Nari Desk: The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan had his flu vaccination last month and urges others eligible for a free flu jab to protect themselves against the potentially life threatening illness.
Launched by Public Health England and NHS England, the Stay Well This Winter campaign encourages people most at risk from cold weather, including those with long-term health conditions and the over 65s, to prepare for the lower temperatures.
London mayor, Sadiq Khan was eligible for a free flu jab on the NHS as he suffers from adult onset asthma which is a long-term health condition. Sadiq Khan said: “As someone who suffers from asthma, having a flu jab is really important for me. And I want to encourage all who have a long-term health condition, carers and those over the age of 65 to do the same. Don’t put it off – speak to your GP or pharmacist today.”
More people die over the course of each winter compared to other times of the year and there are a range of conditions worsened by the cold weather – 80 per cent of these deaths are accounted for by people with circulatory diseases (such as heart disease, lung illnesses and stroke), dementia and respiratory diseases (such as asthma).
Exposure to cold indoor or outdoor temperatures increases blood pressure, thereby increasing the risk of heart failure, kidney disease, stroke or dementia. Cold temperatures can also make blood more likely to clot, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. In addition, cold can also affect the respiratory system, which reduces the lung’s ability to fight off infection explaining why lower temperatures are linked with bronchitis and pneumonia.
Colder weather is associated with an increase in deaths and has a significant impact on the number of people becoming ill, increasing the winter pressures felt by the health care services. Research shows that for every one degree centigrade drop below five degrees in outdoor average temperatures, there is more than a 10 per cent increase in older people consulting their GP for breathing problems, a 0.8 per cent increase in emergency hospital admissions and a 3.4 per increase in deaths.
The campaign urges people to be ready for the colder season and to seek immediate advice and help from a pharmacist as soon as they feel unwell, before their condition gets more serious.