PEOPLE are being reminded about the importance of looking after themselves during the most difficult period of the year.

Age UK, the charity for the elderly along with local authorities and health chiefs have been warning that vulnerable people are at particular risk during the coldest part of the year.

There has already been a colder than usual start to the winter with heavy snow fall followed by freezing conditions at the beginning of December.

However, it is unlikely that the worst is over with January and February normally the coldest months of the year when the risk of snow and ice are greatest.

The danger of falls is increased by icy pavements and it is also a time when people who are elderly or have chronic illness are most vulnerable. Winter is also the time of the year when the NHS is under greatest pressure and Accident and Emergency Services under greatest strain.

Cold weather also increases the risk of some illnesses and people with heart or lung conditions as well as chronic illness are especially at risk.

With high energy prices many people, including the elderly can put themselves at risk by not heating homes properly.

Eating nutricious hot food is also important to well being.