Amber health alert issued across parts of the UK amid fears cold snap will prove fatal | The Sun
THE cold weather has triggered three amber health alerts for northern England.
Tumbling temperatures and wintry showers mean the health and social care sector will be "significantly" impacted for the next seven days, officials warn.
The Met Office and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said there is an "increased risk of mortality" across the population, particularly in vulnerable groups.
This includes the over-65s and those with underlying conditions.
"But impacts may also be seen in younger age groups," the warning added.
Hospitals and GP surgeries will "likely" be busier due to increased demand, and temperatures in hospitals and care homes may fall below the recommended threshold.
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Travel delays, transport issues and energy problems could also trigger staffing issues, putting lives at risk, the UKHSA said.
The amber alerts, which are in force from 6pm on November 28 to midday on December 5, cover the North East, North West, and Yorkshire and The Humber.
Yellow alerts, which are valid for the same period, are in place for the East and West Midlands, where "minor impacts are probable".
And complications are "possible" in the East of England, London, the South East and South West, which are coded green.
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A UKHSA spokesperson said: "Conditions across the UK are forecast to turn increasingly cold through the week, with overnight frosts becoming sharp and widespread, with only limited recovery of temperatures by day.
"A weather system is expected to bring rain into southern parts of the UK later this week, with the potential for hill snow on its northern flank.
"Snow to low levels across southern England is considered a low probability.
"Showers falling as a wintry mix in places, mainly across North Sea coastal areas and over high ground."
There are many reasons for the increased risk of ill-health during the winter. The government says these include:
- Poor quality housing and particularly cold homes
- Higher frequency of circulating infectious diseases, such as flu and norovirus during the winter months
- Physical hazards such as snow and ice
Malfunctioning or inappropriate appliances to heat homes can also increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
And when a house is damp as well as cold, mould is more likely to occur.
This can increase the risk of illness, especially from asthma.
How to keep warm at home
You should heat your home to a temperature that is comfortable for you.
Low indoor temperatures can have a serious impact on your health, especially if you have medical conditions or are older.
Simple changes can help to keep you and your home warm:
- Try to heat rooms you spend a lot of time in, such as the living room or bedroom, to at least 18C
- Try to reduce draughts; you can fit draft excluders around doors cheaply
- Keep your bedroom windows closed at night
- Wear several layers of thinner clothing; this could keep you warmer than one thicker layer.
You should also try not to sit still for more than an hour or so and stretch your limbs regularly.
It is also important to get vaccinated to help reduce your risk of respiratory illnesses, to treat minor ailments like sore throats and colds quickly, and to call NHS 111 or 999 in an emergency if you need to.
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