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Archive for December, 2006

Here’s to a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year!

Friday, December 15th, 2006

PRimage Press Release

The festive season of parties, family fun and over-indulgence is here again… but for many this can also mean coping with the traditional after effects, such as hangovers and heartburn. And why is it that someone in the family always seems to come down with a cold, flu or a bad back at Christmas?

Here, specialist healthcare communications agency, PRimage, offer some common-sense advice on how, amongst the fun and festivities, we should make time to look after ourselves.

PRimage managing director, Judy Viitanen, comments: “The good news is that by being prepared – and following some simple self-help tips – we can all make sure we don’t let avoidable health problems put a dampener on our family’s festive fun. That way my family – and yours – can enjoy a healthy and happy yuletide”.

Christmas Health Tips from PRimage

Stress and accidents:

We all know that the lead up to the festive period can be frenetic – ask any busy mum!

Not only are people out of their usual routines – but they are also rushing around, often stressed and tired.  At times like this, it takes only one shopping bag too many, some playful games with the kids, or a wobble on a high heel while dancing at a party to trigger a muscle spasm.  

Christmas shopping is possibly the most physically demanding task of the season, rushing through the crowds with heavy bags of presents and christmas fare!  So try to think ahead and ensure you remain hydrated, wear flat shoes rather than heels to protect your back and knees and if possible avoid any big, heavy shops first thing – since most injuries take place during the first two hours of your day when the body isn’t properly loosened up.

Tempting as it may be to sprawl presents and paper on the floor for wrapping, avoid risking back strain and use a table at waist height instead.  Even a small christmas tree can be heavy, so take care when lugging it home and be aware of your back if reaching up, unsupported, to hang decorations.

Many people travel long distances to spend the holidays with loved ones, so ensure you consider your comfort and safety if confined to a car, plane or train seat. Position yourself so your back is straight and supported, remain hydrated and take regular breaks from your seat to have a walk, which will loosen up your muscles and get blood circulating.

Christmas is for young children and family fun. However, if you are a grandparent, to avoid accidents or muscle strains please be careful when joining in their fun – your limbs are probably not as flexible as theirs when it comes to piggybacks and rough and tumble!
 

Indigestion:

Christmas pudding, brandy butter, mince pies, chocolate liqueurs … there are many rich foods and alcohol that can trigger a bout of indigestion or heartburn at this time of year – and we tend to over-indulge in all of them!

Here’s how you still enjoy the festive fare, but take practical steps to prevent or alleviate the misery of heartburn, nausea, wind or abdominal pains: avoid eating within an hour of going to bed; drink a glass of skimmed milk at bedtime; try sleeping propped up with pillows; make sure you have a suitable indigestion remedy in the medicine cabinet, in case you or your family needs it over the holiday

Hangovers:

We all know that too much alcohol results in that dreaded “morning after” feeling. However, when you’re faced with endless parties and family get togethers, it’s not always easy to have an ‘alcohol-free’ Christmas and New Year. So the best advice is to drink sensibly and not to overdo it.

This festive season, do follow these basic tips to help you keep out of trouble:

Don’t drink on an empty stomach – have a proper meal first; try to drink less and have a soft drink first, then alternate soft drinks with alcohol; before going to bed, drink plenty of water: dehydration is the main cause for a hangover’s worst effects.  If you do wake up suffering, keep drinking plenty of fluids and try eating something to increase your blood sugar level.  A paracetamol-based painkiller, or hangover remedy, can be taken to help reduce the headache and other symptoms – but be careful not to exceed recommended dosages by taking a combination of medicines.  Check with your local pharmacist.

Stomach upsets:

Extra entertaining over the Christmas holiday means we should be careful to avoid the risks of food poisoning.

Cleanliness is the key – so be meticulous about hygiene in your kitchen, and always use common sense in the way you prepare and cook food

Store all uncooked food in the refrigerator separate from cooked food; raw meat should be stored separately in the ‘fridge and should be well covered to ensure that no blood spills on to other foods; ensure that the ‘fridge is cold enough – it should not be below 5oC or 41oF and the freezer should not be warmer than –18oC; if you are planning to reuse any leftover turkey or other Christmas food. Remember that cooked food should never be reheated more than once – and then only if it is piping hot all the way through.

If you do develop a bout of sickness, have nothing to eat until the vomiting has stopped; drink water, little and often, even if it does not stay down for long, as this will stop you getting dehydrated.

Your medicines:

Do bear in mind that if you or a family member suffer from a long-standing medical condition that requires regular prescription medication, it’s a wise precaution to ensure you have sufficient supplies of any medicine over the Christmas and New Year period. And if you or your family are ill over the Christmas and New Year Bank holidays and need an urgent prescription dispensed, don’t panic – in most parts of the country, pharmacists operate a rota system to ensure that patients can get medicines outside pharmacy opening hours.   Details of your local pharmacy Christmas and New Year rota will be displayed on local pharmacy windows or doors and printed in local newspapers.Make sure, too, that you have a selection of commonly needed over the counter medicines in your family medicine cabinet to help you cope with everyday family illness or any mishaps over the holiday.  

Coughs, colds and other winter ills often strike at unsociable times – particularly Christmas and Bank Holidays – so it will be reassuring to know that you are well prepared, especially if you have a young family or elderly relatives to care for.

Some useful items you might want to include in your medicine cabinet over the holiday period include: paracetamol or aspirin tablets (and junior paracetamol liquid for babies and young children); plasters and bandages; liquid antiseptic and ointment; adult and children’s cough linctus and sore throat lozenges; indigestion remedy and laxative

Don’t mix medicines and alcohol – or drink and drive!

Finally, do remember that before taking any medicines this Christmas or New Year, it is a good idea to check with your doctor or pharmacist if it is likely to react with alcohol, or impair your driving ability. And if there is any doubt, hand over the car keys. DDD – drugs, drink and driving – can be a deadly combination!

ends

PRimage have experience in all areas of PR and consumer healthcare messaging. 

High IQ link to being vegetarian

Friday, December 15th, 2006

Intelligent children are more likely to become vegetarians later in life, a study says.

Local Government Bill includes legal duty to co-operate

Friday, December 15th, 2006

The Department for Communities and Local Government has unveiled its Local Government Bill and emphasised that it places a legal duty on councils and service providers including primary care trusts to co-operate. The bill as a whole is intended to give local authorities a new role as ‘place shapers’ or leaders in making services better co-ordinated, better value for money and more responsive to local demands.

PRimage comment

As a former District Councillor Judy Viitanen is a strong advocate for local councils to provide cost-effective, high-quality services that meet local needs.

As a specialist healthcare communications agency, PRimage is encouraged that this local government bill will ensure that primary care trusts also have a legal duty to co-operate with councils.  We believe it is crucial that there is co-ordinated planning for local healthcare services!

New plans to improve patient safety

Friday, December 15th, 2006

The government announces proposals to improve patient safety as a study finds current safeguards are failing.

PRimage believe Post Office closures is ‘devastating’!

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

A fresh wave of post office closures has been announced by the Government, with the number of branches expected to be reduced by 2,500. The cutback was blamed on mounting losses and fewer people using the network of 14,263 offices. Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling said there had to be a reduction in the size of the network to reflect the dip in business and losses of £4 million a week, up from £2 million a year ago. Business and pensioner groups have reacted angrily at plans for the fastest-ever closure programme of post offices which will see the number of branches reduced by 2,500 in just 18 months. The huge cutback, which will start next summer, was blamed on mounting losses of £4 million a week and fewer people using the network of 14,263 offices. Britain’s biggest pensioners’ organisation accused the Government of having “blood on its hands” by taking services away from post offices, while business leaders said the cuts amounted to “carnage” on high streets.

PRimage comment

This fastest-ever closure programme of post offices will see the number of branches reduced by 2,500 in just 18 months: it is really devasting news for so many people around the country!

PRimage believe that if you feel strongly about this, you should lobby your local MP, District and County Councillors and the local and national media.  PRimage managing director, Judy Viitanen will be doing this – and encouraging friends and family to do the same.  ‘People power’ can and should be listened to by the Government and opinion formers.

conferencetech – the complete conference and event management solution

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

If you are looking for a top-class conference and event management company Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team recommend checking out conferencetech. We have worked with them very successfully for more than a decade, to effectively stage memorable, high-profile conferences. For more information e-mail their MD, Colin Wilson – sales@conferencetech.co.uk, or visit their website, www.cwduk.co.uk

Health Minister, Lord Warner retires

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Prime minister Tony Blair has announced the resignation of health minister Lord Warner, who has decided to retire.Mr Blair complimented Lord Warner on an ‘outstanding’ contribution to health service reform, while the minister described his three-and-a-half years at the Department of Health as ‘busy and enjoyable’. The NHS Confederation said Lord Warner had been ‘a steady hand on the tiller of the NHS’ and had dealt with ‘some of [its] most challenging issues’ in a ‘highly professional and amiable way’.

Deals could threaten pensions

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

The Pensions Regulator has opened a debate over corporate deals that could lead to pension schemes being abandoned by employers. In a discussion paper, the regulator told scheme trustees that they needed to identify, and consider the implications of, transactions that may result in abandonment. It follows concern that companies are trying to transfer pension scheme liabilities to new companies that may not have the finances to properly support them.

PRimage comment

Recently there has been a hue and an outcry about working people NOT saving enough to ensure a reasonable retirement income. Why? Perhaps one key reason is the fragility of the governmental ISA’s/ISSA’s and the private-sector retirement savings plans? These plans look good for a year or two, then — they are folded up, terminated or made otherwise unattractive.PRimage believe it would be to the advantage of the Conservatives to develop a policy to ringfence all present and future pension savings plans — the money to earn interest exclusive of taxes, to be guaranteed by an iron clad law and — for the pension investor to know that his or her monies are safe from intrusions or taxation by the next government!

The private/corporate pension plans must deposit an adequate financial reserve with the government to guarantee eventual benefits as promised! With the pension contract holders having first call on the resources of the Plan in case of bankruptcy. If this requirement results in the termination of some corporate (or private) pension schemes — so much the better. Better now rather than when the employees or plan holders with financial institutions are about to retire with bad news!

Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team believe the Government must cleave onto its promises! Plans must not be terminated or modified in mid-stream; deposits made in good faith (and the derivative tax-free earnings!) must be honoured for the lifetime of the depositor. Pensions must not become a convenient source of tax revenue at the will of Parliament. The certainty and safety of retirement savings will in time help ensure a reduction in revenue outflows to support pensioners.

What’s your view on the thorny issue of pensions planning? Post a comment.

Confidence in medicines is high

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Research commissioned by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has found that 88 per cent of adults in Britain are confident about the safety of medicines. In seeking information about the risks and benefits of medicines, 61 per cent have approached their doctor and 41 per cent a local pharmacist. However, the research found that only 2 per cent of the public and 20 per cent of doctors could identify MHRA as the regulator.

PRimage comment

As a specialist healthcare communications agency, the PRimage team find these research findings very interesting.   We believe that it is very important that the public understand how to take their prescription and over the counter medicines correctly; so it is encouraging to know that the message about safe medication is getting through to consumers.  

PRimage managing director, Judy Viitanen, spent many years developing and promoting the ‘Ask Your Pharmacist’ healthcare advertising campaign, which reminds the public that their local pharmacist is an excellent source of advice and information on medicines safety and the right treatment for minor ailments and aches and pains.

Consultant physicians change the way they work

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Consultant physicians have changed the way they work dramatically over the past five years for the benefit of seriously ill patients. The 2005 census of consultant physicians, carried out by the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians, shows substantial growth in acute medicine as a specialty and fundamental changes in the way services for acutely ill patients are organised.