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Health watchdog advises 'keep heating to at least 18°C'

The advice is to heat your home to at least 18°C during the cold spell Photo: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images

More warnings of snow and ice across the country have led doctors from the nation's health watchdog to issue further advice for people on staying warm at home.

The alert from Public Health England (PHE) asks people to plan ahead. It follows forecasts from the Met office of large parts of southern England being subject to freezing temperatures, significant snowfall and the possibility of frozen rain over the next few days.

The Met office is warning of freezing rain Credit: Met Office

“With more cold and for some snow on the way, now is the time to think ahead. Consider what you need to stock up on, do you need food or essential supplies such as medicines? It may be harder for some people to get out later this week when more snow arrives, so if you know someone at risk, someone with heart or lung conditions, young children or who is over 65, please take the time to check and see if there’s anything they need.

“Also remember that we are not all used to temperatures like this so keep homes heated to at least 18 degrees. If you’re able to clear paths of snow or ice, do so. Everyone should keep up to date with weather forecasts so you’re not caught out. Staying well in conditions like this can be a challenge, so if you can check on someone whose health may be at risk, please do.”

– Dr Thomas Waite, PHE’s Extreme Events team

“This spell of weather is the coldest that parts of the UK have seen since at least 2013, with extremely low temperatures and disruptive snowfall in many parts throughout the rest of the week.

“This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable people and disrupt the delivery of services so it’s really important that everyone plans ahead, keeps up to date with the forecast and warnings in their area, check for local travel information and follow the advice of local authorities and health professionals."

– Andy Page, Chief Forecaster, Met Office

Public Health England's Top Tips to cope with the Winter weather:

  • Look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately.
  • Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over.
  • Stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance (but avoid stockpiling), arrange deliveries or ask a friend to help.
  • Take weather into account when planning your activity over the coming days.
  • If eligible seek entitlements and benefits such as Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments, which are available to some.
  • If you meet the criteria, register for priority service with your energy and water suppliers.
  • Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls
  • Discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby.

If you are a twitter user you can follow hashtag #winterready (for message alert levels 0 and 1) and hashtag #weatheraware (alert levels 2 to 4) for winter health advice.

You can check your local weather forecast in the ITV Meridian area by visiting the weather section of our website.