People are being urged to take care as temperatures plummet in Brighton and Hove this weekend.
Vulnerable people in particular are being urged to take a range of precautions by Brighton and Hove City Council.
The council said: “On average there are around 25,000 excess winter deaths each year in England and there is strong evidence that some of these winter deaths are indeed ‘extra’ and are related to cold temperatures as well as infectious diseases such as flu.”
It said that there were an estimated 130 excess winter deaths in Brighton and Hove alone in 2012-13. This was comparable with the numbers across the wider south east region and the country as a whole.
The council also said that estimates suggested that about 14,800 households (11.9 per cent) in Brighton and Hove were in fuel poverty. The proportion was higher than the regional average (8.1 per cent) and the national average (10.4 per cent.
Tom Scanlon, the director of public health at the council, said: “We know that cold outdoor temperatures, even as high as 4C to 8C, can negatively affect your health – especially if you are aged over 65 or under 5, have a long-term health condition or disability or are pregnant.”
Dr Scanlon said: One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.”
Keeping warm during the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression, he said.
The chances of these problems are higher in those who are vulnerable to cold-related illnesses.
The council also urged people to help their neighbours during the winter.
It said: “Check on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well.
“Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during very cold weather.”
Anyone with concerns about an elderly relative or neighbour can call the Age UK helpline on 0800 009966.
The council also urged people to have a flu vaccine, particularly those most at risk.
It said: “Don’t put off getting the flu vaccination. If you’re eligible, get it now. It’s free because you need it.”
Help is also available to those who qualify for the following.
- Cold weather benefits
- Cold weather payments
- Winter fuel payments
Additionally, the Energy Saving Trust can give advice on how to cut bills make a home more energy-efficient. For more information, call 0300 123 1234.