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Stay well this winter

10 things you can do to prepare for winter

Cold weather can be a risk to your health, particularly if you are over 65 or have health conditions.

Keeping warm during winter months can help prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. Stay Well This Winter campaign  provides top tips for keeping warm over the winter months.

1. Heat the home

Try to heat your home to a steady and comfortable temperature throughout the day in the rooms you use most – usually around 18°C (64°F) is ideal. At dusk close curtains and windows to help keep the heat in.  Breathing in cold air can be bad for your health because it increases the risk of chest infections. Make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.  If there are rooms you don’t use, like a spare bedroom, turn off the radiators in that room and close the doors. This will help you save on energy costs while keeping warm.

2. Keep warm 

Wearing plenty of layers is the best way to keep warm in winter and better than wearing one bulky layer. Clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are good at helping to maintain body heat. Also wear good-fitting slippers and shoes with a grip to avoid slipping. Find free and welcoming warm spaces in the local community.

3. Get your flu jab

Winter weather coincides with the flu season and flu can affect people in different ways. The flu vaccine helps protect against flu, which can be a serious or life-threatening illness. It’s offered on the NHS every yearto people at higher risk of getting seriously ill from flu. Find out more about flu vaccinations.

If you are aged 65 years or older or are have an increased risk you may be eligible for a seasonal COVID -19 Vaccine. The last date you will be able to get your seasonal COVID-19 vaccine is 31 January 2024. Eligibility Criteria and walk-In information 

4. Stop the spread of Germs

As well as getting vaccinated, there are some other simple measures you can take to reduce the spread of illness. Regularly washing your hands with soap and water is one of the best ways to stop germs from spreading. 

You can also:

  • catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue
  • choose to wear a face covering in busy indoor spaces, like shops
  • leave windows ajar to let fresh air circulate when meeting people indoors
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

5. Keep Moving

A little bit of activity now and then is a great way to help you keep warm over the colder winter months. If possible, try to move around least once an hour. Remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans to ensure they are tailored for your needs and abilities. Southwark residents can use swimming and gym facilities for free, Find out more about how to get active for older adults.

6. Eat Well

Hot food and drinks can help you to keep warm, so try to have one hot meal a day and as many hot drinks as you can. Try to have a range of foods in your diet and try to eat fruit and vegetables each day – frozen and tinned vegetables can be just as good as fresh. Think about stocking up on cold and sore throat remedies as well as food, in case it’s harder to leave the house. If needing help with groceries you can visit local Food Banks Community Fridges. You might also want to get big bottle of water in case the water supply is interrupted. 

7. Be smart and energy efficient

Make sure you’re getting all the help that you’re entitled to. There are grants, benefits and advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. Find out about local resources to support with the cost of living crisis.

For more tips on how to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating and keep up with energy bills, visit:

8. Make sure your home is fire safe

For fire safety advice specific to you and your home, visit the online home fire safety check website to complete a safety check for your home. Check your heating and cooking appliances are safe by contacting a Gas Safe registered engineer.

9. Community Pharmacies

If you start to feel unwell over the winter months, even if it’s just a cough or a cold, it’s important to get help from your pharmacist before it gets more serious. Pharmacists are fully qualified to advise you on the best course of action – this can be the best and quickest way to help you recover and get back to normal. If you can’t go yourself, you could always ask someone else to go for you. Find a Pharmacy near you

10. Think of vulnerable neighbours

Older neighbours, friends and family members, may need some extra help over the winter.  If you’re worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your GP Practice or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1602 (8am to 7pm every day). 

You may be able to help your neighbour with an important job to prepare for winter, or your neighbour may be able to help you. Just taking time to make contact will be appreciated.  Visit the Olio App for sharing what you don’t use with local people.