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1 In 5 Children 'Still Not Vaccinated'

New research has revealed that one in five children are still not being given potentially life-saving (and routine) vaccinations and immunisations – a fact that could be just the inspiration you need to visit an Aberdeen travel health clinic to make sure all necessary jabs have been administered.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 1.5 million deaths occur each year as a result of entirely preventable diseases, with almost 22 million infants missing out on the three doses of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-containing vaccines in 2013.

Now, the WHO has said it will be working with all those countries that are lagging behind their immunisation targets. In May, the organisation will bring together representatives of the 34 countries that have routine vaccination coverage that is less than 80 per cent in order to discuss what challenges they face and what can be done to find a solution.

"What is required is a truly concerted effort and much stronger accountability so that each one of the key players involved fulfils its mandate and helps close the immunization gap," Dr Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, director of immunisation, vaccines and biologicals at the WHO, remarked.

World Immunization Week is took place last month, on between April 24th and 30th. It is intended to help revitalise efforts to make sure that all children have the appropriate vaccinations, wherever they are in the world. To find out more about this global initiative, you can watch an informative video on the subject produced by the WHO.

Given that vaccines save up to three million lives every year, can you afford not to have your child immunised?


New Study: No Link Between Autism & MMR Vaccine

Parents concerned about the risk of vaccinations and don't want to take their children to Aberdeen travel clinics for jabs should perhaps refer to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealing that there is no association between autism and the measles, mumps and rubella jab.

This was found to be the case even among high risk children, with researchers investigating whether vaccines could increase the risk of autism among those who had siblings with the condition.

Anjali Jain, leader of the study, said: "Consistent with studies in other populations, we observed no association between MMR vaccination and increased [autism spectrum disorder] risk among privately insured children."

Despite previous bodies of research yielding similar results, fears about the link between autism and vaccines – which spread following the publication of an article by Andrew Wakefield in 1998, which was later found to be false – are still prevalent today. In fact, this new piece of research found that children with an older sibling who has autism are less likely to be vaccinated against MMR.

If parents did make sure their children were vaccinated, outbreaks of measles – such as the one that was seen in California earlier this year – would be preventable. The World Health Organization recently called on parents and healthcare professionals to make sure that all at-risk age groups have their vaccinations in order to put a stop to outbreaks being seen in Europe and beyond.

Those of you who have not been vaccinated should perhaps come into Kemnay Pharmacy to discuss the matter.

Travel Vaccinations For Kenya

Aberdeen travel clinics will be able to help you if you plan to travel to Kenya in the near future, but be mindful that you should book an appointment with your local GP at least eight weeks before you travel. But what vaccinations should you get before you leave?

You will need to check that your boosters and primary courses are up to date, as well as considering those for hepatitis A, diphtheria, tetanus, typhoid and poliomyelitis. Think about having vaccines for cholera, rabies, yellow fever, hepatitis B and meningococcal meningitis as well. If arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission, then anyone over the age of one will need to provide a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Malaria is also a real concern when travelling through Kenya and this is not something you can be vaccinated against. Take all the proper precautions, such as covering up with clothing so as to avoid mosquito bites, sleeping beneath a mosquito net and using insect repellent on any exposed skin.

Other health risks include dengue fever, a viral illness transmitted by mosquito bites, and schistosomiasis, an infection that can be transmitted through contact with fresh water.

Make sure that you have the appropriate travel health insurance in place before you leave and avoid drinking any water that has not been bottled or boiled first. Avoid having ice in your drinks and do not eat any food that comes from unlicensed vendors. You can keep up to date with any further information relating to travel in Kenya on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.

Get Vaccinated Or Risk Invalidating Travel Insurance

If you live in Scotland and are planning a holiday abroad, head to Aberdeen for your travel vaccinations before you go or you could find that your insurance policy is invalidated if you fail to have the required jabs.

Even if you don't think that you will catch something while away, you simply can't afford not to take the necessary precautions. If you do travel to an area that has infectious diseases, haven't been vaccinated and you come down with something, it is unlikely that your insurance company will pay out after the fact.

