Getting a flu jab and following some simple tips on keeping warm can help vulnerable people stay well this winter.

To help spread the message, a partnership of local organisations including Cambridgeshire County Council, have joined forces to target people with long-term health conditions, people aged over 65, pregnant women and parents of children under five.

Winter conditions can be seriously bad for our health, particularly those at risk. The cold weather can increase the risk of raising blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. People with chest conditions are at particular at risk of becoming ill during periods of cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds. There are around 180 extra deaths every year in Cambridgeshire linked to the cold weather.
As part of the local campaign, people who are eligible and receive a free flu jab will also receive a free information pack giving tips, recipes and  helpful numbers. Local organisations, including charities, councils and not for profit organisations, can also apply for grants on behalf of people struggling to pay their fuel bills and keep their homes warm.

These simple tips to help keep yourself, friends and family warm and well this winter:

1.      Heat the home well. Heat the home to a minimum of 18°C (65°F), and make sure you are dressed appropriately for the weather. Above this and people may be wasting money; below this and there is a risk health. This will keep the home warm and may lower the bills.

2    Get financial support. There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make the home more energy efficient, improve the heating, or help with bills.

3.      Eat well and have plenty of fluids. Food and water are vital sources of energy; they help keep a person's body warm. People should make sure they and their family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.

4.      Get a flu jab. Certain groups can get a free flu jabs to protect against seasonal flu, including the over 65s, pregnant women, people with a long term illness or if someone is the main carer of an elderly or disabled person. Free flu jabs are available from your GPs and some pharmacies.

5.      Look after yourself and others. On cold days try to avoid going outside. If a person does need to venture out, they need to wrap up warm and take care on slippery surfaces. Look out for an older or vulnerable neighbour or relative during this winter to make sure they are safe and well.

For further local information on staying warm and well this winter, including grants call 03456500280.

Val Thomas, Consultant in Public Health at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "Cold weather can be dangerous to our health and we shouldn't take it lightly. These simple tips can help you keep warm and keep well this winter. We're also calling on people to look out for vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours. Your help can make a difference even if it just seeing if they are okay or having a cup of tea with them."  



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