Keep warm and look after yourself and others during the cold snap

Sunday, 24 March 2013 – Health Protection
Keep warm and look after yourself and others during the cold snap

During the unexpected March cold snap and with many homes still without electricity, the Public Health Agency is advising everyone to look after themselves and others, especially elderly.

Keeping warm over cold periods can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health problems like pneumonia. There are simple things you can do to keep warm and stay healthy.

Keep warm at home by:

  • the best way to keep warm is by wearing multi-layers of clothing and to wear a hat and gloves, even indoors;
  • if you have a working heat source, heat your main living room to around 18-21ºC (64-70ºF) and the rest of the house to at least 16ºC (61ºF);
  • heat all the rooms you use in the day;
  • if you can’t heat all your rooms, make sure you keep your living room warm throughout the day;
  • It is important to make sure your heating is safe and that your house is propery ventilated, to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

If you have electric:

  • set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed;
  • in very cold weather set the heating to come on earlier, rather than turn the thermostat up, so you won’t be cold while you wait for your home to heat up;
  • never use an electric blanket and hot water bottle together as you could electrocute yourself;
  • if you have an electric blanket, check what type it is – some are designed only to warm the bed before you get in and should not to be used throughout the night;
  • make sure your electric blanket is safe to use by getting it tested every three years.

You can help keep warm by:

  • wearing plenty of thin layers, rather than one thick one;
  • putting on a coat, hat, scarf, gloves and warm shoes or boots when you go outside;
  • wearing clothes made of wool, cotton, or fleecy synthetic fibers;
  • wearing bed socks and thermal underwear at night.

Eat Well – Food is a source of energy which helps to keep your body warm. Try and make sure you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.

Who to contact if you need further help

If you are worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, contact your local council. There is also help and support from the charity age NI. Its website has information on how to stay warm in winter which contains useful contact numbers and advice. http://www.ageuk.org.uk/northern-ireland/

Severe weather warnings
The Met Office's severe weather warning page provides up-to-date information about weather that is likely to cause disruption.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/#?tab=map

If you are considering embarking on a journey during bad weather, you should consult the Met Office for travel conditions. If you must drive during severe weather, make sure you are prepared for bad weather conditions.

Further information

For media enquiries contact PHA Communication Office on 028 9055 3663