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Cold Homes and Impact on Health: Key Causes For Concern

Cold Homes and Impact on Health
 

Humans need only a few things to survive and be comfortable in life. One of those is a roof over our heads – but more than that, we need to be warm to function properly – emotionally as well as physically.

Don’t underestimate the impact of living without warmth in your house. A cold home not only means an uncomfortable living situation; it can also pose serious physical and psychological health issues that should be avoided wherever possible.

Living in an unheated house in the UK poses more danger than most of us realise, and it’s important to understand the risks involved. With that in mind, here’s our guide to the effects of cold on your health, your home, and what you can do to change things…

Cold Increases the Risk of Viral Infection

Exposure to the cold diminishes the production of new cells and antibodies. It weakens the immune system, which increases the chances of developing viral infections, such as the common cold, flu or ‘the winter vomiting bug’ norovirus.

In elderly people, viral infections can pose much greater health risks, and should be prevented wherever possible, by making sure they are able to enjoy conditions that are conducive to comfort.

Cold Causes Problems With Damp and Mould

Having a cold house increases the condensation which collects on the walls, increasing the chances of developing damp and mould patches. Mould spores can irritate the throat, and eventually lead to serious damage to the respiratory system when inhaled.

Some people are particularly sensitive to mould, and develop allergic reactions to touching it, as well as inhaling it.

Here’s some of the health problems that can be exacerbated from prolonged exposure to mould and damp:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Itching
  • Asthma attacks
  • Eczema
 
 
Cold Homes and Impact on Health

Cold Increases the Risk of Circulatory Diseases

Coldness in the home can cause serious circulatory diseases, which is one of the reasons why mortality rates are much higher, especially for elderly people, during the Winter months.

Consistent exposure to low temperatures causes the narrowing of blood vessels, which can lead to increased blood pressure. Increased blood pressure increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.

At its worst, exposure to extreme cold can lead to life-threatening diseases such as hypothermia.

Cold Can Be Damaging to Mental Health

Coldness has numerous effects on physical health, but it is also damaging to mental health. Living for a prolonged period of time in a cold home makes people more likely to develop mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.

Exposure to cold can seriously affect daily mood and energy levels which can provoke pre-existing mental health issues or make you more likely to develop them in the future.

On a daily basis, cold homes can affect mental capacity, memory and productivity levels.

The damaging effect of prolonged exposure to the cold should not be overlooked. Keeping your house warm and dry, especially during the winter months will keep your family happy and healthy. Follow our tips for a warmer, healthier living environment:

Damp and Mould: How to Prevent It

To minimise mould in the home, use a dehumidifier to keep moisture in the air to a minimum. Ensure that your house is well ventilated. Small things like opening the window in the bathroom after showering, can reduce the development of damp and mould dramatically.

When painting your home, add mould inhibitors to your paint, or use mould resistant paint in areas that are likely to get damp. Use anti-mould products when cleaning surfaces and walls in your house, and make sure to fix any leaks that could lead to dampness in the future.

Keep Your House Warm and Dry

Avoid the risk of developing circulatory diseases by keeping your house warm. Heat your house a little more, or put your heating on a timer for the coldest parts of the day, to save energy and money. Upgrading your boiler can also help heat your home, and save you money in the long term.

Making sure your house is insulated is one of the best ways to contain warm air inside the building, and can save you money on your energy bills. Insulation can be added in walls, ceilings and roofs.

Block up draughts by using draught excluders and heavy curtains in the winter months, and wrap up warmly with thermal socks and sweaters.

Living conditions are an important part of staying healthy. There is no question that living in a cold home can cause serious health issues, and heighten pre-existing ones, so make sure to look after yourself keep your house warm and dry.

HomeLogic insulation enables homes to stay warm even in the lowest of British temperatures, thanks to the superior seal it provides.