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How to Stay Warm and Healthy in Winter

Stopping drafts can help you stay warm and healthy—and save money, too

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As the cold weather rolls in, you may hear your windows rattle or feel a cold breeze through your back door, even when it is closed. These are sure signs of drafts stealing your heat and making it harder for you to stay warm.

Stay Warm, Save Money, Be Healthy
If your home is drafty or not well-insulated it could cost you hundreds of dollars a year as you attempt to stay warm. It may also affect your health. While sitting in a draft does not make you sick, you should take notice if you feel chilled.

“Your normal body temperature can drop after prolonged exposure to cold drafts,” says Andrea Tannenbaum, president of Dynamic-Living.com. “The elderly and those who have compromised immune systems need to protect themselves because a decrease in the body’s natural temperature can lower resistance to germs.”

Tips to Help You Stay Warm This Winter
Here are a few tips that will help you handle drafts and stay warm at the same time.

Stay warm by plugging up drafty windows and doors with inexpensive insulation and draft stoppers:

  • If you have older windows, they might not keep the heat in very well. Plastic sheeting can be affixed over the whole window to provide a layer of insulation without blocking the light. The plastic helps you stay warm by stopping drafts as well as the cold that just seeps through the window pane itself.
  • If you can see daylight through the edges of your doors that means they leak. You can’t cover doors with plastic sheeting, but a storm door will probably pay for itself within a few heating seasons. There are also inexpensive insulation kits for doors that have foam, magnets or fleece to seal the edges, and weather stripping to put along the bottom.
  • Draft stoppers for the base of doors and windows can be found in colorful and playful designs. You can also make your own. Sew a fabric tube and fill it loosely with dried beans or popcorn kernels. Want to recycle? Cut the sleeve off an old shirt or fill pantyhose you aren’t using anymore.
  • If you have double hung windows, check each one to ensure it is fully closed on both the top and bottom. They sometimes slide down a little bit during the warmer months and will cause a draft if not closed properly.
How to deal with drafts you can’t stop:
  • Try rearranging your furniture to stay warm. If you feel a breeze on you while you sit in your favorite chair, consider rearranging the room to avoid drafts in the locations where you sit regularly.
  • Ceramic space heaters are very cost effective for heating a small area and cost much less to run than trying to heat your entire home. For safety from accidents, make sure that your heater has a timer on it or remember to unplug it when you leave the room.
  • Most of us use our ceiling fans only in summer, but try using the ceiling fan when the weather is cold too. Most styles have a reverse switch on them that will push down the warmer air that collects at the ceiling to help you stay warm.
Bundle up to stay warm:
  • Wearing several thin layers of clothes will help you stay warm in cold weather. The warmth from your body will get trapped in the air pockets between the layers. Long underwear is particularly good for helping you stay warm and dry.
  • Keep a throw blanket handy to cover your feet or shoulders, or use a fleece shawl across your lap or around your shoulders to help you stay warm. Fleece blankets and throws are particularly useful, because they are incredibly warm but lightweight and less bulky than most other fabrics.
  • Wearing fleece slippers around the house can help keep your feet warm. Look for non-skid bottoms because they prevent slipping and possible falls.
  • Heat from external sources can be helpful. If you use a heating pad for warmth, limit the length of time it’s close to the skin to avoid a burn and always turn it off if you are sleepy. Some heating pads come with safety shut-off switches, which will turn off automatically after a set period of time. There are also wraps or pads that you can heat in the microwave. They provide temporary warmth and you don’t need to remember to turn them off.
If you have felt cold drafts in your home, these simple ideas can help you stay warm.

“Stopping drafts will not only keep your energy costs lower but will also help you stay warm and healthy,” Tannenbaum says. “Exposure to drafts can lower your resistance to all viruses and make you feel stiff, uncomfortable and run-down. So plug up those drafts, bundle up, and increase your chances of staying healthy.”

Related Video
How to Use a Window Insulation Kit

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