Winter weather and snow can be fun but also bad for our health and wellbeing. However, with some simple precautions and planning, there are lots of things you can do to stay well this winter.
Get your FREE flu jab: the flu virus is active in winter and it can be far more serious than you think. Contact your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist to book an appointment.
Eat well: regular hot meals and drinks will keep you warm. Stock up on tinned or frozen foods. Get it delivered if you can, so you don’t have to go out when it’s cold or icy.
If you feel unwell: act quickly and don’t wait for it to get worse. Speak to your pharmacist, as they are fully qualified to advise you on the best course of action.
Keep your home warm: heat your home to at least 18⁰C (65⁰F). Keeping warm can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
Keep moving and wrap up: any activity, even cleaning, gets the circulation going and makes you feel warmer. Wear multiple layers of clothing indoors and out.
Keep your bedroom window closed on winter nights: breathing cold air can be bad for your health as it increases the risk of chest infections.
Get your heating system checked: make sure it is working safely and efficiently. Ensure you have working smoke alarms and BS EN50291 Standard carbon monoxide alarms in your home.
Order winter fuel in advance: check pipes are lagged and know where to turn off your water.
Warm Home Discount: if your household is on a low income you could receive £140 off your energy bill – contact your electricity supplier today to find out if you are eligible.
Don’t pay more than you need to: make sure you are getting the best deal from your energy supplier, or consider switching to another one. You could save around £200 per year.
Don't let heat escape: you could qualify for help towards a new heating system or insulation. If you are eligible, funding is currently available for:
Help is available for both homeowners and tenants. West Sussex County Council is working with YES Energy Solutions to help you access these energy saving improvements. To find out more, please call 0330 0581 918 or visit the YES Energy Solutions website.
Contact your energy supplier to find out if they are able to help you.
Keep an eye on your neighbours or relatives: make sure they are safe, warm and well
Stay social: continue your social activities with friends, let them know if you can’t get out for any reason
A number of local organisations can provide advice on changing energy tariffs, energy debt or accessing help and grants. They are listed in the West Sussex 'Stay Well this Winter' booklet (2016 version at the bottom of this page). The 2017 version will soon be available to download from the West Sussex Affordable Energy website. Copies will also be available from your local library and council offices.
Met Office: keep an eye on weather forecasts so you can stock up on food and prescription medicine. Forecasts up to 7 days ahead are available 24 hours a day from the Met Office on 0370 900 0100.
coldAlert is a free service for residents of Sussex providing cold weather alerts to vulnerable individuals. Once registered for the service you will receive a coldAlert when the normal winter conditions change and colder weather is forecast. This allows you to prepare by making sure that you have enough food and medicines in the cupboard and your home is adequately heated.
Power cuts: In case of a power cut call 105
If you might need extra help and support during power cuts contact the electricity power provider for you area:
UK Power Networks 0800 316 3105
SSE Power Distribution 0800 294 3259
Citizens Advice can provide advice on energy bills and changing energy tariffs. Call 0344 4771171.
Age UK can provide support and advice on a range of topics for people aged 50 and over. Call 0800 169 6565 for details or to find your local drop-in point.
Families can visit their local Children and Family Centre for further advice and support. To find your local centre, call 01243 777807 or visit the West Sussex County Council website.
Further information can be found below: