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As cold snap approaches Director of Public Health urges winter precautions

December 09, 2014 11:09 AM

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As weather forecasters predict a fast approaching cold snap, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s (NHSGGC) Director of Public Health is urging people to stay warm when the cold weather takes hold.
Dr Linda de Caestecker has stressed the importance of people, particularly the elderly, taking a few simple precautions to ensure a safe and healthy start to 2015.
She said: “As we brace for a sustained period of cold weather, and the possibility of snow, it’s important everyone takes sensible precautions to stay warm.
“I would encourage older people, in particular, to dress warmly when they go out and to eat at least one hot meal a day along with plenty of hot drinks.
“It’s also best to keep the whole house warm, even at a lower temperature, rather than heating just the one room to a higher temperature. Going from a warm room into a cold one can heighten the risk of cardiovascular problems.
“Anyone going out to celebrate Christmas or New Year should also make sure they dress warmly and think about how much alcohol they are drinking.
“It should be a happy and enjoyable time but it can also be a time where you put yourself at risk of serious harm by drinking too much and not paying attention to your safety.
“Alcohol and the cold are a dangerous combination. Contrary to popular belief going out into the fresh air does not sober you up. 
“It’s also a fallacy that alcohol ‘heats you up’ when you’re cold. When drinking alcohol your face may get flushed and your skin feels warmer but your body is actually losing heat more quickly because the blood is rushing to the skin. 
“The body’s normal protective response to cold is inhibited by alcohol, allowing your body temperature to decrease more quickly, bringing an increased danger of hypothermia. Your body temperature may decrease without you actually realising it.
“By taking a couple of simple steps you’re giving yourself a better chance a safe and healthy start to 2015.”

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