January 31st, 2019

Cold weather advice

During the cold weather spell across the UK, snow and ice is predicted for parts of the North West. 

Extreme cold weather can cause a number of problems for residents, especially those who are more vulnerable. These range from health issues and increased risks of accidents, to problems within the home.

With preparation and planning, some of these issues can be prevented. We pulled together  some tips to help you stay safe, healthy and protected during spells of cold weather.

Keeping warm and staying healthy 

Keep moving and eat well.  Staying active helps to keep you warm. When you’re indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour. Get up and walk around, make yourself a warm drink, and spread house chores throughout the day. If walking is difficult, chair-based exercises and simple moves with your arms, legs and toes can help.   Eat at least one hot meal a day and have hot drinks regularly.

Several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air. Clothes made from wool, cotton and fleecy synthetic fibres are a good choice. Wear thermal underwear, warm tights or socks, and always wear gloves and a hat when you go out.

If you’re sitting down, a shawl or blanket will keep you warm. Keep your feet up, as the air is cooler at ground level. Wear warm clothes in bed, thermal underwear, bed socks and even a hat – a lot of heat is lost through your head.  

Use a hot-water bottle or an electric blanket to warm the bed, but never use the two together as this can be very dangerous

Colds and the flu are more prevalent during the winter months. Keep cold, flu and sore throat remedies in the house. Your pharmacist can advise you on minor illnesses and most doctors can do home visits if you’re house bound. You can also call NHS Direct on 111 for advice at any time of day or night. Have a flu jab if you have not already had one. 

Keep basic food items in the cupboard or freezer in case it’s too cold to go shopping, or ask a neighbour to do some shopping for you.

Looking after your home

Keeping your home warm is important.  If you need help with your heating bills, our Money Advice team can help you claim all the financial support you’re entitled to.   You can contact the team on 0300 111 1133 for advice and to see if you qualify.

One of the most common problems within the home during cold weather is frozen pipes. For tips on how to avoid freezing pipes at your home and what to do if they do freeze see here >>

Make sure you know where your stopcock is in case the water needs to be turned off in an emergency. 

Set your heating and hot water to come on 30 minutes before you get up and go off 30 minutes before you are due to leave the house.

Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around the windows and doors. 

Sprinkle icy paths with salt and sand. Consider getting a grab rail if you have several steps at your front or back door. Ask your local Age UK for more information

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