AS the region shivers under winter's icy grip, people are being urged to make sure they take extra care of themselves as part of a new Wirral NHS campaign.
Wirral University Teaching Hospital Trust says there is an increase in the number of people with underlying health problems admitted to hospital at this time of year.
The NHS Choose Well campaign aims to reduce the numbers who dial 999 or go to A&E with common complaints such as coughs and colds.
Evan Moore, medical director at WUTHT, said: "They are particularly vulnerable to wintry conditions that the majority of us take for granted.
"We know that if temperatures fall below 12 degrees Celsius this increases the risk of respiratory problems and the number of people who have heart-attacks and strokes.
"We need older people and those who have long-term conditions to make sure they keep taking their medication and have sufficient supplies so that they don’t need to go out for more during the cold spell.
"999 and your local emergency department should only be used for life-threatening and urgent conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems and serious accidents.
"Anyone with a common complaint or non-life-threatening condition should contact their GP, dial NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or go and see their local pharmacy for advice and help."
The NHS website also has a wealth of information available on all areas of health during this current cold spell. Simply visit www.nhs.uk.