Public Health England – Air Pollution 10/11 April 2015

Current forecasts indicate air pollution levels are expected to rise during the course of the week beginning 6 April, with isolated highs or very high levels possible in localised areas today. This is due to locally generated particulate matter combining with pollution blown in from the near continent – and a contribution from Saharan dust.

The levels are not expected to be particularly high across the whole of the South West but they are expected to be moderate to high in Wiltshire; pollution is expected to have cleared the whole of the country by Saturday morning.

Dr Sotiris Vardoulakis, head of the air pollution and climate change group at PHE’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards said:

‘Public Health England (PHE) provides advice to Defra on the health effects of air pollution.

‘While most people will not be affected by short term peaks in air pollution, some individuals, particularly those with existing heart or lung conditions, may experience increased symptoms.

‘On occasions where levels are high, adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion. Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity, particularly outdoors.

‘Some parts of the country may record ‘very high’ levels of air pollution. PHE is advising people in those areas to reduce physical exertion, particularly outdoors, especially if they experience symptoms such as a cough or sore throat. Adults and children with lung problems, adults with heart problems, and older people, should avoid strenuous physical activity. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often.’

Current forecasts indicate air pollution levels are expected to rise during the course of the week, with isolated highs possible in localised areas today, and high or very high levels tomorrow. This is due to locally generated particulate matter combining with pollution blown in from the near continent – and a contribution from Saharan dust.

The pollution is expected to have cleared by Saturday morning and we will be regularly updating this page with the latest forecast and health advice.

Dr Sotiris Vardoulakis, head of the air pollution and climate change group at PHE’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards said:

‘PHE provides advice to Defra on the health effects of air pollution.

‘While most people will not be affected by short term peaks in air pollution, some individuals, particularly those with existing heart or lung conditions, may experience increased symptoms.

‘On occasions where levels are high, adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems, should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion. Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity, particularly outdoors.

‘Some parts of the country may record ‘very high’ levels of air pollution. PHE is advising people in those areas to reduce physical exertion, particularly outdoors, especially if they experience symptoms such as a cough or sore throat. Adults and children with lung problems, adults with heart problems, and older people, should avoid strenuous physical activity. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often.’

Forecast

Friday 10 April

Levels of air pollution are forecast to become high in many areas of central, eastern and northern England, with locally very high levels forecast for a time in the far southeast of England. This is due to a combination of pollutants trapped near the ground, a light southeasterly flow bringing additional pollutants from the continent and, in addition, a small amount of Saharan dust in the air. Across the rest of the United Kingdom, levels of air pollution are expected to be mainly moderate.

Outlook

During Saturday, clearer Atlantic air will spread from the northwest across all areas, bringing air pollution levels down to moderate or low during Saturday, and mainly low with isolated moderate levels for Sunday and Monday.

Friday’s partial eclipse of the sun

Public Health England (PHE) is reminding people planning to watch the partial eclipse of the sun on Friday 20 March 2015 to take precautions to reduce potential damage to their eyes.

The eclipse will be visible across the country, with observers in Scotland likely to see more of the sun obscured by the moon than any other part of the UK.

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) has published detailed advice and useful information on how to safely view the eclipse. They advise that viewing a solar eclipse is potentially hazardous and should only be attempted with caution. You should never, ever – under any circumstances – look directly at the Sun. In their leaflet they list there are things we can get hold of easily – or even make – that are safe to use.

The UK last experienced a total eclipse of the sun in August 1999. In 2000 the journal of the Royal College of Opthalmologists published a study detailing the health effects of the event the previous August. Approximately 70 people reported a loss of vision, with half of that total reporting issues within 48 hours, as a consequence of gazing at the eclipse. Of those more than half used no eye protection and 30% used some kind of filter, such as sunglasses, which did not have the desired protective effect. Forty percent of those that reported injury had looked at the eclipse for less than a minute.

The reason the eclipse poses a risk to eyes is that most of the time the sun is too bright for us to look directly at it. In an eclipse strong sunlight penetrates into our eyes and the retina can be damaged, without the feeling of pain.

