Winter protection

There’s lots you can do to protect yourselves and vulnerable friends, family and neighbours this season.

Keeping warm in winter

Keeping warm can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as, heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

Follow these steps:

  • Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F). You might prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer.
  • 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.
  • Keep active when you’re indoors. Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so.
  • Wear several layers of light clothes. Several layers trap warm air better than one bulky layer.
  • Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body
    warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks.
  • Keeping well will allow you to do more and keep your independence. Being cold isn’t just uncomfortable it can be bad for your health. Sitting or sleeping in a cold room is not good for you and increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke and breathing problems. 
  • Don’t let the cold catch you out, check the weather forecast and be ready for cold weather.
  • Wear shoes with a good grip to prevent slips and falls.
  • Make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out.

View an information leaflet here with some important information from the NHS to help you stay well this winter here. 

Sources of support 

Get a flu jab

It’s important to get the flu vaccine if you’re eligible.

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to adults who:

  • are 65 and over (including those who will be 65 by 31 March 2024)
  • have certain health conditions
  • are pregnant
  • are in long-stay residential care
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • live with someone who is more likely to get a severe infection due to a weakened immune system, such as someone living with HIV, someone who has had a transplant, or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. It’s offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications. The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu starts spreading. But you can get the vaccine later.

Flu will often get better on its own, but it can make some people seriously ill. It’s important to get the flu vaccine if you’re advised to.

Find out more about the:


How to avoid catching a cold

A person with a cold can start spreading it from a few days before their symptoms begin until the symptoms have finished.

The best ways to avoid catching a cold are:

  • Washing your hands with warm water and soap
  • Not sharing towels or household items (like cups) with someone who has a cold
  • Not touching your eyes or nose in case you have come into contact with the virus – it can infect the body this way
  • Staying fit and healthy

The flu vaccine helps prevent flu but not colds.


Getting a COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccination is an important part of protecting yourself if you’re at increased risk from severe COVID-19.

You or your child may be offered a seasonal COVID-19 vaccine if you are:

  • aged 65 years old or over (you need to be 65 years old by 31 March 2024)
  • aged 6 months to 64 years old and are at increased risk
  • living in a care home for older adults
  • a frontline health or social care worker
  • aged 16 to 64 years old and are a carer
  • aged 12 to 64 years old and live with someone with a weakened immune system
If you think you may be eligible, find out how you can get a seasonal COVID-19 vaccination here: Getting a COVID-19 vaccine – NHS (

Check your medicine cabinet

Ask your pharmacist what medicines should be in your cabinet to help get you and your family through the winter season.
  • Many over-the-counter medicines (including paracetamol and ibuprofen) are available to relieve symptoms of common winter ailments such as colds, sinusitis or painful middle ear infection (earache). Your pharmacist can help if you need any advice.
  • To manage winter illness symptoms at home, you should keep warm, rest, drink plenty of fluids, have at least one hot meal a day to keep your energy levels up and use over-the-counter medications to help give relief.
  • For more information search ‘medicine cabinet’ on

Affordable warmth 

If you’re struggling to pay your energy bills you could be eligible for help. See our leaflet for handy links to support services and information about the different benefits and grants available. View an Affordable warmth warm information leaflet. 

Living in a cold and damp home increases the risk of asthma and bronchitis in children, as well as low weight gain in babies, slower growth, slower development and higher levels of hospital admissions for the young. For more information and tips to keep you and your families warm and well see our leaflet:  Affordable_Warmth_Childrens_Leaflet_web.pdf (

You can also see our affordable warmth website page.


Look out for other people 

Remember that other people, such as older neighbours, friends and family members, may need a bit of extra help over the winter. There’s a lot you can do to help people who are frailer than you.
  • Icy pavements and roads can be very slippery, and cold weather can stop people from getting out and about.
  • Keep in touch with your friends, neighbours and family and ask if they need any practical help, or if they’re feeling under the weather.
  • Make sure they’re stocked up with enough food supplies for a few days in case they can’t go out. If they do need to go out in the cold, encourage them to wear shoes with a good grip and a scarf around the mouth to protect them from the cold air, and to reduce their risk of chest infections.