Press Release

Department of Health and Children and the HSE remind people to be extra vigilant during the current cold spell

The Department of Health and Children and the HSE today reminded people to be extra vigilant during the current cold spell and to take all possible actions to minimise public health risks. Cold weather can be a problem for anyone, especially older people, children, people with a disability and those with long-term illness.

Food is fuel and if you eat well it helps keep you warm. Keep active by walking around the house regularly. Wear several layers of light clothes instead of one thick layer. Wear clothes made from wool, cotton or fleecy synthetic fibres. In very cold weather:

  • sleep with warm bedding and warm pyjamas or night dress,
  • wear bed socks and a night cap, and
  • keep a flask with a hot drink by your bed.

Keeping your home warm

Use a room temperature monitor to make sure your house is warm enough. If the temperature falls below 16ºC you could be at risk of hypothermia (when your body gets too cool to function properly).

Keep the living room warm throughout the day (21º C if active, 24º C if inactive). Close the curtains in the evening. Heat your bedroom before going to bed and make sure the room is warm before you get up in the morning.

The HSE recently highlighted the increase in people presenting at Emergency Departments as a result of slips and falls in the ice. Falls can cause major problems for people of all ages and especially the elderly. Ice on pavements represents a major risk to people of all ages and people should take extra care when walking outside.

Some older people may be isolated in their homes as they are cautious about the conditions for walking outside. Therefore it is important that we all make sure that our elderly relatives and neighbours are safe, warm and have the necessary supplies and any prescription drugs that they need.

Dr Philip Crowley, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health and Children said: “It is important that we all take the recommended precautions given the unusually prolonged and severe cold weather. It is expected that the current spell will continue and be more severe in some parts of the country. We must look out for each other in our communities to make sure no one is stranded or in difficulties”.