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The popular TV weather presenter backs the NHS Stay Well This Winter campaign with some top tips:
Although winter weather and snow can be fun for some, the cold is also associated with an increase in illness and injuries.
Indeed, cold weather can be very harmful, especially for people aged 65 or older: it weakens the immune system, increases blood pressure, thickens the blood and lowers body temperature, increasing risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and chest infections.
If you have a long-term health condition like diabetes, heart or kidney disease, or have suffered a stroke, cold weather can make health problems like these far worse.
In addition to staying tuned to the weather forecast so you’re aware of when bad spells of weather are likely to arise, I’ve teamed up with the Stay Well This Winter campaign to provide you with my top five tips for keeping warm over the winter months.
- Heat the home: Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F), if you can, you might prefer your living room to be slightly warmer. Remember to keep your window closed on winter nights as breathing in cold air can be bad for your health because it increases the risk of chest infections.
- Be smart and energy efficient: To ensure that heat doesn’t escape your home, fit draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors making sure you have loft insulation if necessary. If you have cavity walls, make sure they are insulated too. Don’t forget to draw curtains at dusk and to make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains. For more tips on how to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating and keep up with energy bills, visit: www.gov.uk/phe/keep-warm. Check your heating and cooking appliances are safe by contacting a Gas Safe registered engineer.
- Dress warm: Wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good at helping to maintain body heat and several layers trap warm air better than one bulky layer. Also wear good-fitting slippers and shoes with a grip to avoid slipping.
- Move a little or a lot: Exercise is good for you all year round, not only will moving more keep you healthy, it can keep you warm over the colder winter months. If possible, try to move around least once an hour. Remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans to ensure they are tailored for your needs and abilities.
- Pharmacy first: If you do start to feel unwell over the winter months, even if it’s just a cough or a cold, it’s important to get help from your pharmacist before it gets more serious. Pharmacists are fully qualified to advise you on the best course of action – this can be the best and quickest way to help you recover and get back to normal. If you can’t go yourself, you could always ask someone else to go for you.
Visit uk/staywell for more helpful tips and advice.
Lucy Verasamy is a meteorologist and weather presenter.
She started her career at Meteogroup, Europe’s biggest private weather company, where she stayed for five years before joining Sky’s breakfast show Sunrise.
In 2010, Lucy then joined ITV’s Breakfast programme before moving to cover the weather for ITV news and News at Ten where she is a regular on our TV screens.