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Meteorologists tell us that there is a high probability of severe cold weather between Monday, 8th and Tuesday, 9th January.  Local NHS services and Warwickshire County Council (WCC) are urging people the think about how the cold weather and winter viruses may affect them, their families and their neighbours.

Cold weather can lead to serious health problems and can kill.  Older people, those with chronic health conditions and people who have a disability, are particularly at risk during the cold weather.  Cold and flu viruses, as well as tummy bugs such as the Norovirus, are also now circulating.

WCC is encouraging people to be good neighbours by checking in on friends, relatives and those nearby who may be vulnerable to the cold to make sure they have enough food and medications when the weather gets colder.

Everyone is advised to keep warm and healthy by keeping rooms heated to at least 18 degrees C throughout the day and night and to wear suitable clothing – several thin layers are better than one thick layer.

For protection against flu, those eligible, including carers and other vulnerable groups are reminded to take up the offer of a free flu vaccination.  There are many incorrect myths about the jab but it really is one of the best ways to keep well in the colder months.  Contact your GP, pharmacy or midwife to book your jab.  It’s not too late but make sure you book it soon.

To prevent the spread of tummy bugs remember to wash your hands and clean surfaces frequently if someone within the household is unwell.  Allow until 48 hours after you last had symptoms before returning to work or school.

Advice on keeping your home warm is available from Act on Energy.  They can help with fuel bills and benefits including whether you are eligible for heating and insulation measures.  You can call them on 080 0988 2881 or have a look at their information leaflet.

Residents 16 or over whose financial circumstances make if difficult to purchase food or fuel are also advised to inquire about WCC’s welfare scheme on 01926 410410.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service also offer free Safe and Well visits to help you stay safe and reduce the risk of fire in your home.

For more advice about staying well this winter visit the NHS Staywell website.