Cold homes have a significant impact on people's health. One the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.
Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
The chances of these problems are higher if you are vulnerable to cold-related illnesses because of one or more of the following:
- you're over 65
- you're on a low income (so cannot afford heating)
- you have a long-term health condition such as heart, lung or kidney disease
- you are disabled
Flu is a highly infectious illness that can spread rapidly. If you are at risk of complications from flu, you may be eligible for a free flu jab.
How to stay warm
The government's advice on getting ready for winter aims to reduce cold-related illness and deaths. Key tips include:
- Keep your home warm. Your main living room should be between around 18-21C (65-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F). You can also use a hot-water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you are in bed.
- 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 and keep active in the home if you can.
- Wrap up warm, inside and out. Layer your clothing to stay warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.
- Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they are safe and well. Make sure they are warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather. If you are worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, contact your local council or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66.
Cold weather benefits
You may also be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home. Grants available include the Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.
Winter Fuel Payments of up to £300 are available if you were born on or before July 5 1951.
To find out more about Winter Fuel Payments, call 0845 915 1151 (8.30am-4.30pm Monday-Friday, textphone 0845 601 5613) or visit the government website
Cold Weather Payments may be available to you if you receive certain benefits or have a child who is disabled or under the age of five.
To find out more about Cold Weather Payments contact Jobcentre Plus (you can find the nearest office in the phonebook) or visit the government website
The Energy Saving Trust (EST) has advice on how to reduce bills and make your home more energy efficient. They can also advise on grants and schemes available around the UK. Find out more online from the EST website or call 0300 123 1234 (9am-8pm Monday-Friday and 10am-2pm Saturday).
For more information on cold weather benefits and other help available read the 'Financial help to heat your home' section in the Keep Warm, Keep Well leaflet.
Keep Health Over Winter
We're here to help
For minor illnesses, coughs and colds look after yourself & your family at home.
For local expert advice and over counter medicines for minor illnesses & injuries.
Your GP Surgery
For your ongoing health needs.
Call the surgery on: 023 8033 3778
Local GP Surgeries:
Call: 0300 123 7651
Website: Solent Nicholstown
Alma Medical Centre
Call: 02380 672666
Website: Alma Medical Centre
Call: 02380 554161
Website: Mulberry Surgery
24/7 advice on self-care and finding the right service for you
Call 111 or
Steps 2 Wellbeing
For support with anxiety and depression for adults aged 18+
Call 0800 612 7000 or
RSH Hospital Urgent Treatment Centre
For urgent care for injuries and non-related illness
A&E or 999
For emergencies and life-threatening situations only.
Call 999 or visit the Emergency Department at Southampton General Hospital, SO16 6HU
Here are some tips from your GP to help you and your family stay well in winter.
- Get your vaccinations up to date – including vaccinations for flu, COVID and your children’s immunisations. If you are not sure what vaccines you or your family are due, please contact your GP practice as soon as possible. For information on COVID vaccines, call 0300 561 0018
- If you have a child who is unwell, go to Healthier Together website for information and advice
- There are lots of common illnesses that you can manage at home or with advice from a local pharmacy. It is useful to have some basic medicines at home:
- Paracetamol and Ibuprofen - in suspension for young children (e.g. Calpol)
- Plasters and bandages
- Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
- Antiseptic cream and wipes
- If you need support from your GP surgery, please bear with us. Sometimes our phones are very busy and it can take a while for us to pick up; we’ll answer your call as quickly as we can. Some practices offer call-back rather than you waiting on hold.
- We prioritise people with the most urgent needs
- For less urgent complaints, you can submit an e-consult
- We will assess your needs and may signpost you to other services or offer you an appointment with another health professional (e.g. a pharmacist, nurse or social prescriber)
- The NHS App
- Pharmacy First
- Health A - Z
- Live Well
- Age Well
- Check Your Mood
- Family Navigator Service
- In Times of Bereavement
- Mental Health
- Physiotherapy Self Referral
- Sexual Health Services
- Stop Smoking Help
- Winter Health
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