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UK Healthcare proudly donates £5,000 to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity

UKH Foundation is proud to announce a recent donation of £5,000 to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. The donation will support the transformation and refurbishment of a new parent accommodation house, located close to Great Ormond Street Hospital. Families with a child in intensive care will especially benefit from having this accommodation close to the hospital.

More than 50% of Great Ormond Street Hospital patients come from outside of London, with many families travelling hundreds of miles to seek treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital. For these families, knowing they have a place to stay when they arrive is so important and with the hospital’s accommodation service already stretched, more accommodation is urgently needed.

UK Healthcare’s donation will be directed towards the creation of a new accommodation house located just 10 minutes’ walk away from the hospital, which will contain en-suite bedrooms and a communal living area with shared facilities. The new accommodation house is ideally located so that families can have some respite and time to unwind away from the busy wards while remaining close enough to return to the hospital at a moment’s notice. This accommodation house will provide a ‘home away from home’ for parents and carers from across the country.

 

For more information on the important work carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital every day and the support they receive from the charity, go to www.gosh.org.  

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UK Healthcare donates £3,395 to Caudwell Children

UK Healthcare has proudly donated £3,395 to Staffordshire-based national charity, Caudwell Children. The donation will allow the charity to purchase an oxygen concentrator, which will give disabled children who have low oxygen levels the opportunity to experience a dream holiday to Disney World, Florida.    

The charity, which provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, created its annual Destination Dreams holiday programme in 2007. The aim of the programme is to give 25 children with life threatening illnesses the chance to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime, overseas, trip.

Each year a number of the children selected for the holiday are either full-time oxygen users, require oxygen when they sleep at altitude on the aeroplane, or will be in need of emergency oxygen provision during the holiday. Unfortunately, the charity’s limited number of oxygen concentrators are coming to the end of their lifespan and need replacing.

Lisa Bates, Associate Director of Core Services at Caudwell Children, says the donation from UK Healthcare is vital in ensuring that those with oxygen needs continue to be selected for the holiday. As she explained: “Each child that travels on the Destination Dreams trip undergoes a professional risk assessment based on their medical condition.

“As part of this process the children need to obtain a ‘fit to fly’ approval from their consultant. For those with a respiratory condition this won’t be obtained unless oxygen is available for them on the flight. Whilst there are supplies on all commercial planes they only have the capacity to support two patients at any one time.  

“Clearly this doesn’t meet our requirements so the grant from UK Healthcare, which will allow us to purchase a brand new oxygen concentrator, is vital in allowing us to get ‘fit to fly’ approval for more children.”

The Destination Dreams holiday is unique in that those selected for the trip receive 24-hour dedicated medical support from a team of specialist paediatric doctors and nurses.

“We can’t thank UK Healthcare enough,” concluded Lisa. “They have given us the ‘green light’ to take more children, who require oxygen provision, to Florida. The concentrator that they have funded will support up to 125 children over the next five years, the lifetime of a concentrator, and that’s priceless.”

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UKH Foundation proudly donates £2,500 to Lucy Air Ambulance

We are pleased to announce that UKH Foundation has donated £2,500 to Lucy Air Ambulance for Children. Every transfer provided by Lucy Air Ambulance for Children costs £7,000 overall, so the UKH Foundation donation will go towards their next air transfer.

Established in 2010, Lucy Air Ambulance for Children supplies fixed wing air transfers for seriously ill babies and children in the UK who are in need of a planned transfer service. They do so by working very closely with the NHS and their air charter partner Capital Air Ambulance, and the service is provided to the families of the children involved at no cost.

Providing private and free air transfers to seriously ill babies and children up to the age of 16, Lucy Air Ambulance for Children receives no ongoing government grants or funding, and no National Lottery funding. The charity relies entirely on the generosity and kindness of supporters and fundraisers to provide their life-saving services, with all money received going towards the next air transfer.

For parents and guardians, having a seriously ill baby or child is an extremely overwhelming and stressful experience, which can cause a great deal of uncertainty and make parents feel out of control and unable to help their child. In some cases, children are too ill to be able to handle a long journey by road ambulance; in these situations the quickest and safest way to transport your child is by air ambulance. Lucy Air Ambulance for Children provides air transfer to either a more specialised unit or to a hospital closer to home.

