588660767_750x422With Christmas becoming a distant memory, the fridge is less and less full of leftovers you may feel that the worst of winter is over and spring is on it's way. Whilst that indeed may be the case, January to March can be some of the coldest months Britain endures, looking back at our track history of The Beast from the East, things aren't looking too promising. Keeping warm and well fed in winter is incredibly important; the cold makes us tired and lethargic, less energised to get up and move about, let alone work away in the kitchen. This leads to malnourishment and other cold related ailments; a saddening number of people died due to avoidable causes last winter [2018] between 2000-3000 depending on the source, however with better preparation and education we can prepare in advance!

Why you shouldn't underestimate winter:

When the temperature drops to below 8 degrees celsius, some people are at an increased risk of the following: - Heart Attack - Stroke - Flu - Pneumonia - Falls and injuries - Hypothermia Also the cold weather can affect people with mental health conditions such as depression and dementia.

Everyone can experience negative outcomes because of the cold, however you are most vulnerable if:

- You're 65+ - On a low household income [can't afford heating] - You have a long-term health condition, such as heart, lung or kidney disease - You're disabled - You're pregnant - You have young children - You have a mental health condition

Keep your home warm:

- If you're not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease, heat your home to at least 18C (65F) - Keep your bedroom at 18C all night if you can – and keep the bedroom window closed - During the day you may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer than 18C - To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), babies should sleep in rooms heated to between 16C and 20C - If you're under 65, healthy and active, you can safely have your home cooler than 18C, if you're comfortable - Draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts - Get your heating system checked regularly by a qualified professional

Protect your health in the cold:

If you start to feel unwell, even if it's a cough or cold, don't wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist. - Find out if you can get the flu jab for free on the NHS - Wear several layers of clothes rather than 1 chunky layer – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres help to maintain body heat - Use a hot water bottle or electric blanket to keep warm in bed – but don't use both at the same time - Have at least 1 hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm; and make sure you have hot drinks regularly - Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so indoors – get up and stretch your legs - Stay active – even moderate exercise can help keep you warm - Wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors – add a hat and wear shoes with a good grip, too - If you have a heart or respiratory problem, stay indoors during very cold weather   All statistics and advice are from the NHS Website, see their page for further information and advice.