Winter and cold weather can have a significant impact on people’s health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself healthy and well during winter is to stay warm.
Keeping warm can help prevent colds,or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, , and depression. Remember - winter needn't be dangerous if you take the right steps.
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 are 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.
Stay warm this winter
Make sure you eat well and 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 and layer your clothing to stay warm. If possible, stay inside during a cold period.
Keep your home warm, efficiently and safely
- Heat your home to the right temperature. Your living room should be 21°C (70°F), and your bedroom and the rest of the house heated to 18°C (65°F).
- Get your heating system and cooking appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer and keep your home well ventilated.
- Use your electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every three years. Never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket.
- Do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and this can kill.
- Make sure you have a supply of heating oil or LPG or solid fuel if you are not on mains gas or electricity - to make sure you do not run out in winter.
Keep the warmth in by
- Fitting draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors
- Making sure you have loft insulation, and if you have cavity walls, make sure they are insulated too
- Insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes
- Draw your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms
- Make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains
Cold weather benefits
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.