 

If you would like to find out more about Lucy Air Ambulance for Children, you can visit their website by clicking here

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UKH Foundation proudly donates £2,500 to the Meningitis Research Foundation

 

 

THE UKH Foundation has proudly donated £2,500 to Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) to support the charity’s free helpline and support service. The helpline is a vital resource for families and individuals affected by meningitis or septicaemia. To find out more about the helpline, click here.

 

MRF funds vital scientific research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia, as well as raising awareness of the diseases and supporting those affected. MRF estimates that there have been on average around 3,200 cases of meningitis and septicaemia every year in the UK. They are deadly diseases that can strike without warning, killing one in ten, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life altering after-effects ranging from deafness and brain damage to loss of limbs.

 

Not only does MRF spend almost £1 million a year in the UK supporting those affected and providing free information to the public and healthcare professionals; the charity has also invested over £18.9 million in vital scientific research. Since the charity was founded in 1989, it has awarded 156 research grants.

 

MRF Head of Support, Rob Dawson said, “We are very grateful to UK Healthcare for this generous donation. We rely on donations to provide all of our vital services. The funds will help enable us to keep the helpline and support service running.”

 

MRF has recently launched their Stop The Spread campaign, to encourage young people in the UK to get their MenACWY vaccine to protect themselves against a deadly strain of meningitis that is spreading among students - the MenW bug. By getting the free MenACWY vaccine from their GP, young people will be protecting themselves against four strains of meningitis and helping to stop the spread of the bacteria to others. For more information, click here.

 

To find out more about MRF, you can visit their website by clicking here.

 

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UKH Foundation donates £2,500 to Teenage Cancer Trust

 

We are happy to announce that UKH Foundation has donated £2,500 to Teenage Cancer Trust to help support teenagers in the UK who are diagnosed with cancer. Approximately 7 people between the age of 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every day.

UKH Foundation was proud to donate £2,500 to Teenage Cancer Trust for all their incredible work in the North West; in particular, The Youth Empowerment Programme. The programme is a source of non-clinical support for young people who have been affected by cancer. This can include helping them to improve their social skills, giving them access to peer support, and connecting them with other young people that have been affected by cancer.

Being diagnosed with cancer at any age can be a daunting and heart-breaking situation to be in, but cancer as a teenager can make a young person feel very isolated and trigger a lot of questions. Teenage Cancer Trust’s Youth Empowerment Programme helps young people to regain a sense of normality, happiness and enjoyment at a very difficult time in their lives, as well as providing not just a support network, but a group of friends.

For more information on Teenage Cancer Trust and the incredible work that they do, you can visit their website here.

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UKH Foundation donates £5,000 to help improve palliative care for Merseyside cancer patients

We are pleased to announce that UKH Foundation has donated £5,000 to the charity North West Cancer Research.

The money will go towards funding dehydration detection equipment for terminal cancer patients in Merseyside to support research work at the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool.

North West Cancer Research is the only independent charity funding world class medical research, helping improve our understanding of cancer and how to better detect, treat and prevent it.  The charity is uniquely placed to support to support local cancer research and care facilities here in the North West.

UKH Foundation’s donation will be put towards the cost of purchasing three bio-impedance analysers, which will support the palliative care needs of people in the Merseyside region, affected by advanced and terminal cancer.

One thing commonly experienced by terminal cancer patients in the very last stages of the illness is a gradual reduction in food and water intake and many patients eventually stop taking fluids altogether.

The new AKERN BIA 101 bio-impedance analysers can be used to conduct measurements of human body composition, including levels of dehydration. As a result, healthcare professionals will be able to better meet the needs of patients towards the end of their lives.

The equipment will be used at the Royal Liverpool NHS Trust Hospital and at the Marie Curie Hospice in Liverpool.

Cathy Scivier, CEO at NWCR, said: “North West Cancer Research is extremely grateful for the support of the UKH Foundation for this important research project. Whilst more people are living with and through cancer, it’s important to ensure sufficient resources are spent on researching and improving end of life care for cancer patients and our loved ones.”

North West Cancer Research has committed to funding more than £13 million worth of cancer research projects over the next five years at the University of Liverpool, Bangor University and Lancaster University.

 

More information on the lifesaving research North West Cancer Research supports, can be found here

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UK Healthcare donates £4,500 to Over the Wall

 

UKH Foundation has proudly donated £4,500 to Over the Wall, a charity providing free therapeutic recreation camps to help children with life-limiting illnesses, as well as their families.

