Winter conditions present an increased risk to our health, especially if you are older or have a long-term health condition such as heart or kidney disease, asthma or diabetes.
Being cold can raise the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. The cold, damp weather can aggravate existing health problems, making you more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses. Here are some tips to help you stay well this winter.
Top tips to stay well from the NHS
- Make sure you get your COVID-19 booster and flu vaccination if you are eligible.
- Keep warm by wrapping up, wearing lots of layers of thin clothes.
- Stay active by moving around indoors, avoid sitting for more than one hour. Keeping active can also support your mental health.
- Keep the heat in by drawing your curtains at dusk and keeping doors closed to block draughts. Try and heat rooms you regularly use to at least 18°C and keep your windows closed at night. Make sure you’re getting the help you’re entitled to with heating costs.
- Use a hot water bottle or an electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but don’t use both at the same time.
- Have at least one hot meal a day. Eating regular meals and drinking hot beverages can help you keep warm.
- Look after your mental health by speaking to someone – a friend, family member or healthcare professional, like your doctor – if you are feeling down. Check out the NHS website for support on where to get urgent mental health support.
- Make sure you have the right medicines at home in case you get poorly. Ask your pharmacist if you are unsure.
- Wash your hands with soap and water:
- When you get home or into work;
- After you blow your nose, sneeze or cough; and
- Before you eat.
- If you get ill, rest and keep warm, drink lots of liquids, have at least one hot meal each day and take the tablets you have been recommended by a healthcare professional.
If you get ill
- If you think you need medical help right now, call 111 by phone or use NHS 111 online.
- If it is a real emergency and life-threatening, then you can call 999.
- If it’s less urgent contact your doctor or pharmacist.
Look out for others
- Keep in touch with your friends, neighbours and family and ask if they need any practical help, or if they’re feeling under the weather.
- Make sure they’re stocked up with enough food supplies for a few days, in case they can’t go out.
- If they do need to go out in the cold, encourage them to wear shoes with a good grip and a scarf around the mouth to protect them from the cold air, and to reduce their risk of chest infections.
- Make sure they get any prescription medicines before the holiday period starts and if bad weather is forecast.
- If you’re concerned about someone’s health or safety, call NHS 111 for health advice, or 999 in an emergency.
Need more advice?
Read more tips on keeping well this winter at the NHS website.