Advice for staying safe and well during the cold snap

UKHSA and the Met Office have issued an Amber Alert for cold weather, which is expected to continue until this Friday (19 January). Severe cold weather has the potential to affect anyone, not just more vulnerable people

Jan 15 2024

During this period of inclement weather, the advice is for residents to follow a few simple steps to help keep themselves and others safe and well.  

Follow these top tips to help yourself and others stay well during the cold snap: 

Keep warm  

  • A cold home can increase the risk of health impacts, particularly for more vulnerable people. 
  • Try to heat rooms you spend a lot of time in, such as the bedroom or living room, to at least 18°C (65°F), day and night - and keep bedroom windows closed. You may prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer.   
  • Wear several layers of thinner clothing rather than one thick layer – this will help keep you warmer. 
  • Use a hot water bottle to keep warm in bed.  
  • Draw curtains at dusk and block out draughts.  
  • Try not to sit still for too long, ideally not more than an hour or so. Anyone who has trouble getting up and moving around can also stretch their arms and legs to help them stay warm. 
  • If you need to go out, remember to wrap up warm, and wear shoes with good grips to avoid slipping on icy surfaces.  
  • If you’re worried about the cost of heating your home, seek financial support. Vulnerable people who struggle to keep their homes warm can get help from Hampshire County Council’s Hitting the Cold Spots initiative. Residents can call on behalf of themselves or someone else on Freephone 0800 804 8601 (Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm).  

Look after yourself and others  

  • Eat well. Try to have at least one hot meal a day. Hampshire’s Meals on Wheels service is available to anyone aged 18 and over with a long-term health condition who may struggle to shop for or prepare food for themselves. Warm drinks are a good way to keep warm as well.  
  • Stock up on food in the house in case you can’t get out during a cold spell.  
  • Keeping paths and pavements free of snow and ice can help prevent falls. Older and vulnerable people are most at risk from slips and may need help to keep their pathways clear.  
  • Boost your immunity – get vaccinated. People who are eligible for a COVID-19 seasonal booster or flu jab are encouraged to take up the offer as soon as they can. 
  • During icy and freezing conditions, motorists should take extra care when travelling. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and check conditions before you travel.  

Some people may need extra support during periods of cold weather. Look out for friends, family and neighbours who may be vulnerable by keeping in touch, checking they are well, making sure they know how to keep warm and safe, and whether they need practical help such as stocking up with food or essential medications. If you are worried about your health or that of somebody you know, ring NHS 111.  

If you think they may have hypothermia, contact NHS 111 for further assessment, and in an emergency dial 999; typical signs that someone may be suffering from hypothermia include shivering, slow breathing, tiredness or confusion, and pale, cold skin. 

For more information visit: How to stay well in winter - NHS (