Reducing harm from cold weather – local government's new public health role


Although winter weather and snow can be fun for some, these weather conditions are also associated with an increase in illness and injuries. Cold weather increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, lung illnesses, flu and other diseases. People slip and fall in the snow or ice, sometimes suffering serious injuries. Some groups, such as older people, very young children, and people with serious medical conditions are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather.

In 2011/12 there were 22,960 more deaths in England between the months of December 2011 to March 2012 than were observed during the non-winter months. Excess deaths are not just deaths of those who would have died anyway in the next few weeks or months due to illness or old age.