Cold Sores

How to prepare for a harsh winter

min read
How to prepare for a harsh winter How to prepare for a harsh winter How to prepare for a harsh winter

It’s hard to predict the future, but usually around this time of year, the mercury starts dropping and the Met Office start warning of frosty mornings, potential snow and hazardous driving conditions.

Against the backdrop of a cost of living crisis, rising food prices, soaring gas and electricity bill prices, it’s little wonder that many people harbour concerns about how they’re going to keep warm, safe and fed during the winter months without spending too much money.

During unsettling times, it’s important to have the information you need to properly prepare and plan. That’s why Compeed has produced a short guide to preparing for a harsh winter.

Keep the temperature up

Getting fresh air is important, but make sure that you keep your windows closed at night and check for any drafts or problems with your windows to make sure you’re getting as much insulation as possible. Ideally, your home temperature should be at least 18 degrees. This can be easier to achieve in newer homes and with central heating or similar, so it’s important to make sure you know what your personal heating options are and how you can optimise them for cost-effective comfort this winter.

What is the ideal room temperature this winter?

“The ideal room temperature during the winter is between 18°C and 20°C. During the winter months, it can be tempting to crank up the thermostat. But experimenting with different temperatures can both reduce energy bills and potentially lead to a better night’s sleep,” says Andrew Kerr, founder at BOXT.

It’s a good idea to get your heating appliances checked every year by a professional, to make sure they’re in good working order.

“It is a myth that leaving your heating switched on all the time will help you save money on your energy bills,” adds Andrew.

“This is not the case, as your boiler will be continually using energy. Instead, it is much more energy-efficient and cheaper to set your boiler so it only fires up when you require warm water or heating, and only set your thermostat to the temperature you want your home to be.

“Cranking the thermostat up more won’t make the system heat up any faster, but will mean it continues burning energy for longer to reach that higher temperature,” he continues, “however, in the winter months you should be especially mindful of what temperature your thermostat is set to. As the weather turns frosty, there is a chance the water in your boiler system could freeze if it’s not being used at all, causing a lot of damage to your heating system. It’s generally advised to keep the thermostat set to a minimum of at least 10°C to avoid the risk of your pipes freezing.”

How to warm a room without turning the heating on

Many people are looking to limit the amount of energy they use to avoid paying sky high gas and electricity bills. No one wants to be cold, however, and no one should have to choose between warmth and other essentials.

Investing in warm clothes, like thermal socks, big jumpers, warm blankets and so on is a good idea, as is wearing warm clothes in bed. It may feel a bit unusual, but wearing a hat inside can be helpful as your head loses a lot of heat. Whilst wearing warm clothes will help keep your body warm, it won’t do much for the temperature around you, so it’s a good idea to optimise the space around you for warmth.

“It’s understandable that people will be worried about the rising cost of energy bills, but there are some tricks that they may be unaware of that can help warm a person’s home without even turning the heating on,” says Chris Harvey, a heating specialist from Stelrad.

If you’re unsure how to warm a room up without turning on your heating here are 3 easy tips Chris recommends.

  1. Move your furniture around

Whilst many people might think that this is only helpful if your furniture is up against a radiator, moving your furniture has another benefit. If you don’t have central heating or would like to save on your heating bill, then this tip can still be helpful as in the winter you should move any of your furniture away from external walls. External walls are a lot cooler than your internal ones, so try and keep furniture against your internal walls where you can. You will feel more comfortable that way.

  1. Check for draughts

You will find that in older buildings, a lot will have only single-glazed windows and doors, which might result in cold air coming inside and any heat you have in your room escaping. Make sure you check for gaps in the frame and try to cover them. If you can, invest in draught stoppers or even use old blankets where you can to cover up any holes as a short-term solution.

  1. Add rugs and curtains to your rooms

If your floors aren’t insulated  this can account for up to 10 per cent of heat loss. It’s particularly important to consider adding rugs if your home has wooden flooring with gaps between the planks. If this is the case then you should add thick rugs to prevent warm air from escaping. The same can be said about curtains as they help restrict the air between the warmth of your home to the cold outside. Essentially curtains and rugs can act as a barrier and give you that extra layer of warmth.

For further tips on how to save energy in your home, the government has set-up a dedicated website or your can call their helpline on 0800 444 202.

Look after yourself and others

Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications, especially if you’re over 65 or have a long-term health condition. It’s also true that many people find they are more prone to catching viruses in winter, so it’s important to do what you can to protect yourself and others. Check with your GP to see if you’re eligible for a flu, Covid-19 and/or pneumonia jab, remember to eat a balanced diet, stay hydrated, and remain active.

During the colder months, there’s also a lot you can do to support neighbours, friends and family members. Make sure they are stocked up with food supplies, prescribed medicines and offer to support them if they need to head out in treacherous weather.

If you’re heading outside, make sure you’re wrapped up warm, wear suitable shoes with a solid grip and wear a scarf to cover your mouth to protect from chapped lips. The change in temperature, coupled with an increased risk of feeling run down due to illness, means cold sores are very much a seasonal hazard.

Compeed has plenty of tips on protecting your lips, minimising stress and, if a cold sore outbreak does occur, how best to style it out with and without makeup. Compeed Discreet cold sore patches are also a useful item to have in the bathroom cabinet, just in case. Designed to discreetly protect the sores, they are proven to help speed up the healing process and act like a shield to reduce the risk of contamination.