As Winter sets in, Refat from Touchstone’s Support Centre offers some advice on taking the best care of ourselves in the cold weather.

I’m sure by now you have all pulled out your winter clothing and bedding, prepared and ready for the cold winter weather ahead; dreading the mornings when we have to wake up half an hour earlier in the morning to scrape the ice of our car window screens and every winter we are surprised and shocked by the cold winter and re-learning the skills to drive or walk on icy roads and footpaths.
So it is important for us all to keep warm, especially the vulnerable in our communities, as keeping warm through winter can prevent colds and the more serious illnesses, such as depression, heart attacks and strokes.
However, we are all aware that keeping your home warm is not cheap and some people cannot afford to keep their heating on, so here are some ways we can support each other in keeping warm and healthy this winter.
7 ways of keeping warm and keeping well this winter

  • Fight Flu – Not only is flu unpleasant, but it can also cause serious illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. Contact your GP or pharmacist get a flu vaccine, free for children and elderly.
  • Eat well – food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure you have hot meals and drinks and keep active in the home if you can.
  • Stay Active – Exercise is good for your overall health – and it can keep you warm in winter. If you stay active, even moderate exercise can bring health benefits, if possible try not to sit still for more than an hour; remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plan.
  • Help your neighbours in winter – Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they’re safe and well. Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night and have food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during the very cold weather.
  • Cold weather payment – Cold weather payments may be available to you if you receive certain benefits. Payments are made when your local temperature is recorded as an average of 0°c or below over seven consecutive days.
  • Wear warm clothes – Wrap up warm, inside and out. Try to wear lots of thin layers made from cotton, wool and fleecy fibres, wear shoes with a good grip. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.
  • Fuel poverty facts – On average, there are around 25, 000 excess winter deaths each year in England. There is strong evidence that some of these winter deaths are indeed ‘extra’ and are related to cold temperatures as well as infectious diseases such as flu.

Read more about fuel poverty and tips on how to cope in very cold weather on