Keeping warm is key to staying healthy

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In one of the coldest weeks of the winter season, vulnerable patients across East Staffordshire are being advised by local GPs to keep warm whilst the cold weather persists.

The onset of cold always brings a heightened incidence of heart attacks and strokes, which can last for some time after the colder weather has set in.

Patients who are elderly, frail, or have pre-existing conditions are advised to keep warm, both indoors and out. They should heat their homes to at least 18°C.

Dr Charles Pidsley, Chair of East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that heart attacks increase almost immediately after a cold snap and nationally account for two in five winter excess deaths. Generally more people are admitted to hospital with heart conditions in the cold. Hospitals also see a rise in the admission of stroke patients five days after the cold weather begins.

“It’s therefore important that anyone who is more vulnerable should try and stay warm to minimise the impact of the cold weather.”

With snow and icy conditions forecast in parts of the region, the risk of slips and falls increases. If you are unlucky enough to take a tumble and suffer a sprain it is not always necessary to visit your GP or your A&E department.

Usually the best course of action for minor sprains and strains is to treat them safely at home.

Dr Pidsley adds: “We understand slips and falls can be inevitable, especially when conditions are icy. A lot of sprains and strains can be treated at home. If you are unsure whether you need medical attention, make sure you call NHS 111 who can give you fast and free expert advice on what you should do.

“During this cold snap we are also encouraging local communities to keep an eye out for their elderly or frail neighbours and offer practical help such as fetching shopping.”

More information about how the public can stay healthy during winter can be found on the NHS website.