Cold weather can trigger a life-threatening condition – how to prevent complications

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Cold weather can trigger a range of health problems, some more severe than others. Sore throats and norovirus are more common in winter, and cold air is a major trigger of asthma symptoms.

Another condition which can be triggered by freezing temperatures can have life-threatening consequences – heart attacks.

The NHS explains: “Heart attacks are more common in winter. This may be because cold weather increases blood pressure and puts more strain on the heart.
It recommends: “Heat the main rooms you use to at least 18C and use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed.”

“Wrap up warm when you go out and wear a hat, scarf and gloves.”

Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather, including people aged 65 and older, babies and children under the age of 5, people on a low income who cannot afford heating, and people with a long-term health condition.
Other ways to keep warm in your home are to use a hot water bottle or electric blanket in bed – but don’t use both at the same time.

Having at least one hot meal a day, eating regularly and having hot drinks regularly can also help, and drawing curtains at dusk and keeping doors closed to block out draughts is also recommended.

What is a heart attack?
A heart attack occurs when a blockage in the coronary artery causes part of the heart muscle to be starved of blood and oxygen.

They’re considered a medical emergency and can be life threatening, so recognising the symptoms in yourself or someone else and calling 999 for an ambulance immediately is very important.

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