COLD weather means vulnerable people need help, the NHS is warning. 

Health experts at Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust are appealing for help, asking people to look out for vulnerable neighbours, friends and family.

Check they are warm and have enough essentials, including food and repeat medication.

The NHS says keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

Homes should be heated to a temperature that is comfortable, and should be at least 18°C in the rooms that regularly used, such as living room and bedroom.

This is particularly important for people with a health condition. 

It is best to keep bedroom windows closed at night.

An NHS spokesman said: ‘Remember that other people, such as older neighbours, friends and family members, may need some extra help over the winter. ‘There’s a lot you can do to help people who need support.

'Icy pavements and roads can be very slippery, and cold weather can stop people from going out.

‘Keep in touch with your friends, neighbours and family and ask if they need any practical help, or if they’re feeling unwell.

‘Make sure they're stocked up with enough food supplies for a few days, in case they cannot go out.

‘If they do need to go out in the cold, encourage them to wear shoes with a good grip and a scarf around the mouth to protect them from cold air, and to reduce their risk of chest infections.

‘Make sure they get any prescription medicines if bad weather is forecast.’

Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. 

This includes people aged 65 and older, babies and children under the age of five, people on a low income who cannot afford heating, people who have a long-term health condition, people with a disability, pregnant women and people who have a mental health condition.