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Health chiefs offer advice after amber cold weather alert issued for West Midlands

Health chiefs have offered advice after an amber cold weather alert was issued for the West Midlands.

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The Met Office has now covered all of England in yellow and amber cold alerts, with five regions set to cop the brunt of a snow deluge.

In its alert, it says severe impacts are "probable", with a spotlight on the over 65s.

An amber alert swamps the East Midlands, West Midlands, North East, North West and Yorkshire Highlands until midday on December 5. A yellow alert covers the east and south east of England and London for the same period.

An amber alert means extreme cold conditions are expected, with the elderly, people with underlying health conditions, babies and very young children at risk from the weather.

In the Black Country, forecasters have predicted severe cold weather and icy conditions with temperatures continuing to reach below zero this week.

People are encouraged to take extra precautions to keep safe while the alerts are in place, such as checking on vulnerable friends and neighbours, keeping food and medications in stock and ensuring homes are adequately heated.

Dr Ananta Dave, chief medical officer for NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board, said: “Taking extra care during cold weather is really important, particularly for people who are more vulnerable to suffering ill health due to the cold, such as babies and very young children, older people, pregnant women and people with pre-existing medical conditions.

“It is recommended that we should heat our homes to at least 18C in winter as this minimises risks to our health.

"If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and your bedroom just before you go to bed.

“Try to avoid going out in cold icy weather but if you do need to go outside wear shoes with slip resistant grip and wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer, to trap in heat.

"It is also important that you have frequent hot food and drinks as these can help to keep you warm.

“Make sure you also take the current weather alert into account when planning any activity over the following few days and try to avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions, especially if you’re at a higher risk of cold-related illness or falls.

“We are also asking everyone to remember the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk during this period of cold weather.

"Make sure they’re well, warm and have sufficient stocks of food and medicines, in case they cannot go out for a few days.”

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