Sobering advice over winter weather

Local people have been urged to keep an eye on their alcohol intake during extreme cold spells this winter.
Local people have been urged to keep an eye on their alcohol intake during extreme cold spells this winter.

Local people have been urged to consider their alcohol intake during extreme cold spells this winter to minimise the risk of falling on ice or hypothermia.

This is one of ten tips issued by the Western Health and Social Care Trust to help minimise the risk of local people falling ill or getting injured during the winter.

Dr Maura O’Neill, Western Trust Head of Health Improvement said: “Prevention is always better than cure and there are things we can all do to ensure our community keeps well during extreme weather conditions.”

The tips include keeping your home warm by drawing curtains at dusk, keeping doors closed to block out draughts, and using a hot water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you’re in bed.

Other advice includes wearing several thin layers of clothes to trap warm air and shoes with a good grip to go outside; eating regular hot meals and hot drinks for heat and energy; keeping active; being careful for often invisible black ice on roads and pavements; planning journeys and checking forecasts; keeping contact numbers handy; unplugging heaters and blankets to minimise the risk of fires.

Local people have also been urged to check on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be more vulnerable in cold weather.

Babies, older people and those who are ill are also more susceptible to hypothermia. The Trust has advised that if someone you know has been exposed to the cold and they are distressed, confused, have slow, shallow breathing or they’re unconscious, they may have severe hypothermia. In this case, dial 999 immediately to request an ambulance, and try to prevent further heat loss until it gets there.