As the days become shorter and winter sets in, the temperature in Ireland continues to drop. Met Eireann has forecasted snow in many areas and the coldest winter we’ve seen in years. Staying indoors with a nicely lit fire, a cup of tea and your favourite movie on the telly sounds like a dream plan for some.
However, it’s hugely important to ensure that you and your home are kept warm throughout the coldest days. The seriousness of being too cold is highlighted when you consider that those living in cold homes are up to three times more likely to die a preventable death than those living in warm homes.
With that in mind, we’ve put together some simple tips to ensure you stay warm and safe for the rest of the winter cold spell.
Preparing Your Home Against The Cold:
- Make sure to draw the curtains in all of the rooms in your home when it’s dark out, as it helps to insulate them against the cold, particularly if the fabric is heavy and the curtains have a good lining.
- Hang a heavy interlined curtain inside the front door of your home. This will help to insulate the front hall and landing areas, and will keep out strong draughts from outside.
- Placing draught excluders against exterior doors and the door of the main living room will help to prevent chilly draughts throughout the house.
- The ideal temperature for the rooms you live and spend most of your time in is 21 degrees celsius, and 18 degrees in other rooms that aren’t used as much.
- Keeping the heating on low can be more cost effective than short blasts of high heat and will also help to keep rooms at a constant temperature.
- Have your central heating on a timer if you can, so that the house is warmed up when you wake in the morning or when you return after a day out.
- A hot water bottle or electric blanket in bed ensures that your body temperature doesn’t dip when you first get into bed. If you find it chilly in the mornings, it may be time to replace your trusty hot water bottle with an electric blanket so you can switch it back on for a little while when you wake up. However, make sure to never use both together.
Preparing Yourself For The Cold:
- Dress appropriately with lots of layers. This makes it much easier to add or shed a layer if necessary and helps to insulate your body against the cold. Wearing a sleeveless cardigan or jacket really helps to keep your chest and back warm without the bulkiness of an extra layer on your arms. Don’t forget a hat, gloves and scarf when you leave the house too.
- Hypothermia usually begins in the extremities of your body like your hands and feet, and they’re generally the first areas of your body to feel the cold. Therefore keeping your toes and fingers warm is hugely important. Make sure to wear shoes or slippers around the house, and also consider wearing an extra pair of socks to keep your toes toasty. If your hands are feeling cold, put on a pair of gloves or use a set of hand warmers to heat them up quickly.
- Consume warm drinks to keep your body temperature up. Have a cup of tea or coffee in the morning, a bowl of hot soup at lunchtime and a mug of warm hot chocolate in the evening.
- A good diet will protect against illnesses and colds. Consume the right amount of protein during the day – an even distribution of protein can be beneficial for maintaining your muscle mass thereby preventing the incidence of fractures and falls. Consuming milk, yoghurt and cheese products will maintain your protein and calcium intake.
- Doing some exercise is good for your mood and blood circulation. Even a short walk will help warm you up, but make sure to take care with icy pavements. When we’re feeling cold, we often don’t feel like taking some exercise or going out into the elements, but a walk to the local shop or a neighbour will get your circulation moving. Even doing some gentle exercise in the house will help too.
These are just a few tips to help keep you warm and healthy this winter, and we hope you find them useful. Most importantly, make sure to take care of yourself and your loved ones throughout the rest of the cold months. If you feel that our homemaking or companionship services may be of benefit to you or a family member, contact us today by ringing 1850 818 100 or send us an email via the form on our Contact Us page.
Have a lovely December and Merry Christmas from all of us at Comfort Keepers!