Published: Thursday, 11th January 2024

Medway and Kent will continue to be covered by a Cold-Health Alert until Friday.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and Met Office guidance has been upgraded from yellow to amber - signalling that low temperatures could present a health risk for the whole population, and the impact is likely to be felt across the health service and other sectors.

The warning is set to remain in force until 12noon on Friday 19th January, with daytime temperatures stuck in low single figures and some nights dipping below freezing.

Ice throughout this period will make surfaces slippery and possible snow could potentially cause travel disruption.

Given this, residents are asked to check in on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours to make sure they keep safe and follow practical advice.

Cold weather can be a risk for anyone

Kate Langford, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Kent and Medway, said: “Prolonged cold weather can be a risk for anyone, but those who are vulnerable, including elderly people, those with breathing difficulties, and children under five, are particularly at risk.

"If you do need NHS help, NHS 111, online or via phone, is there for you and we list all pharmacies and urgent treatment centres at”

Stay well this winter

Cold weather can be bad for your health, but there are some simple things we can all do, to prepare for severe weather and keep warm and healthy:

  • Try to heat rooms you spend a lot of time in, like the living room or bedroom, to at least 18C.
  • Keep your bedroom at 18C at night and keep your bedroom window closed.
  • Try to reduce draughts by drawing your curtains at dusk and fitting draught excluders around doors – this can be done cheaply.
  • Keep moving indoors with little exercises like moving your feet up and down.
  • If you have visitors, ventilate the room for a few minutes before and after they arrive to help stop the spread of germs.
  • Wear a hat, scarf and gloves outside, particularly in December and January.
  • When out and about, wear shoes with good grip to avoid slips and falls on slippery or icy surfaces.
  • Wear several layers of thinner clothing, this will keep you warmer than one thick layer,
  • Drink hot drinks and eat warm foods like curries, stews and soups.
  • If bad weather is forecast, plan ahead check you have enough food and medication in case it’s harder to leave the house.
  • Check on older or vulnerable relatives and neighbours – check their heating is working and if they need any groceries or medications.
  • To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), babies should sleep in rooms heated to between 16C and 20C.
  • Remember to check that your heating and cooking appliances are safe. Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they’re operating properly.
  • Contact your water and power suppliers to see if you can be on the Priority Services Register, a free support service that helps people in vulnerable situations.
  • You can get vaccinated to reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses. Check your eligibility for a flu vaccination  or COVID-19 booster.

Stay safe on Medway’s roads

Top tips when travelling during the winter months:

  • Plan your journey: early mornings and afternoons will be darker – try to choose routes which are well lit.
  • Be bright, be seen: wear something reflective. If you are wearing a reflective item including a keyring, bag tag or sticker, motorists will be able to see you 150 metres sooner.
  • Prepare a winter essentials car kit: be prepared and have a kit ready with an ice scraper, de-icer, a torch, batteries, jump start cables, a road map, food and drink and a high-visibility vest.
  • Make sure your windscreen is completely clear before you set off so you can easily spot any hazards on the road.
  • Use the highest possible gear to avoid wheel spin.
  • Avoid braking or accelerating sharply - If you skid, ease off the accelerator but don’t brake suddenly.
  • In snow or bad weather conditions, avoid driving if you can.

Read more tips on how to stay warm and well this winter

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