Be Clear on Cancer oesophago-gastric cancer roadshow to visit Bristol next week

Event aims to raise awareness that heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer

A Be Clear on Cancer roadshow is set to visit Bristol next week to raise awareness of the symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancers. In particular, the roadshow aims to increase understanding that heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer and anyone who notices the symptoms should see their doctor.

The most recent data reveals that in Bristol, 88 people are diagnosed with oesophageal or stomach cancer (also known as oesophago-gastric cancers) each year, and approximately 64 people die from these diseases annually.

A new survey commissioned by Public Health England has found that nationally only 1 in 2 people (55%) would visit their doctor if they had heartburn most days for three weeks or more.

According to the survey, 59% of respondents did not know that heartburn could be a sign of cancer with just 15% saying they were certain that it is a symptom.

Another symptom highlighted by the roadshow is that of difficulty swallowing food. Here the survey found that 70% did not know food sticking in the throat could be a sign of cancer and just 13% of those surveyed said they were sure it is a symptom.

Early diagnosis is crucial: around 67% of people diagnosed with oesophago-gastric cancers at the earliest stage survive for at least five years. This figure drops to around 3% for those diagnosed at a late stage.

The Be Clear on Cancer roadshow has been visiting shopping centres across England since 28 January and will be in Bristol on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 February at the Broadwalk Shopping Centre in Knowle.

At the event, leaflets will be distributed that provide information on oesophago-gastric cancers and a nurse will also be on hand to talk to anyone who has any questions.

Dr Shona Arora, Centre Director for the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Public Health England Centre said:

“People may be reluctant to visit their doctor about persistent heartburn, thinking that it’s something they just have to live with, but heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be a sign of cancer.

“The Be Clear on Cancer roadshow in Bristol is a great way for individuals from the local area to find out more about the signs and symptoms of oesophago-gastric cancers. The earlier these cancers are diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival.“

For further information about the signs and symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancers, click here.

 

New campaign encourages people in the South West to act FAST if they experience stroke symptoms

  • Annual ‘Act FAST’ campaign launches to highlight the symptoms of stroke
  • 10,000 strokes could be prevented annually if mini strokes were spotted and treated
  • 35% of people in the South West would recognise the warning signs which could mean a major stroke is imminent (compared with 37% at a national level)
  • 12,500 people in the South West suffer a stroke each year

Public Health England (PHE) is today (Monday 2 February 2015) launching the annual ‘Act FAST’ campaign, which highlights the common symptoms of stroke and mini strokes and encourages people to call 999 if they notice the symptoms in others or experience them themselves.

Since the Act FAST campaign launched in 2009, an additional 38,600 people have got to hospital within the vital three-hour window meaning that stroke sufferers receive the immediate medical treatment required. This not only results in a greater chance of better recovery, but since the campaign launch over 4,000 fewer people have become disabled as a result of a stroke.

A mini stroke has similar symptoms to a full stroke, except that these symptoms last for a much shorter amount of time. Without immediate treatment, around one in five of those who experience a mini stroke will go on to have a full stroke within a few days.

Early intervention following a mini stroke can greatly reduce the risk of having another stroke. However, while 53% of people surveyed in the South West cite stroke as one of the top three conditions they are most concerned about (compared with 59% at a national level).  New research reveals today that only 29% in the South West would call 999 if they experienced the symptoms of a mini stroke (compared with 45% at a national level).2

The campaign urges people to Act FAST if they notice any of the following symptoms, even if they disappear within a short space of time:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred? If they notice any of these symptoms it is
  • Time – time to call 999 if you see any single one of these signs

This year’s campaign will also target African and Caribbean and South Asian communities, as findings reveal they are two times likely to be at a risk of stroke.

Professor Julia Verne, Director of the Knowledge and Intelligence Team for Public Health England in the South West said:

“The impressive results from previous Act FAST campaigns show just how important it is that we continue to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke.

“Highlighting the importance of treating mini strokes with the same urgency as strokes can also make a huge difference – around 10,000 strokes could be prevented annually if mini strokes were treated in time. That’s why the Act FAST campaign encourages people experiencing stroke-like symptoms to call 999.”

