Skip the NI Direct Bar
Skip navigation

Keep safe and warm this winter – Poots

That was the message from Health Minister Edwin Poots as he urged people to keep warm during the cold winter months.
Monday, 2 December 2013

The Minister said: “In the last few years, we've seen how severe weather can quickly disrupt our daily lives. Cold homes have a significant impact on people’s health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.

“Now is the time to prepare for winter – don’t wait until temperatures drop further. Keeping our homes warm is important, always keep the main rooms that we occupy, such as the living room and bedroom, heated. Warm clothing and a hot meal will also help prevent the most vulnerable people falling ill this winter.”

Minister Poots continued: “Severe weather can cause a range of problems - but you can be ready for them. Being prepared can help us, our families and our communities to stay safe, warm and healthy throughout the winter months.”

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride said: “Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, and depression. I would also urge all those in the at risk groups to get the flu vaccination.”

There are a few easy precautions you can take to keep you and your loved ones safe during a spell of particularly cold weather –

  • Check the weather forecast regularly and ensure you have enough food and medicines in stock.
  • Wearing the right kind of clothes can help keep you much warmer. Layers are best, t-shirts and under clothes to keep the base of your back warm will heat you from the core.
  • If outdoors, take care of potentially icy roads and pavements and wrap up well, wearing boots with good grip, a scarf, gloves and a hat;
  • A balanced diet will help keep you warm and healthy in the winter. Make sure you eat at least one hot meal a day.
  • Heat all the rooms you use in the day. Heat your main living room to around 18-21°C (65-70°F) and the rest of your house to at least 16°C (61°F). If you can’t heat all your rooms, make sure you keep your living room warm throughout the day and heat your bedroom before going to bed.
  • Maintain contact with trusted callers, friends and relatives should you need assistance. Remember to keep your mobile charged and at the ready for use.

Dr McBride concluded: ““Older people and those with long term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the cold and we all need to work together to ensure that everyone is kept safe and warm in winter. If you have an elderly or vulnerable friend or neighbour, look out for them during the winter months to make sure they are safe, warm and well.”

Notes to editors:

1. Winter planning advice is available on the NI Direct website and the Met Office website

2. The Met Office ‘Get Ready for Winter’ campaign launched on 31 October 2013.

3. The Public Health Agency leads on public health advice and information.

4. Media enquiries about this press release to DHSSPS Press Office on 9052 0575, or out of office hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.