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North West Ambulance Service is reminding people with long term lung conditions to look after their own health this winter.

Over the last year ambulance crews attended over thirteen thousand cases of people suffering with chronic breathing problems including emphysema and bronchitis. The winter months saw a rise of more than a fifth compared to the rest of the year. The winter months can be particularly severe for people aged 65 or older, and people with long-term conditions.

NWAS says they expect these numbers to increase this year.

This winter is forecast to be colder than last and feature damp weather, ice, snow and high winds. All of which can aggravate any existing health problems. This can make people with existing health conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) more vulnerable to developing a serious winter illness.

Ged Davies, an Advanced Paramedic says there are ways to look after yourself:

“It’s a good idea to make sure you have an up-to-date personalised care plan, if you have one. A care plan will help you manage your condition better, especially during the cold weather.

The flu jab can protect you all winter and it’s best to get it before the real cold weather comes. If you are in a risk group or aged over 65 or over, it is really important to get vaccinated.

Only attend the Emergency Department (ED) if you’re having significant difficulty breathing and your reliever inhalers are not working.”

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