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Keeping well in winter

A photo of a man sitting in front of a cozy fire with a hot drink

Top tips...

  1. Have your flu vaccination

  2. Keep your home heated to at least 18°C (65°F)

  3. If you start to feel unwell, get advice from your local pharmacist

  4. Look out for those who may need a little extra help during winter

For most of us, winter doesn’t necessarily cause too much of a problem, however for those who are over 65 or have a long term health condition, cold weather can mean a series of problems and complications.

The following advice can help you keep well, warm and safe during the winter months...

  • Make sure you have your flu vaccination to protect yourself and others from the serious complications of flu.  You may be eligible for a free vaccination, so take a look at our flu vaccination page to find out more.

  • Try to keep your home heated to at least 18°C (65°F), especially if you’re older or have a long term health condition.  If your home doesn’t have a decent boiler, central heating or insulation, you could be eligible for help with heating your home.  Visit our help to heat your home page for more details.  Remember to never use a gas cooker or oven to try and heat your home!

  • You can try to keep as much warmth in your home as possible, by using heavy curtains and closing them as soon as it gets dark, keeping all doors closed to reduce cold draughts and insulating hot water cylinders and pipes.

  • Keep active when you’re indoors and try not to sit still for more than an hour or so.  It also helps to wear several layers of light clothing, as multiple layers trap warm air better than one bulky layer.

  • A hot water bottle or electric blanket is a great way to stay warm, but remember to never use them at the same time!

  • Have at least one hot meal a day with regular hot drinks, as they’ll help keep you warm.

  • Try to eat more fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day) and there’s lots of great winter root vegetables available, such as parsnips, turnips and swedes.

  • Avoid unnecessary cold weather breakdowns by having your heating and cooking appliances regularly checked or serviced.

  • If you come down with a winter bug, such as a cold, sore throat or norovirus (vomiting and diarrhoea), there’s no need to visit your GP, simply ask your local pharmacist for advice.  You can find your nearest community pharmacy on the NHS website.

  • If you take regular medication, don’t forget to order and collect any prescriptions you may need, so you’re ready in case there’s bad weather or before any public holidays, as many GP surgeries and pharmacies close over the holidays.

  • Beat winter tiredness by getting out and about in natural daylight, getting a good night’s sleep and de-stressing with meditation or exercise.

  • Remember to check on older and more vulnerable relatives and neighbours, especially if they have heart or breathing (respiratory) problems.  Make sure they’re safe, well and warm, especially at night, and have enough food and medicine, so they don’t have to go out if it’s very cold or icy.


Local support

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service offer a vast range of information to keep you safe in your home, including advice on heating, cooking, candles, carbon monoxide, chimney fires and electric blanket safety.

Herefordshire Council provide information on gritting routes across the county and how you can report dangerously icy roads, which require urgent attention.

Keep Herefordshire Warm provide free energy efficiency advice for residents in Herefordshire, including support for those with broken boilers, no central heating or insulation.

National support

Age UK has a range of information and advice for keeping well in winter, including managing your money and beating the winter blues.

The Government offer practical advice around how to safely clear snow from a road, path or cycleway.

The Met Office has some handy advice to help you get winter ready, including what to do in a flood, preparing a winter kit for your car and winter proofing your bike.

NHS 111 can help with medical advice and services, when it's not an emergency, but you're not sure what to do or where to go.  The service is available online or by calling 111 and if you have a hearing problem, you can use the NHS 111 British Sign Language (BSL) Service.

The NHS has a vast range of information to help you stay well during winter, including advice on winter illnesses, low mood, sadness and depression and how to stay healthy.

Public Health England has some handy advice for staying well in cold weather, including ‘Keep Warm Keep Well’ and ‘Top Tips for Keeping Warm and Well’ leaflets.

Scope offer free energy advice to disabled people, including switching tariffs or supplier, accessing energy benefits or grants, managing energy debt and understanding your bills and heating systems, which can help you manage your energy needs and stay warm during winter.