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As winter comes, no-one in Harlow needs to suffer

Health / Mon 6th Nov 2017 at 02:52pm

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DURING the winter months lots of people suffer because of the cold. No one in Essex needs to suffer- is the message Essex County Council is sending residents today as the local and national ‘Stay well this winter’ campaigns are launched.

Winter conditions can be bad for our health, particularly for those most vulnerable.

This winter, Essex County Council’s Public Health team are teaming up with partners and organisations across Essex to keep the county’s most vulnerable residents well and warm.

The campaign will highlight how people can keep well and warm, make their homes winter ready and signpost to local support services.

Mike Gogarty, Director of Wellbeing, Public Health & Communities said: “According to Age UK, every winter in the UK one older person dies needlessly every seven minutes. In this day and age no one should be suffering because of the cold and certainly no one should be dying as a result.”

“In Essex we are working with key providers and organisations across the county to ensure our most vulnerable residents stay well and warm this winter.

“Older people tend to be most vulnerable as they are often less active, spend more time indoors and have reduced muscle and body fat to help insulate them from the cold. This can increase the likelihood of a heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, and other chest diseases. We hope that the awareness raised by this campaign and the advice given will help people understand what support is available and where to go for help.”

Cllr John Spence, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “With the clocks turned back, and the weather turning colder, I encourage everyone to prepare for winter.

“Make sure you have had your boiler serviced, stock up on blankets if you need to, and make sure you have all the medication you may need in case you can’t get to a pharmacy.”

“Please also look out for others, especially elderly or vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours, for whom keeping warm this winter could be a matter of life or death. Make sure their homes are ready for the cold, they can keep warm with suitable clothing, and have stocks of food and enough medication.”

What you can do to stay well and warm:

The NHS advises that at the first sign of a cough or cold you should get immediate advice from your pharmacist before it gets more serious.

Think about any medicines that you or your family may need during the winter months to make sure that you have enough and also ensure you pick any prescriptions up before the Christmas holidays because of closures.

For over 65s, those with long term conditions, some carers, pregnant women and children aged two and three and in reception year as well as years 1, 2 , 3 and now 4. The flu vaccination is available for free, because these groups are most at risk. If you are in one of these groups and have not had your flu vaccination yet please contact your GP or midwife to get this booked in as soon as possible.

Keeping your home warm this winter is key to making sure you stay well. Your home should be heated to at least 18°C (65°F) and it is also it’s important to make sure your boiler has been serviced recently.

Many people worry about the cost of heating but with the success of the Essex Energy Switch, people can be confident that when they turn up the heating, they are still getting value for money. The Essex Energy Switch saved Essex residents over £2 million over the last three years. To sign up or the switch visit www.essex.gov.uk/energyswitch.You may also be eligible for support towards your fuel payments, visit https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment/overview for more information.

Make sure you have enough warm clothes, blankets and food and drinks in stock. Also make sure you eat and drink plenty of hot meals and drinks.
Keeping safe on the roads is also important. If you want to know when and where highways crews will be gritting the roads this winter, you can find all the information you need online at www.essex.gov.uk/gritters. The page also includes some helpful winter driving tips and details on where to access free salt stocks to help keep important public footpaths, like those leading to doctors’ surgeries, clear of ice.

If you do need help over the holiday period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk who can direct you to a local service that is open.
Always call 999 in an emergency.

Look after each other, especially those who are elderly of vulnerable.

For more information on how to stay well this winter, visit www.livingwellessex.org or nhs.uk/staywell

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