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NHS NHS warns public to stay well as temperatures expected to plummet

NHS England is today advising the public to take action to protect themselves and stay well ahead of a predicted cold snap this weekend.

Freezing conditions are forecast in some areas and evidence shows that the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other serious breathing problems increases as temperatures plummet.

The public can take simple, common sense steps to protect themselves. Vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those with chronic heart, kidney, lung or liver problems should heat their homes to at least 18C, keep mobile and take regular hot drinks and meals.  They should stock up on medicines when possible.

If anyone becomes unwell then take early action and visit NHS Choices online for information or visit your local pharmacist who is fully qualified to give advice on the best course of action. Those living next to elderly or vulnerable neighbours are urged to check on them during the cold spell.

The public are also asked to avoid visiting friends, relatives and loved-ones in hospital until at least 48 hours after symptoms have stopped if suffering from vomiting, diarrhoea or other illnesses.

It is certainly not too late for people to get their flu jab which is by far the best protection against the flu virus and the really unpleasant consequences which can include hospital admission and even death. Flu kills on average 8,000 people a year, many during the winter months.

The latest Public Health England figures show a rise in flu levels, at a higher rate than this time last year with two and a half times as many flu sufferers admitted to hospital. The figures come after parts of France have reported being on the brink of a flu ‘epidemic’.

Keith Willett, NHS England Medical Director for Acute Care, said: “The NHS is putting into practice our plan for winter but as temperatures are set to reach below freezing this weekend, the public can play their part by keeping warm, stocking up on medications and using NHS Choices and pharmacists to get advice.  If urgent advice is needed then call 111.

“Reports about the serious impact of the flu in France are also a reminder of how important it is for the public and NHS staff to get their flu jab to protect themselves and those they come in to contact with.”