Over the Wall launched in 1999, and since then many of the UK’s most seriously ill children have been able to go swimming, catch their first fish, dance in the sunshine, perform centre stage and create the memories of a lifetime. The charity also provides further support for siblings and parents, ensuring they are involved in a few events to create some fantastic memories as a family.

Over the Wall camps are held at numerous locations across the UK, with high quality care standards at the forefront of their priorities; each campsite has a team of Paediatric Doctors and Specialist Nurses running unobtrusive ‘Medsheds’.

During her time volunteering at an Over the Wall summer camp, one of the doctors told the charity: “The children have the time of their lives and they grow in confidence before your eyes. It's just brilliant to see, and there's all kinds of feedback from medical teams and hospitals about the difference it makes to their management of their condition, their frame of mind, their 'can-do' attitude.”

Kevin Mathieson, CEO of Over the Wall, said “As you can see, our camps really do transform the lives of children with serious illnesses, and we would like to thank UKH Foundation and Bolton & District Saturday Council for your much appreciated support which is helping us to change the lives of more young people. Once again, thank you very much indeed for your wonderful support!”

To find out more about Over the Wall, you can visit their website here

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Charitable donation to NARA The Breathing Charity helps to continue work in Greater Manchester

UKH Foundation has proudly donated £7,000.00 to NARA The Breathing Charity to support the fantastic work the charity continues to do throughout Greater Manchester.

For almost thirty years, NARA has gone above and beyond for those struggling with breathing difficulties, providing medical equipment, support, advice and information to people of all ages across the UK.

Through their Greater Manchester Community Care Programme, NARA works with doctors and healthcare professionals to be connected to people in the area who are in need of assistance. NARA consistently provides not only medical equipment to those who need it, but also the volume of support needed to improve quality of life.

Our donation of £7,000.00 will help NARA to assist more healthcare professionals and communities in the Greater Manchester area, as well as fund equipment to help patients self-manage their conditions. For those struggling with respiratory illnesses or associated conditions, this is a monumental step towards improving day to day life.

Ann Jiggle, Chair of Trustees at NARA, said, “We are a small but incredibly busy organisation relying on donations, so all of us at NARA are absolutely thrilled to receive such a generous donation from UKH Foundation.

Our first objective has been to address outstanding equipment requests in the area and will follow up with proactive support to GP surgeries we have identified as needing equipment to support the local community.

Without the financial support of UKH Foundation we would not be able to do so much of this so quickly.

All too often, we find many patients feeling isolated, trapped by their condition, housebound or confined to frequent visits to their local Hospital or GP surgery and it is for those people that we thank UKH Foundation for their absolutely wonderful support.”

When you sign up for a personal or corporate health cash plan with UK Healthcare, you are not just benefiting from a comprehensive health cash plan – you are also helping us to support many health-related charities throughout the UK. You can find out more about our health cash plans here, and read more about NARA The Breathing Charity by visiting their official site.

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World Malaria Day 2016

Also known as WMD, World Malaria Day is commemorated every year on the 25th April in a bid to promote global efforts to understand and control malaria. WMD is one of eight official global public health campaigns upheld by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Each is aimed at raising awareness for a specific illness or health problem. In terms of malaria, the statistics are shocking - across the world, more than 3 billion people in 106 countries are currently at risk of malaria. In 2012 alone, malaria caused approximately 627,000 deaths.

What is malaria?

Malaria is a parasitic infectious disease carried by mosquitoes. When a mosquito carrying malaria bites a human, the disease is spread from the insect’s saliva to the person’s blood. If malaria isn’t diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible after becoming infected, it can be fatal. The main signs and symptoms of malaria include:

  • A severe headache
  • A high temperature
  • Fever-like symptoms, including sweats and chills
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Aching muscles
  • Fatigue
  • A dry cough

Although these are the most common symptoms of malaria, not all of the above may appear. Sometimes, people only experience two or three of the most common symptoms, such as a headache, fever and vomiting. Malaria is mainly found in tropical regions such as large areas of Africa and Asia, Central and South America, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Middle East and some Pacific Islands.

How is malaria treated?

If you have been diagnosed with malaria it is vital that you begin taking your medicine immediately. Depending on where in the world you contracted malaria and the exact type that you have will determine the treatment you receive. If you were taking antimalarial medicine prior to contracting the disease, you will need to take a different form of medication after diagnosis. You will need to stay in hospital to be monitored – it is likely that medication will be distributed intravenously to begin with, followed by a course of tablets.

