Stay warm and safe this winter
Sunday 1st November, 2009
The importance of keeping your home warm and safe this winter is being highlighted by NHS West Sussex as part of the national Keep Warm Keep Well campaign.
People are being warned that the wintry weather can cause serious health problems such as strokes, pneumonia or heart attacks.
Children are also at risk because of their weaker immune systems so health experts are asking householders in West Sussex to heat their homes effectively.
Health experts say setting heating to the right temperature is vital to keep homes warm, conserve energy and reduce fuel bills.
Judith Wright, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing at NHS West Sussex, said: “All of us are more likely to feel the cold weather in the months ahead. For adults, cold weather can lead to serious health problems such as pneumonia and strokes while children can be at risk because their immune systems are still developing.
“You can stay healthy if you stay warm this winter. People should think about putting on an extra layer when it is cold and wrap up warm. Keeping yourself as fit and healthy as you can all year round is very important but your lifestyle can make even more of a difference when it comes to keeping well in the winter months.
“Although it’s easy to skip meals when you lead a busy lifestyle, eating regularly also helps to keep energy levels up during the winter – for you and your children.”
Some tips for heating homes effectively and saving energy may seem obvious but they can make a big difference when it comes to cutting fuel bills.
Set the thermostat to 21C (70F) during the day and 18C (64F) at night-time. Programme your heating to come on just before you get up and switch it off after you’ve gone to bed.
If it’s very cold, set your heating to come on earlier and switch off later, rather than turning the thermostat up.
If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room throughout the day and your bedroom(s) just before you go to bed. Remember to close curtains and shut doors to keep heat in the rooms you use most.
If you do not have a thermostat, invest in a household thermometer to check room temperature. As well as keeping warm, it is important to ensure you stay safe.
Incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated cooking and heating appliances can give off carbon monoxide – a poisonous gas which you cannot see, smell or taste but which kills more than 50 people a year in England and Wales.
Low levels of carbon monoxide can cause serious harm to your health if breathed in over a long period of time.
The top tips for staying safe are:
- Have your cooking and heating appliances, flues and chimneys serviced at least once a year by a suitably trained, reputable, registered engineer.
- Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm that meets European Standard EN50291.
- Keep rooms well ventilated when using an appliance and stop using an appliance if you think it may be giving off carbon monoxide gas.
- If you suffer from symptoms like food poisoning, viral infections, flu or fatigue and think they could be caused by carbon monoxide, see your doctor at once and say you think it might be carbon monoxide poisoning.
- For more information on installing insulation and to find an approved National Insulation Association (NIA) installer in your area who can arrange a free survey and quotation for your property and provide details of the grants available, visit the NIA website at www.nationalinsulation.org.uk or call the inquiry line on 0845 163 63 63.
To find out more about carbon monoxide safety, call the HSE Gas Safety Line on 0800 300 363 (8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 10am-4pm on Saturday) or visit www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/index.htmFor general health advice and information visit www.nhs.uk/carbonmonoxide
For further information on the Keep Warm Keep Well campaign, go tohttp://keepwarmkeepwell.direct.gov.uk/index.html