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Poots urges people to keep warm during cold spell

With snow forecast over the coming days, the Health Minister has reminded people to prepare for the cold by taking extra precautions and looking out for family and people in the community.
Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Minister once again urged people to keep warm during the cold winter months: “Winter weather can be severe and can quickly disrupt our daily lives. Cold homes have a significant impact on people’s health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.

“Now is the time to prepare for winter – don’t wait until temperatures drop further. Keeping our homes warm is important, but it is not necessary to heat the whole house. Always keep the main rooms heated that we occupy, such as the living room and bedroom. Warm clothing and hot drinks will help prevent the most vulnerable people falling ill this winter. Many of the deaths and injuries due to cold weather are preventable.”

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride said: “Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, and depression.”

It is very important to take a few easy precautions to keep you and your loved ones safe during a spell of particularly cold weather:

  • Ensure you have enough food and medicines in stock.
  • Keep yourself warm to avoid serious illnesses. Remember to wear several light layers of warm clothes indoors. If outdoors, take care of potentially icy roads and pavements and wrap up well, wearing boots with good grip, a scarf, gloves and a hat.
  • Have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day to keep your energy levels up.
  • Keep warm by setting your heating to the right temperature (18-21°C 65-70°F). In this way you can keep your home warm and your bills as low as possible.
  • Maintain contact with trusted callers, friends and relatives should you need assistance. Remember to keep your mobile charged and at the ready for use.
  • Avail of the annual flu vaccination if you are in an at risk group.

Dr McBride concluded: “Older people and those with long term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the cold and we need to be aware of how we can help others when the winter temperatures drop. We all need to work together to ensure that everyone is kept safe and warm in winter. If you have an elderly or vulnerable friend or neighbour, look out for them during the winter months.”

Winter planning advice is available at nidirect, and the Met Office website

Notes to editors:

1. The Met Office Get Ready for Winter campaign launched on 22 October 2012.

2. The Public Health Agency leads on public health advice and information.

3. For all media queries, please contact DHSSPS Information Office on 028 9052 0579 or out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715440 and your call will be returned.