Brits urged to check on vulnerable as cold weather alert issued for UK

18 January 2022, 22:14

People are being advised to look after vulnerable neighbours and relatives as a cold snap heads for the UK
People are being advised to look after vulnerable neighbours and relatives as a cold snap heads for the UK. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

A cold weather alert has been issued as freezing temperatures and widespread frosts are set to hit parts of the UK this week.

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The UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) urged Britons to stay warm and look out for those most at risk from the effects of colder conditions as it issued the warning on Tuesday.

The alert covers central and southern England.

The Met Office said the West Midlands, East Midlands, East, South East and South West are also set to see colder temperatures from around 6pm on Wednesday to 9am on Sunday.

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"Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, particularly for older people and those with heart and lung problems, as it increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections," said Agostinho Sousa, consultant in public health medicine at the UKHSA.

"Remind vulnerable relatives and neighbours to heat their home to at least 18C - particularly if they have reduced mobility, are 65 or older, or have a health condition.

"Should they need to go outside, it's important for them to wear shoes with a good grip."

Met Office chief meteorologist Steve Ramsdale said: "A change in conditions brings cold air to the UK, spreading from the north later on Wednesday then lingering over England and Wales for the rest of the week and into the weekend.

"With easing winds and good clear spells, a widespread frost is likely on Thursday and Friday morning with temperatures recovering somewhat by day."

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It comes as the Alzheimer's Society warned colder weather can bring specific challenges for those living with dementia and can even make symptoms temporarily worse.

The charity said: "People with dementia aren't always able to communicate the fact they're cold - or they may not even recognise it themselves."

Simple measures can be taken to ensure they stay safe and warm, the organisation added.

These include making sure those with dementia are dressed for colder weather, supporting them across icy and snowy surfaces outside and encouraging regular movement as well as regular meals.