NORTH Somerset and the rest of the South West have been placed on an official yellow 'cold health' alert until next Tuesday (December 5).

It comes as the Met Office forecasts average temperatures around or less than 2dagsC over the coming days.

We are being told to expected some wintry showers, icy conditions and snow in places.

A yellow alert means that any impacts include the increased use of health care services by vulnerable populations and an increase in risk to health for individuals over the age of 65, those with pre-existing health conditions, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and some other vulnerable groups, such as those sleeping rough.

The new cold health alert system was introduced in November.

Dr Agostinho Sousa, head of extreme events and health protection at UK Health Security Agency, said: "With a risk of widespread overnight frosts and some snow across the country this week, it’s important to check in on the wellbeing of those most vulnerable to the cold.

"Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, particularly older people, and those with pre-existing health conditions, as it increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and chest infections.

"If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over the age of 65, it is important to try and heat the rooms where you spend most of your time in, such as your living room or bedroom."

Here are the ways in which you can keep yourself and others safe during periods of cold weather:

  • check the weather forecast and the news;
  • make sure you have sufficient food and medicine;
  • take simple measures to reduce draughts at home;
  • keep bedroom windows closed;
  • wear multiple layers of thinner clothing;
  • if you’re eligible, get vaccinated against flu and Covid-19;
  • get help if needed – call NHS 111 or 999 in an emergency.