Health Matters: Cold Weather and COVID-19
The latest edition of Health Matters, PHE’s professional resource, focuses on the effects of cold weather on health, looking at how COVID-19 amplifies cold-related risks and actions that can be taken to prevent harm, particularly to the most vulnerable. This blog provides a summary of the full edition’s content.
Cold weather and health
The risk of death increases as temperatures fall, so periods of extremely low temperatures can cause significant harm. However, adverse impacts on health are seen even at outdoor temperatures that might be considered relatively mild (4 to 8°C).The human body responds in several different ways to exposure to cold weather and it can have both direct and indirect effects on our health.
Delivering the flu immunisation programme during the COVID-19 pandemic
The latest edition of Health Matters, PHE’s professional resource, focuses on the national flu immunisation programme and the delivery of the 2020/21 programme, which will be the largest one to date offering 30 million people a flu vaccine.
What is flu?
Flu is an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract, usually characterised by a fever, chills, headache, aching muscles, joint pain and fatigue, but not a new, continuous cough or a loss of or change in your normal sense of taste and smell, which are symptoms of COVID-19.Flu is a highly infectious virus different to the common cold, and spreads rapidly in closed communities and even people with mild or no symptoms can infect others.
Smoking and mental health
The latest edition of Health Matters, PHE’s professional resource, focuses on smoking among the population of people living with a broad range of mental health conditions, ranging from low mood and common conditions such as depression and anxiety, to more severe conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The scale of the problem
Smoking rates are declining in England, with prevalence in adults (aged 18+) having decreased from 17.1% in 2013/14 to 14.5% in 2018/19 General Practice Patient Survey data.While a decrease in smoking rates has also been seen among adults with a long-term mental health condition – falling from 35.3% in 2013/14 to 26.8% in 2018/19 – prevalence remains substantially higher, despite the same levels of motivation to quit.