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Keep warm and keep well this winter!

NHS Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging residents to keep warm as winter sets in and check on older relatives and neighbours to ensure that they are safe and well.

The message comes from local GP Adrian McLachlan, who is also the Chair of Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which plans health services for more than 300,000 people across Lambeth.

Dr McLachlan (NHS Lambeth CCG) said: "Cold weather can be particularly dangerous for older people or people with serious illnesses, so please check in on them, if you can, to make sure they are warm enough, especially at night, and ensure that they have enough food or someone to collect any medicine they might need.

"People with heart or breathing problems may have further problems during a cold spell and possibly for several days after temperatures return to normal – as well as being left feeling more isolated or down in the dumps if they live alone.

"Cold homes can seriously impact on people's health and keeping warm will help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia."

The chances of suffering from deteriorating health are greater if you're vulnerable to cold-related illnesses because you are:

  • over 65
  • on a low income (so can't afford heating)
  • have a long-term health condition, such as heart, lung or kidney disease
  • disabled.

To keep warm and well during spells of cold weather, the NHS advises that you:

  • Draw your curtains at dusk and keep your doors closed to block out draughts
  • Have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter 
  • Wear several light layers of warm clothes, rather than one chunky layer 
  • Keep as active in your home as possible
  • Wrap up warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside
  • If you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, you should heat your home to at least 18C and ensure you wear enough clothes to stay warm. It's a good idea to keep your bedroom at this temperature all night.
  • Icy pavements and roads can be extremely slippery – so please take extra care if you go out.

If you're worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, call the Age UK helpline on 0800 009966 or your local council.

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