Further snow and ice warnings across England have prompted Public Health England (PHE) doctors to warn people in areas likely to be affected, including Bath and North East Somerset, to plan ahead.
Forecasts from the Met Office suggest large parts of southern England will see freezing temperatures, significant snowfall and possibly even frozen rain over the next few days.
Dr Thomas Waite, of PHE’s Extreme Events team, said: “With more cold and for some snow on the way, now is the time to think ahead. Consider what you need to stock up on, do you need food or essential supplies such as medicines?
“It may be harder for some people to get out later this week when more snow arrives, so if you know someone at risk, someone with heart or lung conditions, young children or who is over 65, please take the time to check and see if there’s anything they need.
“Also remember that we are not all used to temperatures like this so keep homes heated to at least 18 degrees. If you’re able to clear paths of snow or ice, do so.
“Everyone should keep up to date with weather forecasts so you’re not caught out. Staying well in conditions like this can be a challenge, so if you can check on someone whose health may be at risk, please do.”
Met Office Chief forecaster, Andy Page said: “This spell of weather is the coldest that parts of the UK have seen since at least 2013, with extremely low temperatures and disruptive snowfall in many parts throughout the rest of the week.
“This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable people and disrupt the delivery of services so it’s really important that everyone plans ahead, keeps up to date with the forecast and warnings in their area, check for local travel information and follow the advice of local authorities and health professionals.”
The Cold Weather Plan for England, available at www.gov.uk/phe sets out a series of actions that health and social care organisations, voluntary groups, and individuals can take to help reduce cold-related illnesses and deaths.
Top tips to prepare for colder weather:
- Look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately.
- Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over.
- Stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance (but avoid stockpiling), arrange deliveries or ask a friend to help.
- Take weather into account when planning your activity over the coming days.
- If eligible seek entitlements and benefits such as Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments, which are available to some.
- If you meet the criteria, register for priority service with your energy and water suppliers.
- Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls
- Discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby.
Follow #winterready (for message alert levels 0 and 1) and #weatheraware (alert levels 2 to 4) on Twitter for winter health advice.