Preparing for winter
Why is it so important to keep warm?
As we get older it takes longer for us to warm up, which is bad for our health. Cold weather can be harmful, especially for people who are 65 or older. The lower temperatures can mean you're more likely to pick up common winter illnesses, such as colds or flu, or make existing conditions worse.
The cold thickens blood and increases blood pressure.
- Blood pressure - takes longer to return to normal in older people who have been exposed to the cold.
- High blood pressure - puts us at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.
- Know your numbers – you can have your blood pressure checked at your local pharmacy for free.
Winter warmth: You can stay well this winter by keeping warm.
Handy hints for keeping warm indoors and out
- Keep your hands and face warm by wearing gloves and a scarf.
- Wrap a scarf around your face when you go out in cold weather, even if you're not planning on being out for long. A scarf warms the air you breathe and protects your lungs from the cold, which could save you from a chest infection.
- If your hands and face get cold they can trigger a rise in blood pressure which puts you at risk of a heart attack and stroke. Several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air. Clothes made from wool or fleecy synthetic fibres such as polyester are a warmer choice than cotton. Start with thermal underwear, warm tights, leggings, long-johns and socks.
- If you spend a lot of time sitting without getting up and moving about, wiggle your fngers and toes.
- A shawl or blanket will give you that extra bit of warmth when sitting.
- When sitting for long spells keep your feet up if you can, as the air is cooler at ground level.
- Use a hot-water bottle, wheat bag or an electric blanket to warm the bed, but never use a hot-water bottle and an electric blanket together - remember water and electricity just don't mix.
Safety TIP: Remember to test your hot water bottle for leaks by filling with cool water first.
- Check the stopper to see if the rubber has perished.
- Turn the bottle upside down over an empty sink.
- Don't use if there's signs of a leak or the rubber has split.
- Be careful not to squeeze the bottle as you fill it as you risk scalding.
- Don't over fill.