Take care as winter bites

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THE region’s health officials are urging people to take extra care in the cold winter weather.

NHS North East faces additional pressure at this time of year due to injuries from slips, trips and falls, as well as an increased risk of chest infections, heart attacks and strokes.

Now health bosses have called on the public to make sure their elderly friends, neighbours and relatives are staying warm and well wrapped-up.

Acting Regional Director of Public Health Professor Peter Kelly said: “The cold weather can bring an increased risk of chest infections, heart attacks and strokes for the elderly. To avoid this, our advice is to make sure your house is warm enough and resist the urge to save money on the heating bills, and if you’re going out, wrap up warm.

“We also urge those with long-term conditions to make sure they keep taking their medication and have sufficient supplies so that they don’t need to go out for more during the cold spell.

“The NHS in the North East is committed to helping as many people as possible avoid a Christmas in hospital. By being aware of the change in conditions you could avoid falling victim to the elements.

“If you have an elderly parent, relative or neighbour, by just offering to go to the shops for them, or gritting their garden path, you can help them to stay indoors where it is warm and you could also be helping them avoid a trip to A&E this Christmas.”

The service has issued tips for reducing the risk of a fall.

They include wear proper footwear, use handrails where possible, take small steps, avoid carrying lots of bags, especially on stairways, walk slowly, keep both hands free for balance, keep your eyes on where you are going, test potentially slippy areas by tapping your foot on them, step carefully from vehicles and keep walkways clear of debris, water, ice and other slippery materials.