RESIDENTS are being urged to look after themselves and stay healthy during the winter.
Health chiefs have issued the warning following the severe winter last year which effected hundreds of people in the region.
And there are a number of ways people can take care of themselves and others, including elderly relatives and neighbours.
The NHS Choose Well campaign aims to help members of the public access the correct service and is raising awareness of self care and community pharmacists for advice and over the counter treatment for minor ailments such as coughs and colds.
Prof Sue Milner, director of public health for Northumberland Care Trust, pictured, said: “As winter draws closer and the colder weather sets in it is very important to protect yourself against the cold.
“Around half of all deaths that are caused by cold weather are due to heart disease or stroke.
“It’s particularly important for the elderly to keep warm during the winter.
“Colder weather increases blood pressure and those already with heart and vascular disease are most at risk from developing a stroke or heart problem in cold conditions.
“Also, the elderly are often at greater risk from the cold because they may not keep their houses at a warm enough temperature during the winter months.
“During colder weather, there is also an increased risk of injury from falls, and people are more prone to seasonal illnesses, such as flu.”
Dr Mike Guy, medical director at NHS North of Tyne, said: “At this time of year our A&E departments always see a rise in injuries from slips, trips and falls but we also see a lot of people being admitted into hospital who are seriously ill with heart and chest problems.
“The elderly are particularly vulnerable during cold weather and we all have a role to play in remembering the needs of friends, relatives and neighbours who could be at risk especially at this time.”