Complete your winter checklist
Have you thought about ways you can look after their own health, and help others to do the same, in the winter months?
The cold weather, long nights and increased prevalence of winter viruses all lead to increased levels of injury and illness at this time of year. If you take regular medication, or frequently access non-emergency health services, you should also plan ahead for times when things shut down over Christmas.
One way you can look after your health over this period is to create a winter checklist of things you can do to stay well in winter. This means being familiar with health guidance and the support available from Hounslow Council, as well as the many health services it partners across the borough.
The Council and its partners run a range of public health initiatives to improve people’s health through the winter, including its Warm Welcome programme and roving vaccinations via the Health Outreach Team (HOT).
Look after your body and mind
It’s important to keep on top of your personal health and wellbeing during the cold weather.
Make sure you get your seasonal COVD-19 booster and flu vaccination. They are your best protection from becoming seriously ill with these viruses. Both vaccines are available in our borough and free to eligible groups, including carers, pregnant people, and those over 65.
Find out how to book your vaccines
Winter can also be a time when people’s mental health can reach a particularly low ebb. If you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed, there are people who can help. Please also keep an eye on other people and let them know they are not alone.
For free and confidential support, call the Safe Space helpline on 020 3475 5285 (open from 11am-11pm every day).
Look out for others
Check on frail or older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or with serious illnesses, to make sure they are safe, warm and well.
People who care for others on a professional or voluntary basis can find more information.
If you are aware of someone who is feeling lonely or isolated, you can refer them to our befriending service.
You can also sign up to volunteer for the service yourself if you would like to help someone in need this winter.
Keep yourself and your surroundings warm
Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, so it is important that you heat the rooms you use to at least 18°C if you can. This is particularly important for people aged 65 and over or who have pre-existing medical conditions. If you cannot heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and your bedroom before you sleep.
If you are struggling to heat your home due to rising energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis, help may be available.
There are grants, benefits and advice to help make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills.
Enjoy a Warm Welcome
Hounslow Council and its community partners have opened a network of warm spaces across the borough. These are venues such as libraries and community centres, where people can go to keep warm, keep their heating bills down, take part in activities, and meet with others.
Extreme weather may mean you’re unable to get out for essentials over winter. It may also disrupt supplies of food or medicine. Make sure you have a good stock of any regular medication you take and make a note of when you’ll need to get any repeat prescriptions in plenty of time.
Also try and keep a good stock of non-perishable food and drink in the house. Tinned food and frozen vegetables all count towards your five a day.
Some services that you or people you know rely on may shut down over the Christmas period, so please make sure you have plans in place to get everything you need well in advance.
Exercise is important at this time of year. If you’re able to, keep moving to help you keep warm. Try not to sit for more than an hour if it is particularly cold.
Remember to stay safe when you’re exercising. Pavements and other walkways can become treacherous when there is ice around. Wear shoes with a good grip to prevent falls.
There are plenty of places to visit online to get information and guidance about the weather and what help is available.
Hounslow Council will be keeping residents up to date on services that are affected due to the cold weather.
You can keep up to date with what’s happening on the borough’s roads on the website.