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Author: Age NI
Published on 26 November 2010 12:00 AM

Cold weather means the beginning of the flu season and can cause particular difficulties if you have breathing and circulation problems.

To help you stay well, it’s important to keep warm at home and outdoors, follow as healthy a lifestyle as you can and have a flu jab.  

Keeping active generates heat and helps to keep you warm.  It’s good for general fitness and wellbeing too. So when you’re indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour.  Get up and walk around, make yourself a warm drink, and spread any chores throughout the day. Chair-based exercises and simply moving your arms and legs and wiggling your toes are helpful if walking is difficult.   

Hot meals and drinks help keep you warm, so eat at least one hot meal and have hot drinks during the day. Include a good range of foods in your diet and aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables each day so that you’re getting plenty of nutrients and vitamins. Remember that frozen vegetables are as good as fresh.  

If you’re over 65 be sure to have a seasonal flu jab. Seasonal flu viruses are always changing, so you need to have a jab every year, using the latest vaccine.  
Keep your spirits up

It’s not unusual to feel a bit down in winter – particularly when the days are short and it gets dark by 4pm. Try to keep to your usual routines and, if you can’t visit friends, make sure you phone them regularly for a chat. It helps to do something you enjoy every day. If you feel down for several weeks and it’s stopping you going out, making you feel listless and lacking in energy, it’s very important to share these feelings with someone, perhaps a friend or your GP.

If you receive Pension Credit or certain other benefits, you are automatically paid an extra cold weather payment when the temperature is at freezing or below for seven days in a row. To find out if you are receiving the benefits you are entitled to, call the Age NI Advice and Advocacy on freephone 0808 808 7575 from 8.00am to 7.00pm.

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575