Lincolnshire Traveller Health
“Health is the greatest gift.” Buddha
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” Mahatma Gandhi
Everyone should strive for good health and wellbeing in their lives and the lives of others. Health is of paramount importance, but many people do not make eating well and exercising a priority until their health deteriorates. We should remember that prevention is better than cure and also that having a healthy mind is just as important as having a healthy body.
We live in a rapidly changing and complex world with many calls on our time and attention. But we must not neglect the most important thing of all – our health.
These pages aim to provide advice and guidance to help everyone to maintain good health. The pages cover what are commonly accepted to be the main health concerns and conditions in our society. There is information, advice, guidance, links and contact details to a range of professionals, support groups and services. This is carefully selected and regularly updated material. However, our first and foremost piece of advice is that if you have any concerns, worries or require help or advice, then speak to your local surgery or ring 111.
If you need support in seeking help or advice Lincolnshire Traveller Initiative can be contacted by ringing or texting 07503878740 or by email: email@example.com
All contacts will be treated in strict confidence.
LTI would like to acknowledge the help given by Healthwatch Lincolnshire in putting together these pages and also the contribution of members of the Traveller community who made many suggestions about the content.
Using the website
You can make direct contact with service providers, but, if you prefer, contact LTI on 07503878740 and one of the LTI team can visit you to discuss your concerns and make contact for you. All calls will be treated in the strictest confidence and further action will only be taken with your consent.
For visitors to Lincolnshire or families with no fixed address:
- A doctor’s surgery cannot refuse to register you because you do not have a fixed address. If you are unable to provide an address, the doctor’s surgery can register you by registering you with its own address.
- A doctor’s surgery cannot refuse to register you because you have no form of identification.
- A doctor’s surgery can only refuse to register you if NHS England has agreed that they can close their list to new patients.
Doctor’s surgeries may not always know their responsibilities or comply with them. If you have been refused registration at a doctor’s surgery because you have no fixed address, ring LTI on 07503878740 or Healthwatch on 01205 820892.
If you have an emergency or a matter requiring immediate attention ring 999 or 111 now!
The information and advice contained in these pages is taken from NHS UK and the websites of officially recognised main charities relating to specific conditions. This is for information only. LTI does not endorse any organisation shared on the LTI Health website.
NHS - Choosing the right health service in Lincolnshire
Pharmacy – Pharmacies offer health advice and treatment for allergies, constipation, cold and flu symptoms, earache, fever, thrush and healthy lifestyles.
A visit to the pharmacy could save you a trip to the GP.
GP – If symptoms don’t improve, or get worse, call or visit your GP practice to access a healthcare professional for treatment or referrals.
Call NHS 111 – need health advice? Unsure which health service you need? Call NHS 111 which is available 24 hours, seven days a week. Calls are free from mobiles and landlines. Typetalk number is 18001 111 or visit www.nhs.uk/111
The Out of Hours GP service is also available via NHS 111 when your own surgery is closed.
ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY or 999 – for critical and life-threatening situations including acute fits, loss of consciousness, heavy blood loss and severe chest pain visit your nearest A & E or call 999
Top 10 Tips for Keeping Healthy
Register yourself and all of your family with a doctor (G.P.)
Don’t smoke – smoking is the worst thing you can do for your health.
- Limit alcohol.
- Get enough sleep – 7 to 9 hours a night.
- Be sun-safe and don’t use sunbeds.
Have a varied and balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and reduce salt and sugar.
- Drink plenty of ﬂuids.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Get on the move; make it a habit!
- Mind your mental health.
About half the calories in our diet should come from foods rich in carbohydrates, such as cereals, rice, pasta, potatoes, and bread. It is a good idea to include at least one of these at every meal. Limit the consumption of total and saturated fats (often coming from foods of animal origin). Eating fish 2-3 times a week, with at least one serving of oily fish, will contribute to our right intake of unsaturated fats. When cooking, we should boil, steam or bake, rather than frying, remove the fatty part of meat, use vegetable oils.
Adults need to drink at least 1.5 litres of fluid a day!
Excess body fat comes from eating more than we need. The message is reasonably simple: if we are gaining weight, we need to eat less and be more active!
