WHILE we are all staying at home to help protect the NHS and save lives, health bosses are advising vulnerable patients to turn up their thermostats.
Heating their homes to at least 18C and washing their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds can help them to stay healthy this winter.
The onset of cold always brings a heightened incidence of heart attacks, strokes and respiratory infections which can last for some time after the colder weather has set in. All of which can increase an individual’s risk of becoming seriously ill should they contract Covid-19.
Patients who are elderly, frail, or have pre-existing conditions are therefore advised to keep warm, both indoors and out. They should heat their homes to at least 18C and have at least one hot meal a day.
They are also advised to get flu jabs if they haven’t already, maintain social distancing should they leave their home for essentials or exercise and to wear a face covering when attending medical appointments, collecting prescriptions or purchasing essential items.
Dr Ian Tait said: “Heart attacks increase almost immediately after a cold snap and nationally account for two out of every five extra deaths we get during winter and more people are admitted to hospital with heart conditions in the cold.
“Hospitals also see a rise in the admission of stroke patients five days after the cold weather begins.
“It’s therefore important that anyone who is more vulnerable should try and stay warm to minimise the impact of the cold weather. There are a number of energy companies who offer schemes should you need financial support.
“We would also like to urge the fitter members of the community to keep an eye out for their elderly or frail neighbours and offer practical help such as fetching shopping whilst following all national coronavirus guidelines.”
More information about how the public can stay healthy during winter can be found on www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/keep-warm-keep-well/