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Staying safe and warm this winter

We’re getting excited about Christmas being just around the corner, but with the presents and turkey also comes colder weather which can be dangerous if you’re not prepared for it. There’s more to it than just making sure you’ve topped up your home heating oil and turned your heating on.

Staying safe and warm this winter might be a challenge for some people, so these tips will help you to prepare for the worst, so that you can enjoy the best of the season.

Carbon monoxide

Any heating equipment you use at home, whether it’s a boiler, a gas fire or a cooker or even an open fire can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if the equipment is faulty or has insufficient ventilation. To ensure you stay safe and well this winter, make sure you have a working carbon monoxide alarm in your house and that you check the batteries regularly. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, tiredness and confusion, stomach pain or even chest pain and loss of consciousness in extreme cases. If you think you’ve been exposed, seek medical attention straight away.

Making the most of natural daylight

Although it might be in short supply, let the sunlight in whenever you can for a natural way to heat your rooms. Open the curtains in the morning and you’ll be surprised at how effective direct light can be in heating up your room, even in the winter. Just remember to close the curtains again when the sun sets to keep your rooms insulated and prevent any heat loss around the windowsills and frames.

Airing rooms

When it’s cold outside, it can be tempting to hibernate indoors and keep all the windows and doors closed to keep the cold out, but this can very unhealthy – you need to allow fresh air into the room to circulate and reduce condensation build up which can lead to damp, mould and breathing problems.

Not drying laundry inside

Cold and wet winters in Ireland can make laundry very difficult – and if you want to avoid running up electric bills, the tumble drier isn’t always the most economical option either. Drying laundry indoors can lead to damp and condensation problems so whenever you can, try to hang damp laundry outdoors or in a utility room designed to withstand higher humidity levels. If we have a wet winter like we did last year and you’re finding it impossible to dry clothes outside, try hanging them in the bathroom where damp conditions are easier to manage.

Exercise

Staying safe and warm this winter isn’t just about what you do to your home – you need to look after yourself too, and this includes some daily gentle exercise to get the blood pumping and keep you feeling warm. A walk outdoors is all it takes, and it’s also a great way to top up your Vitamin D (aka Vitamin sunshine) levels in the winter which can dip as we spend so much time indoors.

Eating well

One of the most convenient ways to keep ourselves warm in the winter is to eat hearty, comforting hot meals. This also helps to boost your immune system and fight off colds and flu, so time to get busy in the kitchen! These great ideas should be more than enough to get you started on your way to culinary heaven this season.