The clocks have gone back, the nights are getting darker. The cold winter weather is upon us. For the majority of us, this means giving in to turning on the heating and putting aside your summer outfits. However, for certain vulnerable groups, this time of the year can be much more worrisome. It brings with it the threat of ill health and potentially death. Did you know? Approximately, 20,000 people in the UK die each year as a result of cold winter weather? There are certain groups of people who are affected more than others.
Figures recently released by the government’s community’s department show that over the past year, homelessness in England has risen by a third. Consequently this means that an estimated 3,569 people slept rough on any one night of 2015. The figures also show that since 2010, homelessness has risen by 102%. The homelessness charity St Mungo’s has said that the onset of the colder weather makes this issue even more pressing, as many homeless people will fall ill and may even die.
The cold winter weather also hits older people hard. This age group take longer to warm up, leading to a range of potential health complications, including flu and respiratory problems. The fact that a large number of older people are living without adequate resources, including insufficient money to heat their homes, compounds these potential problems. According to Age UK, one person dies every seven minutes during every winter.
Another group affected by the colder months are those people who have chronic and severe illnesses. These include heart conditions, asthma, and depression and anxiety. This time of year can cause an upsurge in symptoms and the need for medical interventions due to the fall in temperatures. This group may also be more prone to becoming isolated due to the nature of their health, which again, makes them more vulnerable.
If you have an interest in these type of social issues, you may want to undertake formal studies to understand the underlying causes better. Oxbridge Home Learning offers a distance learning A-Level Sociology course. This course will teach you about social topics, such as human behaviour, welfare and inequality. Oxbridge Home Learning also offers a distance learning A-Level Government and Politics course, which also covers social welfare, health and education. Or undertake one of our Health and Social Care courses to give you the knowledge you need to support aging family.
By undertaking any of these courses, you may find yourself more able to bring about change.