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Winter deaths: protect your health in a cold snap

Over 20,000 more people died in the UK last winter compared with the summer, according to new statistics

There were an estimated 23,200 excess winter deaths in England and Wales during 2018/2019, according to new figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). This is significantly lower than last year (the highest number since 1976), but it’s still extremely important to take care in cold weather.

Far more people die in winter compared with summer in the UK. This is partly due to the flu, which people are more likely to get between December and March. The over-65s, pregnant women, and people with underlying health problems are more vulnerable to serious complications of the virus.

Cold weather can also put a strain on the heart, leading to more heart attacks and strokes during winter.

Hypothermia (a dangerous drop in body temperature) can be fatal. It’s often caused by living in an inadequately heated house or not wearing warm-enough clothing in cold temperatures.

Protect yourself in time for the next cold snap with our tips on how to stay warm and comfortable in winter.

Ward off colds and flu

The flu can be serious, but having your annual vaccine is the best chance of avoiding the nasty illness and any possible complications.

It’s also worth stocking up on the best-value cold and flu remedies, just in case you do get struck down with a bug.

Follow our top tips on saving money on cold and flu remedies.

Help with your heating

No one should have to choose between eating and heating. You may be eligible for a government scheme designed to help people meet the cost of keeping their home warm.

Find out whether you or a loved one could be eligible for Winter Fuel Payment. It is a tax-free allowance to help older people with their heating costs in the colder winter months.

There are a number of other schemes that provide funding to help you make your home more efficient and cut energy bills, such as Fuel Direct and the Cold Weather Payment. Explore our advice on government energy grants for your home for more information.

Switch your energy supplier

We all dread the arrival of energy bills, but many of us aren’t taking advantage of the best-value tariffs. You could save hundreds of pounds a year by switching your energy supplier. It’s easier than you think.

Take a look at Which? Switch for a transparent and impartial way to compare energy tariffs.

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