Before you go anywhere, make an appointment with your GP or local travel clinic, which will be able to provide you with free information on what vaccinations are required for where you plan to travel to. Make sure you leave enough time as well to get your information, as some vaccinations can take eight weeks to have the entire dose administered and you don't want to be caught out.

Many of the inoculations you might need are actually free, including vaccinations against polio, cholera, typhoid and the first dose of hepatitis A, so if cost is a factor do your research first as this might influence where you want to go on holiday.

There are many sites online with helpful advice and information for travellers - check out NHS site Fit For Travel, the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and Net Doctor. Alternatively, book an appointment with us here at Kemnay Pharmacy and we'll be able to help.

New Babies To Receive Meningitis Vaccine On NHS

Aberdeen travel pharmacies may want to advise those coming through their doors that new babies will soon be able to be given a meningitis vaccine on the NHS, a move that was proposed back in 2014 but was delayed because of funding issues.

The government has teamed up with GlaxoSmithKline to offer the meningitis B vaccine, which is to be implemented into the UK's childhood immunisation scheme so that new babies will be able to have it when they are two months old.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the deal with the pharmaceutical giant means "we can now go ahead this year with rolling out the meningitis B vaccine and I think that's something that families, particularly ones with young children, will really welcome".

While meningitis B is fast acting (and typically affects teenagers and those under the age of five), people can make a full recovery if symptoms are spotted early enough. These include a fever with cold feet and hands, headaches, vomiting and confusion, as well as light sensitivity, a stiff neck and a distinctive rash.

The symptoms can appear in any order, so if your child has any of them and you're concerned that it might be more serious, do not wait for a rash to appear. Seek immediate medical help just to be on the safe side.

You can also carry out a glass test – press a clear glass against the skin and if the rash does not fade, it is a sign of meningococcal septicaemia.


Ebola Vaccines Now Being Tested

The best travel health clinics Aberdeen has available should perhaps make note of the fact that two new experimental Ebola vaccines are being tested and appear to be safe, which healthcare professionals might want to advise travellers of if they're planning to go to Liberia.

According to the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the vaccines have been developed by GlaxoSmithKline and the Public Health Agency of Canada, with the clinical trials initially involving over 600 people.

Now, the tests are to be expanded to include a greater number of subjects – approximately 1,500 people – and a higher proportion of women. A follow-up period of at least 12 months will be put in place, with further blood samples taken from volunteers at six months and a year after vaccination.

"Now we must move forward to adapt and expand the study so that ultimately we can determine whether these experimental vaccines can protect against Ebola virus disease and therefore be used in future Ebola outbreaks," Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the NIAID, remarked.

In the UK, meanwhile, scientists from Public Health England are currently researching an in-the-field test for Ebola after being awarded funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative.

A £1 million grant has been made available to help private and public sector scientists across Europe develop a new test for the disease, with professor Miles Carroll of PHE observing that if the research is a success, it might be possible to diagnose Ebola within 40 minutes, which would see a dramatic decrease in mortality rates.



Chikungunya Warning For Caribbean Travellers

People heading to the Caribbean have been advised to visit one of the travel clinics Aberdeen has available between six and eight weeks before leaving the country, following figures revealing a 12-fold rise in the number of chikungunya cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between 2013 and 2014.

According to Public Health England, 88 per cent of these cases were acquired on trips to South America and the Caribbean, with Dr Hilary Kirkbride, head of travel and migrant health with the organisation, noting that there is no specific vaccination or preventative medicine against the viral illness.

Making further comments, Dr Dipti Patel – joint director at National Travel Health Network and Centre – strongly urged holidaymakers to seek out pre-travel advice from a healthcare professional.

"To minimise the risk of mosquito bites it is advisable to wear appropriate clothing to cover up, such as long sleeve tops and trousers, and to use insect repellents. If a traveller develops symptoms such as fever, rash or joint pain within two weeks of returning from a foreign trip, they should seek medical advice from their GP," the expert went on to say.

