Winter Health

Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health problems. Here are some tips to keeping warm and staying healthy and making the best use of your heating at home.

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Wear warm clothes

  • Wear plenty of thin layers – this way air is trapped between the layers and insulates you from the cold.
  • Clothes made from wool, polyester or fleecy synthetic fibres are usually warmer.
  • Thermal underwear or sports base layers can beat the chill.
  • Tights or long socks and slippers can help.
  • When you go outside, be sure you are dressed for the weather. During the winter wear warm layers under a coat.
  • Wear gloves, hat and scarves, this is important as a lot of your body heat is lost through your head.
  • Wear warm shoes or boots with good grips.
  • If you get wet, change into dry clothing as soon as you get indoors.

Heating Your Home

To keep warm at home during the day:

  • Set your thermostat at around 21ºC (70ºF)
  • Heat all the rooms you use in the day - If you can’t heat all your rooms, make sure you keep your living room warm throughout the day and heat your bedroom before going to bed
  • Set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed.
  • In very cold weather set the heating to come on earlier, rather than turn the thermostat up, so you won’t be cold while you wait for your home to heat up

To keep warm at home during the night you should:

  • Try to keep a temperature of above 18°C (65°F) in your bedroom overnight.
  • If you use a fire or heater in your bedroom during winter, open the window or door a little at night for ventilation.
  • A hot water bottle or electric blanket can be helpful.
  • Never use an electric blanket and a hot water bottle together as you could electrocute yourself.
  • If you have an electric blanket, check what type it is – some are designed only to warm the bed before you get in and should not to be used throughout the night.
  • Make sure your electric blanket is safe to use by getting it tested every three years.
  • Try to have your heating system checked each year – for safety and efficiency.

Often-some of this advice is too expensive – find out about Fuel Poverty

  • Keep bills down and be warm by making your home more efficient
  • Keep heat in and draughts out – by insulating and draught proofing.
    Help might be available through the Warm Homes Scheme

Keep Moving

  • Try not to stay sitting down for long stretches.
  • Get up and move around.
  • All activity – from walking to the shops to doing the vacuuming gets your circulation going and makes you feel warmer.
  • If it is very cold or icy outside try to keep active indoors.
  • If you have difficulty walking, even armchair exercise can help.

Get some extra tips on Getting Active

Eat Well for Warmth

  • During cold weather, regular hot meals and hot drinks will provide warmth and energy.
  • Even if you don't feel like cooking, try to have at least one proper meal a day. Certain foods, such as potatoes, beans, bread, milk, eggs, meat and fish, are all good sources of protein, energy and vitamins which will help keep you healthy.
  • Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will also help.
  • It's also a good idea to keep stocked up on some basic foods so you don't need to go out to the shops on very cold days.
  • Thermal cups and flasks can be useful for hot drinks without the cost of reheating.

More tips for a Healthy Diet

For more information on any of these issues see the help and advice page