With some forecasters predicting the coldest winter since 1947, Derbyshire health leaders have urged people to take five simple steps to stay warm and well.
Their advice was for people to:
Get their free flu jab before the end of November if they are 65 or over, pregnant, have certain medical conditions, live in a residential or nursing home, or are the main carer for an older person or someone with disabilities.
Set their heating to temperatures of between 18 and 21C.
Layer their clothing and wear shoes with a good grip.
Keep active and have hot meals and drinks throughout the day.
Find out about benefits to make their home more energy efficient, improve their heating and help with their bills.
And they invited residents to visit Derbyshire Health United to view a video featuring top winter tips from people living in Derbyshire. The two-minute film brings to life key tips on keeping warm and well this winter from local characters including market traders, football fans and business owners.
The five-point plan was unveiled this week by a partnership between NHS Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Derby City Council and Derby and Derbyshire Age UK to keep residents warm and healthy.
The CCG is responsible for planning and buying healthcare for 525,000 patients in and around Derby.
The partners have put together a package of advice and information on staying healthy, home energy and home and heating maintenance, welfare benefits and handy person services.
To find out how to Stay Warm and Healthy, residents should call 01332 640337.
The CCGs are asking people to prevent colds and flu spreading by covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when they sneeze, throwing away used tissues as soon as possible, washing their hands regularly with soap and water, and stocking up on over-the-counter cough and cold remedies.
Residents are also advised to exercise regularly and to eat a varied diet of hot food including five daily portions of fruit and veg. The CCGs recommend that people wear lots of thin layers of clothing.
Meanwhile, parents of children under four, and women who are at least 10 weeks’ pregnant and claiming certain benefits, may be eligible for free weekly Health Start vouchers which can be swapped for milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, infant formula milk and vitamins. To find out more, visit Healthy Start NHS or call 0845 607 6823.
The new Energy Company Obligation requires the largest domestic energy suppliers to fund home energy efficiency improvements for certain consumers. To find out if you are eligible, call the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.
Cold Weather Payments of £25 for each period of very cold weather are paid to qualifying people when the average temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, 0C or below for seven days in a row where the claimant lives. To find out more, visit www.gov.uk/.
Dr Sheila Newport, Chair of NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG, said:
“Although winter weather and snow can be fun, it’s also associated with an increase in illnesses and injuries. There’s more to feeling under the weather than most people realise. Cold and wintry conditions can cause severe illness and, in the worst cases, people can die.
“However, with some simple precautions, most people can be prepared for the cold weather and prevent much of the misery that’s often associated with winter weather.”
Cllr Mark Tittley, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health at Derby City Council, said: “During these colder months it’s more important than ever to try and keep warm and well, as well as keeping an eye on those who may be vulnerable and need help.
“The Stay Warm and Healthy project is running again in Derby City so, if you know someone who is finding it hard to heat their home, please get in touch on 01332 640337.
“If you are eligible for a free flu jab, don’t forget to have it before the end of November.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
NHS Southern Derbyshire CCG represents 57 GP practices and is responsible for the healthcare of 525,000 patients. It is one of four CCGs in Derbyshire.
Charles Malkin, Communications Officer
Tel: 01246 514971/07825 274111