Keep warm, keep well this winter

Every winter in the UK, there are between 25,000 and 30,000 deaths linked to the cold weather.

That’s why GPs across Bradford and Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven are urging people to keep warm – to help prevent as many of these deaths as possible.

It’s been proved that cold homes can have a significant impact on people’s health and so it is critical that people try to keep warm to keep well.

The advice is part of a new winter health campaign funded by NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in West Yorkshire. It includes radio adverts and a new website, www.nhsstaywell.org which is an easy-to-access resource for a range of information, aimed at helping people enjoy good health during the winter.
“Keeping warm over the winter months can protect you from colds and flu as well as more serious conditions such as pneumonia, depression – and even heart attacks and strokes,” said Dr Andy Withers, clinical chair of Bradford Districts CCG.

“People need to take extra care to guard against these conditions if they are aged over 65 or if they already have a long-term health condition such as heart, lung or kidney disease. If it is particularly cold outside, patients who suffer from a heart or respiratory problem would be best to stay inside and keep warm.

“Patients with a disability or on a low income may also be more vulnerable to cold-related illnesses,” he added.

Government guidelines recommend that the main living room should be around 18-21 C (65-70F) with the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F.)

The new winter website gives advice on keeping warm in bed by using hot water bottles or electric blankets, the importance of keeping the body properly fuelled by eating regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day, and how keeping active can also help the body maintain temperature.

Keeping the home warm can be difficult for some people since around four million households in the UK are currently in fuel poverty – where a household spends more than 10% of its income to keep warm.

If people are struggling to keep their homes warm, they could be eligible for winter fuel payments of up to £300 (available for those born on or before 5 July, 1951). For more information, call: 08459 151515 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm) or visit: www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment