I’m starting to think we get these types of warnings every year, but we’ve been told again to anticipate a long cold winter. In fact, this year could be the coldest winter since 2010. The cause of this? The polar vortex.
Last December was the warmest since records began in 1910 – but the UK’s run of mild winters could be about to end. In fact, we’ve already had predictions of -9c evenings and further sub-zero temperatures expected.
An icy polar vortex could descend from the Arctic in the coming months and cause temperatures to plummet, the Met Office has warned. In short, a polar vortex is a mass of very cold air which sits above the Earth’s north and south poles. This dense, cold air is controlled by a large pocket of low pressure, which rotates in an anti-clockwise direction at the north pole and clockwise at the south pole.
Many of us have already begun de-icing our cars in the morning, layering up and blasting the central heating, but are there other ways we can be keeping warm this winter? It’s important to consider – not just for our own comfort, but for our wellbeing. Dr Angie Bone, from the extreme events team at Public Health England, said:
“Cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures aren’t at their lowest.”
During winter, hospital admissions increase and the flu and other bugs can take hold of our most vulnerable UK residents. Please keep an eye out for those you know who are older, very young, or have pre-existing health conditions and are particularly vulnerable.
Here are a few tips for you…
Not always an obvious one, but healthy, hearty warm meals give us good fuel to burn and keep energy levels up. We burn more calories when we’re cold.
An active body is a warm one. Regular movement and stretching will help, as well as brisk walks – even when all we really want to do is cuddle up on the sofa.
Heat rooms to 18c
18c is recommended for most people, but you may want to adjust this for particularly young infants or members of your family who aren’t very mobile.
Plenty of hot drinks
Cups of tea are cheap, effective, and the English answer to everything!
Floors tend to be cold, and with drafts often at ground level, cold feet can mean a cold body. Socks and slippers are always a good choice, and the number of novelty designs out there now mean there are some for everyone.
Lot of thin layers
Wearing multiple thin layers can be more effective than your one favourite thick jumper. It also lets the body breathe more easily and makes moving between warm and colder places more bearable. Make sure areas such as midriff, chest and neck are well covered.
Cotton, wool or fleecy fibres
When considering clothing or blankets, cotton, wool (if it doesn’t irritate you) and fleecy fibres give warmth and again, let bodies breathe.
Look out for others
You might not feel the cold, but look out for others who do. Cold noses and cold hands are good indicators of how people are doing.
Again, not an obvious one, but having the oven on can help warm up a whole house – as well as producing warm bread or cakes to be enjoyed with that steaming cup of tea or soup.
Dry off from the shower or bath as quickly as you can. Dry hair completely before heading outside and if your shoes or socks get damp from walking through the snow, make sure you change as soon as you get in.
Older houses have character, but also tend to be pretty drafty. Close up rooms you’re not using, check your windows and use draft ‘noodles’ across door ways.
Wear a hat
Yes, it might mess up your hair, but you lose a lot of heat through your head, and if your hat also covers your ears, you’re going to feel far more comfortable!
Another area that can suck the heat out the room, some people might choose to add an additional curtain to their window or swap out light summer curtains for heavier winter ones. At James Robertshaw we can also talk to you about solutions for bespoke automated blinds that can help regulate the temperature in the room.
Yes, I said it. Our bodies give out a lot of heat. If you’re feeling cold and there is someone else in the house – snuggle up!
Please stay warm. We want all our clients and readers to have a good experience this winter. If there are areas in your house such as a conservatory where you’re losing a lot of heat, please get in touch to find out about additions that can help. Alternatively, if you’re a restaurant or bar owner and you’re looking to heat up your outside area, we have bespoke commercial awnings with a number of heating solutions available.