Tips on how to stay warm this winter

Keeping healthy

  1. Staying active - exercise is not only essential for general wellbeing and fitness, it also is important for generating heat and keeping you warm. If you are indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour, and if walking is difficult try to do chair based exercises such as moving arms and legs or wiggling your toes.
  2. Eating well - hot meals and drinks can help keep you warm, so try to eat at least one hot meal a day. Try to include a good range of foods in your diet and aim for five portion of fruit and vegetables a day to ensure you're getting plenty of nutrition and vitamins.
  3. Seasonal flu jab - as mentioned above, those who are elderly should try to arrange a seasonal flu jab. Seasonal flu viruses are constantly changing, so if you are over 65 you will need a jab every year using the latest vaccine.

Keeping your home warm

  1. As is already mentioned above homes should be heated to at least 18°C/64°F, with the main living room heated at 21°C/70°F.
  2. Try to understand how the timer and thermostat works for your heating system. If it's very cold then set the timer to switch the heating on earlier, rather than turning the thermostat up to warm your house quickly.
  3. Close your curtains at dusk and fit thermal linings if possible - this will retain heat.
  4. Put guards on open fireplaces, and take care not to hang washing too close to the fire.
  5. Don't block up air vents, as fires and heaters require ventilation. Good ventilation can also help to prevent condensation.

Keeping warm in and outdoors

  1. Ensure your bedroom window is closed at night - low temperatures raise blood pressure, which for older people takes longer to return to normal. This may also put older people at a greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  2. Keep your hands and face warm as a rise in blood pressure can be triggered if they get cold. In addition to wearing gloves and a hat, always wrap a scarf around your face in cold weather - this helps to warm the air you breathe.
  3. Rather than wearing one thick layer of clothing, several thin layers will keep you warmer as each layer will trap warm air. Clothes made from wool or fleecy synthetic fibres such as polyester are more appropriate that those made from cotton. Ensure that your feet are also kept warm during cold episodes.
  4. When sitting down try to wrap yourself in a shawl or blanket. Try to keep your feet raised from the ground as air is cooler nearer ground level.
  5. Try to wear warm clothes in bed. When very cold, wear thermal underwear, bed socks and hats in particular as a lot of heat can be lost through your head.
  6. Warm your bed with a hot-water bottle or electric blanket - but NEVER use the two together as this can be dangerous. Check whether your electric blanket can be kept on all night or whether it's only designed to warm the bed before you get in. Try to get it checked every three years by an expert.

How Action Surrey can help

Action Surrey, Surrey's independent energy advice service, can provide independent advice to help you stay warm this winter. Working in partnership with all of Surrey's district and borough councils, they can also help you to access grants/funding to assist in making your home warmer and more comfortable to live in. Their team will be on hand to assist you in installing measures such as cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and replacement boilers should you be eligible for funding.

Further winter advice is available on the Surrey County Council website including what to do in an emergency in Surrey or you can download the Winter Wellness campaign toolkit.

For further information please call 0800 783 2503