HEALTH AND CARE: Wrap up and keep warm to stay healthy

Stay healthy this winter
Stay healthy this winter

The Herald & Gazette have joined forces with GP practices in the area which form part of the NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). This week they are urging people to stay warm and well in the cold.

Although it is meant to be getting warmer by the weekend, we have seen freezing temperatures this week and local GPs are urging everyone to protect their health.

Cold weather can seriously affect your health, and if you have a long term condition the weather can trigger your symptoms and make you feel very unwell.

For example, cold air is a major trigger of asthma symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath.

Heart attacks are also sadly more common in winter and people with heart conditions can really feel the effects.

This may be because cold snaps increase your blood pressure and put more strain on your heart; your heart is also working harder to maintain your body’s heat when it is cold.

Local doctors are urging everyone to take simple steps to stay warm and well, and look after your health.

It sounds very basic but stay indoors on very cold, windy days, and keep your main rooms at 21C (70F), using a hot water bottle to keep warm in bed.

When you do need to go out, wrap up warm and wear a hat, scarf and gloves.

If you do have a breathing condition like asthma, wear a scarf over your nose and mouth to protect you from the cold air.

It is also important to be extra vigilant about taking regular medications, and if you need an inhaler, keep it close by and in a warm place.

Other top tips include:

• Make sure you have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible.

• Wear several light layers of warm clothes (rather than one chunky layer).

• And draw your curtains at dusk and keep your doors closed to block out draughts.

The local NHS is also concerned about vulnerable older people in our community.

People with heart or breathing problems may find their symptoms get worse during a cold spell and for several days (up to four weeks) after temperatures return to normal.

This can affect going shopping, getting out of the house for essentials, and staying active.

GPs, community teams and local nurses make extra efforts to check on people who may be more vulnerable to cold weather but if you have friends, relatives and neighbours who may be likely to become unwell during the winter, please call in to see if they need extra help or support.

Find out more information and advice on staying healthy in periods of cold weather online: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/winterhealth/Pages/Winterhealthhome.aspx

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