Every year on 25th April, World Malaria Day focuses on a specific theme. 2016’s theme is “End malaria for good”. For more information, visit the World Malaria Day website to find out how you can help to raise awareness. 

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World Health Day 2016

 

Each year World Health Day is held on 7th April, marking the anniversary of the World Health Organisation being founded in 1948. World Health Day focuses on a different disease or health issue every year in order to raise awareness and educate people on how to treat or prevent certain illnesses. This year, World Health Day 2016 is covering diabetes – one of the most common and serious diseases in the world. In 2008, an estimated 347 million people around the world were diagnosed with diabetes. It is estimated that by 2025 there will be approximately 5 million people with diabetes in the UK alone.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is lifelong metabolic disorder that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2 – with type 2 affecting approximately 90% of adults with diabetes in the UK.

Type 1 is when the patient is insulin dependent and is usually developed during childhood or as a young adult. Type 1 diabetes destroys pancreatic cells, and as a result no insulin can be produced, meaning glucose levels increase which can seriously damage internal organs.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common and is more prevalent in people who are overweight and over the age of 45. People who suffer from type 2 diabetes are no longer able to produce insulin and sugar builds up in their bloodstream. Type 2 is a progressive condition, meaning those who suffer from the disease may eventually need medication.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Feeling increasingly thirsty
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling physically exhausted
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Frequent thrush or itchy genitals 
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts and wounds taking a long time to heal

If you or someone you know is experiencing two or more of the above symptoms, visit your GP as soon as possible and express your concern.

How is diabetes treated?

There is currently no cure for diabetes, meaning if you have been diagnosed you need to carefully manage your treatment. If you have type 1 diabetes you will most likely need insulin injections in order to keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible. If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is important to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet and do an increased level of exercise. In many cases, those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight and should aim to lose 10% of their bodyweight in the space of a year in order to maintain their condition.

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How to Handle Hay Fever

 

Hay fever is a common allergic reaction to pollen released by plants as part of their reproductive cycle. Due to plants’ different reproductive cycles happening at different points during the year, hay fever symptoms can occur at any time during spring, summer and autumn. Hay fever is so common that it affects one in five people at some point during their life. Symptoms include sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose – all of which are a result of an allergy to pollen.

During spring, trees release their pollen and the first signs of hay fever can occur in sufferers as early as February. Following this, allergies to grass pollen begin around March or April, and weed pollen is released any time between March and August.

If you are prone to suffering from hay fever or happen to experience symptoms for the first time this year, try some of the tips below to help ease suffering:

  • Take antihistamine tablets; they are available at supermarkets and pharmacies. You could also ask the pharmacist if they have any other medication to help with your specific symptoms.
  • Avoid alcohol. Many people do not know this, but alcohol contains histamine which is the chemical that sets off allergy symptoms in the body.
  • If the pollen count is high, try to stay indoors. Don’t keep fresh flowers inside your house and if possible, don’t dry your clothes outside. Pollen can attach itself to damp clothes and make your symptoms much worse if you wear clothes covered in something you’re allergic to!
  • Avoid areas that are particularly grassy, and don’t cut the grass in your garden – the pollen released from grass is highly likely to affect hay fever sufferers.
  • Keep all windows closed. If it is hot in your house with the windows closed, try closing the curtains to reduce the temperature. Keep the windows in your car closed too – you can also buy a pollen filter for your air vents.
  • If you have been outdoors and your symptoms are particularly bad, when you get home make sure you have a shower and change your clothes. Removing as much pollen from your body as possible is vital in order to reduce symptoms.
  • If your main symptom is a blocked nose and your hay fever isn’t responding to antihistamines, ask your doctor about corticosteroid nasal sprays. They can reduce the inflammation inside your nose and help you to breathe easier.
  • If your eyes are particularly itchy, swollen or watery, try using eye drops specifically for those with hay fever. Eye drops which include the ingredient sodium cromoglicate have been shown to be the safest and most successful in treating symptoms of hay fever.

If you continue to suffer from hay fever symptoms and nothing helps to ease your suffering, speak to your GP. There may be some stronger medications that can be prescribed, or factors to bear in mind that are specific to your particular symptoms. It’s never too early to start preparing for hay fever, so look out for warning signs over the next couple of months. 

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Tips for a Healthy Heart

 

There are numerous lifestyle factors which may be having a negative effect on your heart. When you fall into bad habits, whether it is smoking, drinking too much alcohol or regularly eating unhealthy foods, this can have a detrimental effect on your heart. Other factors such as managing your stress levels and getting enough sleep will help to keep your heart healthy. Below are a few more simple tips on how to improve your heart’s health.