Nikki Hill, Deputy Director of External Affairs at the Stroke Association said:

We know that sadly, far too many people dismiss their early warning signs of stroke and delay calling 999. Stroke is a medical emergency and getting the right treatment fast can save lives.

“Through this latest campaign we hope as many people as possible know how to act FAST and help reduce the devastating impact a stroke can have.”

Ends

Issued by PHE South West Press Office, 2 Rivergate, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6EH.  For further information, please contact 0117 968 9161/2.  Follow us on Twitter: @PHE_AGW@PHE_DCS@PHE_uk.

For more information, click here 

 

PRESS RELEASE from Public Health England

Change4Life Sugar Swaps roadshow to visit Bristol this weekend 

Event aims to highlight simple sugar swaps parents can make to their family’s diet

The Change4Life roadshow is set to visit Cabot Circus this weekend on Sunday 1 February to raise awareness of the high levels of sugar families consume every day, and to offer parents practical advice on how to cut down on sugar consumption by making one or more simple swaps.

While guidelines state that no more than 10% of a person’s daily energy or calorie intake should be made up of sugar[i], at present, children aged 4-10 years are consuming up to 50% more than this[ii].

Eating and drinking too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up inside the body. This can lead to heart disease, some cancers or type 2 diabetes later in life.

Recently published data highlights that approximately one in five children aged 4-5 years old and one in three children aged 10-11 years old is overweight or obese[iii].

Sugar can also have a devastating impact upon dental health, an integral part of overall health. Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions for children aged five to nine in 2012-13. 28% of 5 year olds in England have tooth decay and of these, 24% have five or more teeth affected[iv].

Furthermore, a new survey amongst Netmums users found that nearly half (47%) of mums surveyed think their family has too much sugar in their diets[v] and two thirds of mums (67%) are worried about the amount of sugar their children consume.5

Mark Patterson, Health and Wellbeing Programme Leader for the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Public Health England Centre said:

“Reducing sugar intake is important for the health of our children both now and in the future. We are all eating too much sugar and the impact this has on our health is evident.

“This campaign is about taking small steps to address this. We know from past campaigns that making simple swaps works and makes a real difference. This year we wanted to be even more single minded in our approach, which is why we are focusing on sugar alone.

“The family challenge highlights that simple swaps could lead to big changes if sustained over time and we’d urge parents in Bristol to come along to the Sugar Swaps roadshow this weekend, learn more about Sugar Swaps and sign up for their free pack full of swap suggestions.”

The Change4Life Sugar Swaps roadshow will consist of a number of interactive, fun and informative activities to teach families about the swaps; including:

  • Kitchen zone: A fun zone for all the family which reveals the surprising amount of sugar in food and drinks that kids have at different times of the day, such as at breakfast and after school.
  • The Funny Face photo board: A place where visitors can be photographed in funny poses and encouraged to put their photos across social media.
  • Sign Up Zone: An area where families can register for their FREE Sugar Swaps packs. The packs are filled with hints, tips and recipe suggestions, plus money-off vouchers, swap cards and stickers.

Change4Life recommends four simple Sugar Swaps to choose from, tackling different ‘sugar occasions’ in the day:

  • The Breakfast Swap: sugary cereal for plain cereal e.g. wholewheat biscuit cereal
  • The Drink Swap: e.g. from sugary drinks to sugar-free or no-added-sugar drinks
  • The After School Swap: for example from muffins to fruited teacake
  • The Pudding Swap: for example from ice cream to low-fat lower-sugar yoghurt.

References

[i]Department of Health (1991). Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom Report of the Panel on Dietary Reference Values of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. London. HMSO.

[ii] Department of Health (1991). Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom Report of the Panel on Dietary Reference Values of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. London. HMSO.

[iii] National Child Measurement Programme 2014 http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB16070/nati-chil-meas-prog-eng-2013-2014-rep.pdf

[iv] National Dental Epidemiology Programme for England: oral health survey of five year old children 2012.

[v] Online survey conducted with 687 parents of children aged 5-11 & 1720 parents of children of all ages, October 2104 netmums.com

Be Clear on Cancer campaign in Wiltshire to raise awareness that ongoing heartburn can be a sign of cancer

Latest data reveals around 530 people in Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire are diagnosed with oesophago-gastric cancers each year.

A ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign in Wiltshire urging people from the area to visit their doctor if they have heartburn most days for three weeks or more, as this can be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer.

The campaign launch coincides with results of a new survey commissioned by Public Health England, which reveals that nationally, only 1 in 2 people (55%) would visit their doctor if they experience the above symptom.

The most recent data has revealed that in Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, around 530 people are diagnosed with oesophageal or stomach cancer each year and approximately 438 people die from these diseases annually.

Early diagnosis of oesophageal or stomach cancer (also known as oesophago-gastric cancers) is crucial and means treatment is more likely to be successful. Nationally, around 67% of people diagnosed with oesophago-gastric cancers at the earliest stage survive for at least five years. This figure drops to around 3% for those diagnosed at a late stage.

According to the survey, 59% of respondents did not know that heartburn could be a sign of cancer with just 15% saying they were certain that it is a symptom.

Another symptom highlighted by the campaign is that of difficulty swallowing food. Here the survey found that 70% did not know food sticking in the throat could be a sign of cancer and just 13% of those surveyed said they were sure it is a symptom.

Dr Shona Arora, Centre Director for the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Public Health England Centre, explains the importance of this campaign:

“People may be reluctant to visit their doctor about persistent heartburn, thinking that it’s something they just have to live with. But heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be a sign of cancer.

“The earlier cancer is diagnosed, the higher the chance of survival. If we’re to improve early diagnosis rates, we need to encourage people with symptoms to go to their doctor, which is what this latest Be Clear on Cancer campaign aims to do.”

It has been estimated that around 950 lives could be saved in England each year if our survival rates for oesophago-gastric cancers matched the best in Europe.

Of those diagnosed with oesophago-gastric cancers, more than 9 out of 10 people are over the age of 50,0 making this the target age group for the campaign.

The four-week campaign will see adverts running nationally throughout England on TV, radio and in the press.

A local roadshow will also be visiting the Broadwalk Centre in Knowle, Bristol on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 February to raise awareness of oesophago-gastric cancers.

For further information about the signs and symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancers, please visit www.nhs.uk/ogcancer

For more information, see this page

 

National Study on Flooding and Health – Wiltshire residents asked to participate

Public Health England (PHE) is to conduct the first ever long-term study into the impact of flooding on health and wellbeing.

As part of the national study, PHE will be in contact with flood affected residents across the country.

From today (Monday 12 January 2015), supported by Wiltshire Council, PHE is asking a sample of householders in Wiltshire affected by the severe flooding last winter to complete a health questionnaire.

PHE wants to hear from people directly affected by flooding, those whose lives were disrupted and in order to compare the possible impacts of the flooding, they also want to hear from those in the area that were unaffected.

If you get a questionnaire, please don’t ignore it. By completing and returning it, you will be helping PHE understand the possible impacts of flooding on health.

Dr Isabel Oliver, Director of Field Epidemiology Service at Public Health England and co-ordinator of the study, said:

“This is the first ever long term study into the impact of flooding on health and wellbeing. We are writing to households across the country and we very much hope that people will return our questionnaire and join this important study.

“So, if you receive a letter from Public Health England inviting you to take part in this important study, please help us to build a picture of how the floods affected people’s lives by completing it and returning it to us.

“It only takes 20 minutes and your participation in this research project could be crucial.”

Dr James Rubin, Senior Lecturer at King’s College London, said:

“We know that being flooded can sometimes have a serious effect on someone’s wellbeing. But there are still so many uncertainties about what the impacts of flooding are.

“We really need people in Wiltshire to help us understand these issues, so we can find ways to better protect and help people in the future.”

Heather Shepherd, Flood Community & Recovery support specialist from the National Flood Forum, said:

“As all those who have been flooded will know only too well, flooding is devastating, the anxiety can be unbearable and the process of your home being repaired is often worse than the flooding itself.

“Once you have experienced flooding you live in constant fear of it happening again which impacts on people being able to live their lives in an ordinary fashion.

