Although winter weather and snow can be fun, it is also associated with an increase in illnesses and injuries. There’s more to feeling ‘under the weather’ than most people realise. Cold and wintry conditions can cause severe illness and, in the worst cases, people can die. The cold weather, combined with low levels of sunlight after the clocks go back, means that many of us can feel in poor health. However, with some simple precautions, most people can be prepared for the cold weather and prevent much of the misery often associated with winter weather.
Severe cold snaps can have dramatic effects on everyday life, especially for those people who are already vulnerable because of their age, illness or disability.
Your top tips for keeping warm and well
- Keep warm
Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F). You may prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer. Keep your bedroom window closed on a winter’s
night. Breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.
- Get financial support
There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills.
- Look after yourself
- Contact your GP to get your free flu jab if you are aged 65 or over, live in a residential or nursing home, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person. NHS Choices provides information about flu. Visit www.nhs.uk/flu to learn more.
- Don’t delay in getting treatment for minor winter ailments like colds or sore throats. Visit your local pharmacist for advice on treatment before it gets worse so you can recover quicker.
- Layer your clothing whether you are indoors or outside. Wrap a scarf around your mouth to protect your lungs from the cold air.
- Wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside.
- When you’re indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour or so. Get up, stretch your legs and make yourself a warm drink.
- Have your heating and cooking appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they are operating safely.
- Contact your water and power suppliers to see if you can be on the Priority Services Register, a service for older and disabled people.
- For more winter wellness tips visit NHS Choices
- Check on others
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.If you’re worried about an older person, contact a family member, the local council or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66.
Download the booklet from GOV.UK Keep Warm Keep Well
- Over 60s
- Low-income families
- People living with a disability