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How to stay safe and well in wintery conditions

Pam Goodison


Woman trying to walk in Icy and snowy conditions

Some of us were lucky enough to enjoy a ‘White Christmas’. Now that the festive period is over and we’re faced with perpetual forecasts of ice and snow, my thoughts turned to how we can all stay safe and well this winter.

Whether you work from home or travel to an office, you should think about your wellbeing. Here are a few tips that will help you to look after yourself this winter, and others too.

In extremely cold weather the following groups need to take extra care: the over 65s, young children, and people with heart or lung conditions. If you have friends or family who fall into the latter category it would be prudent to keep a closer eye on them.

Heat your home to 18C. This is key to staying well. If you have an old house, like me, and find this difficult, it’s worth investing in an oil filled radiator to heat the rooms you use. I also suggest a heated blanket for the evenings and during the night.

Cups of warm tea on a bedside table.

Cups of warm tea on a bedside table.

Consume warm drinks and hot food and keep an eye on the forecast. If the weather looks like it’s going to be bad for a length of time, stock up on food and any medication in advance.

Don’t go out in very cold weather if you are at high risk of cold-related illnesses. If possible, make alternative plans if the roads are going to be bad. If you do have to drive, take your time; set off earlier to reach your destination and try to stick to roads that you know have been gritted. Have winter tyres fitted to your car if you can, they make a huge difference to your driving ability. 

Make sure your car is winter-ready now, before the season is fully upon is. One of the problems I’ve had in the past concerned the battery on my car. As the weather gets colder and days become darker more quickly, we use our heated seats and have our headlights and heater on for longer; such prolonged/extra usage can drain your battery. You may need to top it up or invest in a new one if your car struggles to start. Make sure you have plenty of antifreeze in your radiator to protect your engine, and always defrost your windows properly before setting off on a journey.

If you need to walk through snow and ice, buy some weatherproof boots with a decent grip, and wear a warm hat, as most of your body’s heat escapes from your head—it’s therefore a good idea to keep it covered.  

Hopefully, most of us will continue to work from home and will only need to venture out for essentials. Whatever your plans, look after yourself this winter and stay well.

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