Forecasters are expecting temperatures to drop from 6:00pm tonight until Tuesday with an amber weather alert issued for the north west.

Children, older people and other vulnerable groups are expected to be particularly at risk in the colder temperatures.

People with long-term health conditions, such as respiratory and heart conditions, may also find that symptoms are exacerbated. 

Dr Lindsey Dickinson, associate medical director at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: “Keeping warm, both indoors and outdoors, is important in winter as this can help prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

"The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can worsen any existing health problems, increase the risk of a fall, and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses.”

A number of tips and advice have been provided to fend off the worst effects of the cold.

When going outside, remember to wear thin layers of cotton, wool or fleecy fibres and shoes with good grip.

Only go outside if absolutely necessary and, if relatively inactive indoors, do not forget to still wrap up warm.

Dr Dickinson added: “It’s always a good idea to prepare for the winter months especially if you’re vulnerable.

"You can do this by stocking up on food essentials such as long-life milk, tins of soup and keeping bread in the freezer."

Indoor temperatures should be kept at a minimum of 18 degrees in the rooms regularly used, such as the living room and bedroom.

Councils across Lancashire and South Cumbria have set up cost of living support pages to help those struggling.

Further advice stemmed around ensuring any electric blankets are properly maintained, and to never use one at the same time as a hot water bottle.

Residents were also urged to seek any and all help they may be entitled to, with grants and funding potentially available in this tricky period.