Severe cold weather forecast - advice to stay warm, well and safe

Posted: January 24 2023

Severe cold weather forecast - advice to stay warm, well and safe

The Met Office has warned of a very high likelihood of severe cold weather and icy conditions across our region until Wednesday 25 January, also known as a Cold Weather Alert Level 3.

Severe cold and frosty weather conditions can impact on the health of us all – but especially people who are vulnerable. We therefore urge our patients, staff and members of the public to think about the following important key, public health messages:

Get flu and Covid protection:

• Contact your GP or pharmacist if you think you, or someone you care for, might qualify for a free flu jab. Information on where to get vaccinated for flu and Covid
• Follow NHS COVID-19 guidance if you suspect you have got the virus
• Check out these tips on how to stay well this winter

Keep your home warm, efficiently and safely:

• Heat your home to at least 18°C in winter, this poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing
• Get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated
• Use your electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every 3 years – never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket
• Do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This can kill
• Make sure you have a supply of heating oil or LPG or solid fuel if you are not on mains gas or electricity – to make sure you do not run out in winter

Keep the warmth in:

• Fit draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors
• Make sure you have loft insulation and, if you have cavity walls, making sure they are insulated too
• Insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes
• Draw your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms
• Make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains

Look after yourself:

• Have plenty of hot food and drinks. Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm
• Stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out when it’s cold or icy
• Exercise – it’s good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter
• If possible, try to move around at least once an hour (speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans)
• Wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat
• Wear well-fitting slippers and shoes with a good grip to prevent slips and falls
• Making sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out
• Check if you are eligible to go on your power suppliers priority services register

Look after others:

• Check on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well.

Get financial support:

• There are grants, benefits and sources of advice to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to as winter sets in.
• Hertfordshire County Council website: Here for you this Winter

If you are a journalist or media representative requiring further information contact our communications team on (01707) 388148 or via communications@hct.nhs.uk