The importance of keeping warm this winter
It’s important to keep our homes warm and comfortable whatever the circumstances. During cold and flu season it’s especially important. Those with pre-existing health conditions or who are above the age of 65 being particularly at risk.
The NHS has provided guidance on how we can keep our homes (and the homes of other vulnerable people) warm and safe this winter.
Who’s most at risk from cold weather?
Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. This includes:
- people aged 65 and older
- babies and children under the age of 5
- people on a low income (so cannot afford heating)
- people who have a long-term health condition
- people with a disability
- pregnant women
- people who have a mental health condition
Keep your home warm
Follow these tips to keep you and your family warm and well at home:
- If you’re not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease, heat your home to at least 18C.
- Keep your bedroom at 18C all night if you can – and keep bedroom window closed.
- If you’re under 65, healthy and active, you can safely have your home cooler than 18C, as long as you’re comfortable.
- Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but do not use both at the same time.
- Have at least 1 hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm.
- Have hot drinks regularly.
- To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), babies should sleep in rooms heated to between 16C and 20C.
- Draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts.
- Get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional.
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Help with heating costs
For more information on how to reduce your bills and make your home more energy efficient, go to the government’s Simple Energy Advice website, or call the Simple Energy Advice helpline on 0800 444 202.
You can also find out about heating and housing benefits on GOV.UK.
It’s worth claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to as soon as winter begins.
Look in on vulnerable neighbours and relatives
Check on older neighbours and relatives, and those with heart or breathing (respiratory) problems, to make sure they:
- are safe and well
- are warm enough, especially at night
Ensure loved ones are kept safe and comfortable by booking a gas safety inspection. More details can be found here; *insert gas safety link*
- have stocks of food and medicines so they do not need to go out during very cold weather
If you’re worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1602 (8am to 7pm every day). Our engineers are available 24hrs a day for gas, electric and plumbing emergency works. Call us on 01432 341234 for an engineer.
If you’re concerned the person may have hypothermia, contact NHS 111.