Spread by mosquitos, the symptoms include joint pain and fever, with most people coming down with a fever within three to seven days. It's a highly unpleasant illness and some of those who contract it experience joint pain their wrists and hands for weeks or even months.

Researching your holiday destination and seeking advice from your GP before you travel anywhere would be the recommended course of action.


The Different Types Of Anti-Malaria Medication

When considering the various anti-malarial tablets Aberdeenshire healthcare professionals might prescribe you before you go on your travels, it might be worth looking into the different options available to you so you know you get the right ones.

If visiting somewhere with a malaria risk, it is certainly advisable that you take tablets as they can reduce the chances of you contracting the disease by around 90 per cent, according to the NHS. The type of medication prescribed will be based on where you're going, your family medical history, your own medical history, any medication you are already on, your age, whether you're pregnant and if you've had any trouble with such tablets in the past.

The different types include atovaquone plus proguanil, which you should take once a day. Children's dosages will depend on their weight. This medication should be avoided by breastfeeding or pregnant women, plus people with severe kidney problems, with side effects including headaches, stomach upsets, mouth ulcers and skin rashes.

Mefloquine, which you may have heard referred to as Lariam, should be taken once a week, although those with epilepsy, depression and seizures should avoid it. Side effects include sleep disturbances, dizziness, panic attacks, depression and anxiety.

Doxycycline, meanwhile, should be taken once a day and for four weeks after you get back from your travels. It is unsuitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women, children under 12, those with liver problems and anyone sensitive to tetracycline antibiotics.

As you can see, working out what tablets are right for you can be quite complicated, but that's where your Aberdeen travel pharmacy comes in handy. Make sure you visit them in plenty of time before your trip so you can make sure you get the right kind of medication.


Scarlet Fever Cases 'On The Rise'

Aberdeen travel clinics may want to advise their customers that scarlet fever cases in the UK appear to be climbing, with Public Health England now reporting a substantial hike in notifications across England.

Head of streptococcal infection surveillance Dr Theresa Lamagni observed, however, that scarlet fever – for which there is no vaccine – is a seasonal illness so a reduction in numbers should be seen relatively soon.

She went on to note that parents should make sure they look out for signs such as a headache, sore throat, fever and a pinkish rash on the stomach or chest, and take their children to see a GP as soon as possible if such symptoms do appear.

"As scarlet fever is highly contagious, children or adults diagnosed with scarlet fever are advised to stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid passing on the infection," Dr Lamagni remarked.

In the week from March 2nd to the 8th, 754 new cases were seen in England, with a total of 5,746 reported since September when the season began. This compares to the 2,833 cases that were seen for the same period last season.

While anyone can catch scarlet fever, it typically affects those aged between the ages of two and year. It is highly contagious and can be caught by sharing clothes, baths, towels or bed linen, through coughs and sneezes, and by touching someone with a streptococcal skin infection. Although rare, it is possible to catch the disease more than once.


Measles Case Discovered in New Zealand

If you're planning a trip to New Zealand in the next few weeks, make sure you've had all the travel vaccinations Aberdeen healthcare professionals would advise, since a case of the measles has been discovered in a child at a preschool in Christchurch.

This is the first case of the virus detected in the region since 2011, with Daniel Williams – Canterbury medical officer of health – saying that parents are now being encouraged to have their children immunised if they have not already done so.

"People who choose not to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases are putting not only their own children at risk but also other people's children," he was quoted by the New Zealand Herald as saying.

This news comes after the World Health Organization called on parents, healthcare professionals and governments around Europe to improve vaccination programmes for at-risk age groups in order to call a halt to outbreaks now being seen on the continent.

Cases have been reported in Kazakhstan, Germany, Italy, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kyrgyzstan, while other instances have also been reported in California. Wherever you choose to travel, it's vital that you've done your research first and know what you need to be vaccinated against to ensure that you are as protected as possible.

