Cold homes have a significant impact on health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.
Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent flu and colds or more serious health conditions such as depression, strokes, heart attacks and pneumonia
The chances of these problems are higher if you're vulnerable to cold-related illnesses because of one or more of the following:
- you're over 65
- you're on a low income
- you have a long-term health condition, such as heart, lung or kidney disease
- you are disabled
Flu is a highly infectious illness that can spread rapidly. You may be eligible for a free flu jab if you're at risk of complications from flu, ask your local GP.
Keep your home warm
- If you have reduced mobility, have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, or are 65 or over you should heat your home to at least 18C. If you can It's a good idea to keep your bedroom at this temperature all night. During the day you may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer. Make sure you wear enough clothes to stay warm.
- If you're under 65 and healthy and active, you can safely have your house cooler than 18C, if you're comfortable.
- 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 in winter
Food is a vital source of energy, which helps keep 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.
We all know that exercise is good for your overall health - and it can keep you warm in winter. If you can stay active, even moderate exercise can bring health benefits. If possible, try not to sit still for more than an hour or so. Remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plan.
Wear warm clothes
Wrap up warm, inside and out. Wear lots of thin layers - clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and help to maintain body heat. Wear shoes with a good grip to prevent slips and falls when walking outside. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.
Help your neighbours in winter
Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they're safe and well. 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.