Older residents and those with long-term health conditions are being urged to keep warm this winter and avoid falling victim to the cold weather.
With thousands of winter deaths in England being linked to inadequate heating and poorly insulated homes, East Sussex County Council is calling on vulnerable residents to take simple steps to stay warm and well.
Cynthia Lyons, the county’s acting Director of Public Health, said: “Cold weather can be extremely harmful for health, especially for people aged 65 or over. It weakens the immune system and lowers body temperature, increasing risks of illnesses like coughs, colds and flu, which can be very serious. The cold and damp weather can aggravate any existing health problems.
“Being cold also raises the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, depression, and slips and falls.
“It is important that residents stay warm and well this winter and take full advantage of the support and help on offer.”
Almost one in ten households in East Sussex are living in fuel poverty and are unable to afford to heat their homes to the recommended level.
Many may be eligible for a free Winter Home Check which is a home visit offering advice, tips to keep the home warm and small preventative works. To check whether they are eligible, residents can call 0800 085 1674 or visit warmeastsussex.org.uk for more information.
There are also grants and benefits available to help make homes more energy efficient, improve heating or help with bills.
Residents can take simple steps to keep warm this winter:
• Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F). You might prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer
• Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights. Breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections
• Keep active when you’re indoors. Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so
• Wear several layers of light clothes. Several layers trap warm air better than one bulky layer
• Make sure radiators are not blocked
• Keep the heat in – seal gaps around windows and doors, and draw curtains at dusk
• Make sure you’re receiving all the help that you’re entitled to
Everyone can help by checking on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they’re safe and well when the winter weather bites. Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during very cold weather.
Residents can also sign up to receive free coldAlerts for advanced warning of severe weather, aimed at those most vulnerable to the cold.
For more information, visit coldalert.info or call 01273 484337.