Cold weather health advice and keeping neighbours in mind

Date published: 13 December 2019

It's important to keep warm to stay as healthy as possible during the colder winter months. If you have an elderly or vulnerable friend or neighbour, look out for them to make sure they are safe, warm and well.

Precautions to take

Colder weather can cause a range of health problems but you can be ready for them.

Keeping warm is important - always keep the main rooms in your home, such as the living room and bedroom, heated. Warm clothing and a hot meal can also help prevent the most vulnerable people falling ill this winter.

It can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, and depression.

Also, anyone who is invited to get the flu vaccination should do so.

There are a few easy precautions you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe during a spell of particularly cold weather:

  • wear warm clothes - layers are best, including a hat
  • if outside in icy conditions, wear boots or shoes with suitable grips
  • make sure you have enough food and medicines
  • check the weather forecast regularly
  • take care outdoors, especially if roads and pavements are icy
  • take regular hot drinks and food
  • heat all rooms used during the day - living room to around 18-21°C (65-70°F) and the rest of your house to at least 16°C (61°F)
  • if you can’t heat all your rooms, make sure that you keep one room warm throughout the day
  • if you use an electric blanket check what type it is – some are designed only to warm the bed before you get in and should not be used throughout the night
  • never use an electric blanket and hot water bottle together as it could cause electrocution
  • service boilers and appliances annually by a registered engineer to protect from the dangers of carbon monoxide
  • keep in contact with trusted callers, friends and relatives should you need help and keep your mobile phone charged

You should also find useful information and advice on the following pages:

If you are worried during the winter and need help, contact or speak to a friend, relative, trusted caller or health professional. They will make sure that your needs or concerns are brought to the attention of someone who can help.

Using the health service

Should you or someone in your family become unwell this winter, think carefully about how to use health services.

Emergency and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions.

Emergency Departments are the right place to go if you're injured or think you or a loved one is seriously ill.

The A to Z symptom checker, pharmacist, minor injury unit, GP, and out-of-hours services are available for any other health concerns you may have. 

If you get a repeat prescription, leave yourself enough time to order and collect it in advance from your GP.

More useful links

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