As Herefordshire gets ready for its first taste of severe winter weather, healthcare professionals are urging people to take steps to stay safe and well.
With temperatures predicted to fall below freezing overnight and not rising much above freezing during the day, more people are at risk of injuries from slips, strips and falls. Those who need to take extra care are the elderly and people with a long term health condition, such as heart or lung disease.
The county’s health service is urging elderly and vulnerable people in particular to take extra steps to help protect their health as conditions become more wintery.
Sarah Parry, service delivery manager for urgent care at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “Cold weather can lead to serious health problems, such as heart attacks and strokes, and can make chest diseases worse, particularly for older people, the very young and those with pre-existing health conditions.
“Top tips to stay well in winter include keeping warm, eating well and staying active. Even a small amount of exercise, such as gentle movements inside the house when it’s icy and slippery outside, can bring health benefits.
“Avoid going out in the cold weather and icy conditions, wherever you can. If your journey is absolutely necessary, make sure you take extra care and wear flat, sensible shoes, as well as wrapping up warm. We are also asking people to help neighbours who are elderly or live alone.
“If your health deteriorates, call your GP in the first instance, visit the walk-in-centre in Hereford, or visit website www.taurushealthcare.co.uk for extended GP opening hours, including evenings and weekends. Call NHS 111 if urgent advice is needed and it’s not an emergency”.
Nick Montandon, West Midlands Ambulance Service’s area manager for Herefordshire, added: “Don’t get caught by surprise. Monitor the weather and changing conditions. Watch out for areas where ice tends to form and beware of black ice.
“Wet and icy roads can have a huge impact on a vehicle’s stopping distance, so slow down and drive carefully even on roads that have been treated. In icy conditions it can take up to ten times as long to stop, so be very careful of the car in front.
“If walking or going out, wrap-up warm, use appropriate footwear and use designated walkways as much as possible. Taking shortcuts will greatly increase the chances of injury.
“Every non-essential call has the potential to delay a response to a serious emergency, so if it’s urgent but not an emergency, call NHS 111 for advice. Only call 999 if it is serious or life threatening”.
Stay well this winter:
- Only go out in severe weather if absolutely necessary
- Visit www.herefordshire.gov.uk (visit transport) to view road closures and gritting routes.
- If you are going outside, make sure you wrap up well and wear flat, sensible shoes
- Take in lots of hot drinks and meals like stews and soups
- Keep your living room at 70°F (21°C)
- Keep your bedroom at 65°F (18°C)
- Keep your curtains open in the day, and closed at night
- If you can’t get out and about, speak to friends, family and neighbours to see if they can help you out.
Note to editor:
- Wye Valley NHS Trust is the provider health services across Herefordshire and beyond. The Trust exists to improve the wellbeing, independence and health of the people we serve. We are the leading provider of health care in Herefordshire.
- By working closely with our partners, we can make good our promise to deliver a quality of care we would want for ourselves, our families and our friends.
- With an estimated annual turnover of around £160 million, we employ around 2,700 plus staff. We aim to build new relationships between our staff, patients, service users and their carers with the wider community.
For further information please contact:
John Burnett, Communication and Engagement Manager, Wye Valley NHS Trust: 01432 372928 or Fiona Gurney, Communications Assistant 01432 355444 ext. 5105.