Stay warm, stay well

Cold weather is a particular issue if you are older or in an at-risk group - so it's important to make sure you avoid the '10 most common winter illnesses' like colds, norovirus, asthma and of course, flu.

If you are over 65 or meet other criteria, you may be eligible for a free flu jab. You can find out more details from our flu vaccination page, including details of pharmacies offering the flu vaccine.

Eat well

You are less likely to fall ill or feel the cold if you eat healthily and regularly. So make sure you have at least one hot meal a day and include five portions of fruit or vegetables in your diet. Take hot drinks through the day and particularly before bed. Our healthy eating page tells you more.

Stay well

Get your heating and cooker serviced to make sure they don't break down when it's cold. But never use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home as this can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide. Fitting carbon monoxide alarms will alert you if this happens. These are the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Order any oil, coal or wood you need in advance of possible bad weather. You may also be able to get financial help to heat your home through the Cold Weather Payment, Winter Fuel Payment, or Warm Home Discount Scheme. For impartial advice and to see if you are eligible, please call Keep Herefordshire Warm. This scheme run by Severn Wye Energy Agency in conjunction with Herefordshire Council aims to reduce fuel poverty and support vulnerable customers to heat their homes at an affordable cost. Help may also be available from your energy supplier, while the government offers various energy saving grants.

Plan for bad weather

In winter it's best to avoid going out as much as possible. So cut down on shopping trips by stocking up on dried or tinned and getting repeat prescriptions for any medication you need ahead of time.

If you need to go outside your house, have some ash, cat litter or grit ready to spread on icy paths. You can get some additional tips on clearing paths from GOV.UK

Check to see if floods could be a problem in your area and get in sandbags if necessary.

Just in case you can't get out because of floods or cold weather, keep a list of phone numbers of family, friends and neighbours you could call.

If you have to travel

If you do have to go out, listen to local radio and television for cold weather warnings or updates. You can find out which routes we regularly grit in icy weather on Twitter @HfdsStreets, or @wmgrit for gritting in the West Midlands.