Wintery showers are forecast over the next few days, so East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is urging people stock-up and be prepared.
EMAS Simon Harris, Assistant Director of Operations for Derbyshire Division, said: “Keeping safe during severe winter weather is mainly down to common sense. If you have to go outside wear sensible footwear to limit the risk of slipping and several layers of clothing to keep warm and dry.
“The Highway Code gives advice for driving in ice and snowy weather, including stocking your boot with essentials. Put simply, you need to take extra care – every winter we respond to injured people who were in a rush so took the risk or ’didn’t think it was that bad.’
“If we have a lot of snow and you plan to take your children out to play, make sure you all have a snack beforehand as the calories will give your body energy in the cold weather.
“Take care when shovelling snow – the cold air makes it harder to work and breathe and this can add extra strain on the body and can be the cause of heart attacks in the vulnerable.
“Make sure you have a well-stocked first-aid kit including treatments for colds and flu, or sickness and diarrhoea to stop you from getting dehydrated, plasters and antiseptic wipes for small wounds, paracetamol and other pain killers to treat head, tooth and muscle pains. A visit to your pharmacist before the bad weather is a good idea as they are qualified medical professionals who can advise you on the items you may need during the winter.”
Each winter demand on the ambulance service rises significantly when the weather gets colder, and it is especially challenging for us to reach people quickly if snow arrives as it did last year for weeks on end.
By being prepared, people can manage their own minor illnesses or injuries, and get advice from the right health service. Log onto www.nhs.uk for details of your local health services or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 for advice if you feel unwell, you are unsure of your condition, are confused or need help.
Real emergencies include chest pain, choking, difficulty in breathing, severe bleeding, fitting or concussion.