The best way to get through winter is to keep warm and to follow as healthy a lifestyle as possible. What you eat and drink, what you wear and the exercise you take can make a big difference.
Eat well - A balanced diet of regular meals will help keep you warm and healthy in the winter. Try to:
have plenty of hot food and drinks
plan your meals and keep your diet as varied as possible
include five portions of fruit and vegetables daily - this includes tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables
keep a flask with a hot drink in it by your bed in case you feel cold at night
Wear it well - Wearing the right kind of clothes can help keep you much warmer. You can help keep warm by:
wearing plenty of thin layers, rather than one thick one
putting on a coat, hat, scarf and gloves when you go outside
wearing flat, dry, warm, non-slip shoes or boots to keep your feet warm and to stop you slipping or falling when you go outside
wearing clothes made of wool, cotton or fleecy synthetic fibres
wearing bed socks, thermal underwear and a nightcap when you go to bed.
Top tip: Wear slippers in the house to help avoid trips and falls.
Move well - Staying active is good for your health – whatever the time of year. Moderate exercise like walking can be very beneficial. If you have an exercise routine, try to keep it up in winter as it will help keep you warm.
Don’t take risks in wet or icy weather, though. And, if you are outside in the cold for whatever reason, try to keep moving rather than standing or sitting. At home, try not to stay sitting still for long periods. If you space chores out through the day, you can alternate between rest and activity.
Keeping warm at home - With some planning now, you can make a big difference to how warm your house is in the winter.
Preparation - get your home ready for winter
If your home is poorly insulated, it’ll be cold in winter and will cost more to heat. To make your home warmer in winter you can:
fit draught-proofing – to help seal gaps around windows and doors
insulate your property – to reduce heat loss
lag your hot water cylinder and pipes, including those in your loft
have your heating system serviced annually. Some gas or electricity suppliers offer free safety checks.
Heating your home
Here’s some advice on keeping your home warm. In the day:
heat your main living room to around 18-21°C (64-70°F) and the rest of the house to at least 16°C (61°F)
heat all the rooms you use in the day
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. This means you won’t be cold while you wait for your home to heat up.
try to keep the temperature above 18°C (65°F) in your bedroom overnight
open the window or door a little at night for ventilation if you use a fire or heater in your bedroom during winter
never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket, even if the blanket is switched off
unplug blankets before you go to bed, unless they have a thermostat control for safe all-night use
get your electric blanket tested every three years for safety – Age UK or your local fire and rescue service may be able to do this for you. To be put in touch with an Age UK group near you, call Age UK’s freephone advice line on 0800 169 6565.
To get the latest information on any weather warnings, visit The Met Office website
Protecting against carbon monoxide - Carbon monoxide kills more than 50 people each year in England and Wales – mainly because of incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated cooking and heating equipment. Because you can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, the best way to protect yourself is to have all gas and fossil fuel appliances and flues serviced regularly by trained, reputable, engineers. Go to www.gassaferegister.co.uk or call 0800 408 5500 to find a Gas Safe registered engineer.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be like food poisoning, viral infections or flu. They include headaches, tiredness, difficulty in thinking clearly and feeling sick. If you suffer from these symptoms:
see your doctor at once and
call an engineer to check all your cooking and heating appliances.