Health warnings issued after colder weather arrives

Public Health England

December 28
13:26 2016

Warnings have been issued across parts of England after forecast colder weather arrived across North West England, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England.

A level 3 cold weather alert is declared when average temperatures have fallen, or are about to fall, to 2C and if either widespread ice or heavy snow is present. The level 3 alert for the above regions is forecast to continue until Friday morning. A level 2 (alert and readiness alert) is in place for all other regions of England.

Dr Thomas Waite, consultant in Extreme Events and Health Protection at Public Health England said:

The effects of cold can be severe, in particular for those who are over 65, have a long term illness, or are not mobile. Our advice to these groups is when indoors, have plenty of warm food and drinks and try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C. If mobility isnt an issue, keep active as best you can. If you need to go out wear lots of thin layers and shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip to prevent any accidental falls. It is particularly cold at night this week, so drawing the curtains at dusk will keep the heat in.

This is also the time to think about how the cold temperatures may affect your friends and family, particularly if they are older or very young or have long term health conditions as they are particularly at risk from the ill-effects of cold. Think now what you could do to help them.

Cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures arent at their lowest. Most of the practical advice on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense, but its important that we all help each other to stay well this winter.

Andy Page, Chief Operational Meteorologist at the Met Office, said:

Cold weather is likely over the next few days with high pressure allowing fog and frost to form overnight. The fog may be slow to clear from some inland central and southern areas leading to low daytime temperatures, with some places struggling to rise above freezing.

Top tips to prepare for colder weather

You should:

  • look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks and managing to heat their homes adequately
  • try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over
  • stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance, have deliveries or ask a friend to help.
  • take weather into account when planning your activity over the following days
  • avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls
  • discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby, if unable to do so yourself


For further advice see

More information about the Cold Weather Alert system from the Met Office.

Public Health Englands mission is to protect and improve the nations health and to address inequalities through working with national and local government, the NHS, industry and the voluntary and community sector. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk

For more information or interviews call:

Public Health England press office


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