Over-65s advised to eat hot meals to cope with winter
Eating hot meals and keeping active are effective ways for the over-65s and those with health issues to cope with winter, say public health bodies.
NHS England and Public Health England have launched a campaign to help the vulnerable stay well and out of A&E.
Tips include setting a thermostat to no lower than 18C, wrapping up warm and consuming hot meals and drinks.
There were 43,900 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in 2014/15, the Office for National Statistics says.
The Stay Well This Winter campaign also urges those eligible for the flu vaccination to have the injection and encourages those suffering from a cough or cold to get early help from a pharmacist.
It says: "Food is a vital source of energy, which keeps your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can."
A&E visits 'avoidable'
There were 27% more deaths in winter in 2014/15 compared with the rest of the year, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.
The majority were among those aged 75 and above with around 36,300 excess winter deaths among that age group.
Research shows people with health conditions such as heart disease, lung problems and dementia are also more likely to die in winter.
Professor Keith Willett, medical director for acute care at NHS England, said many A&E visits over winter are due to problems "which could have been avoided" if medical advice had been sought earlier.
He added: "The NHS is here to help, but there are important things we can all do to take care of ourselves during the winter months.
"It is vital that the most vulnerable people take preventative steps to keep healthy and stay well."