Keep warm this winter

Keep warm this winter. An older aged woman, with her hands wrapped around a cup of tea and a thick blanket covering her shoulders

Prolonged cold weather can be a risk for anyone although vulnerable people, including the elderly and those with long-term medical conditions, are particularly at risk.

When cold weather alerts are issued we work with our partners at the Kent Resilience Forum to help residents to stay safe and to take steps to help protect vulnerable family, friends and neighbours.

If due to the cost of living crisis you are struggling with food and heating your home, please try and get help. Our cost of living support pages have lots of information about the support available and the organisations who can help.

Tips for keeping warm this winter

Read the tips for keeping warm this winter video transcript

Try to heat the rooms you use to at least 18°C if you can, as this reduces the risk to health of someone wearing suitable winter clothing.

  • Overnight, people who are 65 and over or who have pre-existing health conditions, may find bedroom temperatures of at least 18°C are good for their health; this may be less important if you are a healthy adult under 65 and have appropriate clothing and bedding.
  • If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and your bedroom just before you go to sleep.
  • Get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated.
  • If you have an electric blanket, use it as instructed and get it tested every 3 years. Never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket.
  • Do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning which can kill.
  • If you are not on mains gas or electricity, make sure you have a good supply of heating oil, LPG or solid fuel so you do not run out in winter.

Keep the warmth in:

  • Fit draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors.
  • Make sure you have loft insulation. And if you have cavity walls, make sure they are insulated too.
  • Insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes.
  • Draw your curtains at dusk and tuck behind radiators to help keep heat inside.
  • Make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.

Sitting or sleeping in a cold room is not good for you and increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke and breathing problems.

  • Keep your bedroom windows closed on a winter’s night; breathing cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.
  • Exercise is good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter.
    Keep moving if you can, this will help keep you warm. Try not to sit for more than an hour, get up and walk around, make a hot drink and spread housework throughout the day.
  • Wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer; this will trap the heat better to keep you warm. Thin layers of clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good for maintaining body heat.
  • Wear shoes with a good grip to prevent slips and falls.
  • Make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out.
  • Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks.
  • Aim to include 5 daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count towards your 5 a day.
  • Prepare for cold weather. Stock up on tinned and frozen foods, warm clothes and any medication so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy.
  • Power and utility companies have schemes which make at-risk groups a priority for reconnection following power cuts. Find out more and how to sign up on the Ofgem website.

If you need to go out:

  • Wear shoes with slip resistant, good grip soles.
  • Make sure you are not caught out by snow and ice; stay tuned to the weather forecast and plan ahead with food supplies.
  • In periods of severe weather such as snow and ice, do not travel unless necessary. Get up-to-date traffic information on the Kent Travel Information website.
  • People are urged not to go to A&E or call 999 unless it’s an emergency. If you are in any doubt NHS 111 can help you get the right treatment.

Find out more and stay up to date

To keep up to date with the latest winter health messages, including severe weather alerts for Kent from the Met Office, follow us on:

You can also use the links below to find out more about staying safe, warm and well in the colder months.