Wellbeing news

Keeping well in cold weather

Severe weather can have a serious impact on health and wellbeing, especially for older people, adults with long term health conditions and disabilities and families with young children. The following advice will help you stay safe, warm and well:

Stay warm indoors

Keep the temperature in main rooms between 18 - 21°C. A toddler or baby’s bedroom should be around 20°c.

Shut curtains and keep doors shut to keep the warmth in.

If you have trouble keeping your home warm call Winter Watch on 0118 937 3747.

Winter Watch is run by Reading Borough Council and a number of local voluntary and health services to make sure you do not live in a cold home during the winter months.

It is available to Reading residents who are on a low income and either over 60, have very young children, have a disability or health concerns.

Winter Watch can help you by:

  • Carrying out a home energy check
  • Giving advice on your bills and energy provider
  • Telling you about grants to help you insulate your home
  • Carrying out minor repairs to stop draughts
  • Lending you a heater or dehumidifier.

You can apply for Winter Watch until Saturday 31 March by phoning 0118 937 3747.

Going out

Dress in several layers. Babies and young children need one more layer than adults.

Always wear a hat and gloves. Beware of hazards - scarves are good for adults but scarves and hood strings can strangle smaller children.

Be seen - make sure children wear something bright or fluorescent during the day and something reflective at dusk and in the dark.

Wear shoes with a good grip to help avoid slipping and take your time when walking.

In drier winter air children lose more water through their breath – make sure they have plenty to drink to avoid getting dehydrated.

Young children are less likely to recognise when they are cold and more likely to lose body heat quickly due to their smaller size. Check on your child regularly if it snows and they are playing outside - if they are wet or cold bring them inside. Watch out for:

Frostbite – signs include pale, grey or blistered skin on the fingers, ears, nose, and toes. If you think your child has frostbite bring the child indoors and put the affected area in warm (not hot) water.

Hypothermia – signs include shivering, slurred speech, and unusual clumsiness. If you think your child has hypothermia call 999 immediately.

Stay well

Protect yourself from flu. Adults with certain medical conditions and children aged 2 – 7 are eligible for a free flu vaccine – ask your GP (vaccine for children is a nasal spray).

Flu is a very unpleasant illness and can have serious consequences for people with long term illness and young children. Symptoms of flu include: fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and a sore throat lasting up to a week.

Keep your medicine cabinet stocked with over the counter medicines (like ibuprofen, paracetamol and calpol) to deal with minor winter illnesses.

At the first sign of flu ask your local pharmacist or call NHS 111 for advice.


NHS England easy read newsletter

NHS England has published its Winter 2017/18 easy read newsletter.

It tells you about the work NHS England is doing to improve epilepsy care pathways for people with a learning disability. It tells you about resources to improve housing for people who have been in hospital too long.

There is a big focus on annual health checks and other extra help available for people with a learning disability. It tells you about how the NHS is checking how Transforming Care is doing, to move care closer to home (an evaluation).

Finally, it introduces the NHS England Family Carer Advisers.