Stop smoking

It’s not a secret that smoking is bad for you – nothing about cigarettes or tobacco are good for a person’s health. However, many people may not know the specifics about the negative effects smoking can have on your health. In terms of your heart, smoking increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases – you are far more likely to have a stroke or develop coronary heart disease if you smoke. Furthermore, smoking damages the lining of your arteries, which can lead to angina and heart attacks. The first step towards a healthier heart is giving up smoking.

Put down the salt

Quite simply, the more salt you eat, the worse your blood pressure will be. The reason behind this is that salt makes your body retain water, therefore if you eat too much salt, the excess water stored in your body will raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure puts a strain on your heart and can lead to heart attacks, CHD and strokes; it can also affect other organs and lead to dementia and kidney disease. CHD (coronary heart disease) is the UK’s biggest killer, with one in four men and one in six women dying from the disease. Cutting down on salt is a big step towards a healthier heart.

Get moving

When we do cardiovascular exercise such as running, cycling or swimming, our blood flow concentrates on areas that are doing more work such as the muscles in our legs and torso. This surge in blood flow increases the volume of blood going towards our heart. With regular cardio, our hearts become used to bigger bursts of blood, and as a result fewer beats are needed, even when we are resting. This takes work off your heart and is why cardio is highly recommended for maintaining a healthy heart. Running, cycling or swimming a few times a week is a great way to maintain your fitness as well as keeping your heart healthy.

Be conscious of your diet

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is also a key ingredient in maintaining a healthy heart. If you minimise your alcohol intake, avoid foods that are high in salt and saturated fat and ensure you eat a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, this will have a positive impact on your heart. There are numerous benefits to eating healthily; for example, avoiding serious problems such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by stopping smoking, improving your diet and increasing the exercise you do has countless benefits for your heart and other organs. There is no harm in the occasional treat, whether it is a piece of cake or a glass of wine, but be aware of what you put into your body – over time this could have a huge effect on your heart and overall health.

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Workplace Workouts: Stay Fit in the Office

Keeping a healthy work-life balance can be challenging in an office environment. If you don’t have an active job it may be hard to keep your fitness up, whereas if you are on the move during the day you will be able to relax during the evenings. Planning on going to the gym or fitness classes before or after work is all good and well, but actually attending is an entirely different story. Sometimes, when you’ve been sat at a computer for 8 hours a day, all you want to do is go home and crawl into bed. Here, we discuss the easiest and most beneficial exercises you can do at work, either at or near your desk.

1.       Take the stairs

It may sound blatantly obvious that taking the stairs is the healthier option, however when it comes down to it the majority of us would probably opt for the elevator, particularly first thing in the morning. Why not take two steps at a time? You’ll give your legs a work-out simply by making your way into the office. (Feel free to throw in some lunges, squats and knee-raises if nobody is looking.)

2.       Stand to attention

If you are consistently sitting down for long periods of time whilst at work, it is beneficial for you to stand up whenever possible. One of the largest pieces of research conducted by the NHS (involving almost 800,000 people) found that, compared with those who sat the least, people who sat down the longest had a 147% risk increase in cardiovascular problems. Furthermore, the people who sat for the longest periods of time also had a 112% risk increase of developing diabetes. Whilst at work, stand up and walk around as often as possible – even if it means pacing around the room whilst you wait for your document to print!

3.       The lunch time twist

Most office chairs are on wheels and spin around, making it easier for the person sat on it to move around their office or desk space. However, this can also lead to severe laziness! Why not change the purpose of your spinning office chair and put it to good use?  Use its twisting technique to work out your obliques – lift your feet off the ground, hold onto your desk to stay steady and use your core to twist the chair from side to side. Keep going until your muscles start to burn, then have a rest and repeat.

4.       Stationary need not be stationary

Look around your desk – heavy stapler? Ring binders full of documents? Reels of printer paper? Why not utilise the items around you and do some bicep curls, shoulder raises and upward arm pumps whilst holding these heavy objects? If you are on a break, waiting for your computer to restart or on hold with a client on the phone, squeeze in a few reps to keep your arms and shoulders toned.

 

There are many ways to keep fit during office hours that don’t involve making a fool of yourself in front of your colleagues. Perhaps ask your boss if you could trial a standing desk, or gather a few co-workers to go for a 30-minute run after work a couple of times a week. That way, you will still be home in time for tea and to see your family or friends. 

