published on 13 December 2016
A national campaign to help people prepare for winter weather has been launched by NHS England and Public Health England. The message is to stay well this winter and to encourage people most at risk from cold weather, including those with long-term health conditions and the over 65s, to prepare for the lower temperatures. Around 25,000 more people die over the course of each winter compared to other times of the year and there are a range of conditions worsened by the cold weather - 80 per cent of these deaths are accounted for by people with circulatory diseases (such as heart disease, lung illnesses and stroke), dementia and respiratory diseases (such as asthma). Professor Keith Willett, Medical Director for Acute Care at NHS England said: "We are urging people to take practical steps such as to wrap up warm before the temperature dial hits freezing. Research shows even at above freezing temperatures, for every one degree centigrade drop below five degrees, there is a resulting increase in older people consulting their GP for breathing problems, as well as an increase in deaths." Professor Paul Cosford, Director for Health Protection and Medical Director at Public Health England said: "There are a variety of ways you can apply for help to keep your house warm, such as Winter Fuel Payments, Warm Home Discounts and Cold Weather Payments. If you meet the criteria, register for priority service with your energy and water suppliers. If we all look out for each other we can really make a difference.