The Western Trust has issued advice for all patients and the general public to help them keep warm and well this winter.
Trust bosses said that this time of year brings with it a spike in a range of easily spread ailments such as coughs and colds and the flu.
Fionnuala McKinney, Head of Health Improvement said this week: “Prevention is always better than cure and there are things we can all do to ensure our community keeps well during the extreme weather conditions we are facing and throughout the rest of the winter.”
The Western Trust is urging people to follow 10 tips to keep them safe. These are:
1)Keep your home warm - Draw your curtains at dusk and keep your doors closed to block out draughts. Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket in bed (but not both at the same time).
2) Wear warm clothes - wear several thin layers of clothes in order to keep the warm air trapped.
3) Eat well - Food is a vital source of energy, which helps keep your body warm.
4) Keep active - Move around at least once an hour.
5) Help others - Check on friends, relatives and neighbours who may be more vulnerable in cold weather. Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines.
6) Travel carefully - Icy pavements and roads can be extremely slippery. Wear footwear with good grips.
7) Plan ahead – check the weather forecast before travelling and keep a list of people at hand that you can contact if you are unable to get out of your home.
8) Prevent fires in the home - Unplug heaters/ blankets when not in use. Do not use portable heaters for drying clothes. Make sure you have a fitted and working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide monitor.
9) Recognise the signs of hypothermia - Hypothermia is caused by being in a cold environment. People who are particularly at risk are those who are elderly, ill or babies. 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 keep them warm.
10) Consider you alcohol intake – Staying within lower risk guidelines will go a long way to avoiding cold-related dangers.