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Dealing With Cold & Flu This Winter

Sometimes, no matter how many layers we pile on during winter or how many people with illnesses we avoid, we are still susceptible to colds and influenza – they are highly contagious. We are all aware that there are no medications, remedies or antibiotics that can specifically cure the common cold. Firstly, if you haven’t had a flu jab, have one. If you are currently suffering from a cold or flu, there are multiple suggestions to help ease your symptoms, soothe your aches and pains and assist with speeding up your recovery.

Stay at home and rest.

It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised about how many people feel that they should power through the symptoms and go to work when they have a cold or flu. The best way to ease your symptoms and speed up recovery is to stay at home, keep warm and get plenty of sleep. Plus, this also means you can refrain from passing on your germs to colleagues!

Drink a lot of water.

Not only will this keep you hydrated, but more specifically, it will keep your respiratory system hydrated. Every time you cough, sneeze or sweat, your body loses fluids. Keeping your respiratory system hydrated will help to liquidise any phlegm or mucus and stop you from getting an infection. Steaming your face will also help clear out your sinuses.

Soothe your throat.

No matter whether you have a sore throat, a chesty cough or aching pains in your neck, keeping your throat lubricated and soothed is essential to ease your symptoms. Try throat lozenges and chloraseptic throat spray if your throat is particularly painful through coughing. Many people describe their sore throats as feeling like “razor blades”- if this is the case try drinking hot water, honey and lemon mixed together to help relax painful symptoms.

Blow your nose.

Many people who get the “sniffles” do just that – sniffle the mucus back into the sinuses, which isn’t going to improve symptoms at all. Blow your nose regularly, but gently; blowing too hard can cause ear ache, and the last thing you need is even more aches and pains.

See your GP.

If your symptoms last more than two weeks without improving, or your symptoms start to worsen and you think you may have an infection, visit your GP. They will be able to prescribe the necessary antibiotics to fight any infections you have, as well as painkillers to improve your sore throat and muscles.

Cold and flu are more common in the winter, so ensure you take care of yourself. If you are out and about wrap up warm and carry hand sanitiser with you at all times – use this after washing your hands, or in between washes. Don’t forget to get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day – a regular intake of vitamins will boost your immune system and help to prevent catching a cold.

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World AIDS Day 2015

Each year, 1st December marks international World AIDS Day; it is an opportunity for people around the world to spread awareness, show support for those living with HIV and to remember those who have died from the disease. 1st December not only marked the first ever World AIDS Day, but also the first ever global health day.

There is presently an estimated 34 million people who have HIV across the world, and in the UK alone, more than 100,000 people are currently living with HIV. The virus was only discovered in 1984, and since then more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS. Based on these figures, it is one of the most destructive diseases in history.

What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

One of the most common mistakes to make is to assume that those with HIV automatically have AIDS – this is not the case. HIV is a virus that may cause an infection, whereas AIDS is a syndrome or condition. If a person is HIV positive this can lead to them contracting AIDS, due to the virus causing serious damage to their immune system. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

How can I participate in World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day is an annual reminder not only for the public, but also for the Government, that HIV has not been cured. Despite scientific advances in HIV treatment over the last 40 years, there is still approximately 6,000 people diagnosed with HIV in the UK each year. World AIDS Day is the ideal occasion to not only raise awareness, but also to show your support for the millions of people worldwide who are currently living with HIV. The simplest way is to buy a red ribbon, and wear it with pride. 

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5 Tips to Stay Healthy This Christmas

 

Christmas is renowned as the time of year when everyone enjoys overindulging in festive treats and alcohol with their family and friends. Whilst this may seem like tradition, the tradition also runs strong in January when you will be asking yourself why you ate and drank so much in such a short space of time! This year, follow our 5 simple tips to stay healthy this Christmas, whilst still enjoying yourself.

1.       Only eat one large meal per day

If you decide to have scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast, a piece of Christmas cake and a few glasses of Bucks Fizz for breakfast, try not to follow this up with a large lunch and dinner in the same day. Similarly, if you know you will be having a big roast dinner and a few glasses of wine for dinner, keep your other meals light throughout the day so you aren’t fit to burst by the time you go to bed.

2.       Keep track of snacks

At Christmas time, everywhere you look there will be snacks ready and waiting for you to indulge! From cakes and puddings to mince pies and crisps, the amount of snacks available during the festive period seems to be never-ending. Be mindful of your snacking; for example, choose almonds over salted peanuts, or hummus over cream and chive dip. Making slight changes to your snack choices will make a big difference by the time January comes around.

