• Keeping warm in winter

    When it comes to winter illnesses, we tend to think mainly of coughs, colds and flu. And while those bugs thrive during the winter months, the cold can also lead to more serious health problems.

    These include high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, respiratory disease and pneumonia… and they particularly apply to older people. That’s why it’s important to understand the best ways to keep warm – inside and out – when the temperatures plummet.

    For instance, the ideal temperature for your main living room is around 70°F [21°C], and the rest of your house 64°F [18°C]. If you’re sitting down, lay a blanket over your legs, and wear warm slippers on your feet as the coolest air is closest to the floor. That said, you should also try and move around as much as possible. Not only will it generate body heat, but it’s also good for your muscles and stops you stiffening up.

    It’s important to eat plenty, and at least one hot meal a day, when the temperature falls. You should also consume lots of hot drinks. When you go to bed, wear thermal underwear and plenty of layers – a hat’s a good idea as you lose most heat through your head. Also, make sure windows are closed and curtains fully drawn.

    If you need to venture out, keep your hands, head and neck covered, and also wrap a scarf around your face as it helps to breathe warmer air.

    Dr Justin Geddes


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