Physical activity is important for all people. It is good for the heart and circulatory system, it maintains or increases our muscle mass, it helps us focus, and improves overall health wellbeing. 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity is advised, and it can easily become part of our daily routine.
www.nhs.uk – find a doctor
Many people can be unsure about how much they’re drinking. They’re not clear whether it’s too much and don’t understand the impact alcohol can have on their health and if they need to seek help and advice. Excess alcohol can increase the risk of heart disease and several types of cancer, cause liver damage, lead to behaviour changes and, for some people, result in alcohol dependence.
The UK Chief Medical Officer’s low risk guidelines are 14 units a week for both men and women, preferably spread out over the week.
14 units = 6 pints of beer, 6 pints of cider, 6 glasses of wine, 12 bottles of alcopops, 14 single shots of spirits (25ml shot of 40% spirit)
www.drinkaware.co.uk offers lots of advice and tools to help people to assess and understand the levels of their drinking.
We Are With You provides confidential advice, support and treatment on drug and alcohol misuse for adults and young people and their families. The service is embedded throughout the Lincolnshire community and includes outreach services.
We Are With You,
26 – 30 Newland, Lincoln. LN1 1XG
Tel: 0800 3047021 (24hr freephone)
Healthy Minds can help with:
- Exam stress
- Relationship difficulties
- Low mood
- Low self-confidence
- Low body image
Steps2changeTel: 0303 123 4000 www.lpft.nhs.uk/steps2change/how-we-can-help
Healthy MindsTel: Duty Advice Line 01522 309777 www.lpft.nhs.uk/healthyminds
Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint.
In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other, similar conditions that affect the joints.
Arthritis affects people of all ages, including children.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the 2 most common types of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting nearly 9 million people. It most often develops in adults who are in their mid-40s or older. It’s also more common in women and people with a family history of the condition. But it can occur at any age as a result of an injury or be associated with other joint-related conditions, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis. The most commonly affected joints are those in the: hands, spine, knees and hips. Find out more about osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis. In the UK, rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 400,000 people. It often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old. Women are 3 times more likely to be affected than men. In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling. Find out more about rheumatoid arthritis
There’s no cure for arthritis, but there are many treatments that can help slow it down. Osteoarthritis treatments include lifestyle changes, medications and surgery. (exercises, painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs)
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis aims to slow the condition’s progress and minimise joint inflammation. Treatments include medication, physiotherapy, surgery.
Versus Arthritis provides help and support for people in the UK with arthritis, plus their families and friends.
They have a free helpline you can call for further information and support on 0800 5200 520, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm.
Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties.
It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also develop for the first time in adults. There’s currently no cure, but there are simple treatments that can help keep the symptoms under control, so it does not have a big impact on your life.
If left untreated serious or life-threatening breathing difficulties can develop, so be safe and get a diagnosis if you have concerns.
The main symptoms of asthma are:
- a whistling sound when breathing (wheezing)
- a tight chest, which may feel like a band is tightening around it
The symptoms can sometimes get temporarily worse. This is known as an asthma attack.
See your GP if you think you or your child may have asthma.
Several conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment.
Your GP will usually be able to diagnose asthma by asking about symptoms and carrying out some simple tests.
Autistic people may find it hard to communicate and interact with other people; find it hard to understand how other people think or feel, find things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable; get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events; take longer to understand information; do or think the same things over and over.
Autism in young children
Signs of autism in young children include not responding to their name, avoiding eye contact, not smiling when you smile at them, getting very upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell or sound, repetitive movements such as flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body, not talking as much as other children, repeating the same phrases.
Autism in older children
Signs of autism in older children include not seeming to understand what others are thinking or feeling, finding it hard to say how they feel, liking a strict daily routine and getting very upset if it changes, having a very keen interest in certain subjects or activities, getting very upset if you ask them to do something, finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on their own, taking things very literally – for example, they may not understand phrases like “break a leg”
If you think your child might be autistic you could speak to:
- a GP
- a health visitor (for children under 5)
- special educational needs (SENCO) staff at your child’s school.
Getting diagnosed can help your child get any extra support they might need.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
Around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many will not realise it.
The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.
You can ask for a blood pressure test if you’re worried about your blood pressure at any point.
You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including: your local GP surgery, some pharmacies, on the LTI Bus at any time or you can buy a home-testing machine at a very reasonable price.