3.       Stay hydrated

No matter whether you are at home, visiting family or at a festive party, alcohol seems to be on offer wherever you go at Christmastime. Ensure you drink plenty of water; not only to stay hydrated, but also to help aid the digestion of all the food you’ve been eating. Try drinking vodka and soda water instead of vodka and coke, or replace red wine with 50% mulled wine and 50% orange juice. Still the same fulfilment but with half the calories!

4.       Exercise

Don’t give up on your fitness regime just because it’s Christmas – if anything, the over-indulging is even more of a reason to keep it up! Visit the gym a few times a week – it’s usually quite quiet over the Christmas period. If the gym isn’t your thing, get wrapped up and go for a long walk with the family, or set yourself a goal for January. If you have a sponsored run scheduled for the New Year, you have no choice but to go for a few lengthy runs over Christmas to keep your fitness levels up.

5.       Don’t go hungry to parties

One big mistake you can make is going to a party with an empty stomach – you’re bound to accept any food put in front of you! Make sure you eat something beforehand, even if it’s just a light meal. This will help to curb your hunger, and if you do decide to have a bite to eat at the party it will most likely be a small snack or a few canapés.

 

The main trick for staying healthy over Christmas is to consume everything in moderation. From meals and snacks to chocolates and cake, make sure you limit yourself and don’t overdo it. When January comes around, you’ll be able to maintain your weight instead of facing another month of dieting after an over-indulgent festive period! Enjoy yourself, be mindful of what you eat and drink, but most importantly have a very Merry Christmas. 

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November: Lung Cancer Awareness Month

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, aimed at improving people’s overall knowledge of lung cancer. There are typical signs and symptoms you can look out for, as well as tips to be mindful of in regards to your general health. As people become more aware of the facts and details about lung cancer, over time the large numbers of those being diagnosed will hopefully fall.

Why do we need to raise awareness?

In the UK, the current rate for someone to survive more than 10 years after being diagnosed with lung cancer is 5%. With the majority of patients being diagnosed at a stage when it is too late to be offered treatment, it is vital that people are more aware of symptoms in order to spot the signs early on. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to:

  • A persistent cough that doesn’t go away after a few weeks
  • Regular chest infections
  • Pain when coughing, breathing or swallowing
  • Feeling breathless and/or unable to breathe deeply
  • Coughing up phlegm and/or blood
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Unexplained weight loss and/or loss of appetite
  • Wheezing and a hoarse voice

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, visit your GP. The likelihood is that it is nothing serious, but it is best to have it checked out – if it is lung cancer, being diagnosed in the early stages could save your life. Your GP will examine you, and if they suspect cancer you will be referred for a chest x-ray primarily, followed by a visit to the chest specialist. If you are diagnosed, you will promptly be referred to a lung cancer team for treatment and care.

How do I reduce my risk of getting lung cancer?

There are multiple changes you can make which will improve your chances of never contracting lung cancer, mainly based around living a health-conscious lifestyle. For example:

  • Ask your GP for help to stop smoking. There are numerous organisations who are funded by the NHS to help you stop smoking free of charge. Additionally, if you don’t smoke but are surrounded by second hand smoke on a regular basis, make sure this is reduced as much as possible.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet, and reduce the amount of alcohol you drink as much as possible. Also, reduce the amount of fat, sugar and salt you consume, and increase the portions of fruit and vegetables you eat. The minimum you should be eating on a daily basis is five portions.
  • Exercise regularly - cardio (such as running and cycling) is perfect for increasing your lung capacity. As a result you will be able to inhale more oxygen, burn more calories and have more energy; not to mention decreasing your risk of getting lung cancer.

 

By raising awareness about lung cancer, the number of those being diagnosed in the early stages will increase and those being diagnosed at terminal stage will start to fall. Look out for the signs and symptoms, and be mindful of your diet choices. It is never too early to improve your lifestyle in order to benefit your health. 

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Be Breast Aware!


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and with more than 50,000 people diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, it is becoming increasingly important that people know the signs and what to look for. With over 100 women on average being diagnosed daily in the UK, the significance of knowing how your breasts look and feel will increase your chances of being able to detect if something is wrong.

Changes in look, shape and feel can all be indicators of breast cancer – but don’t jump to conclusions! UK Healthcare would like to help you look out for tell-tale signs, as well as improve your overall health in order to lessen your chances of developing breast cancer.

