Half of England is now under amber cold weather alert as fears mount over 'killer chill' | The Sun

HALF of England is now under an amber health alert over fears the cold weather could prove fatal.

Temperatures dropped well below 0C across the country this morning, and are expected to stay low into next week.

Officials fear the chilly snap will "significantly" impact the health and social care sector.

The Met Office and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) also said there was an "increased risk of mortality across the population".

Vulnerable people, including those aged 65 plus and Brits with underlying health conditions, are most at risk.

"But impacts may also be seen in younger age groups," the warning added.



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Hospitals and GP surgeries will "likely" be busier than normal as demand increases.

And temperatures inside care homes and hospitals may also fall below the recommended threshold of 18C.

Staffing issues, sparked by weather-related travel delays, transport issues and energy problems could also occur, the UKHSA said.

The "enhanced response" amber alerts cover the North East, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, and West Midlands.

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They are in force from 6pm on November 28 to midday on December 5.

Icy temperatures, snow and ice are expected during this time.

Yellow alerts, which cover the East of England, London, the South East, and South West, are valid for the same period.

Here, "significant impacts are possible across the health and social care sector due to forecast weather conditions".

A UKHSA spokesperson said: "Conditions across the UK are forecast to turn increasingly cold toward the weekend and into early next week.

"Overnight frosts will be sharp and widespread, with only limited recovery of temperatures by day.

"Current Met Office snow and ice warnings have been issued in the South West on Thursday, and eastern England on Thursday and Friday.

"There is some uncertainty over the longevity of low temperatures, but a protracted period into next week is currently the most likely solution, before turning milder from the middle of next week."

Met Office chief meteorologist, Neil Armstrong, added: "We’ve already seen snow settling in parts of eastern Scotland and northeastern England.

"As the cold air continues to spread across the UK, we also expect to see some snow over the high ground of southwest England overnight tonight and through tomorrow.

"Snow showers will continue along the North Sea coast with a northeasterly air flow, leading to further accumulations over higher ground.

"Where the showers fall as rain, there is a risk of icy patches forming overnight with temperatures widely dipping below freezing.

"A number of national severe weather warnings have been issued and these are likely to be updated through the week so stay up to date with the forecast for your area."

There are many reasons for the increased risk of ill-health during the winter. The government says these include:

  • Poor quality housing and particularly cold homes
  • Higher frequency of circulating infectious diseases, such as flu and norovirus during the winter months
  • Physical hazards such as snow and ice

Malfunctioning or inappropriate appliances to heat homes can also increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

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And when a house is damp as well as cold, mould is more likely to occur.

This can increase the risk of illness, especially from asthma.

How to stay warm at home

ou should heat your home to a temperature that is comfortable for you.

Low indoor temperatures can have a serious impact on your health, especially if you have medical conditions or are older.

Simple changes can help to keep you and your home warm:

  • Try to heat rooms you spend a lot of time in, such as the living room or bedroom, to at least 18C
  • Try to reduce draughts; you can fit draft excluders around doors cheaply
  • Keep your bedroom windows closed at night
  • Wear several layers of thinner clothing; this could keep you warmer than one thicker layer.

You should also try not to sit still for more than an hour or so and stretch your limbs regularly.

It is also important to get vaccinated to help reduce your risk of respiratory illnesses, to treat minor ailments like sore throats and colds quickly, and to call NHS 111 or 999 in an emergency if you need to.

Source: UKHSA

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