Friday, 3 Feb 2023

Pensioners told to heat homes to at least 18C as Britain freezes

Weather: Met Office issues yellow warnings for snow and ice

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Pensioners and the vulnerable are being advised by health officials to heat their homes to a minimum of 18C, as this week’s cold snap poses a “serious” risk to the over-65s.

Dr Agostinho de Sousa from the UK Health Security Agency warned: “If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65, it is important to try and heat your home to at least 18C.”

If cold temperatures persist for four days or more, they increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes in the over-60s, according to a British Heart Foundation (BHF) study.

According to the BHF website: “When it gets cold our bodies adjust to hold onto our core heat and stay warm.

“This adjustment can be harder for those with a heart condition.”

The advice continues: “The cold weather takes away your body heat so your heart needs to work harder to keep you warm.

“Your blood vessels will narrow so your heart can focus on pumping blood to your brain and other major organs.”

The Met Office has issued a string of yellow weather warnings for ice across swathes of the UK.

Snow and ice is expected to arrive in Northern Ireland, North Wales and north-western England, with nighttime temperatures to drop into sub-zero temperatures in most areas.

Cornwall and Devon also have their own weather warnings, and the homeless in London have been housed in emergency accommodation as part of the city’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol.

Motorists have been advised not to travel on the roads unless “absolutely essential.”

Superintendent Mark Runacres of Avon and Somerset Police said: “We are advising the public to only travel where absolutely essential due to the treacherous driving conditions.

“If travel is necessary, we ask the public to take extreme caution and allow additional time to travel.”

As a result of the icy roads 53 road traffic collisions were reported to police between 6pm and 11pm on Monday night.

Although there were injuries recorded as a result of the collisions, none are thought to be serious.

In the Scottish Highlands, temperatures could plunge to as low as -10C, with Edinburgh set to see -2C and Belfast -1C.

Chief Met Office meteorologist Jason Kelly said: “If people can’t heat all the rooms they use, it’s important to heat the living room during the day and the bedroom just before going to sleep.

“Wearing several layers of thinner clothing will keep you warmer than one thicker layer. Having plenty of hot food and drinks is also effective.”

The UK should have thawed by the time the weekend arrives, with the Met Office predicting temperatures will climb during Friday.

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