Keeping Warm at Christmas

The spiralling cost of utility bills alongside the never ending austerity measures has made this Christmas period a particularly difficult time for many people in our communities.Every year more than 25,000 extra people die in England over the winter. Many of these deaths are seen as preventable and it’s often society’s most vulnerable that are hardest hit.Public Health England (PHE) is urging people to think about how the onset of the cold weather may impact on their health and what measures they should take to cut the level of risk.elderly lady winter cold pensionDue to the NHS seeing a year on year increase in the number of people using the service, the NHS will feel even more pressure across winter. A&E units across the UK are already struggling to hit their waiting time target of 4 hours. Demand is increased on the service during colder months because of illnesses like flu and norovirus.Rob Webster, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents health bosses, said "While the winter brings its own challenges, our members regularly tell us that it is 'winter all year round' with pressures being experienced regardless of the time of year."Professor Keith Willett, NHS England’s clinical director for acute care, said:“As a doctor who has spent some 30 years working in A&E, every winter, doctors and nurses see a big increase in the number of people, particularly older and frail people, who are admitted to hospital because of respiratory or other chronic conditions usually worsened by immobility, the cold and viral illnesses.”Before the really cold weather arrives this winter we may wish to consider how the cold may have an effect on our friends and family. The simplest advice is to ensure people should eat warm food, drink hot drinks and heat their homes to at least 18C and (where possible) move about to keep warm. The most vulnerable in society are older people, the very young, those who have pre-existing health conditions and society’s poorest. In the season of good will to all men, we are reminded to look out for those that may be at risk from the cold and offer help and assistance wherever possible.Energy efficiency can play its part in keeping us safe and warm over winter, here are just a few tips;

  • Adjust your thermostat to be lower during the night.
  • Turn the heating off over prolonged periods of being away from your property
  • Wear lots of layers rather than one thick one
  • Only heat the rooms you use
  • Arrange the furniture to be nearer to the internal walls
  • Close the curtains to keep the heat from dissipating
  • Turn off the lights that aren’t being used (inside & out)
  • Take a shower instead of a bath
  • Switch off appliances and mobile phone chargers that are on standby
The Met Office have some useful tips on taking care of our communities during winter.