Wrap up and switch on

Created on Friday, November 10th, 2017
by Kathryn Shaw

As the cold weather continues, we’re keen to make sure that people are doing everything possible to keep healthy, comfortable and safe this winter.

This article is about what you can do to keep yourself warm at home.

Switch on

Although most people will now have their heating on, we know that there are still many who, for financial reasons, are holding out as long as possible before switching on.

It’s critical that you begin to heat up your home and although it can seem unaffordable, it is the difference between staying healthy during the cold months or being seriously ill. There were an estimated 24,300 excess winter deaths in 2015/16 – this is where more deaths occur in the winter months than non-winter months.

Mould and condensation also make respiratory illnesses worse, and having your heating at a consistent temperature of at least 15C throughout your house will help tackle it.

If you’re struggling to pay for your heating and hot water, you could try switching to a cheaper energy provider. Read more on how to switch energy suppliers on the uSwitch website by clicking here.

If you are eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment but have not had it before, you will need to apply for it. You can find information about applying for the payment here.

And if you are on certain means-tested benefits, you may be eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme through your energy provider. You should contact your provider as soon as possible to find out whether or not you qualify.

Staying well

It’s not just turning the heating on that can help you stay healthy during the colder months. Here are some tips on staying warm and well over winter:

  • Draw your curtains as soon as it begins to get dark outside – but make sure that they do not cover any radiators.
  • Keep inside doors closed so that there are no draughts.
  • Wear layers, even inside the house.
  • Having regular hot drinks can help, which is a great excuse for a hot chocolate or three!
  • Eating regularly helps to keep your energy levels high in winter and if possible, eat at least one hot meal a day.
  • Keep active as much as you are able – recreating the hoovering scene from Queen’s “I Want To Break Free” video is a great example.
  • Keep your home at a minimum temperature of 15C but if possible, have it a little higher – around 18C.
  • If you are 65 or over, or have reduced mobility, be extra careful when leaving the house in bad weather. Ask yourself: Is that journey critical, or can it wait until the weather improves? Do you have a friend or relative who can do your food shopping for you, or can it be done online?

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