Keep Warm – Keep Well this winter in Doncaster

From Dr David Crichton, Chair of the Doncaster CCG

Winter usually brings a wide range of weather, from snow and ice to storms and gales, accompanied by colder temperatures. It is important to be prepared and keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts and to anticipate where conditions may make it difficult to go outside, travel greater distances or keep warm inside.

Cold weather can be bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 and older. As we age it takes longer to warm up, which raises the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes

As we get older it becomes harder for our bodies to detect how cold we are, and it takes longer to warm up which can be bad for our health. For older people in-particular, the longer the exposure to the cold, the more risk of heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, depression, worsening arthritis and increased accidents at home (associated with loss of strength and dexterity in the hands).

During colder spells it is important for people to stay warm. By taking simple steps, we can help keep the winter chill away and look after their own health better by taking some simple self-care measures which include

  • Having plenty of hot drinks like tea, coffee and hot water
  • Hot meals will keep you warm – make sure you stock plenty of food
  • Make sure you enough of you prescription medicines
  • Be prepared with essential medicines like paracetamol and aspirin
  • Make sure you have the flu jab if you are offered one – flu can be a very serious illness
  • Make sure you have your COVID vaccinations including booster when invited
  • Keep a simple thermometer so you can keep an eye on the temperature
  • Keep covered up – thin layers of clothing and blankets and simple and easy ways to keep warm. Stay active.
  • Keeping moving can help you to stay warm and can help you live a healthy life.

There are other risks accompanied to winter including physical injuries from slips, trips and falls which can often be inevitable and older people are often more vulnerable. Slips on icy surfaces can be reduced by wearing shoes with a good grip when going outside

The vast majority of sprains and strains, if mild to moderate can be treated safely at home or you can speak to your local pharmacist for advice on treatment.

It’s also important that local residents to heat their home to at least 18°C (65°F) as breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections

By being a good neighbour is an important way to help elderly and vulnerable people in the community during spells of cold or snowy weather. Many may be unable to get the pharmacy for medication or to the shops for food.

Additional advice and top tips for keeping warm and well can be accessed via the Keep Warm, Keep Well leaflet.

It’s useful to subscribe to the Met Office who offer practical advice for individuals and communities to prepare for a wide range of winter weather, including cold, ice & snow, high winds and flooding.

The Environment Agency also offers a free service, Flood Warnings Direct, which can send direct messages to subscribers when flooding is expected and may affect property. In addition to this service, the Environment Agency also offers advice on how to plan ahead in areas where flooding may be likely

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