As the winter season kicks in, more people start to get sick. Aside from the fact that it is the time when colds, sore throats and flu are at their peak, the human immune system also gets compromised by the sudden drop in temperature, making it too weak to fight off viruses and diseases.
The most vulnerable people during the cold winter season are the following:
- Older adults over the age of 65
- Individuals who are suffering from a serious long-term medical condition, for example, cancer or heart disease
- People with a disability
- People from low-income households who cannot afford sufficient heating
High Risk of Hypothermia in Older Adults
For older people, getting a cold can be life-threatening. They lose body heat more rapidly compared to younger generations, and are more prone to hypothermia. The early symptoms of hypothermia include cold, numb feet and hands, sluggish speech and drowsiness.
Tips to Keep Warm
This is why keeping warm should be a major priority during the cold season, especially if you live with anyone who belongs in the at-risk group mentioned. Here are some practical useful tips on how to effectively keep safe and warm in the winter months.
- Focus heating the main area of the home where you spend most of your time during the day. Keep your living room at around 18 to 21 degrees Celsius while maintaining at least 16º degrees Celsius for other areas of your home.
- Make sure to turn on your heating in the bedroom before going to bed. The optimal temperature should be above 18 degree Celsius.
- Set the timer for your heating to come on before you come home. This way, you will not feel cold while waiting for the house to warm up.
- Proactively check draughts and block the gaps with weather strips, thick curtains and blinds.
- Layer your clothing and wear socks and caps on cold days even when you are just staying at home.
- Cosy up with a warm blanket to cover your legs.
- Consume enough food to sustain your body temperature. Body fat helps keep heat in the body.
- Prepare warm soups and drinks.
- Make sure someone routinely checks on older adults or people with a disability.
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