Message from the Public Health Team at West Berkshire Council:
We are now in a period of winter preparedness known as Alert Level 1. This phase is to encourage us and our service users to be alert, and prepare for cold weather, i.e. to have seasonal vaccinations (flu & COVID-19 boosters), ensure houses are properly insulated, boilers are serviced, to stock up on LGP, heating oil or solid fuel if relevant, think ahead about the needs of neighbours who may be vulnerable, register on the Priority Services register where appropriate, order medications ahead of bank holidays, keep homes at the right temperature, etc.
Action now for level 1:
This year we continue to have the added challenges
of COVID-19. COVID-19 is likely to amplify the risks of cold weather. We
know that people who are vulnerable to dying from the impact of cold
temperatures overlap with those who are susceptible to illness from COVID-19.
These shared risk factors mean the cold weather period is of even greater
importance this year if we are to protect the health of our communities.
We know that cold weather increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, lung illnesses, flu, falls and injuries, particularly in older people and those with long-term health conditions. It is therefore important that swift action is taken when a cold weather Level 2 alert comes to you (Level 2 alert = 60% likelihood that the mean temperature is expected to be at or below 2°C for a period of 48 hours, and/or heavy snow/ widespread ice, in the coming days). Alerts are operational between now and 31st March 2022.
Key Resources For Your Service Area This Winter:
- ‘Keep Warm Keep Well’ leaflet for the public and professionals, which has been updated in view of COVID-19, giving advice on staying well in cold weather, covering issues such as financial help, healthy lifestyles, the flu vaccine and heating advice
- A slide deck with all the key messages and actions for cold weather preparedness during COVID-19.
- ‘Stay Well This Winter’ NHS leaflet
- AGE UK ‘Top Tips For Keeping Warm This Winter’ leaflet
This winter it is important to identify those who are at risk of living in fuel poverty and cold homes. The affordable warmth charity, National Energy Action (NEA), advocates asking 3 key questions at contact assessment stages to help identify those at risk
- Is your whole house warm in winter? (This question helps to identify how people are heating their home and whether they are limiting heating to certain rooms)
- Can you afford to heat your home to a comfortable level? (This question helps to identify whether occupants are meeting ‘minimum’ recommended temperatures all the time)
- Can you afford to pay your fuel bills? (This question will flag whether someone has sufficient income to spend on the fuel they need for warmth and comfort).
Winter Vaccination Information
This year there are two essential vaccines (the flu jab and the COVID-19 booster) that eligible groups may need this winter in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from dangerous viruses.
If you have any questions/queries please feel free to contact: publichealthandwellbeing@Westberks.gov.uk
Cold weather and COVID-19 slideset.pdf Cold Weather Messages Jan 21.pdf Flu_Vaccination_who_needs_it_and_why_12pp_A5_booklet_2020.pdf Keep_Warm_Keep_Well_leaflet_2021.pdf NHSE-SWTW-Leaflet-Web-NoCropMarks.pdf