Healthcare advice as winter continues

Clinicians issue further healthcare advice as winter continues to make its presence felt

 

Clinicians at the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are urging people to continue to take extra care with further sleet, ice and freezing temperatures set to continue for today and tomorrow.

 

They say the number of people being admitted to A&E is likely to increase due to the cold weather.  According to NHS England, for every one degree that the temperature drops below 5 degrees, there is a 10% rise in elderly people presenting with breathing problems and almost a 1% increase in emergency admissions.  Therefore if the temperature drops 5 degrees there will be a 4-5% increase in people being admitted to A&E.

 

GPs are recommending a number of steps you should take to ensure you stay well this winter during this cold snap:

  • Only go out in severe weather if your journey is absolutely necessary;
  • If you are going outside, make sure you wrap up well (don’t forget your hat and scarf) and wear sturdy, flat, sensible shoes with good grip;
  • For those in a wheelchair make sure you add an extra layer;
  • Take in lots of hot drinks and meals;
  • Keep your living room at 70°F (21°C) if you can;
  • Keep your bedroom at 65°F (18°C) if you can;
  • Ask for help if you’re not able to get out and about because of the cold weather.  If you know an elderly or vulnerable person living alone, please check on their welfare and see if they need assistance.

 

Cold weather does not just affect older people, everyone is at risk of slips and falls when pavements and roads become icy and being prepared can prevent unnecessary trips to hospital.

 

If you need to travel, please check that your car is prepared and that you have plenty of fuel, a flask and warm clothes.  There is advice on preparing your vehicle in winter and what to make sure you have in your boot on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ (ROSPA) website.

 

Clacton GP, Dr Prashant Arora, said: “I’d urge anyone, especially elderly people, not to journey out in the snow or ice unless they really have to.  If your journey is necessary, make sure you take extra care in what you wear; wrap up warm and ensure you have sturdy footwear with good grip.

 

“At this time of year, many people attend hospital with injuries and broken bones from slips, trips and falls which could have been prevented.  These are especially common in older people, whose bones are more fragile and who may not be able to recover so quickly.”

 

Professor Keith Willett, National Director for Acute Care at NHS England, said: “What the public are unaware of is the immediate knock on effect of the cold weather.  Patients who have pre-existing conditions may not be aware that they are most at risk of falling ill in the days after temperatures drop.

This also adds pressure on already busy A&E departments and can be avoided by taking simple steps to keep well.  Those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions and particularly the elderly should take care to keep their homes properly heated and get their flu jabs.”

Pharmacists are fully qualified to give advice on the best course of action, and should be seen as soon as anyone feels unwell.  Older and vulnerable people should also stock up on medicines when possible.

 

If you need urgent advice in the cold weather but it’s not a life-threatening emergency, call NHS 111.  Calls are free and lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

To find your nearest GP, walk-in centre or pharmacy visit www.nhs.uk or for further information on staying well this winter visit www.nhs.uk/staywell

 

Meanwhile, rising energy bills mean that the cost of heating the home can sometimes be a worry.  For older people, people on low incomes or in receipt of certain benefits, there are ways to get help with the cost of heating, particularly in the winter months when it's needed most.  For advice on heating costs, please visit https://www.livingwellessex.org/money-and-legal/benefits/help-with-heating-costs/

 

In Tendring, the Community Voluntary Services Tendring has winter warmth packs available for local people.  Please contact 01255 425692 for further information.

 

 

 
 

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