North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is urging people with long term lung conditions to take extra precautions to look after their own health this winter.
Statistics from the last 12 months show ambulance crews attended 13,502 cases of people suffering with chronic breathing problems including emphysema and bronchitis, with December 2016 and January 2017 seeing a 21 per cent and 20 per cent increase in numbers compared to the average month.
The ambulance service expects these numbers to increase this year, particularly in winter, especially for people aged 65 or older, and people with long-term conditions.
This winter, compared to last, is tipped to be freezing and this, along with the damp weather, forecast ice, snow and high winds, can all 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, said: “It’s a good idea to make sure you have an up-to-date personalised care plan.
“The right NHS services are everywhere; you just need to choose the right one for you. Emergency and your GP aren’t your only options.
“You’ll often be seen quicker at other services, so check out NHS Choices for your nearest pharmacy, walk-in centre or minor injuries unit.
“It’s better to do this rather than face a long wait. If it’s urgent, but not an emergency and call NHS 111.”
For more visit blf.org.uk.