Believe it or not, it’s coming to that time of year already and the blustery cold days and dark early nights are drawing in. You would think that living in the UK means we would all be used to the miserable winter weather by now, but as used to it as we think we are, it still comes with massive health risks.
When the temperature drops below 8 degrees, you are especially more at risk of flu, heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, hypothermia and even falls and injuries because the weather becomes dangerous.
The cold weather can affect you mentally as well as physically, so people with mental health conditions such as dementia and depression can also be more at risk. Those with long-term health conditions, the young, the elderly and disabled people are also all more at risk than others.
According to The Guardian, there were 50,100 deaths in England and Wales from 2017-18 (over 40% more than in 2016-17), making it the highest amount of fatalities caused by winter weather since 1976.
In this post, you will learn the best ways in which you can prepare for the cold weather, some top tips on how to deal with it once it’s already here and the products that will help you achieve this.
How Can I Prepare For The Cold Weather?
There are a few quick and easy ways you can prepare yourself for the cold winter weather before it actually arrives:
KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE WEATHER FORECAST
You might be thinking this is a given, but we all know how unpredictable the British weather can be, so it’s important to check an accurate weather forecast daily. Ideally, it will provide regular updates so you can be prepared for any winter weather, whether it’s rain, snow or blizzards.
One of the most accurate sources is The Met Office which provides updates and severe weather warnings on TV, over the phone, radio, their website and social media so you’ll never go a day without being prepared.
GET YOUR FLU JAB
It’s said that the most common cause of death in 2017-18 was the flu. To prevent this, make sure you get your flu jab to prevent not just getting ill, but also to prevent those around you getting ill. It can spread through coughing and sneezing within just 24 hours!
Those more at risk of getting the flu are eligible for a free jab, so if you fit into this category, make extra consideration when getting the injection.
INSULATE YOUR HOME
You’re probably questioning how you’re going to keep warm at home minus the endless boiler bills, but this can be done by following some of these cheap and easy insulating hacks:
USE TIN FOIL
It does involve your heating being on but this hack can help you to get more for your money! Place the tin foil behind the radiator on your wall which prevents heat from escaping through your walls and therefore, reflects it back into the room. It’s as simple as that!
GET THICK CURTAINS
The main place the warmth escapes is through the windows, so getting thicker curtains that have a thermal lining will prevent that much-needed heat escaping. However, if you don’t have the budget for a new set of curtains, you can always line them yourself with thermal materials such as fleece.
On the other hand, leaving your curtains open to allow sunlight through is great during the day because you get the warmth from the sun minus the cold weather!
CREATE YOUR OWN DOUBLE GLAZING
Double glazing is another costly way of insulating your home, so why not save energy and make your own? All you have to do is stick the film to your window with tape and use a hairdryer to secure it down…easy!
What Are Some Top Tips For Dealing With The Cold?
It’s important to wrap up warm when you’re out and about in the winter weather. You should ensure you’re wearing several layers of clothing (which keeps you warmer than one thick layer) to trap warm air.
However, garments made from wool, (an active fibre which can keep you warm when it’s cold, but also cool when it’s hot) means when you go inside, you don’t have to worry about the faff of removing each layer!
One of the most important places to keep warm is your hands and feet so make sure you have a good pair of gloves and a thick pair of socks.
EAT AND DRINK ENOUGH
One of the best sources of energy is food which is also an easy source because we all eat on a daily basis! Hot food and drinks will also keep your body warm so they’re essential, especially if you’re spending a lot of time outside.
As painful as going out in the winter weather may seem, if it’s safe enough for you, doing small amounts of exercise or even a small trip to the shop (depending on your mobility) is great for getting your blood flow and circulation going. Being out in the cold, but being wrapped up warm might actually be nicer than feeling trapped in an over-heated house.
TAKE HOT BATHS OR SHOWERS
Hot baths and showers are a simple way to help raise your body temperature. An even better shower or bath is when you’re comfy at the same time and can wash in ease. You can find some bathing equipment and accessories here which includes bath cushions to help with comfort. Additionally, these bathing aids will help with your comfort when in the bath or shower.
What Products Can I Buy To Help Protect Myself?
These days you can get a variety of bedding which can keep you warm in winter weather, from Egyptian cotton sheets to fleece sheets. Though, these can be costly, especially if they can’t be used all year round, so these are some cheaper alternatives:
- Hot Wheat Bottle with Lavender Scent – As odd as it seems, not all “hot water bottles” require hot water to heat up- some can be heated up it in the microwave within minutes and will stay warm for hours! Not to mention, lavender is perfect for when you’re feeling under the weather and need something soothing! So it’s a good idea to buy one that has a lavender scent.
- Cervical Roll – Once you’ve got everything you need to stay warm, a cervical roll is what will help keep you comfortably warm. They help relieve postural neck and shoulder pain to help protect your cervical spine during sleep.
WHEN USING YOUR MOBILITY AID
As spoken about previously, it can be dangerous to go out in the winter weather without protecting yourself first.These products will definitely come in handy, and the best bit is that they are suitable for use all-year-round:
- Wheelchair Cushions – There are many types of cushions that are specially made to fit all types of wheelchairs and will provide comfort when out in the uncomfortable weather.
- Rain Protection – Ponchos, capes and umbrellas suitable for your mobility aid are a must-have when it comes to being out in the rain. You can buy many that are waterproof, fully lined, a snug fit and are simple to take on and off, making them perfect for when you need a quick and easy source of protection in the rainy weather.
- Cosys and Covers – If you thought it couldn’t get any better, you can also buy cosys and covers which provide both comfort and warmth together by protecting the whole lower body. If you’re wondering whether they will fit your wheelchair, most that are made for wheelchairs should fit virtually any model.
AROUND THE HOUSE
Whether it’s the day-to-day travelling around the house or relaxing in front of the TV, it’s much more enjoyable without having to be constantly wrapped up in layers where you can’t move comfortably. Here are some alternatives:
- Electronic Heat Pads – Some heat pads come with a turbo fast heat up which can take only 10 minutes. This is perfect for when you get the chills. Most heat pads will also come with different heat intensity levels depending on how cold you are. Not to mention, they are also great at providing therapy for problems such as arthritis, tension and backache.
- Slippers – Everyone needs a pair of slippers to keep their feet cosy during the winter weather, they’re an essential! You can buy different styles and fits depending on your foot shape and size.
- Sock Aids – It’s just as important to keep your feet protected from the cold when outside as well as inside, so when you can’t wear slippers, you’ll want to wear socks. However, we understand that some people find it difficult to put socks on easily or without any help, so putting your socks on using a sock aid will make it as straightforward as it’s ever been. They grip the sock until it’s on your foot and you can even use them one-handed!
Where Should I Go For More Advice?
If you want some more advice on what products you can buy to protect yourself from the winter weather, including the ones mentioned in this post, browse our online shop today or come in and visit us. If it’s easier for you to reach us over the phone, contact us today on 01733 342242.