Cold Homes and Health

Keep yourself warm and well

Problems and diseases linked to the cold include:

  • common colds
  • increased blood pressure
  • heart attack
  • pneumonia

It can also make your recovery time from operations longer and can increase your risk of falls.

Besides poor health, cold-related illness can cause:

  • absence from work
  • social isolation
  • sleep deprivation

It may lead to mental or stress related illness, with negative knock on effects for family and friends.

Who is affected?

Those with existing health conditions are especially vulnerable to the cold. This includes physical conditions, such as circulatory problems, diabetes, arthritis, and mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.

Respiratory conditions, like asthma, can be made worse by the cold, even more so if there are damp and mould issues in living spaces. This is often the case in underheated, poorly ventilated homes.

People with certain disabilities, children and the elderly also fall into higher risk categories.

Warm up – tips for cold weather

  • Set your heating to come on just before you get up and switch off just before you go to bed. If it’s very cold, set it to stay on longer, rather than turning the thermostat up. 
  • Close the curtains when it’s getting dark. Tuck them behind the radiator and shut the doors to rooms you use most to keep the heat in. 
  • Stay warm with a hot water bottle or electric blanket, but don’t use both at the same time. 
  • Layer clothes to keep warm
  • Off mains gas or electricity? Keep a sufficient fuel supply to avoid running out in winter. Consider joining an oil club to save money. 
  • Have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter. 
  • Keep your feet warm with rugs and slippers. Wear thermal socks. 
  • Warm up by moving around (if you can). Gentle exercise helps to keep you warm. 

Maximise your income

It can be hard to keep the heating on when you are trying to balance your budget. It’s worth looking at which benefits, grants or support you may be entitled to.