Keeping south east London well this winter

Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications, especially if you're 65 or older, or if you have a long-term health condition.

17 Jan 2024

The Met Office and the UK Health Security Agency have issued an amber Cold Health Alert for London, which is currently in place until midday on Friday 19th January.

As temperatures drop and weather becomes more hostile, we’re here to help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe and in good health.

It is now more important than ever to look out for others — cold weather can have serious health consequences for older people, children and those with certain long-term health conditions.

Who’s most at risk from cold weather?

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 5
  • people on a low income (so cannot afford heating)
  • people who have a long-term health condition
  • people with a disability
  • pregnant women
  • people who have a mental health condition

Reach out to elderly or vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours to check how they are coping. Offering practical advice, such as grocery shopping or collecting medicines can make a significant difference.

Stay warm and safe this winter

We are aware that this winter may be more challenging for families and communities due to the cost of living crisis. If you are struggling to heat your home, Simple Energy Advice provides recommendations on how to make improvements to reduce your energy bills whilst keeping your home warm in the colder months. Alternatively, Warm Welcome Spaces can help you find free warm spaces in your local area.

Get advice if you feel unwell

During winter, hospitals across south east London are likely to be much busier than usual.

Please help us to help you. If you need care over this period:

  • Life-threatening emergency or serious injury: call 999 or go to your nearest Emergency Department (A&E)
  • Medical attention and advice: contact your GP
  • If you cannot contact your GP: visit NHS 111 online
  • For expert advice and medicines: visit your local pharmacy
  • Mental health emergency: visit NHS 111 online

Get your flu vaccination

If you’re at greater risk from flu, it’s important to get the extra protection of vaccination in winter. For most people, flu is unpleasant, but for some it can be dangerous and even life-threatening. The vaccine is safe and effective, and is the best protection from this virus.

You need to have the flu vaccine every year because the viruses that cause flu change every year. Making sure you are up to date with your winter vaccinations can help you stay healthy this winter.


The cold weather makes it more difficult for some people to get out and about. Make sure you’re stocked up on much needed medication in case you can’t get to the pharmacy when you need to.

For more advice on how to stay safe in cold weather, see’s cold weather guidance.