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Keep Warm, Keep Well this winter

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding local residents to keep warm and keep well over the winter months as the local area braces itself for the arrival of winter weather.

An estimated 43,900 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2014/15; the highest number since 1999/00, with 27% more people dying in the winter months compared with the non-winter months.

The majority of deaths occurred among people aged 75 and over; there were an estimated 36,300 excess winter deaths in this age group in 2014/15, compared with 7,700 in people aged under 75.

Dr Andrew Phillips, Local GP and Deputy Chief Clinical Officer at the CCG, said: “It has been estimated that for every degree change in the average weather temperature, there is a rise or fall in the number of deaths – which is why it is vital that everyone, particularly the elderly and those with respiratory conditions, keep warm and safe.

“One of the best ways of keeping well during winter is to stay warm, and here are five top tips to bear in mind. Some may seem obvious, but they could help you to stay warmer and maintain good health over the coming weeks.”

Five ways to keep warm and keep well this winter in the Vale of York:

1. Heat your home well

By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18-21ºC) you can still keep your home warm and lower your bills. If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together. This is especially important if you’re at home all day.

2. Eat well and have plenty of fluids

Food and water are vital sources of energy, and they help keep your body warm. Try to make sure you and your family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.

3. Get a flu jab

You can get free flu jabs to protect against seasonal flu from your GP or local pharmacy if you are over 65, pregnant, or have a long-term condition.

4. Look after yourself and others

Try to avoid going outside on cold days. However, if you do need to go out, remember to wrap up warm and take care on slippery surfaces. If you have an older neighbour or relative, look out for them during the winter to make sure they are safe and well.

5. Keep your medicine cabinet well stocked

If you’re on medication, make sure you get your repeat prescriptions in time so that you don’t run out. Check to make sure you also have enough over-the-counter remedies for coughs and colds, so you don’t need to leave home unless really you have to.

Dr Andrew Phillips added: “Encouraging people to keep warm and healthy during the winter is one of our key priorities, particularly for our older residents and those that spend a lot of time at home.

“The five top tips show that it only takes a few simple measures to protect yourself and your family from winter-related illnesses and conditions.

For more information on staying well this winter visit www.nhs.uk/staywell.

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