With weather forecasters predicting a prolonged period of cold conditions, ice and snow this week, heath chiefs in Scarborough and Ryedale are urging residents to “stay well”.
Cold weather often triggers an increase in demand for NHS services. Ice and snow can lead to an increase in slips and falls, while the cold can lead to poorer health for older people, the very young and those with an existing respiratory illness or infection.
NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says there are measures we can all take to reduce the risk of cold-related ill health and keep NHS resources free for those who need them the most.
Dr Phil Garnett, chairman of NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG, said: “Cold weather is a mere inconvenience for many people, but for others it poses more serious health risks.
“If you have an elderly relative, friend or neighbour, it’s important to check up on them to see if they are keeping warm – ideally homes should be heated to at least 18C.
“We’re also asking people to take extra care when walking or driving during icy conditions. And if you have existing heart or lung problems, or recently had a fall, is a trip out absolutely necessary?
“If you start to feel unwell, even if it's a cough or a cold, don't wait until it gets more serious – seek advice from your pharmacist. If you have cold or flu, it’s best to buy medicines like paracetamol over-the-counter from your local supermarket, corner shop or pharmacy. And then stay at home, drink plenty of fluids and keep warm.
“Should you not see an improvement in your illness, get in touch with your GP practice and they should be able to offer you an appointment.
“If you’re not sure where you should go or need medical advice but it’s not an emergency, we’d always recommend dialling ‘111’ to speak with someone who can offer advice and signpost you to the most appropriate service.”
For more information and tips on staying well, please visit the campaign website.