Doctors from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are urging residents to take care in the freezing conditions predicted for the rest of the week,
Residents who are older and frail, as well as people living with respiratory conditions, such as Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can be particularly affected by cold temperatures.
These temperatures can make it harder to breathe and trigger symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing.
Dr. James Ogle, GP in West Leicestershire said “Asthma and COPD both affect the breathing and the cold weather can make things more difficult for sufferers. People who are older or frail are also at more risk of catching a respiratory illness at this time of year, which can be serious.
But there are some things that you can do to help prevent your condition getting worse. Keep your house warm, and if you do go out, wrap up carefully and use a scarf to breathe cold air through and breathe through your nose. If you have asthma or COPD, make sure you know how to use your inhaler and what to do when your condition gets worse.”
As the weather forecast predicts icy conditions going into the weekend, the risk of slips and falls also becomes more likely. Residents are reminded to stay safe by wearing sturdy boots/shoes, taking care when walking and even considering waiting for the weather to improve before making a journey.
If someone is unlucky enough to take a tumble it is not always necessary to visit a GP or A&E. Usually the best course of action for minor sprains and strains is to visit a local pharmacy who can advise on how to take care at home. If a patient needs immediate medical advice when their GP practice is closed, but it’s not a 999 emergency they are advised to call NHS 111.
Notes for editors
Top tips for Asthma and COPD sufferers in the cold
• If you go out, keep warm, use a scarf to breathe cold air through and breathe through your nose.
• Make sure you take your reliever inhaler with you (usually the blue one), and that you know how to use it properly. If you’re not sure how to use it, your pharmacist GP or Nurse can check and advise you on technique.
• Make sure you have at least an annual check-up with your GP practice, and that you put an asthma/COPD plan in place, which will tell you what to do if your symptoms worsen