“We wholeheartedly welcome this long term study into the effect flooding has on health and wellbeing. We would encourage people to take part as the findings will hopefully start to give an understanding of the distressing impact that flooding has on lives.”

Maggie Rae, corporate director at Wiltshire Council, said: 

“Wiltshire has been hard hit by flooding in the recent past and we work very closely with local communities on flood prevention measures and also ensuring that appropriate financial support is available to those affected.

“We know that the devastating impact of flooding can bring with it a knock on effect on health and wellbeing. I’d urge people to complete this survey to help build a better overall picture of the full impact of flooding.”

 

New Change4Life campaign encourages families in Wiltshire to make Sugar Swaps

New data reveals 31% (6,850 children) in their last year of primary school in  Wiltshire are already overweight or obese.

A new Change4Life campaign has been launched by Public Health England to encourage parents to cut down the amount of sugar their children consume by making one or more simple swaps.

Eating and drinking too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up inside the body. This can lead to heart disease, some cancers or type 2 diabetes later in life.

Sugar can also have a devastating impact upon dental health, an integral part of overall health. Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions for children aged five to nine in 2012-13. 28% of 5 year olds in England have tooth decay and of these, 24% have five or more teeth affected. When children are not healthy this affects their ability to learn, thrive and develop.

Across Wiltshire 22.1% (1,076) children start school either overweight or obese, which then becomes 29.7% (1,326) for those in their last year of school.

Children who are overweight or obese when they are young are far more likely to become overweight or obese adults and these figures demonstrate the increasing need to address children’s diet and limit future health problems.

While guidelines state that no more that 10% of a person’s daily energy or calorie intake should be made up of sugar, at present, children aged 4-10 years are consuming up to 50% more than this. Children aged 4-10 get 17% of their daily sugar from soft drinks; 17% from biscuits, buns, cakes, pastries and fruit pies, 14% from confectionery, 13% from fruit juice, and 8% from breakfast cereals.

Change4Life Sugar Swaps launches following a new survey amongst Netmums users who were polled on their views on sugar. The results highlight that nearly half (47%) of mums surveyed think their family has too much sugar in their diets and two thirds of mums (67%) are worried about the amount of sugar their children consume6 .

Change4Life recommends four simple Sugar Swaps for mums to choose from, tackling different ‘sugar occasions’ in the day:

  • The Breakfast Swap: sugary cereal for plain cereal e.g. wholewheat biscuit cereal
  • The Drink Swap: e.g. from sugary drinks to sugar-free or no-added-sugar drinks
  • The After School Swap: for example from muffins to fruited teacake
  • The Pudding Swap: for example from ice cream to low-fat lower-sugar yoghurt

To understand the sugar issue from mums’ perspective, Public Health England partnered up with Netmums and the University of Reading to deliver a ‘Family Sugar Challenge’. A unique activity that involved 50 families, 24 of which were selected based on their geographical location for the initial analysis.

The diets of the families were analysed in terms of sugar content, before and during the Change4Life’s Sugar Swaps. This early analysis yielded surprising results:

  • On average the families were consuming 483g of sugar a day at the beginning of the challenge
  • Their sugar intake was reduced to 287g per day when making Sugar Swaps
  • This meant an average daily saving of 196g of sugar per family each day, or 49 sugar cubes

Mark Patterson, Health and Wellbeing Programme Leader for the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire PHE Centre said:

“Reducing sugar intake is important for the health of our children both now and in the future. We are all eating too much sugar and the impact this has on our health is evident.

“This campaign is about taking small steps to address this. We know from past campaigns that making simple swaps works and makes a real difference. This year we wanted to be even more single minded in our approach, which is why we are focusing on sugar alone.

“The family challenge highlights that simple swaps could lead to big changes if sustained over time and we’d urge parents in Avon Gloucestershire and Wiltshire to try one more simple swap in January and beyond.”

Cathy Court, founder of Netmums said:

“We know that mums want to provide a healthy diet for their children but balancing a number of competing priorities, including healthy eating, can be tricky. Although sugar consumption is a worry for parents, we understand that taking steps to reduce sugar can be really difficult.  We hope that these simple Sugar Swaps from Change4Life will make it easier for parents to reduce their family’s sugar intake.”

