Winter Health Advice

There are some practical steps that you can make to help keep you warm and healthy throughout the winter months:

  • Get your free flu jab. If you are aged 65 or over, pregnant, have certain medical conditions, live in a residential or nursing home, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person.
  • By setting your heating to the right temperature (18-21 °C, 65-70 °F), you can keep your home warm. Keep your bedroom windows closed at night when the weather is cold.
  • Look after yourself and check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they are safe, warm and well. Layer your clothing to stay warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside
  • Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to 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.
  • Get your home ready for winter. Get heating and cooking appliances checked, flues and chimneys swept ensuring ventilation points are not blocked. If you use heating oil, LPG or wood products as the main heating source, make sure that you have a sufficient supply to avoid running. Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm which is EN50291 compliant, but fitting an alarm should not replace regular maintenance of appliances.
  • Learn a few simple first aid steps; such as how to deal with strains and sprains or broken bones, as trips and falls can increase in icy weather. There are a number of accredited first aid providers and useful education resources available.
  • Check the forecast and ensure you have enough food and medicines.

Advice on how to reduce the risk either for yourself or somebody you know can be obtained from the winter health pages at NHS Choices or from your local chemist.

If you are worried about your health or that of somebody you know:


Ring NHS 111


Severe cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young or very old or those with chronic disease.

Make sure that you stay warm. If going outside make sure you dress appropriately. If indoors, make sure that you keep your heating to the right temperature 18°C/65°F (bedroom) and 21°C/70°F (dayroom). If there is anyone you know who might be at special risk, for example, an older person living on their own, make sure they know what to do to stay warm and are well stocked with food and medications.

Direct effects of winter weather include an increase in incidence of:

Heart attack

Stroke

Respiratory disease

Influenza

Falls and injuries

Hypothermia

Groups at greater risk of harm from cold weather:

  • older people (over 75 years old)
  • children under the age of five
  • people with pre-existing chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or diabetes
  • people with mental ill-health that reduces individual’s ability to self-care (including dementia)
  • people with learning difficulties
  • people assessed as being at risk of, or having had, recurrent falls
  • people who are housebound or otherwise low mobility
  • people living in deprived circumstances
  • people living in houses with mould
  • people who are fuel poor
  • elderly people who live alone and do not have additional social services support
  • homeless or people sleeping rough