WINTER is on its way and even though it is still relatively warm, a snap of bad weather could be just around the corner.
In Lancashire, over 500 people died because of winter-related illnesses last year. There were also more than 45,500 emergency hospital admissions.
These figures are much higher than the national average but there are ways people can help those they look after.
Lancashire County Council is urging people to take simple steps to protect elderly friends and relatives and those they care for against the cold.
County Councillor Lorraine Beavers, lead member for health, said: “People are always going to be affected by illnesses in the winter months more than at other times o! f year, particularly if they are elderly or have other health concerns.
“However, the number of deaths related to winter illness and emergency hospital admissions are higher than the national average here in Lancashire. That’s why we want to encourage people to do all they can to help friends, relatives, neighbours and those they care for to keep healthy in the winter months.
“There are simple things you can do to help. Keeping warm is the most important. People are also concerned about heating costs which is understandable, but there are steps you can take to save money on heating bills.”
These 10 tips can help you keep yourself and the people you look after warm over the winter months:
1. Heating your home
As a general guide, living rooms need to be around 21 degrees C, and bedrooms around 19 degrees C. It’s a good idea to check heating systems are working properly before the cold weather sets in.
2. Insulating your home
Loft insulation can save up to £1 80 and cavity wall insulation can save up to £140 a year on your bills. Grants are available from utility companies. Call your gas or electricity company or speak to Help Direct to find out more.
3. Keep moving
It’s important to keep moving, even if you’re housebound. People who have difficulty walking can also exercise in a chair.
4. Wrap up
Make sure you or the people you look after wrap up before going out in bad weather. Several layers are better than one thick layer.
5. Flu Jab
It’s important for everyone in an ‘at risk’ group to get a flu jab – this could mean you as well as the people you look after. Check with your doctor if you need more information.
6. Eat for heat
Eat for warmth, regular hot meals and drinks provide both warmth and energy.
7. Look for financial help
Make sure you are receiving all the financial support you are entitled to, which will help towards! heating bills. Contact Help Direct for more information.
8. Keep an eye on the weather
Make sure you check the weather forecast regularly.
9. Be prepared
It’s a good idea to keep a range of basic food, including vegetables, in the freezer and cupboards – and don’t forget to stock up on pet food!
Keep a couple of bottles of clean water in storage in case of frozen pipes. Ensure you have a good supply of all the medication you take each day plus basic cough and cold remedies. Keep a snow shovel, rock salt, torch, spare batteries and a first aid kit handy.
10. Keep in contact
Look out for friends, family relatives or neighbours who may be more vulnerable to the cold, especially if they have long-term medical conditions.
For more information about preparing for the winter, call Help Direct on 0303 333 1111