Cold snap raised to Amber alert
UKHSA and the MET office have issued an Amber Alert for cold, between today (Monday) 08/01/2024 at 12:00 and (Friday) 12/01/2024 at 12:00. During the cold spell, the Isle of Wight Council is urging people to take simple measures to stay warm and to keep an eye on neighbours, relatives or people who are vulnerable to the cold.
An amber alert indicates that cold weather has the potential to impact the whole population, both young and old. There is particular risk to those aged 65+, but impacts may also be seen in younger age groups and some other vulnerable groups, such as those sleeping rough and those with long-term health conditions.
There are some simple steps you can follow to help yourself and others stay healthy over the winter:
- Keep warm. A cold home can increase the risk of health impacts, particularly for more vulnerable people.
- Try to heat rooms you spend a lot of time in, such as the bedroom or living room, to at least 18°C (65°F), day and night – and keep bedroom windows closed. You may prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer.
- Wear several layers of thinner clothing rather than one thick layer – this will help keep you warmer.
- Draw curtains at dusk and block out draughts.
- Try not to sit still for too long, ideally not more than an hour or so. Anyone who has trouble getting up and moving around can also stretch their arms and legs to help them stay warm.
- If you need to go out, remember to wrap up warm, and wear shoes with good grips to avoid slipping on icy surfaces.
If you’re worried about the cost of heating your home, seek financial support. Our Cost of Living page includes links to welcome spaces, heating support, health advice and much more. For advice and support visit: Cost of living (iow.gov.uk)
- Eat well. Try to have at least one hot meal a day. Warm drinks are a good way to keep warm as well.
- Stock up on food in the house in case you can’t get out during a cold spell.
- Keeping paths and pavements free of ice can help prevent falls. Older and vulnerable people are most at risk from slips and may need help to keep their pathways clear.
- Boost your immunity – get vaccinated. People who are eligible for a COVID-19 seasonal booster or flu jab are encouraged to take up the offer as soon as they can.
Some people may need extra support during periods of cold weather. Look out for friends, family and neighbours who may be vulnerable by keeping in touch, checking they are well, making sure they know how to keep warm and safe, and whether they need practical help such as stocking up with food or essential medications. If you are worried about your health or that of somebody you know, ring NHS 111.
If you think they may have hypothermia, contact NHS 111 for further assessment, and in an emergency dial 999; typical signs that someone may be suffering from hypothermia include shivering, slow breathing, tiredness or confusion, and pale, cold skin.
For more information visit: How to stay well in winter – NHS www.nhs.uk
Junior Doctors’ Industrial Action
Please note that the Junior Doctors’ industrial action will be in effect until 7am Tuesday 9 January, thereby overlapping with the cold weather alert period.
During the industrial action, you can help the NHS by only attending Emergency Department or calling 999 if your condition is life threatening such as sign of a heart attack, stroke, heavy bleeding, or difficulty breathing. Please don’t wait if your condition is life or limb threatening, it is important that patients who need urgent medical care continue to come forward as normal.
If it isn’t an emergency, please use other services such as community pharmacies for minor ailments or medication queries, or a consultation with your GP. Online 111 is available if you need urgent help and aren’t sure where to go.
Visit Isle of Wight NHS Trust – Junior doctor industrial action January 2024 (iow.nhs.uk) for more information on what to do during industrial action.