WINTER: Keeping Warm

Age UK have just published a great new guide called “Winter Wrapped Up” which is full of tips to get your home ready for the cold weather and reduce your risk of common health problems.

  • Below is a excerpt from it – to download the full guide, visit the AGE UK website
  • Our own guide to coping with winter is also a useful source of information

Keeping warm indoors and out

Even if it isn’t a severe winter, cold weather makes us more vulnerable to certain illnesses. Follow these tips to stay healthy and keep warm indoors and out.

  • Make sure you keep your hands and face warm. As well as wearing gloves and a hat, always wrap a scarf around your face when you go out in cold weather, even for short intervals. This helps to warm the air you breathe. If your hands and face get cold they can trigger a rise in blood pressure which puts you at risk of a heart attack.
  • Several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air. Clothes made from wool or fleecy synthetic fibres such as polyester are a better choice than cotton. Start with thermal underwear, warm tights or socks.
  • If you’re sitting down, a shawl or blanket will provide a lot of warmth. Try to keep your feet up, as the air is cooler at ground level.
  • Wear warm clothes in bed. When it’s very cold, wear thermal underwear, bed socks and even a hat – a lot of heat is lost through your head.
  • Use a hot-water bottle, wheat bag or an electric blanket to warm the bed, but never use a hot-water bottle and an electric blanket together as this can be dangerous.
  • Check whether your electric blanket can be kept on all night or whether it’s only designed to warm the bed before you get in. Get it checked every three years by an expert. Local trading standards departments often offer free testing, or you can ask at the shop where you bought the blanket (they may charge). If you have any continence difficulties, talk to your doctor before using one.
  • Keep your feet warm. As with your hands and face, cold feet can trigger a potentially dangerous rise in blood pressure. Choose boots with non-slip soles and a warm lining, or wear thermal socks. These boots keep you safe if the ground is slippery and keep your feet warm.
  • Check local news and weather forecasts for advice when bad weather is forecast.

Useful Winter Contacts

Age UK
provide advice and information for people in later life through our Age UK Advice line‚ publications and online. Age UK Advice: 0800 169 65 65 Lines are open seven days a week from 8am to 7pm.

Charis Grants
Directs people to grants to clear utility debts owed to certain
energy providers.
Tel: 01733 421 021 – http://www.charisgrants.com

Cinnamon Trust
Charity for older people and their pets. They have volunteers who may be able to walk your dog for you in icy conditions.
Tel: 01736 757 900 – http://www.cinnamon.org.uk

Citizens Advice Consumer Service
A consumer advice and complaints service.
Tel: 0345 404 0506 – http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

Energy Saving Trust
Provides free advice on saving energy.
Tel: 0300 123 1234 – http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

Floodline
Free 24-hour service that provides flood warnings by phone, text or email.
Tel: 0345 988 1188

Gas Safe Register
You can check if an engineer is on the register by visiting the website.
Tel: 0800 408 5500 If you suspect a gas leak, call 0800 111 999
http://www.gassaferegister.co.uk

Gov.uk
The government website of services and information that includes advice on taking care of yourself in winter.
http://www.gov.uk

National Flood Forum
Offers support and representation to communities and individuals at risk of flooding.
Tel: 01299 403055
http://www.nationalfloodforum.org.uk

NHS 111
Free NHS 24-hour helpline for advice on urgent but non-life threatening symptoms.
Tel: 111 – http://www.nhs24.com

NHS Choices
Provides web-based information about NHS services, healthy living and health conditions.
http://www.nhs.uk

Winter Fuel Payment helpline
Tel: 03459 15 15 15
http://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment

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