When you go to your Aberdeen travel pharmacy, make sure you discuss with them where you're going and what you plan to do so they can advise you accordingly. They will be able to tell you what vaccinations you need and be able to administer them as well.

New Malaria Vaccine Under Development

Aberdeen malaria prevention could be revolutionised thanks to ongoing research at the Jenner Institute (part of the University of Oxford) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which has seen scientists bio-engineer a viral vector to be used as a carrier in order to deliver genetic material from what is causing the disease to be treated.

These are then tested in human volunteers to make sure it's safe and to see if the host's natural immune system is able to detect certain gene products expressed by the viral vector and thus develop antibodies or responses against them.

Dr Siu Ping Lam of the MHRA observed that the evolution of viruses means that new vaccines need to be developed in order to prevent their spread, which is why it is so important for academic institutions to be innovative in their approach to producing medicines that can tackle emerging viruses.

"The experts at the MHRA were quick to recognise our innovative approach and worked with us closely at a number of vital milestones, which in turn helped us bring this breakthrough to the fore: a new way to develop vaccines for some of the world's most virulent diseases," Eleanor Berrie of Oxford University's clinical biomanufacturing facility remarked.

A drug-resistant malaria parasite is currently spreading through south-east Asia, with tests from Thailand's Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit revealing that this resistance could son make its way into India. It has also been detected in Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia so if you're travelling to such regions, make sure that you have the required vaccinations.


WHO Calls To Step Up Measles Vaccinations

Have you had your measles vaccinations yet? If you're planning a trip away, it would certainly be worth seeing if there have been any reported cases where you're visiting and getting the best travel vaccinations Aberdeen healthcare professionals can provide if you haven't had the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is now calling on policymakers, parents and those in the healthcare sector to step up their vaccinations across all at-risk age groups in order to put a stop to outbreaks currently ongoing in Europe.

Cases of measles for 2014-2015 have been reported in Kyrgyzstan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Russian Federation, Georgia, Italy, Germany and Kazakhstan, so if you're planning to go to any of these countries make sure you've taken all the necessary precautions.

"All countries, with no exception, need to keep a very high coverage of regular measles vaccination, so that similar outbreaks won't happen again in our Region, and measles can be eliminated once and for all," Dr Nedret Emiroglu of the Division of Communicable Diseases, Health Security and Environment at the WHO regional office for Europe remarked.

Measles has also been seen in California in recent weeks, so be careful if you're heading over to the US as well. Symptoms of the measles include a runny nose, water eyes, sensitivity to light, aches and pains, a lack of energy, a fever, loss of appetite and grey-white spots in the mouth and throat.

If you've been to any of the aforementioned countries and are displaying any of the above symptoms, make sure you make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can.


Flu Myths Dispelled

As the effectiveness of the latest flu vaccine comes under fire, consider these flu myths before you see what travel vaccinations Aberdeen healthcare professionals will advise you to get.

The flu vaccine is available on the NHS for adults and children who are considered at risk.

The vaccine should be considered if you are aged 65 and over, mums-to-be at any stage of pregnancy, and people with a long-term health condition, reports the Daily Telegraph.

If you still aren't sure whether or not to take the flu jab read these myths to help you decide.

1. Having flu is just like having a heavy cold

A bad bout of flu is much worse than a heavy cold. If you get complications caused by flu, you could become seriously ill and have to go to hospital.

2. Having the flu vaccine gives you flu

Some people get a slight temperature and aching muscles for a couple of days afterwards, but other reactions are very rare. It does not give you flu.

3. Flu can be treated with antibiotics

No, it can't as antibiotics treat bacterial infections.

4. Once you've had the flu vaccine, you're protected for life

The viruses that cause flu can change every year, so you need a vaccination each year that matches the new viruses.

5. I'm pregnant, so I shouldn't have the flu jab because it will affect my baby

You should have the vaccine whatever stage of pregnancy you are in as you are at increased risk of complications if you do get flu.

