The cold hard facts
Keeping warm and cozy keeps you well
Keeping well means being able to do more and keep your independence.
Many people believe that being cold is just uncomfortable but it is far more serious than that. Being cold isn’t just uncomfortable; it can be very bad for your health.
Sitting or sleeping in a cold room is not good for you; it increases the risk of heat attacks, stroke, breathing problems and bad chests.
Why does this happen?
If you are too cold your body finds it much harder to pump the blood around your body. Imagine if being too cold made your blood thick like treacle, it would make it very difficult for your heart to pump it around.
This is what it is like for your body if you are too cold; this is bad for your heart and will make other problems like breathing much worse. This is why being too cold in your home is bad for you.
Being snug, warm and well
Top tips to keep well in cold weather
- Hot meals and plenty of hot drinks will keep you snug and warm so make sure you have food in the house. Tinned, dried and frozen foods are great as they will keep fresh.
- Make sure you have enough of your prescription medicines. If the weather turns bad you may not be able to collect or have your medicines delivered, check the forecasts and make sure you have enough in stock
- The flu is much more serious than a cold; it often leads to a hospital stay and can be fatal. Keep yourself safe and make sure you have your flu jab. People over 65 or people with existing medical conditions, get this free so make sure you get yours.
- Make sure you can check the temperature in your living room and bedroom. If possible have a simple thermometer or set your heating controls to the right temperature. Ask someone for help if you cannot work your heating controls properly.
- Wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer; this will trap the heat better to keep you warm. Socks and hats are great too and are a good idea to keep you warm in bed.
- Cover yourself with a blanket or shawl. If you are sitting for long periods, this will help keep you warm and put your feet up if you can; the air is colder near the floor.
- Keep moving if you can, this will keep you warm. Try not to sit for more than one hour - get up and walk around, make a hot drink and spread housework throughout the day. If walking is a problem try moving your arms and legs whilst sitting or wiggling your fingers and toes.
Remember, keep yourself safe too
- Don’t put clothes or furniture too close to fires and heaters
- If you use an electric blanket, make sure it is kept in good repair and never use a hot water bottle at the same time.
- Make sure you have well fitting slippers and shoes to avoid trips and falls.
- Stand up slowly and carefully if you have been sat down for some time as you may get dizzy if you stand up too fast.
What are healthy temperatures?
Below 16°C you are running the risk of serious illness needing hospital treatment.
Don't let cold catch you out - be ready.
Page last updated: 23 December 2015