older people or people with serious illnesses so it’s really important that people look out for each other and check on their elderly neighbours. It can be very lonely for people who can usually get out and about but who are temporarily housebound – just knowing that someone is there to help can bring them a lot of comfort.”

Simple measures, such as drawing curtains at dusk and keeping doors closed to block out draughts will keep houses warm. Other advice includes:

  • Regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter
  • Wearing several light layers of warm clothes (rather than one chunky layer)
  • Keeping as active in your home as possible
  • Wrapping up warm and wearing shoes with a good grip
  • Heating your home to at least 18C, particularly if you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease (if you’re under 65 and healthy, you can safely have your house cooler than 18C).

If you can, look in on neighbours or relatives who may be more vulnerable to the cold weather to ensure that they are safe, warm and well.