Keep warm and well
Keeping warm during the harsh winter months can play a key role in reducing your risk of serious health problems that occur more in the cold, such as chest infections, heart attacks and stroke. Now is the time to take action to stay warm and well this winter.
Research has shown that living in a cold house makes cardiovascular and respiratory diseases significantly worse. It also reveals that children living in cold homes are more than twice as likely to suffer from a variety of respiratory problems than children living in warm housing. It makes common ailments such as colds and flu more likely and makes existing conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism worse.
Mental health is also affected badly. One in four adolescents living in cold housing is at risk of multiple mental health problems compared to one in 20 adolescents who have always lived in warm housing.
“The cold can have a number of adverse effects on the mental and physical health of vulnerable people,” agrees Dr Nitin Joshi, GP at Willowbrook Surgery. “This includes people over the age of 65, those living with a long-term health condition, those living in the most deprived areas and people living with mental health problems. Significant numbers of Leicester residents fall into one or more of these categories.”
Whatever the reason, such as concern about the cost of heating your home, lack of understanding how the heating system works, or lack of adequate heating, there is help, advice and support available.
Leicester City Council’s Home Energy Team run a number of schemes to help residents keep their home warm and energy efficient. Lucy Birch, Health Through Warmth Coordinator, said: “The schemes support a range of people in different circumstances, such as those on low incomes, those with long-term conditions, those privately renting or who own their own homes.”
Depending on the criteria, the team may send out a Technical Officer to carry out a home visit which could result in advice on how to best heat your home or how to be more fuel efficient, or you could be given a refresher on how to set your thermostat or timer for your heating. Or you could be entitled to some funding towards repairing, insulating or replacing your boiler or central heating system.
“In addition to this, if work needs to be carried out, we’ll organise it,” said Lucy. “We arrange quotes from known, trusted contractors which protects people from dealing with unknown trades people and oversee it, right through to carrying out inspections of completed work.”
For a no-obligation discussion on options that might be relevant to your circumstances, call Leicester City Council’s Home Energy team on 0116 454 3784.
You may find these links useful:
- Keep Warm Keep Well booklet: information on financial help and schemes available to keep warm over winter, for people aged 60 or over, low income families and people with a disability.
- Flu jabs
- Older people