Keep Warm This Winter
The Dangers Of ‘Flu
On average there are around 25,000 excess winter deaths in England each year. There is strong evidence that some of these deaths are related to cold temperatures, as well as infectious diseases such as ‘flu.
‘Flu is a highly infectious disease that can spread rapidly, and the best way to protect yourself is to get a ‘flu vaccination. You may be entitled to get a free ‘flu vaccination. You may be entitled to a free injection if you are at risk of complications from ‘flu.
People who are entitled to free ‘flu jabs are over 65, aged 2-4, children in school years 1 and 2, are pregnant or have a serious medical condition such as chronic heart, lung, neurological, liver or kidney disease or diabetes.
There are ways you can reduce the risk of catching and spreading flu:
- Always cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and encourage visitors to do the same
- Throw away used tissues as soon as possible
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, and use hand sanitiser gel when you are out and about
- Stock up on over the counter cough and cold remedies
Fuel poverty is one of the biggest obstacles some people face when they want to keep warm in winter. In 2012-13 there were over two million households in England in fuel poverty. This is when a household is living below the poverty line and has higher than average fuel bills. You are most vulnerable to a cold related illness if you are over 65, on a low income, have a long term health condition and/or are disabled.
To help reduce your bills, the Energy Saving Trust (EST) has advice on how to make your home more energy efficient.. They can also advise on grants and schemes available around the UK. You can find out more by going online to the EST website or by calling 0300 123 1234 (9am -8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 2pm Saturday).
Keeping Your Home Warm
If you have reduced mobilty, are over 65 or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, you should heat your home to at least 18C. It’s a good idea to keep your bedroom at this temperature all night if you can, but during the day make your living room slightly warmer.
It is very important that anybody in one of these groups does all that they can to keep warm at all times.
You may be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home. The government provides a winter fuel payment of between £100 and £300 tax free to help you pay your heating bulls if you were born before July 5th 1953.
There is also a cold weather payment if you receive certain benefits. This is paid when your local temperature is recorded or forecast to be an average of 0C or below over seven consecutive days.
The payment is £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between November 1st and March 31st.
Other Ways To Keep Warm
Food is a vital source of energy which helps to keep your body warm, so you should try to make sure you have hot meals and drinks throughout the day and keep active if you can. Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so.
Wear warm clothes inside and out. Put on lots of thin layers – clothes made form cotton, wool and fleecy fibres are particularly good and help yo maintain body heat. Wear shoes with a good grip to prevent slips and falls when you are walking outside. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.
Stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you have food available to eat at these times. Remember, tinned and frozen fruit and vegetables count towards your five a day!
If you want any more advice, or to have a flu jab, please contact any branch of Newline Pharmacy and ask to speak to any member of staff.
- Why is it important to keep warm in winter?
- Who is most vulnerable?
- Which long term health conditions are of concern?
- How many excess winter deaths are there each year in England?
- What causes some of these deaths?
- How many households in England are in fuel poverty?
- What is fuel poverty?
- What temperature should you heat your home to in winter?
- What else can you do yo keep warm?
- What is winter fuel payment?
[expand title=”Quiz Answers”]
- Because it can help prevent heart attacks and strokes
- People over 65, on a low income, with a long term health condition and/or are disabled
- Heart, lung or kidney disease
- They are related to cold temperatures and infectious diseases like ‘flu
- Over 2 million
- When a household is living below the poverty line and has higher than average fuel bills
- At least 18C
- Make sure you have hot drinks and meals, keep active and wear lots of clothes
- It is a payment between £100-£300 to help with fuel costs if you were born before July 5th 1953