The cold British winter weather can affect our health and wellbeing, so it’s important to take simple measures to keep warm and keep well both at home and outside.

Preparing yourself for the cold weather

As we all head inside and out of the cold, we’re more likely to share our coughs and colds with one another. If you start to feel unwell, seek advice from a pharmacist, doctor or call the NHS helpline – 111. Don’t wait until it gets more serious.

  • Claim your free flu jab from the NHS if you’re over 65 years old
  • Several thinner layers of clothing will keep you warmer than a single thick layer. Choose clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres which will help to maintain body heat.
  • Stay warm at night by using a hot water bottle or electric blanket but never use both at the same time
  • Eat at least one hot meal every day – eating regularly helps keep your body energised to fight off illnesses and keep you warmer
  • Try and avoid sitting still for more than an hour at a time – moving around and being as active as possible with even light to moderate exercise can help keep you warm
  • Wrapping a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors will stop the cold air hitting your lungs which could make you breathless – add a hat and gloves to maintain body heat.
  • Always wear shoes with a good grip to avoid slipping and falling

Preparing your home for the cold weather

Taking simple measures to protect your home against the cold will help you keep yourself and your home warm. The cost of heating the home is likely to increase during the winter season, but financial and practical support is available and you may be able to claim a grant to help you manage the cost ( ).

  • Heat your home to at least 18C (65F) if you’re not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition
  • It’s advisable to keep your bedroom at a minimum of 18C all night.
  • Keeping the windows and doors shut tightly, drawing the curtains and using draught excluders will help.
  • You may wish to heat your home to over 18C during the day, or use blankets and clothing to keep warm
  • It’s advisable to get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional
  • Get on the – a free service provided by water and power suppliers for older and disabled people to respond with support quickly during a power cut.
  • If you have open fires make sure they are properly ventilated

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