What should I look out for?

    • Any new lumps in your breast or armpit, whether they or painful or not – this can also include bumpy areas which feel slightly strange.

 

    • A difference in the shape or outline of the breast, particularly when you lift or move your arm.

 

    • Any changes in the look or feel of the skin on your breast, such as wrinkles and dimples that stand out from the rest of the breast.

 

    • Bleeding or discharge leaking from your nipple.

 

    • Any rashes or sores on or around the nipple that don’t heal, or come and go over time.

 

    • A difference in the position of your nipple, such as it looking higher up than usual, or pointing in an unusual direction.



What are the main breast cancer risk factors?

There is no definite answer to what causes breast cancer, as each case is different. No evidence is 100% clear, hence why it is still vitally important to continue to raise awareness of breast cancer research. However, there are certain elements of a person’s lifestyle which can sometimes affect your health in a negative way. For example, more than a quarter of female breast cancers in the UK are related to factors such as obesity and alcohol consumption. Other influences can be oral contraceptives, some types of hormone replacement therapy and ionising radiation. Furthermore, smoking is also a common lifestyle choice in those diagnosed with breast cancer, but there is no definite evidence to say it is a direct cause.

Some basic lifestyle changes to help prevent breast cancer include eating a healthy, balanced diet, regular physical activity, and reducing your alcohol consumption. Furthermore, refraining from smoking may also help – although there is no solid evidence linking smoking with breast cancer, there are numerous other health benefits if you do decide to quit. Breastfeeding your baby for a minimum of six months is also recommended. This is based on the fact that around 3% of female breast cancers in the UK are suspected to be due to insufficient breastfeeding after pregnancy.

If you are worried about breast cancer, make an appointment with your GP. Your doctor will be able to answer any further questions you may have, as well as giving you additional advice about how to check your breasts regularly. Many women have nodular, lumpy breasts – this is breast tissue and is completely normal. Some women many also have inverted nipples, or one breast larger than the other – again, this is not uncommon. However, if your breasts change in any way, that is when it is time to visit your GP.

 

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Military charity benefits from £5k donation by UK Healthcare

Health cash plan provider UK Healthcare has donated £5,000 to Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

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Military charity benefits from £5k donation by UK Healthcare

Health cash plan provider UK Healthcare has donated £5,000 to Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

In addition to providing personal and corporate health cash plans for as little as £1 a week, UK Healthcare donates thousands to various health related charities every year. This is the company’s first donation to Blind Veterans UK.

The charitable organisation is celebrating its centenary throughout 2015 and is marking the occasion with more than 100 commemorative events across the country including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the charity’s three centres (in Brighton, Llandudno and Sheffield. Founded in 1915, Blind Veterans UK was originally set up to support soldiers who were blinded during World War I. Since then, the organisation has helped more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, from WWII to recent conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Blind Veterans UK provides much needed training, rehabilitation, equipment and support to blind and vision impaired veterans, no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.

All of these services are provided free of charge, but the charity relies upon the generosity of the general public and organisations like UK Healthcare in order to provide them.

The donation from the UKH foundation will be put towards welfare support for blind veterans in Lancashire. The charity’s regional team of Welfare Officers is there for a beneficiary on every step of their journey and for the rest of their lives. Blind Veterans UK’s Welfare Officers are typically qualified social workers, with extensive experience. They are responsible for assessing, monitoring, and overseeing the needs of each of our beneficiaries, the majority of whom still live independently.

David Bassom from Blind Veterans UK, said: “We are extremely grateful to UK Healthcare for their support and we are looking forward to making the most of this fantastic donation.

“As we celebrate our centenary, we look back on a lot of success in helping thousands of blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women to live as independently as possible. This is critical time for our Charity as we are increasing the number of blind veterans we support; in the past year, more blind veterans have registered for our help than ever before in the Charity’s history and this trend is set to continue.”

“No one who has served their country should battle blindness alone and if readers know anybody who served in the Armed Forces or did National Service and is now suffering severe sight problems, we hope they will get in touch”.

Blind Veterans UK could provide blind or partially sighted veterans, and their families, with a lifetime of practical and emotional support, For more information, call 0800 389 7979 or visit http://www.noonealone.org.uk.

To find out more about health cash plans, which allow plan holders to claim back cash on a variety of medical services, up to generous policy limits, visit http://ukhealthcare.org.uk.

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