Drug-Resistant Malaria Detected In South-East Asia

Travellers making their way to south-east Asia should be on their guard and make sure they opt for the best malaria prevention Aberdeen has to offer, as a drug-resistant malaria parasite is now spreading around the region, with tests now showing the resistance could soon enter India.

Dr Charles Woodrow of Thailand's Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit told the BBC that resistance to artemisinin is a very real threat and, although the other drug artemisinin is taken with will initially ensure the effectiveness of the combination therapy to prevent malaria, it will inevitably fail in the end.

"If this were to spread into India, malaria will continue to affect rural populations there, but there may not be an immediate effect on cure rate. But beyond the short term, there is very likely to be a problem, and there are very few [other] drugs on the table," he remarked.

Malaria-related deaths have almost halved since the year 2000, killing around 584,000 people annually, but this drug resistance has now been detected in Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. If you're going to any of these regions, it is vital that you make sure you have all the necessary vaccinations and your anti-malarial tablets with you in order to protect yourself as well as you can.

Dr Woodrow went on to note that Myanmar is in fact the frontline in the fight against resistance to artemisinin, since it is a gateway for this resistance to then spread to the rest of the world's population.


Yellow Fever Restrictions Lifted By SA DoH

Travellers making their way around South Africa will no longer need to have the yellow fever vaccination if they want to cross the border into Zambia – although holidaymakers should always check what travel vaccinations Aberdeen healthcare professionals would advise they have done before leaving home.

The South African Department of Health has lifted the restrictions for travel between the two regions after the World Health Organisation declared Zambia a yellow fever-free zone in January.

Now, it will be much easier for tourists to visit landmark attractions in Zambia, including the Victoria Falls, Kasanka National Park and the different game reserves which are all home to the likes of lions, elephants and rhinos.

Yellow fever is a serious infection that is spread by mosquitos, typically found in South America, parts of the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. It can be prevented through vaccination and as such very rarely causes illness in travellers.

According to the NHS, six people from North America and Europe have died from the virus since 1996, none of whom were vaccinated against it.

Initial symptoms of yellow fever, which develop between three and six days after infection, include a high temperature, headache, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and muscle pain.

These will typically pass after three or four days, but about 15 per cent of people go on to develop other problems such as kidney failure, jaundice and bleeding from the nose, mouth, stomach or eyes. If you start to develop any of the above symptoms, make a doctor's appointment as soon as you can.


How Measles Are Spread

If you've been reading the international news, you'll likely have heard about the measles outbreak in the US – and if you're planning on going away any time soon, make sure you visit your Aberdeen business travel clinic for advice and get the relevant vaccines before you go.

As long as you've been vaccinated, it's perfectly safe to visit places where measles is potentially circulating, but if you're unsure or know you've yet to have the shot, make sure you stay away.

The measles virus is spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs – you can catch it by breathing in the droplets that come out of the mouth and nose or by touching a surface that the droplets have landed on and then touching your mouth or nose. It is vital to remember that the virus can survive on surfaces for several hours.

If you have the virus, you'll be infectious from the first signs of your symptoms until around four days after your rash first appears, so make sure you don't go to work or send your children to school for a minimum of four days from the first sign of your rash to help prevent the spread of infection.

The most effective way of preventing the virus is to have the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, which is usually first administered when children are 13 months old. They later have a second one before starting school.

There is no specific treatment for the virus, but you should begin to feel better within seven to ten days. If you do have the measles, consider cleaning your eyes with damp cotton wool, drinking plenty of water, taking paracetamol to relieve any fever and closing the curtains if you're feeling particularly sensitive to light.


Current Flu Vaccine 'Offers Little Protection'

Vulnerable people more susceptible to flu such as the elderly, pregnant women and children may wish to discuss their options with an Aberdeen travel health clinic, as public health officials have admitted that the current flu vaccine offers nearly no protection against the main strain of the virus – and they've known for months.

