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      Tollerford Practice     
Pound Piece Surgery 
Tunnel Road Surgery
01308 861800






Severe cold weather could increase the health risks to older people. More detailed forecasts for individual regions can be found on the Met Office website, Met Office Twitter feed, or you can ring the Weather Desk on 0870 900 0100. 


A further Cold Weather Alert Level 2 - Alert and Readiness – has been issued for SW England. There is a 70% probability of severe cold weather/icy conditions until 0900 on Wednesday 22 Jan.




What is a Cold Weather Alert?

Cold Weather Alerts are issued by the Met Office when winter weather is most likely to significantly impact people’s health, i.e.

  • when the mean temperature falls below 2°C for 48 hours or longer
  • during heavy snow and/or during widespread ice

Only one of these thresholds needs to be met or exceeded for an alert to be triggered.



Follow these tips to keep you, your family and those around you warm and well in extremely cold weather:

  • Draw your curtains at dusk and keep your doors closed to block out draughts.
  • Have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter. 
  • Keep basic food items in your cupboard or freezer in case it is too cold to go out shopping.
  • Consider shopping on-line if you find it difficult to go out- though remember in severe weather conditions the roads may not be driveable.
  • Wear several light layers of warm clothes (rather than one chunky layer). 
  • Keep as active in your home as possible.
  • Chair bases exercises are beneficial, if walking is difficult. Along with moving your arms, legs and toes. 
  • Wrap up warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside on cold days.
  • If you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, you should heat your home to at least 18C. It's a good idea to keep your bedroom at this temperature all night if you can and make sure you wear enough clothes to stay warm. During the day, you may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer
  • If you're under 65 and healthy and active, you can safely have your house cooler than 18C, if you're comfortable.
  • If you're sitting down, try to keep your feet up as the air is cooler at ground level.
  • If using an electric blanket, make sure to get it checked by an expert every three years. Never use an electric blanket with a hot-water bottle.
  • As well as wearing gloves and a hat when outside, wrap a scarf around your face as this helps to warm the air you breathe.
  • If you are worried about the cost of heating your home, make sure you are not missing out on any benefits or discounts that will help keep you and your home warm.
  • It is advisable to keep a list of emergency telephone numbers to hand and by the telephone.
    • In a life-threatening emergency phone 999 and for Out of Hours phone 111


Protect your health in the cold

Public Health England's cold weather plan has tips on how to protect your health during cold weather.

Make sure you are receiving any benefits you are entitled to, such as the Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment.

The Met Office has advice on getting ready for winter and some suggestions for practical things you can do to prepare for winter weather, including cold, ice and snow, high winds and flooding. The advice also tells you ways you can save money.



Travel carefully in icy weather

Icy pavements and roads can be extremely slippery. Take extra care if you go out, and wear boots or shoes with good grip on the soles. The Met Office advises putting grit or cat litter on paths and driveways to lessen the risk of slipping. It adds you should wait until the roads have been gritted if you're travelling by car.

Bear in mind that black ice on pavements or roads might not be clearly visible, and compacted snow may turn to ice and become slippery.



Look in on vulnerable neighbours and relatives

Check up on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be more vulnerable to cold weather. Cold weather is especially dangerous for older people or people with serious illnesses, so check in on them if you can. 

People with heart or respiratory (breathing) problems may have worse symptoms during a cold spell and for several days (up to four weeks) after temperatures return to normal.

You can find more information and advice on staying healthy in periods of cold weather by going to www.nhs.uk


Keep Your Hands Clean


Good hand hygiene is the simplest way to stop germs from spreading. 


  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water. Or use alcohol-based gels or wipes.
  • Clean surfaces you are in contact with regularly, such as door handles, kitchen work tops, telephones.


Have your flu jab and check you have had your pneumococcal jab


Getting the flu is not pleasant but it can also develop into a more serious illness such as pneumonia.


You are eligible for the flu vaccine if you are


  • A person with Diabetes
  • Pregnant
  • A person with a BMI over 40


If you have a long term condition of the:


  • Lungs, eg Asthma or COPD
  • Heart
  • Brain or nervous system?
  • Kidneys?
  • Liver?
  • Immune system
  • Spleen


Children aged between 2- less than 18 will be offered the LAIV nasal spray.  As a practice we only immunise children aged 2-3years as all other ages are given at school.


Flu season usually starts from December onwards, it can be earlier, but if vaccinated in or before November you should receive the benefit of its protective effect.


The pneumococcal injection is a one-off jab that helps to protect you against pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia. Please ask at reception to see if you qualify for one.


Organise your medications


  • Make sure you order your medications in plenty of time, in case there is bad weather, or you are too poorly to collect them.
  • Speak to the surgery to see if they can do anything to help you- such as home delivery.



Please be aware that in severe weather conditions the surgery may be forced to close- we will update any changes to our normal opening hours on our website (http://www.thetollerfordpractice.nhs.uk), twitter (twitter.com-tollerford) and our face book page.




Sources The Tollerford Practice, AgeUK and NHS.UK

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