How to stay warm and well this winter
Our body temperature does not change as we age, but it does become harder for our body to control its own temperature – making it more difficult to stay warm and recover from the cold. Similarly, those living with health problems can too find it difficult to regulate body temperature making it more likely for them to develop an illness or further health issues.
As we all head inside and out of the cold, we’re more likely to be sharing coughs and colds with each other which could be detrimental to those with weakened immune systems.
Whether you’re a healthcare assistant, carer or client, Nurseplus has put together some top tips to help you stay warm and well this winter:
Flu is a serious risk to our aging population and our frontline care workers during winter. Healthcare Assistants, Support Workers and Nurses are entitled to a free flu vaccine if you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person according to Government policy.
If you’ll be over 65 on 31 March 2020, you are also eligible for a free flu vaccine at your local GP practice.
It sounds simple but unfortunately, we often hear of vulnerable people who can’t afford to turn the heating up. Don’t let your finances stop you turning the heat on and get any financial support you’re entitled to ensure you keep your house and your client’s house at the right temperature. If you were born before 5 April 1954, you will be eligible for winter fuel payments.
If you’re a care worker visiting clients, make sure they’re wearing several thin layers as these will keep them warmer than wearing a single thick layer. Clothing or blankets made from wool or fleecy materials keep the heat in the most!
Be prepared if you’re going out
With wet leaves and ice on the ground, wear warm footwear with non-slip soles to reduce the risk of falls. If you’re walking between clients, wrap up and wear a hat since the majority of our body heat is lost through our heads. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and order any repeat prescriptions or food shopping deliveries if you think you will be unable to venture out.
If you’re driving, keep warm blankets and a flask of hot tea or coffee in case you get stuck due to bad weather or mechanical issues.
Don’t delay getting treatment for minor winter ailments such as a cough, cold or sore throat. Visit your local pharmacist for advice before it gets worse.
Check on your neighbours
Darker nights and miserable weather can make it harder for people to get out and about. If you're stuck at home, you can end up feeling isolated. Calling for a chat, popping in for a cuppa or even popping a note through their door can really help let someone know you're thinking about them. Make sure they have everything they need and their home is warm enough.
And most importantly…
Staying in contact with friends and family over the winter months is essential for both our physical and mental health. The unpredictable weather can mean that we can’t get out and about as often resulting in feelings of isolation. If you’re travelling, make sure to let someone know when you’re setting off and once you’ve arrived.
As a worker, we ask that you please keep in regular contact with your local teams, especially if you are travelling between clients alone. At this time of year, ice can cause accidents for both pedestrians and drivers and the long dark evenings can be a risk for lone workers.
Stay warm, stay safe and stay in contact this winter.