UKHSA and the Met Office issue cold-health alerts

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UKHSA and the Met Office have issued an amber Cold-Health Alert (CHA) in 3 regions of England. A yellow CHA has also been issued in 2 regions of England.

The regions included in the amber alert are:

  • North East
  • North West
  • Yorkshire and the Humber

The regions included in the yellow alert are:

  • East Midlands
  • West Midlands

The alert is currently in place from 6pm on Tuesday 28 November to midday on Tuesday 5 December. The Met Office has forecast average temperatures around or less than 2°C during the time of the alert in areas under amber alert, with wintry showers, icy conditions, and some snow.

Under the new CHA system introduced by UKHSA and the Met Office, an amber alert means that cold weather impacts are likely to be felt across the whole health service for an extended period of time, with potential for the whole population to be at risk and where other sectors may also start to observe impacts, indicating a coordinated response is required. A yellow alert means that any impacts include the increased use of health care services by vulnerable populations and an increase in risk to health for individuals over the age of 65, those with pre-existing health conditions, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and some other vulnerable groups, such as those sleeping rough.

Dr Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA, said:

With a risk of widespread overnight frosts and some snow across the country this week, it's important to check in on the wellbeing of those most vulnerable to the cold.

Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, particularly older people, and those with pre-existing health conditions, as it increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65, it is important to try and heat the rooms where you spend most of your time in, such as your living room or bedroom."

Further information

At the start of November, our new CHA system in partnership with the Met Office went live. Stay across the alerts that have been issued in your region.

As part of the launch of the Adverse Weather and Health Plan (AWHP), UKHSA has updated its guidance on staying safe in cold weather.

To check the latest weather forecast updates, visit the Met Office website or app.

UKHSA has supplemented the AWHP with top tips for keeping warm and Keeping warm and well guidance.

For people struggling to afford heating bills, Simple Energy Advice provides free advice on energy efficiency and national grants that are available to help keep you warm this winter.

If people can't heat all the rooms they use, it's important to heat the rooms they spend most time in (for example, the living room during the day and the bedroom just before going to sleep). They should aim to heat these rooms to at least 18 degrees if they can. Wearing a few thin layers is better at trapping heat than wearing one thick layer.

Here are the ways in which you can keep yourself and others safe during periods of cold weather:

  • check the weather forecast and the news
  • make sure you have sufficient food and medicine
  • take simple measures to reduce draughts at home
  • keep bedroom windows closed
  • wear multiple layers of thinner clothing
  • if you're eligible, get vaccinated against flu and COVID-19
  • get help if needed – call NHS 111 or 999 in an emergency


Posted in: Healthcare News

Tags: Cold, covid-19, Flu, Food, Health Care, Heart, heat, Medicine, Respiratory, Sleep

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