Keeping warm can help prevent colds, Flu  Opens in a new window or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, Hypothermia  Opens in a new window , Pneumonia  Opens in a new window and depression. Remember - winter needn't be dangerous if you take the right steps.

Helping others

Family, friends and neighbours in the community can look out for those who might be at risk from the cold. Make sure they're warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather. Always be on the look-out for signs that something might be wrong, especially when the weather is cold. There are many signs to look out for

  • Milk not taken in late in the day;
  • Newspapers stuck in the letterbox;
  • Curtains drawn during the day;
  • Lights burning during the day;
  • Home in darkness when there should be someone at home;
  • Dog barking all day or the cat scratching to be let in.

How to keep warm

  • Keep your home warm - at least 18°C if you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition.  It's a good idea to keep your bedroom at this temperature all night. You can also use a hot water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you're in bed.
  • Eat well - try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can.
  • Wear warm clothes - layer your clothing to stay warm. If possible, stay inside during a cold period 

If you are 60 or over, or living with a person who is 60 or over, you may be entitled to some additional financial help to heat your home in the wintertime, and especially during periods of very cold weather. There are also agencies you can contact to help you make the best use of your heating at home.