Heavy snow, blocked driveways and slippery paths can make outdoors a no-go area for the isolated, vulnerable or elderly.

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But the cold also brings its own risks within the home, with heart attacks and strokes becoming more likely with prolonged periods of cold weather, and causing problems for people with breathing difficulties such as asthma.

Age UK, the older people’s charity, has issued advice to help people deal with the conditions, including keeping bedroom windows closed overnight, wrapping up well when venturing outside and keeping homes heated to at minimum of 18C. It also advises getting heating systems and electric blankets serviced, chimneys swept and making sure any indoor heaters have adequate ventilation.

Neighbours and family members can also help by clearing snow, running errands, and checking regularly on people who may otherwise be vulnerable and isolated.

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