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Friday 19 April 2019
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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Spot the signs of a cold home, it may save a life

Cold home

During the winter people across the county die as a result of being too cold in their own home. These deaths are not from hypothermia but from sitting or sleeping in cold rooms which causes existing medical conditions to get much worse. These deaths are preventable with simple advice and referrals to agencies that can help.

Direct effects of cold weather include an increase in heart attacks and stroke, respiratory disease and influenza, falls and injuries and hypothermia. Other indirect effects include mental illnesses such as depression and carbon monoxide poisoning from poorly maintained or ventilated boilers, cooking and heating appliances.


People at greater risk of harm from the cold:

  • Older people (over 75 years old and/or “frail” older people)

  • Children under the age of 5

  • People living with disabilities or long term health conditions

  • People with mental ill health that reduces their ability to self-care

  • People with learning difficulties

  • People living in deprived circumstances

  • Homeless or people sleeping rough and other marginalised groups.


Spotting the signs of a cold home:

  • It feels cold in the house

  • Damp patches? Condensation? Draughts? Blocked vents?

  • No central heating

  • Safety issues – overloaded sockets, exposed wires, drying clothes on portable heaters and putting furnishings too close to the heat source. Is there a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning?

  • Wearing lots of clothes indoors

  • Heating just one room in the house

  • Breathing problems.


Key health messages:

  • Get your flu jab if you are in an at risk group
  • Keep your house warm, efficiently and safely – your living room should be 21°C (70°F) and your bedroom heated to 18°C (65°F)
  • Keep in the warmth (draughts, insulation, draw the curtains etc.)
  • Look after yourself - eating hot meals, hot drinks, wearing lots of thin layers, stock up on food and medication in bad weather
  • Heating and cooking appliances should be properly maintained – don’t use the oven or gas cooker to heat your home – you risk carbon monoxide poisoning. Always use a fire guard to protect an open fire against flying sparks
  • Look after others – older relatives, friends and neighbours
  • Get financial support – you may be eligible for grants, benefits and sources of advice to make your home more energy efficient or help to pay the bills.

Stay Warm and Healthy in Derby – a wider partnership project led by Derby City Council that helps local vulnerable people who are struggling to keep warm and heat their homes by offering advice, practical support and/or assistance in improving or repairing home heating systems.
Telephone: 01332 640337 (winter programme line)

Derbyshire County Council – Get Ready for Winter Derbyshire County Council are offering useful information and tips on how to make sure you stay safe and well this winter.

Web: www.derbyshire.gov.uk/social_health/adult_care_and_wellbeing/health_and_wellbeing/looking_after_yourself/keeping_warm_cool/warm_in_winter/default.asp

Derby City Council Healthy Housing Service (all year around) receives referrals from any health and care workers for people whose housing conditions may be harming their health; offers advice, practical support and/or assistance in adapting or repairing the home.

Telephone: 01332 640163

Email: healthyhousing@derby.gov.uk

Web: www.derby.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/health-medical-advice/healthy-housing-service/#page-contact-details  

Derby City Council Home Energy Advice Service gives information and advice about how to save energy, keep warm, and latest advice on the latest home energy grants and discount schemes.

Telephone: 01332 640810


Web: www.derby.gov.uk/homeenergyadvice

Age UK (Derby and Derbyshire) provide a range of services for the older community across Derby and Derbyshire.

Telephone: 01332 343232

Email: derbyadmin@ageukderby.org.uk

Web: www.ageuk.org.uk/derbyandderbyshire

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service offer home safety checks where it is known that there is a higher risk of fire, primarily the more vulnerable groups in the community

Web: www.derbys-fire.gov.uk/keeping-safe/home-fire-safety-check