As the UK prepares to turn the clocks back an hour on Sunday, it’s the time that many people start to prepare for winter weather.
This year, the Met Office is sharing a series of handy or often-forgotten #WeatherHacks to help prepare for the winter chill.
As last week’s Storm Babet demonstrated, autumn and winter weather can include some of the most disruptive conditions for people trying to get out and about in their daily lives.
While it’s too early to give a definitive forecast for the winter ahead, there are simple steps everyone can take to avoid mishaps and make the most of winter weather.
Met Office Head of Warnings Chris Walsh said: “When the clocks go back it’s time to prepare for winter weather. Whether it’s strong winds, cold spells or even ice and snow, there are simple and cost-effective things everyone can do now to prepare for winter weather.
“There are plenty of useful and creative weather hacks out there that can help people to avoid disruption, but also make the most of winter weather.”
Getting out and about in the winter can be especially important for health and wellbeing, according to health and wellness retailers Holland and Barrett.
Around 40-45% of body heat is lost through the head, so a swimming cap could make all the difference as an additional layer to keep warm.
For another useful hack to keep warm, place about 700g of ceramic baking beans in a suitable jug, microwave them on high heat for four minutes and then pour them into cotton ankle socks.
Pop the filled socks in your shoes to warm them up before putting on, and then use the beans as a hand warmer when it’s time to head out.
Studies show that vitamin D levels are at their lowest in the winter months since an important source of vitamin D is sunlight.
Vitamin D is important for bone health, particularly in growing children and preventing bone loss with ageing and menopause.
Vitamin D also supports the normal functioning of the immune system.
Thirty minutes of sun exposure can be enough to boost your levels of vitamin D.
Try to have plenty of food-sources of vitamin D in your diet such as fatty fish like salmon, sardines and fish liver oils.
In some cases, vitamin D supplementation in the winter months is recommended by government health authorities.
Holland and Barrett’s Retail Health Lead, Dr Anojan Arulananthan said: “Eating a healthy diet in winter is important for the normal functioning of the body, including the immune system.
“Many essential nutrients play a role in the normal functioning of the immune system such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, zinc, iron, copper and selenium.
“However, our complex immune system is dependent on many factors for optimal functioning, rather than a single nutrient.
“Eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, getting enough sleep, exercising, and watching our stress levels will help to set us up for fighting those seasonal coughs and colds.”
Managing pet health and wellbeing can also be a concern for some in the winter months.
The British Veterinary Association (BVA) suggests an addition to your dog kit bag when surfaces are being gritted in the winter.
Grit or rock salt can be extremely toxic to dogs and cats if ingested.