20 Dec 2010
Severe cold snaps can have dramatic effects on everyday life, especially for those people who are already vulnerable as a result of their age, illness or disability. Follow these tips to keep you and your family warm and well in extremely cold weather.
The Met Office provides weather forecasts on radio and TV, and tuning in to these bulletins regularly can help you keep up to date with the weather. Severe weather warnings are also issued on the Met Office website at www.metoffice.gov.uk, or you can ring the Customer Centre on 0870 900 0100.
Tips for staying warm this winter
- Heat your home well. By setting your heating to the right temperature (18–21°C or 64–70°F), you can keep your home warm and your bills as low as possible.
- Get financial support. There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to.
- Eat well. Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.
- Get a flu jab. You can get a free jab from your GP to protect against seasonal flu if you are over 65, have a long-term health condition or are pregnant.
- Look after yourself and others. On cold days try to avoid going outside; however, if you do need to, remember to wrap up warm. If you have an older neighbour or relative, look out for them during winter to make sure that they are safe and well.
Icy pavements and roads can be very slippery. Take extra care if you go out, and wear boots or shoes with good grip on the soles. The Met Office advises putting grit or cat litter on paths and driveways to lessen the risk of slipping. It adds that you should wait until the roads have been gritted if you’re travelling by car. The Highways Agency offers useful advice on travelling in snow and freezing conditions.
Bear in mind that black ice on pavements or roads might not be clearly visible, and that compacted snow may turn to ice and become slippery.
For more information, download the Keep Warm, Keep Well booklet.
If you need help to find the right medical help, visit NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk or call 0845 46 47 for 24 hour phone advice.