People urged to look out for others as cold snap bites

Health experts are urging people to look out for others, to keep warm indoors and to take care when out and about as another cold snaps hits Cambridgeshire.

With temperatures struggling to rise much above freezing over the next few days and a chilly breeze and scattered wintry showers expected, a Level 2 Cold Weather Alert has been triggered in the county until Sunday. The Met Office has also issued a yellow warning for wind in the region between midnight and 9am on Thursday.

Severe cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young or very old or those with chronic disease while icy stretches on untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths with some slippery surfaces increases the risk of trips and falls.  

Val Thomas, Consultant in Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “It’s so important to remember that cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest. Most of our advice on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense, it’s important that we make the point that people should think about how cold can affect them.

“We are asking everyone to remember the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk during this period of cold weather. If you, or they, are eligible for a flu vaccination make sure you get it as soon as you can.

“If indoors, keep your heating to the right temperature as heating your home to at least 18°C in winter poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing. Try to avoid going out in cold icy weather but if you do need to go outside wear shoes with slip resistant grip, good grip soles and wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer”.

The Stay Well This Winter campaign can help you and your family prepare for winter. For more information, visit

Follow #winterready and #weatheraware on Twitter for winter health advice.

Top tips to keep warm during cold weather:

Keep your home warm, efficiently and safely:

 heating your home to at least 18°C in winter poses minimal risk to your health when you are wearing suitable clothing  

 get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated

 use your electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every three years. Never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket

 do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and this can kill

 make sure you have a supply of heating oil or LPG or sold fuel if you are not on mains gas or electricity – to make sure you do not run out in winter

Keep in the warmth by:

 fitting draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors

 making sure you have loft insulation. And if you have cavity walls, make sure they are insulated too

 insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes

 draw your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms

 make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains

Look after yourself:

 food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks

 aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count toward your five a day

 stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy

 exercise is good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter

 if possible, try to move around at least once an hour. But remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans

 wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat

 wear good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent trips, slips and falls

 Make sure rubber tips on the end of sticks have a good tread – when they wear smooth they can skid on wet surfaces and should be replaced.

 make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out

 Check if you are eligible for inclusion on the priority services register operated by your water and power supplier.

Look after others:

 check on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well