Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) is urging residents to stay safe and well during the cold winter months so they keep healthy.

As part of a nationwide drive to encourage those most at risk from the cold weather, GFRS have issued the following advice:

  • Make sure you get your flu jab
  • Keep your home at least 18° C (65°F) if you can
  • Take advantage of financial schemes and discounts to help you pay for heating
  • Visit your local pharmacist as soon as you start to feel unwell
  • Look out for other people who may need a bit of extra help over the winter

Those with long-term health conditions and anyone over 65 should make sure to follow the guidelines above to try and prevent the colder weather from causing health issues.

A national campaign to help people in winter weather has been launched by NHS England and Public Health England which GFRS are supporting.

Stewart Edgar, chief fire officer for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Across the county, our firefighters have a long tradition of helping those in need when called upon. For many years now we have made it a priority to advise and support all within our community, but particularly those that are more vulnerable. We are pleased to work alongside the NHS and Public Health England for the second consecutive year in the ‘Stay Well this Winter’ campaign and will build upon our experience and success in helping to protect those most at risk at what can be a very difficult time of year for many.”

Exposure to cold indoor or outdoor temperatures increases blood pressure, thereby increasing the risk of heart failure, kidney disease, stroke or dementia. Cold temperatures can also make blood more likely to clot, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. In addition, cold can also affect the respiratory system, which reduces the lung’s ability to fight off infection explaining why lower temperatures are linked with bronchitis and pneumonia.

Colder weather has a significant impact on the number of people becoming ill, increasing the winter pressures felt by the health care services. Research shows that for every one degree centigrade drop below five degrees in outdoor average temperatures, there is more than a 10 per cent increase in older people consulting their GP for breathing problems, a 0.8 per cent increase in emergency hospital admissions and a 3.4 per increase in deaths.

Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “Across the county, our officers have a long tradition of helping individuals and communities.

“By following these simple guidelines, you can take some steps to try and keep yourself well. I would also urge anyone who hasn’t had a safe and well visit to contact us and arrange one. They are free and officers can provide you with great support and advise, including fitting smoke alarms for you.”

To arrange a Safe and Well visit from the Fire Service, or for any advice on safety or wellbeing, call 0800 180 41 40 or visit our website www.glosfire.gov.uk.

To find out more about the stay well this winter campaign, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell.

Gloucester News Centre – http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk

Fire crews urge people to stay warm and well by Shaun Moore | Gloucester News Centre - http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk/