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Flu sufferers being urged to ‘think carefully’ before seeking assistance

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WITH a recent rise in the number of recorded cases, health professionals are reminding people affected by flu to think carefully before seeking further medical assistance.

To ensure busy emergency services and GP practices are able to save lives and help those most in need, it is important to remember the vast majority of healthy people with symptoms of flu don’t need to see a doctor.

Flu is a viral infection for which antibiotics are not helpful – instead, the advice if you believe you may have flu symptoms is to stay home from work, school and other public places for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone to avoid infecting other people, drink plenty of fluids, take ibuprofen or paracetamol and avoid any contact particularly with vulnerable individuals while you have symptoms.

Most people will feel better within a week of becoming infected with the flu virus, although coughing may last for another one or two weeks. People are advised to have a look at the NHS Direct Wales symptom checker for cold and flu advice.

Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda explains how people can look after themselves this winter: “The first line of defence should be for people to get their flu vaccination so I would urge those of you that haven’t had your vaccine to contact your community pharmacy for advice on whether you are eligible. This is particularly important as we are now seeing cases of flu in the community, with numbers set to rise over the coming weeks.

“Free flu vaccination is available every year to people in at-risk groups – including those aged 65 and over, people with certain long-term health conditions, pregnant women, frontline healthcare workers, carers and young children. Anyone who has missed out on vaccination this year should speak to their pharmacist for advice; it is not too late for you to protect yourself and your family by having the flu vaccine.

“Health and social care workers are also strongly advised to get their flu vaccination from their local occupational health departments to protect the patients they care for.

“Viruses such as flu can be extremely serious for sick and vulnerable patients and we are asking for your support to protect patients and healthcare workers including not going to visit patients in hospitals and care homes if feeling unwell, we want to limit the spread of conditions such as flu and Norovirus.”

To help reduce the chances of flu spreading, people should:
•         Catch it: always cough or sneeze into a tissue
•         Bin it: dispose of the tissue after use
•         Kill it: then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to kill any flu viruses

The public are also reminded to use local community pharmacy services to help reduce pressure on busy A&E departments this winter. These include a Common Ailments Service which covers a number of conditions whereby participating pharmacists can assess and provide medication at no charge, if suitable, without the need for a prescription and also, in participating community pharmacies, the Triage and Treat service to support those affected by low-level injury or illness. Visit www.hyweldda.wales.nhs.uk/winterwise for further details.

Mrs Jervis added: “We’re asking people who may be experiencing flu-like symptoms to call their GP surgery or visit https://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/SelfAssessments/symptomchecker/coldflu rather than attend the surgery or an A&E department, which can increase the risk of spreading infection to others.”

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Archaeological sites revealed in drought

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Iron Age farm near Whitland (pic. RCAHMW)

AN AERIAL ARCHAEOLOGIST has photographed ancient settlements from the air after the heatwave has revealed outlines as crop marks.

Dr Toby Driver, Senior Aerial Investigator, uses a light aircraft to find sites, flying from Haverfordwest Airport with stopovers made for fuel at Caernarfon, Welshpool or even Gloucester airports.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) has released photographs from Dr Driver’s discoveries.

Iron Age farmsteads has been discovered near Whitland in Carmarthenshire and coastal Ceredigion. The Llŷn peninsula has extensive crop marks of prehistoric enclosures, as well as a Bronze Age barrow cemetery.

In Gwynedd, another Celtic settlement has been found on the valley floor between the hillfort Craig yr Aderyn and the castle ruins of Castell y Bere.

A suspected Roman watchtower was also revealed on the nearby coast. Parch marks of Roman buildings are showing at Caerhun Roman fort in Conwy Valley, whilst crop marks of a prehistoric enclosure and a suspected Roman villa were found in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Iron Age farmstead in Ceredigion (pic. RCAHMW)

A Roman town and fortress between Caerwent and Caerleon have also appeared in the dry conditions.

Dr Driver said: “I’ve not seen conditions like this since I took over the archaeological flying at the Royal Commission in 1997. So much new archaeology is showing it is incredible; the urgent work in the air now will lead to months of research in the office in the winter months to map and record all the sites which have been seen, and reveal their true significance.”

The marks are the result of vegetation feeding on better nutrients and water supplies, that have been trapped in the old fortification ditches.

This leads to the lush green growth that results in the pronounced outlines of the prior settlements.

Despite this, the vegetation can quickly retreat as the weather changes.

This research is expected to prompt further research on the ground in the future.

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Welsh Water advises customers to use water wisely

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WELSH WATER is encouraging its three million customers to continue working with the company by using water wisely – even though it may soon start to rain. After such prolonged dry weather, it will be difficult for any rain to penetrate the ground and help restore reservoir levels.

The company – which provides drinking water to most of Wales, Herefordshire and parts of Deeside – is safeguarding water supplies following the hottest June in Wales since records began in 1910.

It has been proactively taking measures for the last two months to prepare for the hot weather, with 450 colleagues finding and repairing leaks and its 62 water treatment works being manned 24 hours a day to help supply a record 1 billion litres a day.

The company confirmed that a few of its 87 reservoirs are now lower than usual at this time of year but said this is to be expected given the prolonged dry weather. It will take some time for these reservoirs to recover to their normal levels, despite the expected rain over the next week.

Managing Director of Water Services Ian Christie, said: “Over the last few months, we have taken and will continue to take all the necessary actions to ensure there is enough water in our network during this very dry period.   We’ve done a lot of groundwork in the background to prepare for this weather and still doing everything we can to safeguard supplies. This includes finding and fixing leaks and putting more water in the network every day than ever before.

“It’s really important that our customers continue to work with us during this period. If they spot a leak, please let us know. We’re also asking them to think about how much water they are using.

We want everyone to stay safe and drink water while it’s hot but we’re reminding everyone of the need to use water wisely and efficiently.

“Customers may notice that some reservoir levels are lower than usual but this isn’t a surprise given this continuing dry weather.  We are all using more water and we’re putting 20% more water into the system. This is helping us meet higher demand in particular communities. We are also using our own fleet of over 30 tankers to help.

“Even if the weather starts to turn and it rains, it’s important that customers continue to work with us and use any water efficiently.  Customers can get advice on our top ten tips of how to use water efficiently around the home and garden from our website, dwrcymru.com

Customers can also help by reporting any leaks as soon as they notice them either through our website or by calling our leak line on 0800 052 0130. Our teams are out and about working around the clock fixing leaks on the network to make sure as much water as possible is available for customers to use.

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Chance to join team of volunteers as a public enquiry officer

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is offering the chance to join its dedicated team of volunteers as the face of police stations across the force.

More than 100 volunteers currently dedicate some of their spare time to various roles in the police – from Special Constables and cadets, to chaplains and victim support officers.

And the force is now opening up the position of public enquiry officer (PEO) to its list of volunteering opportunities for the first time.

PEOs are needed at stations across the force, and will provide support to officers and staff for up to eight hours a week.

They will deal with enquiries from members of the public, police officers and staff in person and over the phone; receive, record and process enquiries relating to lost and found property; and support designated property officers at the station they are based in.

They will also be required to monitor station security and CCTV where applicable; ensure visitors are correctly recorded; and provide general administration and support.

Volunteers will not be expected to open or close stations – they will only be on duty when an officer is at the station.

Superintendent Robyn Mason, force lead for citizens in policing, said: “We have close links with our communities across Dyfed-Powys, and we would like to strengthen these by having volunteers based at some of our stations.

“The new volunteer PEOS will provide a vital link between the force and the towns we serve, and will act as the face of Dyfed-Powys Police in the station they are based.

“In return, we will be providing new skills and experience to our volunteers, who might be looking to apply for employment in the future, taking a career break or looking to give back during their retirement years.”

For an application form, email volunteers@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk or phone Citizens in Policing coordinator Adele Jones on 01267 226463

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