Staying warm in winter

If you are over 65, have reduced mobility or a health condition such as a heart or lung disease, you need to make sure you stay warm. That means making sure the room temperature is at least 18C and that you are wearing warm clothes. Several lighter layers are better than just a single heavy one.

Eat regularly, take warm drinks and keep active. Move around at least every hour if you can. If you can't get up, do gentle exercises in your chair to keep your limbs moving.

To stay warm in bed, use either an electric blanket or a hot water bottle, but never both together, even if the blanket is switched off.

You can get more advice and practical tips on how to keep warm at the NHS Choices website.

Keep your home warm

Curtains, particularly heavy ones, keep rooms warmer, but make sure you draw them before it gets cold and dark outside. Draught excluders also help, although you do need to make sure there is some ventilation into the room.

Get any hot water cylinders and pipes insulated before winter. For more energy efficiency advice and information about grants, please call Keep Herefordshire Warm. This is a scheme run by Marches Energy Agency in conjunction with Herefordshire Council. It aims to reduce fuel poverty and support vulnerable customers to heat their homes at an affordable cost.

Stay safe from fire

If you have open fires, have chimneys swept once a year. Use a fireguard, and put fires out before going to bed.

Don't leave lit candles unattended and keep electric heaters away from curtains and furniture. Don't use them for drying clothes.

Fit smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them frequently.

Look out for others

Check that older neighbours and relatives are safe, warm and well, especially if they live alone or have an illness. There may also be schemes providing extra help locally to those who might need it in winter, ask your parish clerk or go to your community website, if there is one, for details.