How can cold weather affect our health and ways to prevent it

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It’s one of the coldest weeks of winter so far and the cold can seriously affect our health.

Here’s how and how we can protect our selves from cold related illnesses.

Why is cold weather a problem ?

When the temperature drops to below 8C, some people are at increased risk of:

heart attack
stroke
flu
pneumonia
falls and injuries
hypothermia
Cold weather can also affect people with mental health conditions, such as depression and dementia.

Who’s at risk ?

Very cold weather can affect anyone, but you are most vulnerable if:

you’re 65 or older
you’re on a low income (so can’t afford heating)
you have a long-term health condition, such as heart, lung or kidney disease
you’re disabled
you’re pregnant
you have young children (newborn to school age)
you have a mental health condition

READ MORE: Will it snow on Merseyside this week ?

How to keep your home warm

Follow these tips to keep you and your family warm and well at home:

if you’re not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease, heat your home to at least 18C

Keep your bedroom at 18C all night if you can – and keep the bedroom window closed
during the day you may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer than 18C.

READ MORE: Merseyside issued double snow weather warnings as coldest week of winter expected

To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), babies should sleep in rooms heated to between 16C and 20C.

If you’re under 65, healthy and active, you can safely have your home cooler than 18C, if you’re comfortable.

Draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts
get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional

 Protect your health in the cold

If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.

Follow these tips on keeping well in the cold:

Find out if you can get the flu jab for free on the NHS

Wear several layers of clothes rather than one chunky layer – clothes made from cotton,

Wool or fleecy fibres help to maintain body heat

Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but don’t use both at the same time

Have at least one hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm; and make sure you have hot drinks regularly

Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so indoors – get up and stretch your legs

Stay active – even moderate exercise can help keep you warm

Wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors – add a hat and wear shoes with a good grip, too. If you have a heart or respiratory problem, stay indoors during very cold weather.

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