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Cold weather prompts health alert

Health officials in Cambridgeshire have triggered a cold weather alert - warning people to make sure vulnerable and elderly friends and family stay warm.

The level 3 alert will be in place until Saturday.

Cold weather prompts alert Credit: ITV Anglia

Severe cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young or very old or those with chronic illnesses.

The Public Health team at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are recommending some simple measures to help people stay warm and well during the cold weather.

"It is vital that during this period of cold weather, people act to keep themselves and their home warm. Cold weather increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, lung illnesses, flu and other diseases and people slip and fall in the snow or ice, sometimes suffering serious injuries. Some groups, such as older people, very young children, and people with serious medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. To keep warm, wear several layers of clothes rather than just one thick layer, and when you need to go outside wear shoes with slip resistant, good grip soles. If indoors, keep your heating to the right temperature as heating your home to at least 18°C in winter poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing.

– Val Thomas, Public Health Consultant

Cambridgeshire's health team has also issued the following advice:

  • It is important to keep warm in winter - both inside and outdoors as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes pneumonia and depression. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F), if you can, you might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer.
  • Use your electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every three years. Never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket
  • Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks
  • Aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count toward your five a day
  • Stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy
  • Exercise is good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter
  • If possible, try to move around at least once an hour. But remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans
  • Wear lots of thin layers - clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat
  • Wear good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent trips, slips and falls
  • Make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out
  • Check if you are eligible for inclusion on the priority services register operated by your water and power supplier.