How to stay well during low temperatures - cold weather alert - 21 January 2020

How to stay well during low temperatures - cold weather alert - 21 January 2020

The Met Office has forecast that current cold weather conditions affecting West Midlands, East Midlands, East of England, Southeast England and Southwest England will continue until 9am Wednesday 22 January.

Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. This includes:

  • people aged 65 and older
  • babies and children under the age of 5
  • people on a low income (so cannot afford heating)
  • people who have a long-term health condition
  • disabled people
  • pregnant women
  • people who have a mental health condition

Dr Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, Consultant in Public Health at Public Health England, said:

People with heart and lung conditions, older people and the very young are at risk of becoming unwell during cold weather. At this time, it’s really important to keep a look out for friends and family who might be affected.

Below 18 degrees, the risk of strokes, heart attacks and chest infections increases, so heating homes to at least this temperature is important to stay well.

Paul Gundersen, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office said:

High pressure across England means the cold but sunny weather will continue for the southern half of England throughout the first half of the week with overnight frost and fog in places. However, it will be cloudier further north and therefore not as cold for many.

Things you can do during winter to keep warm
Check on older neighbours and relatives, and those with heart or breathing (respiratory) problems, to make sure they:

  • are safe and well
  • are warm enough, especially at night
  • have stocks of food and medicines so they do not need to go out during very cold weather

Keep your home warm

  • 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
  • use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but do not use both at the same time
  • have at least 1 hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm
  • have hot drinks regularly
  • to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), babies should sleep in rooms heated to between 16C and 20C
  • draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts
  • get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional

Get a flu jab

  • Flu can lead to serious illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, and even death in vulnerable people. You are more at risk if you are older, have a long-term condition, or are pregnant.

To check weather forecast updates visit the Met Office website or app.