Public Health England has said that the vaccine made available this winter only provides "low protection" against the flu virus currently spreading around the country, stating that it would not have been able to develop a new one in time to protect people against the mutation. The strain has seen a rise in hospital admissions and the death rate is a third higher than normal, the Guardian reports.

Director of the Centre for Infectious Disease at PHE Nick Phin said this new virus is an H3 strain, which typically affects older people – the most vulnerable group. "This is the first time it has happened in a number of years to this extent. We recognise that we would like a better vaccine. One of the things that we do need to push for is a better vaccine, one that gives protection against a wider range of strains so that we wouldn't see this situation again," he remarked.

Cold weather warnings are being seen increasingly from the Met Office this winter, so people should take extra care. When going out, wear appropriate footwear and lots of thin layers, while making sure that indoor temperatures are at least 18 degrees C. If you are elderly, keep an eye on the weather reports and plan your day accordingly.


E-Cigs – Are They As Harmless As You Think?

People may believe that using e-cigarettes is a much healthier alternative to smoking, but a new study has found that their use could actually increase our susceptibility to flu and pneumonia. If you'd like to quit, why not discuss the matter with your local pharmacy travel health clinic?

According to John Hopkins University in Maryland, e-cigs can in fact increase a user's susceptibility to respiratory infections, with a group of mice exposed to e-cigarette vapour for two weeks subsequently more likely to demonstrate poor immune responses to flu, sinusitis and pneumonia.

In addition, it was also found that vapour contains free radicals that are found in both air pollution and cigarette smoke, which can damage DNA and result in cell death.

Lead author and assistant scientist at the Bloomberg School Thomas Sussan, PhD, commented on this particular finding, saying: "We were surprised by how high that number was, considering that e-cigarettes do not produce combustion products. Granted, it's 100 times lower than cigarette smoke, but it's still a high number of free radicals that can potentially damage cells."

A similar study released earlier this year, conducted by Portland State University, found that at certain voltages the vapour contained between five and 15 times more formaldehyde hemiacetal than people would get from smoking real cigarettes.

Formaldehyde is a cancer-causing chemical, so such results – even under such limited conditions using one brand of e-cig and carried out in test tubes and not on people – could put people off using them. If you want to quit smoking, make sure you talk to a healthcare professional about your options.


Measles Outbreak In California

If you've booked a trip to California with the family over the coming weeks, make sure you visit the best pharmacy travel health clinic has available and get up to date with your measles vaccinations, as the state is currently dealing with an outbreak of the measles.

The disease is highly contagious, more so than flu, smallpox or polio, and it has already infected at least 70 people across six states, as well as in Mexico, NBC News reports.

State epidemiologist for California Dr Gil Chavez has reminded people that it's perfect safe to go to places where measles may well be circulating as long as they have been vaccinated. All babies under one years old and those who for other reasons may not have been immunised, as well as people who haven't already had it, should stay away from certain venues.

Health officials are recommending that people who haven't been vaccinated avoid going to Disneyland, as five park employees have been affected and Disney is monitoring around 100 additional members of staff.

"We can expect to see many cases of this vaccine-preventable disease unless people take precautionary measures," Dr Chavez remarked.

The symptoms of measles include watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, sensitivity to light, high temperatures, aches and pains, tiredness and a lack of energy, irritability, loss of appetite, a dry cough and tiny grey-white spots in the throat and mouth.

If you're worried that you or someone you know may have been in contact with a person with measles and you've not been vaccinated, make sure you ask your doctor for further advice.


Get Healthy Together, Couples Advised

If you want to form healthier habits this year, you will be more successful if your partner makes similar positive changes as well, it has been suggested. So why not do some research and visit your pharmacy travel health clinic for further advice?

According to a study funded by Cancer Research UK, the National Institute on Aging and the British Heart Foundation, 50 per cent of women who smoked were able to quit if their partner also gave up at the same time.

In addition, men were affected in similar ways as well, showing themselves to be much more likely to get active, quit smoking or lose weight if their other halves made the same change in their behaviour as well.

"Getting some support can help people take up good habits.  For example if you want to lose weight and have a friend or colleague who's trying to do the same thing you could encourage each other by joining up for a run or a swim at lunchtime or after work. And local support such as stop smoking services are very effective at helping people to quit," Cancer Research UK's head of health information Dr Julie Sharp remarked.

And lead author of the study Dr Sarah Jackson added that now is the perfect time to do more exercise or quit smoking since it's the start of a new year.

Focusing on weight loss could be advisable for many in the UK, since a recent study from the University of Cambridge revealed that twice as many deaths could be put down to a lack of physical activity than those deaths caused as a result of obesity. However, just going for a fast 20-miute walk each day could be enough to reduce the likelihood of an early death.


Lack Of Exercise Linked To Higher Early Death Risk

Talk to your pharmacy travel health clinic today if you're concerned about your weight and how it is affecting your health, as new research has revealed that a lack of exercise can increase your risk of an early death, as well as making you more likely to develop disease like cancer.

Conducted by the University of Cambridge, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study found that twice as many deaths could be attributed to a lack of physical activity than the number of deaths caused by obesity, yet a fast 20 minute walk every day could be sufficient to reduce the chances of an early death.

It was found that burning between 90 and 110 calories on a brisk walk each day would move someone from the inactive to the moderately inactive category, cutting their chances of a premature death by between 16 and 30 per cent.

"This is a simple message: just a small amount of physical activity each day could have substantial health benefits for people who are physically inactive. Physical activity has many proven health benefits and should be an important part of our daily life," professor Ulf Ekelund, of the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the university, remarked.

Last year, a report from the National Obesity Forum - The State of the Nation's Waistline - suggested that estimations that half of the population in the UK would be obese by the year 2050 were in fact conservative and underestimated the seriousness of the situation. Those concerned about their weight gain should talk to a qualified health professional.


Flu Levels Apparently On The Rise

Pharmacy travel health clinics and other health professionals may well put the focus increasingly on flu in the coming months, as official figures from Public Health England (PHE) have revealed that levels are now higher than the peak recorded in the last three seasons.

As a result, the organisation has relaunched its Catch it. Kill it. Bin it campaign to run over the next three weeks in order to help spread the message about how important maintaining good hygiene levels is to protect against catching the flu.

Head of the respiratory diseases department at PHE professor Nick Phin described flu as "self-limiting" and if caught, people should just stay at home, get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluid and take pain medication like paracetamol. Those whose symptoms persist should seek medical advice.

Colleague Dr Richard Peabody, head of seasonal flu surveillance at the organisation, made further comments, saying: "It is not too late for people in 'at risk' groups to get the vaccine for free as they are at much greater risk of becomingly seriously unwell if they catch flu, and sadly many end up in hospital."

People with diabetes, asthma, renal, liver, heart and lung diseases, pregnant women and older people should consider being vaccinated against the flu.

With particularly cold weather now being forecast for the next week, it makes sense to go for the vaccination now to protect yourself as the winter deepens. The Met Office has just issued severe weather warnings for parts of the UK, with snow and ice expected to hit.

Poor Diabetes Care ‘Leading To Avoidable Deaths’

Diabetes healthcare is failing, according to a new report from Diabetes UK, those working in the pharmacy travel health clinic profession may be interested to learn.

The annual State of the Nation report from the charity has found that there has been little improvement in healthcare for the condition in the last 12 months, resulting in avoidable deaths, with 40 per cent of patients not receiving the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence checks required to manage their condition.

Examples of poor care include children and young people less likely to receive routine care and those with Type 1 diabetes receiving worse routine care than others with the condition.

It was also found that Type 2 diabetes must be made a bigger priority in order to reduce the burden on NHS resources moving forward.

Chief executive of the organisation Barbara Young observed that improving standards of care will relieve pressure on the NHS and save money in the long run, saying: “It is about people getting the checks they need at their GP surgery and giving people the support and education they need to be able to manage their own condition.”

