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Keep safe, fit and health during the cold weather

With the met office issuing a yellow warning for snow and ice across Sefton this weekend, the local NHS want us to stay safe, fit and healthy.

Cold weather can cause treacherous conditions underfoot which can lead to dangerous slips, trips and falls for elderly or frail patients. Cold, damp conditions can also leave people with long-term conditions – such as respiratory problems – more vulnerable to winter illnesses.

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG have put together the best tips to stay healthy:

Keep your home warm – If you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, you should heat your home to at least 18C. If you’re under 65 and healthy and active, you can safely have your house cooler than 18C, if you’re comfortable.

Eat well this winter – Food is a vital source of energy, which helps keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can.

Stay active – If you can stay active, even moderate exercise can bring health benefits. If possible, try not to sit still for more than an hour or so.

Wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and help to maintain body heat. Wear shoes with a good grip to prevent slips and falls when walking outside. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.

Help your neighbours – Check on older neighbours 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 a relative or an elderly neighbour, contact your local council or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66.

Debbie Fagan, chief nurse at the CCGs, said: “It’s really important that you keep yourself warm both outdoors and indoors this winter.

“We recommend that you keep your indoor heating to at least 18˚C.  Before you go outside, make sure you check the weather forecast in advance and dress appropriately with lots of layers.”

Outdoor surfaces such as steps and footpaths can become slippery in cold weather.  You should use grit on outdoor surfaces to prevent any slips or falls.  Falls can be especially harmful to elderly people who are much more likely to break bones.

If you need medical attention you should call NHS 111 (available 24/7) or visit your local pharmacist for advice.