By Emily Caulkett-
The Met Office has warned of severe cold weather is set to hit the UK this week, with overnight temperatures plummeting to -6C (21F) in places.
The probability of snow in northern Scotland is said to be high, although temperatures will be low enough to make it a possibility anywhere in the country.
The warning comes with a recommendation for people to use their heating, despite rising energy prices, and to look out for people who are especially vulnerable.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Met Office have issued a level three cold weather alert between 18:00 GMT on Wednesday and 09:00 on Monday, 12 December, in most parts of England. The level also alerts social and healthcare services to take action to protect high-risk groups.
A yellow weather warning for snow has been in place for northern Scotland on Wednesday, making it more likely in some parts of the Britain.
A section of the public has become accustomed to warming their homes below half the measure recommended by The World Health Organization’s official standard of an adequately warm home at 21C in living rooms and 18C in bedrooms.
Sophie Barrett, spokesperson for Age UK, has urged people to put the heating on and thoroughly warm up their home, give the risk of increased blood pressure and a faster heartbeat – which in turns can exacerbate the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
At low temperatures, those who already have poor heart health and the elderly become even more susceptible to serious health issues.
Speaking after the level three alert was issued, Dr Agostinho Sousa, consultant in Public Health Medicine at UKHSA, said: “Cold weather can have serious consequences for health, and older people and those with heart or lung conditions can be particularly at risk.”
People with pre-existing medical conditions should make sure their homes are heated to a comfortable temperature, he added.
Several Layers of Thin Layers
The UKHSA has also advised that wearing several layers of thinner clothing will keep one warmer than one thicker layer. Having plenty of hot food and drinks is also effective for keeping warm.
Prof Damian Bailey, from the University of South Wales, told BBC News “the evidence clearly suggests that cold is more deadly than the heat, there are a higher number of deaths caused through cold snaps than there are through the heat snaps”.
A study published earlier this month suggested that too much exposure to cold can make one susceptible to the risk of respiratory and circulatory illness but could also harm mental health.
It renders redundant earlier advice by the government for the pubic to save energy as part of a mechanism to cope with the higher cost of living sparked by sanctions reacting to Russia’s invasion of Kuwait. experts is generally the most reliable.
Last year, a report by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) suggested poor housing conditions in England alone cost the NHS £1.4bn – and that half of that sum (£857m) can be attributed to residents’ exposure to cold in their homes.
The challenge to ordinary brits who wish heed the warning to stay warm may come in the form of affordability- whether they can afford the extra costs of keeping their property warm at night. Much will also depend on what trade-offs they can make in their daily or weekly spending to compensate for any extra cost of heating.
Higher income families aware of the waring will make the adjustments and stay absolutely warm, nut may will be moved towards saving costs.
Families will generally gauge the depth of the cold they feel with the costs, using heavy warm blankets to have the final say.