Prevention is better than a cure, do some self care this winter!

Winter self care

Staying well this winter

Winter conditions can be bad for our health, especially for people aged 65 or older, and people with long-term health conditions. Being cold can raise the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems, increase the risk of a fall, and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses. But there are lots of things you can do to stay well this winter.

Warmth

Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. 

Age UK and the UK Health Security Agency, suggest heating your home to a temperature that is comfortable for you. This should be at least 18°C in the rooms that you regularly use such as your living room and bedroom. Low indoor temperatures can have a serious impact on your health, especially if you have medical conditions or are older. With the rising cost of living, simple changes can help to keep you and your home warm now:

  • Try to reduce draughts – you can fit draught excluders around doors cheaply.
  • Keep your bedroom windows closed at night.
  • Wear several layers of thinner clothing – this will keep you warmer than one thicker layer.
  • Ensure you are eating enough and having hot drinks.

Remember to check that your heating and cooking appliances are safe. Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they’re operating properly. Visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk and www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk for more information.

Winter finances

Make sure you’re receiving all the help you’re entitled to this winter. There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to help you make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help manage energy bills. 

The government has published energy-saving tips to help save money on bills at www.helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk For further advice on these support measures, visit Age UK’s website or call 0800 169 6565.

Keep active

There’s strong evidence that people who are inactive have an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia.

Regular exercise can help improve your physical and mental health, reduce the risk of falling and can be beneficial for recovery if you do get ill. The UK Health Security Agency advises to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down during the day. 

There are many activities you could do at home to keep active. For tips and ideas on keeping active go to www.nhs.uk/keepactive or have a look at www.ageuk.org.uk/active.

You can also find more information about local sporting and exercise activities here: https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/sport-and-leisure/sport-activities-and-classes/ 

Hygiene

Keeping yourself or someone you care for clean is essential. Poor hygiene can cause discomfort, skin complications and infections, and can lower self-esteem.

  • Handwashing – Washing your hands with soap and water is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from catching these viruses and help reduce the pressures on healthcare services. For more information go to www.nhs.uk/handwashing
  • Genital washing – Genital and the bottom areas need to be washed every day.
  • Face washing – Your face should be washed every day.
  • Body washing – You should have a full body bath or shower at least twice a week.
  • Oral Hygiene – You should brush your teeth twice a day.

Check for safety concerns around your home

For those that are elderly or frail, Age UK advises people to make

some simple changes around your home to make it a safer place.

For example, moving rugs and mats at the top or the bottom of the stairs out of the way, installing a night light near the bed to make sure you can see where you’re going if you wake up in the night, and removing trip hazards like trailing wires or clutter from your home.

It’s also important to think about fire safety. Most fires in the home start accidentally. Understanding why fires start and what you can do to prevent them will help keep you, other people and your property safe. Having working smoke alarms on every floor of your home can provide a vital early warning should a fire start.

You can complete an online home fire safety check yourself. After answering a few questions about you and your home, it will provide fire safety advice specific to you and tips on how to keep you and your household safe from fire. For your free online home fire safety check, visit www.ohfsc.co.uk 

You can also book a Safe and Well visit to check your appliances and smoke detectors by call the West Yorkshire Fire Service by visiting: https://www.westyorksfire.gov.uk/safe-and-well-visits