Cold Weather Advice
It’s turning cold this weekend and over next week with snow and ice expected.
This sudden dip in temperatures can be uncomfortable and inconvenient for many of us. But if you are on a low income or have a medical condition then the problems which you experience can be even greater. Getting around can be trickier, and you may be worried about how you are going to pay for increased heating costs especially as we are asked to stay at home during this lockdown.
And for many older people, and those with existing medical conditions, even without Coronavirus, cold weather brings with it the increased risk of hypothermia and other health problems.
The following are a few tips to help you to stay warm whoever you are, and to ensure that those around you are safe and well.
General Cold Weather Advice
- Stay tuned to the weather forecast. Ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance (have deliveries or ask a friend to help)
- Take the weather into account when planning activities.
- Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold-related illness or falls
- Check room temperatures if you or someone else is likely to be restricted to one room during the winter period, or during a cold spell. Make sure that it can be kept at or above 21°C during the day and 18°C during the night.
- Plan what resources you / they will need to keep safe and warm.
- If the forecast is for snow, discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from the front of your house and public walkways nearby, if you are unable to do this yourself
- If you have to go out, make sure you dress warmly and wear non-slip shoes. Also tell someone where you are going and let them know when you get back. If you have a mobile phone, keep it charged and on you at all times
- Don’t delay in getting treatment for minor winter ailments like colds or sore throats. Consult your local pharmacist for advice on treatment before it gets worse so you can recover quicker.
- Keep active
- Dress warmly, eat warm food and take warm drinks regularly. Layers of clothing helps keep you warmer.
- Stay in touch with people who may be vulnerable people and neighbours you know to be at risk in cold weather - ensure they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their home adequately
Keep Warm Keep Well
Check the Met Office website for the latest weather forecasts, and to see what's happening over the next 5 days. Individuals can put their home area into it to check local weather conditions.
Support for vulnerable people in a power cut
Older people and people with health problems can be especially vulnerable during a cold snap, or in the event of an unexpected power cut.
UK Power Networks can offer additional support to vulnerable people during power cuts. If you are on their list of registered people then they can take action in the event of a power cut to ensure that you receive priority support.
Either email the completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post it to:- Priority Service Co-ordinator, UK Power Networks, Fore Hamlet, Ipswich IP3 8AA.
Help paying the heating bills
You could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 January 1953. This is known as a 'Winter Fuel Payment'.
Find out more on the government's website.
You may also qualify for a Cold Weather Payment if you are getting certain benefits.
Switching your fuel provider
Switching your fuel provider may be another way of saving on heating and other gas and electrical bills. But check that this will definitely be the case before doing so. A number of websites offer comparisons between companies and tariffs. For instance the Which? Switch website (run by the Consumers Association) allows you to compare tariffs by entering some simple details. The service is free and impartial. Uswitch also does the same thing, and is also free and impartial.
There's also lots of useful information on the MoneySavingExpert website.
If you are unsure about doing this yourself, you could ask a relative, or a friend or neighbour you trust, or go to your local Citizens Advice Bureau to ask for help and advice.
Keeping your home warm, and the heating bills low
The government have produced a leaflet called Help towards lower bills and warmer homes with all the information which you need.
The Homes4Health/Green Doctors service for residents of Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Hammersmith & Fulham aims to help residents who struggle to heat their homes adequately during winter months and run the risk of cold related ill health.
Contact them on:
- Tel: 0300 365 5003 or Email: GreenDoctorsLDN@groundwork.org.uk or Online referral form ( RBKC / LBHF )
More information and advice
You may also find it useful to look at the following pages on People First :
And Age UK have produced their own tips on preparing for winter.