With the prospect of heavy snowfall on the Island and the cold snap continuing, Islanders are reminded of the dangers of venturing out in the winter weather.
The cold weather proves hazardous for people going about their daily routines and older people in particular are asked to take special care as roads, pavements, driveways and garden paths can be very slippery.
With temperatures around freezing and roads and paths covered in snow and ice, NHS Isle of Wight urges local residents to take great care and for the elderly and vulnerable to stay in, keep warm and not to go out.
Mary Bound, A&E Matron at St. Mary’s Hospital said: “A fracture can have a major impact on your life. You’ll be in plaster for at least six weeks and will then need rehabilitation for a couple of weeks, so that could mean you are out of action for two months. A broken ankle could see you out of action for three or four months. So please think about the repercussions on your life before stepping out in the freezing conditions. Be safe and only go outside if you really need to.”
Some practical steps which Islanders, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, can take to minimise the risks to themselves during periods of cold weather:
- Have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day – if possible, eating regularly helps to keep energy levels up during winter
- Wear several light layers of warm clothes
- Keep as active as possible
- Remember to wrap up warm if you need to go outside on cold days
- Stay in and only go out if it is urgent. Many injuries, such as broken bones, can potentially be avoided if you stay away from icy paths.
- Only call 999 if it is a genuine emergency.
- There is a range of NHS service you can contact for advice or treatment.
- Keep a watchful eye on any vulnerable neighbours, friends and family.
Winter is a busy time for ambulances, hospitals and GP surgeries. To avoid any unnecessary delays in patients getting the treatment they need, anyone feeling unwell is encouraged to ‘Choose Well’ this winter. NHS Isle of Wight is encouraging people to choose the right NHS service if they need expert health advice or treatment. For life threatening emergencies, always call 999. For less urgent matters, it is important to be aware of the choice of local NHS non-emergency services available including:
Your local Pharmacy – for expert advice on common illnesses and the best medicines to treat them. Keeping a well stocked medicine cabinet can help with self treatment of minor illnesses.
GPs – providing a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions for illnesses.
If you need to see a dentist urgently, please contact the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Dental Helpline on 0845 050 8345.
Out of hours the Island Health Line can be contacted on 0845 6031 007.
The Beacon Health Centre – for treatment of minor injuries such as cuts, stings, muscle and joint injuries without an appointment – 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
Accident & Emergency (A&E) or 999 – for serious and life-threatening emergencies. If someone is seriously ill and in need of immediate emergency care, call 999 and ask for the ambulance service.