Cold weather warning: top tips for keeping safe and well
Being cold isn’t just uncomfortable it can be bad for your health, so as a cold weather alert has been issued by the MET Office, healthcare leaders in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are urging residents to keep warm, get vaccinated, plan ahead and look out for each other.
Government advice is to try and heat rooms to at least 18°C if possible, particularly if the people living in the house have reduced mobility, are 65 and over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease. For anyone struggling to heat their home, help is available.
Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council all have a network of warm and welcome spaces that have been made available to people who need them, as well as online information and helplines for anyone needing help with the cost of living. And local NHS services are there for anyone who feels unwell – residents can get help from their pharmacist or GP. For urgent medical problems or if residents are unsure of what to do 111.nhs.uk is always available online or by calling 111.
As well as keeping warm, leaders in public health are also advising residents to get their vaccinations for flu and Covid-19 and to look out for each other during these difficult times.
Staying warm is particularly important for those with underlying health conditions. Anyone who needs help can ask their GP, pharmacy, NHS 111, mental health service or community services.
As the cost of living increases continue to affect everyone this is an extremely difficult time for households, communities and businesses across the country. A network of Welcoming Spaces has opened across the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire areas in community centres, children’s centres and care homes where people can keep warm, access food and drink, socialise and access essential support related to the cost of living.
This winter could be very difficult with high numbers of flu and Covid-19 cases expected, plus the rising cost of keeping warm and well. Vaccines are the best way residents can protect themselves from serious illness caused by flu and Covid-19. Local vaccination details can be found at grabajab.net.
Residents are also being urged to look out for each other. This time of year can be difficult, particularly for those who are vulnerable and isolated, so reaching out to a family member or neighbour can have a huge impact on their mental wellbeing.
Top tips to get through the cold snap:
- Stay warm – heat rooms you are using to 18°C and keep the cold out by draft-proofing windows and doors, making sure you have loft and wall insulation, drawing your curtains and tucking them behind radiators and making sure radiators are not obstructed by furniture. If you are struggling to heat you home, warm spaces are available across our region and financial help is also available.
- Protect yourself – get your flu and Covid-19 booster vaccinations. Vaccination is free for most vulnerable groups, including those with long-term health conditions and children aged two to three. See grabajab.net for information.
- Know where to go for healthcare advice – see your local pharmacist or GP and contact NHS 111 if you are unsure what to do.
- Support each other – check on neighbours and family members
For more advice on how to keep well this winter, please see the NHS website where you will find lots of hints, tips and useful links.
Public welcome spaces :
Bristol City Council – List of welcoming spaces
North Somerset Council – Map of community living rooms
South Gloucestershire Council – Directory of community welcome spaces
Helplines and useful website
Bristol City Council has a cost of living support webpage with advice and links to useful websites and organisations. The We Are Bristol helpline is also available on 0800 694 0184 between 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
South Gloucestershire Council – www.southglos.gov.uk/costofliving. Residents are invited to pop in and chat to our customer care staff to help them access benefits and support they may be entitled in. Our One Stop Shops are located in Kingswood, Patchway and Yate or call our cost-of-living freephone number 0800 953 7778.
North Somerset Council has a round-up of local advice, support and guidance about the cost-of-living crisis on their website, including help with bills, childcare costs, housing support, and energy and heating advice. Go to https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/benefits-support/cost-living-advice-guidance.
Residents who are worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, can contact their local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1602 (8am to 7pm every day).
NHS winter webpage including tips on preventing winter illnesses – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/keep-warm-keep-well/
Simple Energy Advice line – for help with advice on energy bills and energy efficiency: 0800 444202 (https://www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/)