Winter weather conditions can significantly increase the risk of ill health and hospital admission if you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the collective name for a group of conditions, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. Around 900,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with COPD, but it is thought that there are about 3.5 million people living with the disease who have not yet been diagnosed.
If you suffer from COPD it is important to take extra precautions during periods of cold weather to avoid your symptoms getting worse. In winter, a combination of cold weather and virus levels can make your symptoms flare up.
The Met Office can help you to take control of your health and manage your condition more effectively with our service; the service, which runs all year round, alerts you to changes in weather that may affect your condition giving you the opportunity to take action to stay well.
Further information about Healthy Outlook® can be found below.
There is a range of different preventative measures you can take to avoid an exacerbation of COPD. Make sure you regularly check our weather forecasts to stay one step ahead of the weather and look out for our Cold Weather Alerts on our website, Twitter feed and via weather forecasts on the TV and radio. Our Cold Weather alerts inform you when cold weather, snow or ice has been forecast to enable you to take the necessary precautions to stay safe and well.
The British Lung Foundation has the following advice to help keep your COPD symptoms at bay:
Healthy Outlook is a telehealth alert service that is available to patients through participating GP practices. When you have registered you will receive a patient pack full of useful tips and contact information to keep you well. After opting to take part in the service, you will get a recorded voice call, by telephone, when environmental conditions are forecast that are expected to increase the risk of your symptoms becoming worse.
Even short periods of extreme cold temperature can cause serious illness for COPD patients. The Met Office has created Healthy Outlook® to help people with COPD take control of their own health. We monitor environmental conditions and warn people when their health is likely to be affected, giving them the opportunity to take action to stay well.
The Healthy Outlook® service provides you with an automated telephone call that alerts you when environmental conditions are forecast that are expected to increase the risk of your symptoms becoming worse.
The call will:
The patient pack is available in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (traditional), English, Gujurati, Gurmukhi, Urdu and Welsh.
The calls are available in the following languages: Arabic, Cantonese, English, Gujurati, Punjabi, Sylheti and Welsh.
Here is some feedback from two patients who have been using the service:
"It has helped me a lot to understand my condition and prepare myself for a change in the weather, it is a great help."
"I found the fact that I had the service reassured me and helped me to be aware of the times when I had to take more care of my health."
If you would like to receive Healthy Outlook® please contact your GP surgery to find out if it is offering the service.