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Living in a cold home has impacts on physical and mental health.

Why cold temperatures are dangerous

Cold temperatures:

  • Raise your blood pressure and can put you at increased risk of a stroke or heart attack.
  • Increase risk of blood clots
  • Supresses your immune system making you more vulnerable to illnesses
  • Reducing your lungs effectiveness at fighting viruses
  • Can have negative impacts on your mental health putting you under strain and stress of fuel bills

Physical health impacts

  • Cold raises blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Respiratory problems
  • Higher falls risks
  • Cold is dangerous to those with high blood pressure

Mental health impacts

  • stress & anxiety over bills
  • social isolation
  • lowers mood
  • going to bed early to stay warm
  • spending time in public buildings to avoid home

COVID-19 & cold homes

  • COVID-19 is a respiratory condition and living in a cold and/or damp home can cause respiratory problems
  • Living in a warm home improves your chances at fighting off viruses
  • Living in a warm home improves the recovery process from illnesses
  • More people will be struggling financially due to covid so more people will be struggling to afford to heat their home
  • Social isolation and medical health issues can be heighten with lockdown and cold homes

Excess Winter Deaths (EWD’s)

EWDs are the difference between the average daily deaths in the winter months (December to March) compared to the rest of the year.

The following figures are for England & Wales EWDs:

Winter Period

England & Wales EWD’s Portsmouth EWD’s

2019 to 2020

28,300 Not published yet
2018 to 2019 23,200


2017 to 2018 50,100



Causes of Excess Winter Deaths:

The top three causes of EWD’s are: respiratory conditions, circulatory conditions and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (see diagram below). Many of the causes can be linked to living in cold homes: ‘Cold homes can affect or exacerbate a range of health problems including respiratory
problems, circulatory problems and increased risk of poor mental health’ (Public Health England).


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