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Keeping warm in winter

During winter, it's important to stay warm and protect yourself from the cold weather.

Colder temperatures can affect your body’s ability to fight off viruses and other infections.

Tips for keeping warm

Here is some advice for keeping warm:


  • dress in layers ⁠- a few light layers will keep you warmer than 1 heavy layer

  • wear thermal underwear

  • keep active indoors by walking around or try some indoor exercises

  • hot drinks can also help you keep warm ⁠- have them during the day and before bed

  • eat at least 1 hot meal a day to help you stay warm

  • check the weather forecast so you can be prepared for very cold weather


  • do not go out in extreme weather if possible

Heating your home in winter

It can be hard to keep the heating on if you are worried about bills. But it's important to keep your home warm. It will help you avoid getting sick and keep your home from getting damp.

If possible, try to heat:

  • the room you spend the most time in to about 18 to 21 degrees Celsius
  • the rest of your house to at least 16 degrees Celsius

Heavy curtains and draught excluders help to keep the heat in.

Be careful with air quality if you have an open fire or a gas stove. Make sure your carbon monoxide alarm is working.


Never block wall vents as they are essential for good air quality in your home.

Help with energy bills

If you are worried about bills, there are some Government schemes that can help you pay them.

Fuel Allowance -

Household Benefits Package -

Energy grants

There are also grants that can help you improve your home for winter.

Home energy grants -

Support for older people

A household benefits package is available to those aged 70 or older.

You can register as a vulnerable customer with your electricity supplier if either of the following applies to you:

  • you depend on medical equipment at home, such as a ventilator or a dialysis machine.
  • you're at risk of being disconnected during winter months because of your age or other health issues

Winter and older people

Winter advice for patients with chronic conditions

Services for homeless people

Urgent advice: Call 112 or 999 if someone shows any signs of hypothermia:

  • shivering
  • pale, cold and dry skin - their lips and skin may be blue
  • slurred speech
  • slow breathing
  • tiredness or confusion

Hypothermia happens when your body temperature drops below 35 degrees Celsius. Older people are at higher risk of hypothermia.

Electric blankets

An electric blanket can keep your bed warm.

If you use an electric blanket:

  • check what type it is - some are designed only to warm the bed before you get in and should not be used throughout the night
  • do not use damaged electric blankets in your home - check electric blankets and their flexes regularly for signs of wear and tear
  • make sure there are no creases in the electric blanket and it lies flat on the mattress
  • never use an electric blanket and hot water bottle together as it could cause electrocution

If you suffer with incontinence, get advice from your GP or PHN before using an electric blanket.

Using a stove or open fire

If you use a stove or open fire:

  • cover stoves with a fireguard secured to the wall
  • always guard open fires with a spark guard and a fireguard secured to the wall
  • never put anything on top of a fireguard
  • make sure chimneys are clean
  • make sure you have working smoke alarms and test them regularly

How to avoid chimney fires -


Keep portable heaters away from curtains and blinds as they could catch fire.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. Carbon monoxide can be produced indoors when you burn any fuel, such as coal, turf, oil, gas or wood.

If you have a natural gas or oil boiler, solid fuel fire, gas fire or standalone gas heater:

  • check all air vents around the home to make sure they are are not blocked
  • install carbon monoxide alarms anywhere fuel is burned or generators are in use

More information and advice -

Eating healthily

Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help keep you warm and healthy in the winter. Avoid too much alcohol or caffeine.

More support

Get more information about financial support for heating your home at:

Page last reviewed: 23 December 2022
Next review due: 23 December 2025