Winter health

The winter months are associated with colds, flu and more serious health problems. The NHS has some excellent information on how to stay well in winter.

Health conditions caused by cold homes often relate to cardiovascular and respiratory problems. However, your mental health can also be effected by anxiety, stress and social isolation.

Here are some top tips for staying warm and well in winter.


  • Stay warm at home
    • Heat the main living area of your home to at least 18 degrees Celsius.
    • Heat your bedroom to at least 16 degrees Celsius and keep your bedroom window closed during the night.
    • Set your heating to come on before you get up and go off when you go to bed.
    • In very cold weather, set your heating to come on earlier, rather than turning the thermostat up.
    • Have your heating system checked each year and also check if you are entitled to any financial support or home improvement grants.
    • A hot water bottle can also help you stay warm.
    • Eat at least one hot meal each day and have hot drinks throughout the day.

    Speak to a member of the National Energy Action (NEA) team to see how they can help you stay warm in winter.

  • Wear warm clothes
    • Wear plenty of thin layers – air is trapped between the layers and insulates you from the cold.
    • Clothes made from wool, polyester or fleecy synthetic fibres are usually warmer.
    • Thermal underwear or sports base layers can keep out the cold.
    • Tights or long socks and slippers can also help.
    • When you go outside, be sure you are dressed for the weather. During the winter, wear warm layers under a coat.
    • Wear a hat, scarf and gloves outside. This is important as a lot of your body heat is lost through your head.
    • Wear warm shoes or boots with good grips.
    • If you get wet, change into dry clothes as soon as you get indoors.
  • Stay well
    • Get your free flu jab.
    • Make sure you get your prescription medicines before your pharmacy or GP practice closes for the holidays.
    • Try to keep to your routine and stay in contact with family and friends.
    • Try to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – stews and soups are a great way of doing this.
    • Keep active around the house and try not to sit in one place for too long.

    Speak to your local pharmacist or GP practice to see how they can help you stay well in winter.

    Visit the Stay Well This Winter section on NI Direct.

  • Belfast Warm and Well Programme

    The Belfast Warm and Well Programme aims to help local people who are struggling to keep their home warm in winter. The programme offers advice and practical support.

    Belfast Warm and Well is coordinated by National Energy Action (NEA) and supported by community planning partners from across Belfast.