A drop in temperatures have prompted public health chiefs to warn the elderly to keep their homes warm and have the flu jab.
The Met Office has warned winter has begun to bite after an unseasonably warm December, with large parts of the UK facing blasts of snow, ice and frost.
Winds will be blowing from a cold north or northwest direction this week and that means there will be some frosty nights with a mix of rain, sleet and hail.
READ MORE: Merseyside severe weather warning for ICE
— Met Office (@metoffice) January 12, 2016
Officials have urged families to help protect their relatives from the cold snap.
Public Health England’s Dr Angie Bone said: “Over the past few weeks we’ve had some very disruptive weather, but temperatures have been quite mild – now the weather will be colder over much of the country, which will be a significant change.
“It’s so important to remember that cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest. Most of our advice at PHE on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense but people should think about how the cold weather can affect them.”
It was recently revealed that 24,000 older people die as a result of cold weather every winter, thats one person every 7 seconds.
Official figures showed winter deaths jumped by 151% last year, with an estimated 43,900 excess deaths in England and Wales between December 2014 and March 2015.
An less-than-effective flu jab and cold weather were said to be major factors.
Charity Independent Age is offering free advice to elderly people and their families to beat the chill.
Lucy Harmer, director of services at Independent Age, said: “Winter can be a testing time for many elderly people if they don’t have enough social, financial or emotional support in place. We would urge older people, their families and carers to take extra care during the cold snap.
“The Government, councils and individuals all need to take more responsibility for ensuring older people are getting the support they need in winter.”
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