If you have just been diagnosed with diabetes, it is possible that you can manage the condition by making a few lifestyle changes. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet is very important, but you may need additional medication to keep it under control.

There are several types of medication and your doctor will be able to help you work out the right kind of treatment plan for you.


Malaria Prevention & Control ‘Proving Effective’

Since the year 2000, the number of people dying as a result of contracting malaria has decreased dramatically according to a new report, with the number of those infected falling from 173 million in 2000 to 128 million last year… so do not forget to visit one of the clinics providing malaria shots Aberdeen now has available.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) World Malaria Report 2014 revealed that the mortality rate between 2000 and 2013 fell by 47 per cent worldwide and by 54 per cent in the African region, where around 90 per cent of deaths as a result of malaria occur.

This is down to greater access to insecticide-treated bed nets, as well as more accurate malaria diagnostic testing and better treatment on a global scale, it was observed.

Despite these positive results, however, big challenges still remain, with director of the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme Dr Pedro Alonso noting that the next couple of years will be critical in proving that this momentum can be maintained and these gains built upon.

Millions of people are still unable to access interventions like better treatment and diagnostic testing, while one-third of households in places with malaria transmission in sub-Saharan Africa do not have a single insecticide-treated net. Insecticide resistance has also been observed in 49 countries around the world, it was found.

If you are going travelling and are concerned about contracting the disease, make sure you familiarise yourself with the symptoms. These include a fever, headache, aching muscles, vomiting, diarrhoea, tummy ache, lack of energy, loss of appetite and a cough.



Ebola Myths: Fact From Fiction

Whether you have been to a pharmacy travel health clinic for vaccinations before going away or not, you will certainly have heard all about the Ebola epidemic that has been sweeping through Africa and which has now found its way to the shores of the UK.

But while the virus is a deadly one, there is little cause to panic just yet, although some of the misconceptions about the illness are making many of you worried. Here are some of the myths about Ebola dispelled and why you should not be going out in a hazmat suit just yet.

1.       You can catch the virus from sitting next to an infected person

Wrong. Ebola is only spread through bodily fluids. People are not infectious until their symptoms develop and even if this does happen, the virus cannot be caught via skin-to-skin contact or by touching a surface the infected person has touched.

2.       There is no known cure

People have been known to survive Ebola and the current outbreak’s mortality rate is around 55 per cent. There is no cure, but those patients who are treated and given food and fluids stand a better chance of survival.

3.       The virus will soon be airborne

There is currently no evidence to suggest that the virus has mutated and scientists are working daily to check samples of Ebola so they can spot any changes.

Early symptoms of the virus are sudden fever, fatigue, muscle pain, sore throat and headache, followed by a rash, bleeding (internally and externally), diarrhoea and vomiting. If you are planning to travel to regions where an outbreak has occurred, make sure you talk to your doctor before you leave.


Chikungunya: The Facts

The chikungunya virus has been getting a lot of press recently, with UK cases soaring by 432 per cent in the UK towards the end of last year following an outbreak in the Caribbean. If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, Grenada or Barbados, make an appointment with an Aberdeen travel clinic first to discuss your options.

Chances are you have never heard of this particular virus, but according to Public Health England almost 200 British tourists were diagnosed with it last year, so it makes sense to find out as much as you can about it before you go on holiday.

But what are the symptoms? Spread by mosquitos, you may well have the virus if you are experiencing fever and joint pains and think you may have been bitten. The majority of people will come down with a fever within three to seven days, with joint pain in the wrists and hands potentially persisting for weeks or months.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent chikungunya, but you can reduce your chances of coming down with the virus if you do your best to avoid being bitten by insects. You need to take proper precautions during the day as well as at night time, using bed nets that have been treated with an insecticide and insect repellent.

Dress in loose clothing as insects can access the skin through tight garments and if you are in a tick-infested area, avoid wearing shorts or skirts and tuck your trousers into your socks to stop the ticks from crawling up your legs.