Winter can have us all feeling a bit under the weather but some will be more affected than others. The elderly, those with a chronic illness or people who have limited mobility are more vulnerable in winter and can become seriously ill in cold weather conditions if they are not taking care of themselves.
As soon as temperatures drop below 8 degrees, there is a much higher risk of flu and severe illness as well as an increased number of falls and poor mental health. That’s why it is essential to prioritise your health and look out for loved ones during this time of year.
We may be nearing the end of the year but the coldest months are yet to arrive. Keeping warm, getting your flu jab and using a small travel wheelchair are just some of the steps you can take to stay safe this winter.
Plan your journey
We often talk about planning ahead and mapping out your journey before going anywhere when you have limited mobility. This applies even more during the winter! Along with knowing your rights and asking about accessibility measures, checking the weather and ensuring you have everything you need to be warm and comfortable will help your journey to run smoothly – rain or shine.
Using a small travel wheelchair will help avoid walking long distances which can prove more difficult in the cold. Plus, you’ll have space for all your winter essentials be it a hat and scarf or electric hand warmers.
Get your flu jab
The flu jab is a safe and effective vaccine offered to adults to protect them from severe cases of flu every year. This is given free on the NHS to those eligible including; people aged 50 and over, those with certain health conditions and frontline workers. However, others can receive the flu vaccine in some circumstances or with payment.
Whilst the best time to have the flu jab is in autumn or early winter before illnesses start spreading, it isn’t too late! Most doctors surgeries and pharmacies will offer this service until later on in the year and throughout winter.
Keep as warm as possible
Keeping warm in winter may seem like obvious advice but you’d be surprised at how many people leave the house in the wrong clothing or sit shivering at home. Especially if you live with a condition that affects your joints, cold weather can be particularly triggering and lead to more serious illness.
To keep warm outside the home, ensure you layer up and are dressed appropriately for the weather (looking at the forecast ahead of leaving the house will help!). Keeping dry is also key to staying warm if you are out all day.
Foot care plays an important role in mobility. Wearing the correct footwear is essential in cold weather where the ground can become slippery due to rain or ice. Keeping your feet warm and dry can really help maintain overall body temperature.
Inside the home; heated blankets, thicker curtains, double glazing and good old central heating will provide a nice warm environment to return to after a trip out in the cold.
We know it can be tempting to stay inside and hibernate for the winter months, cancelling social events and breaking positive habits. Your daily walk may not seem as appealing in the wind or rain and a day trip could feel like a risky plan in unpredictable weather conditions. It is important, however, to continue life as normally as possible and maintain some form of routine.
Joining a fitness club and taking up swimming or yoga is a great way to stay active without spending too much time outside. Alternatively, keeping on top of small chores around the house keeps the mind engaged and your body moving if you don’t fancy heading out on a rainy day.
Eat well and keep hydrated
Good nutrition and frequent hydration are a powerful duo, working together to boost your immune system and regulate your body temperature.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet contributes to a strong immune system and a healthy heart, ready to fight off any bacteria and viruses you may come into contact with.You may associate extra hydration with the warmer summer months but it is just as important in winter for staying warm. Both will also give you more energy and help you get through the shorter days.
Find a supportive mobility aid
If you have limited mobility, finding a supportive mobility aid can be extremely beneficial to your everyday life, making your journey less overwhelming and providing a solution to common obstacles. A mobility aid such as a small travel wheelchair that can easily fold away when not needed would be especially ideal in bad weather to speed up your journey and reduce time spent outside.
In wet or cold weather, we often find ourselves rushing more than usual trying to get into the dry indoors. With increased risk of slipping due to wet ground, this is not the safest reaction but we all do it! Leaning on the support of a small travel wheelchair like a Traveller Chair, either as a walker or a chair, will provide stability getting from A to B until you are safe inside.
Please note that the Traveller Chair is designed for those with limited mobility who only need walking support some of the time such as when traveling through the airport, in shopping and garden centres or travelling to and from public transport to your destination. Take great care in more extreme weather conditions such as snow and avoid harsh inclines where possible.
Don’t let poor mobility obstacles stop you from taking that trip. Going from case to chair in just 30 seconds – Traveller Chair is ‘with you all the way’ from drop off to pick up.