Take care during colder weather

Published: 9 December 2022

Temperatures have noticeably dropped over the last few days, and are on track to continue dipping below zero next week.

The cold weather can have a significant effects on our health and we want to help you stay well and warm. 

When out-and-about, make sure you're wearing enough layers and your shoes have good grip to reduce your risk of slipping when it's icy. Wearing a few thin layers is better than one thick layer as it will trap heat better to keep you warm.

If you have a respiratory condition like asthma, you might find that wearing a scarf loosely over your nose and mouth reduces symptoms that can be triggered by cold air. This is because it helps you warm the air before you breathe it. The charity Asthma+LungUK has more advice on its website.

At home, keep moving if you can, and avoid sitting still for more than an hour. Try and heat rooms to a comfortable temperature. If you're not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease, this should be at least 18°C in the rooms you regularly use if possible – or at least in the one you use most during the day and in your bedroom just before you go to sleep.

Make sure you also have appropriate bedding and keep your bedroom windows closed at night. The UK Health Security Agency (UKSHA), has more advice on how to stay warm and well at home.

We know keeping warm is a challenge for many of us this winter. The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) has advice on getting help from your supplier if you need support with your energy bills. The county councils in Hertfordshire and Essex also have dedicated webpages with information and advice from local and national organisations to manage with the increased cost of living.

There are free, safe and warm spaces in our communities too - many of which offer the chance to get involved in clubs and activities.

In Hertfordshire, the county council has an online directory which helps you find libraries, family centres and community spaces. In west Essex, the county council has its Warm Welcomes programme in local libraries.

If you have older family, friends and neighbours remember they might need some extra support over the winter. Do keep in touch to ask if they need practical help or if they're feeling unwell. There is more advice on how to support vulnerable neighbours and relatives on the NHS website.

If you're ever worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1602 (8am to 7pm every day). Your local council might also be able to help - depending on where they live, visit the Hertfordshire County Council or Essex County Council website.

For more on staying well this winter, visit the Hertfordshire and West Essex Integrated Care System website.