Change4Life Sugar Swaps will launch on January 5th with television, radio, digital and out of home advertising, with an email support programme and a national road show visiting 10 locations and will visit Bristol’s Cabot Circus on Sunday 1 February 2015.

Change4Life Sugar Swaps is supported by Asda, Tesco, Co-op, Aldi, Coca-Cola (Diet Coke and Coke Zero), Morrisons, mySupermarket, and the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA).

Throughout the campaign, families will be able to register for their FREE Sugar Swaps pack, which they will receive through the post. The packs are filled with hints, tips and recipe suggestions designed to help parents cut down the sugary foods and drinks consumed by their children, plus money-off vouchers, swap cards and stickers. To sign up, families just need to search Change4Life and register.

Stop the rot

Today, Monday 29 December 2014, Public Health England launches a powerful new campaign to highlight how smoking damages the body and causes a slow and steady decline in a process akin to rotting. The campaign launches as a new expert review commissioned by Public Health England highlights the multiple impacts that toxic ingredients in cigarettes can have on your body. Whilst many smokers know that smoking causes cancer and harms the lungs and heart, the new report highlights how it also damages:

  • Bones and muscles – Smoking causes progressive harm to the musculoskeletal system, and has a negative impact on bone mineral density. Harms include:
    • 25% increased risk of any fracture and a 40% increase in the risk of hip fractures among men
    • Slower healing after injury
    • Increased risk of back and neck pain, leading to a 79% increase in chronic back pain and a 114% increase in disabling lower back pain
    • Significant cause of rheumatoid arthritis and can reduce the impact of treatment
  • Brain – Current smokers are 53% more likely to develop cognitive impairment than non-smokers and 59% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease
  • Teeth – Smoking increases the likelihood of tooth loss and decay
  • Eyes – Smoking damages sight by increasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 78%-358% and increasing the risk of age-related cataracts

To continue reading, click here.

PRESS RELEASE: Thursday 4 December 2014

KEEP A&E AND 999 FOR MEDICAL EMERGENCIES, NHS REMINDS PATIENTS IN WILTSHIRE

GPs from NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) re urging people to make sure they choose the most appropriate care for their ailments this winter.

Forecast colder weather this week indicates that winter has arrived, bringing with it increased demand on NHS services particularly from elderly and vulnerable patients.

Dr Peter Jenkins, GP Medical Adviser for Wiltshire CCG, said: “Even without severe weather – such as snow or prolonged sub-zero temperatures – the arrival of winter invariably means the NHS as a whole faces considerable challenges in dealing with greater numbers of patients.

“The NHS nationally and locally plans thoroughly for that increased demand, but we also need help from people in finding the most appropriate way to treat their ailments.”

Colder weather and viruses lead to an increase in the number of people – particularly those with a respiratory condition – being admitted to hospital as an emergency.

The CCG has therefore produced the following list of top tips to help people plan and ensure they are able to receive the most appropriate and timely treatment during winter:

  • Ensure you have sufficient over-the-counter medicines to treat minor ailments such as coughs, colds, cuts and scratches. The NHS Choices website has further information about sensible items to keep in your medicine cabinet at home.
  • If you feel unwell, particularly if you are elderly, seeking early advice from your GP or pharmacist could prevent a minor ailment becoming more serious. The NHS Feeling Under the Weather? campaign is aimed at people over 60 – or anyone aged over 45 looking after elderly relatives or neighbours – encouraging them to get early health advice.
  • If you have an ongoing medical condition requiring repeat prescriptions, ensure you have sufficient supplies to avoid running out when you GP surgeries is closed or over the Christmas holiday period.
  • Your local pharmacist is a good source of information, advice and treatment for a wide range of minor ailments.
  • For urgent medical needs that are not emergencies, NHS 111 is a free national phone number able to provide advice at any time on where and how to receive the most appropriate treatment.
  • This year’s NHS Flu campaign is encouraging all those who are eligible for the free flu vaccination to take up the offer. It is targeted at those with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and parents of children aged 2-4. Wiltshire CCG is supporting the campaign by providing background advice and guidance on who is eligible for a free flu jab and the important of getting one.
  • Keep a look-out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours to ensure they are staying safe and well.
  • If you have any symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea, stay away from hospitals – including visiting friends or relatives. Norovirus, often called the winter vomiting bug, is highly contagious and can spread quickly in hospitals.
  • Don’t go to a hospital A&E department or dial 999 for an ambulance unless it is for a serious or life-threatening emergency.

“Clearly there are times when attending A&E or dialling 999 is the right course of action. However, using these services for less serious conditions does not mean a patient will receive quicker treatment, and may result in a delay for someone else whose condition is serious or even life-threatening,” said Dr Jenkins.

“Taking a few easy and sensible precautions now, along with using the best way to receive treatment if needed, can help ensure the NHS continues to provide high-quality, appropriate care for everyone needing it this winter.”

 

Ends

 

Feeling Under the Weather?

NHS Wiltshire CCG is supporting the NHS winter campaign, ‘Feeling under the weather?’.

The campaign is urging older people to seek early advice from their pharmacist for minor winter illnesses.  It is targeted at the over 60s, and also at those aged 45 and above who often look after an older friend, neighbour or relative.

If you’re over 60 a minor illness can get worse quickly.  The campaign encourages people feeling under the weather with a bad cough, trouble breathing, a cold or sore throat, to pop down to their local pharmacy for quick health advice.

The campaign will run from 27 October for six weeks, and adverts will appear on the radio and press, as well in supermarkets and local pharmacies.

Feeling under the weather? leaflet

Today, Tuesday 14 October, sees the start of the Be Clear on Cancer campaign being run again this year by Public Health England.

People are being urged to go to their doctor if they see blood when they pee, even if it’s just once.

For more information, click here.

If you’re eligible for the flu vaccine, don’t put it off, get it now

NHS Wiltshire CCG is supporting the NHS Flu campaign.

The campaign will run from 6 October across England, encouraging those who are eligible for the free flu vaccination to take up the offer.  It is targeted at those with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and parents of children aged 2-4.

Adverts will appear on radio and in the press supported by digital search.

Those who catch the flu pass it on to an average of two people putting those most vulnerable at an increased risk including those with long-term health conditions and pregnant women.

Flu is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very suddenly. Healthy individuals usually recover in two to seven days but for some, the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.

Points to remember are:

  • Don’t put off getting the flu vaccination; if you’re eligible get it now. It’s free because you need it
  • If you have a long-term health condition, even one that is well managed, or you are pregnant, you are at greater risk of severe complications if you catch flu
  • The nasal spray vaccination is a quick, painless and effective way for children aged 2-4 to be protected from flu without the need for injections
  • The flu vaccination is particularly important for those who are at increased risk of flu
  • It is vital that those who are eligible have the flu vaccine every year as the vaccine protects against different strains of flu which evolve each year
  • The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu
  • The flu vaccine reduces risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk

If you have a long-term health condition:

  • If you have a long-term health condition, even one that is well managed, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge.  It’s free because you need it
  • Flu can make the effects of your existing condition worse and makes complications like pneumonia more likely

If you are pregnant:

  • If you are pregnant, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free of charge. It’s free because you need it
  • The flu vaccine reduces the risk of complications and potential harmful consequences for both you and your baby if you catch the flu e.g. premature birth
  • Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result you may be less able to fight off infections, increasing the risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of flu
  • The flu vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy, it does not carry any risks for you or your baby

Children:

  • If you have children aged two, three or four, don’t put off taking them for their free flu vaccination
  • The nasal spray vaccination is quick, effective and painless and available to children aged 2-4 years
  • It’s important to protect your little ones from flu and the vaccination is available free on the NHS
  • Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children as they suffer the same symptoms as adults including fever, chills and aching muscles
  • The flu vaccination will help protect your child from flu and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to others

Watch the video here.

Stoptober, the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England is encouraging smokers in Wiltshire to swap their fags for gags, to help them quit for good this October.

The campaign is supported by comedians Al Murray, Paddy McGuiness and others who will use their humour to help smokers during the 28 day challenge.

For more information go here.