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers:
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90 or higher
- ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60 and 120/80
Blood pressure readings between 120/80 and 140/90 could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
If your blood pressure is found to be too high or too low, your GP or the healthcare professional performing the test can advise you about ways to control it.
Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs. Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other areas. 1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. In the UK, the 4 most common types of cancer are: breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, bowel cancer. No matter how private the problem, get it checked – G.P’s have seen and heard it all before!
There are more than 200 different types of cancer, and each is diagnosed and treated in a particular way. You can find links on this page to information about other types of cancer.
Signs and symptoms
See your GP if you’ve experienced one of the following changes and it’s lasted for more than a few weeks: blood in your poo, diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason, a feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet, pain in your stomach (abdomen) or back passage (anus), persistent bloating
Moles: See your GP if you have a mole that changes shape or looks uneven, changes colour, gets darker or has more than 2 colours, starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding, gets larger or more raised from the skin. Any of these changes means there’s a chance you have malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer. You should also see your GP if you’ve lost a lot of weight over the last couple of months that cannot be explained by changes to your diet, exercise or stress..
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease aren’t the same. Dementia is an overall term used to describe symptoms that affect memory, performance of daily activities, and communication abilities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia; it gets worse with time and affects memory, language, and thought. Your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease increases as you age. Although symptoms of the two conditions may overlap, distinguishing them is important for management and treatment.
It’s easy to overlook the early symptoms of dementia, which can be mild. It often begins with simple episodes of forgetfulness. People with dementia have trouble keeping track of time and tend to lose their way in familiar settings. As dementia progresses, forgetfulness and confusion grow. It becomes harder to recall names and faces. Personal care becomes a problem. Obvious signs of dementia include repetitious questioning, inadequate hygiene, and poor decision-making. In the most advanced stage, people with dementia become unable to care for themselves. They will struggle even more with keeping track of time and remembering people and places they are familiar with. Behaviour continues to change and can turn into depression and aggression.
You can take steps to improve cognitive health by keeping the mind active with word puzzles, memory games, and reading. Getting at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, stopping smoking, eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables and whole grains and increasing your intake of vitamins can also reduce your risk.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, The Alzheimer’s Association is the trusted resource for reliable information, education, referral and support to millions of people affected by the disease. If you notice symptoms of dementia in someone advise them to talk to their G.P. – the sooner, the better!
- Locate your local Alzheimer’s Association, or call the 24/7 Helpline on 800 272 3900
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.
There are 2 main types of diabetes:
- type 1 diabetes– where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
- type 2 diabetes– where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin
Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2.
Visit your GP as soon as possible if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes, which include:
- feeling very thirsty
- peeing more frequently than usual, particularly at night
- feeling very tired
- weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
- itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
- cuts or wounds that heal slowly
- blurred vision
Diabetes UK has lots of really clear and useful information about diabetes:
Tel: 0345 123 2399 www.diabetes.org.uk
Drug addiction is when you become dependent on a drug and it forms a central part of your life. The misuse of drugs can lead to physical dependency or psychological dependency.
Prevention is not taking any drugs unless prescribed by your G.P. Don’t give in to peer pressure. You can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 if you have any information about drug dealers.
Physical dependency means that your body has become so used to a drug that you get physical withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it. This means that you have to keep taking the drug to stop yourself feeling ill. Psychological dependency means that you take the drug because it has formed a large part of your life, and you take it to make yourself feel good. Drug misuse is when you take illegal drugs, or when you take medicines in a way not recommended by your GP or the manufacturer. Taking medicines in very large quantities that are dangerous to your health is also an example of drug misuse. Taking illegal drugs carries many serious health risks. Many illegal drugs have been imported into this country from different parts of the world. This means that they have been processed and passed through the hands of many different people before they are eventually sold in small quantities on the street. During this time, they may be mixed with other products (cut), often many times, to increase the quantity and make more profit. It is not unusual to find substances in illegal drugs that are much more harmful than the drugs themselves.
We Are With You, Lincolnshire provides confidential advice, support and treatment on drug and alcohol misuse for adults and young people and their families. The service is embedded throughout the Lincolnshire community and includes outreach services.
We Are With You
26 – 30 Newland, Lincoln. LN1 1XG
Tel: 0800 3047021 (24hr freephone)
Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111
Getting regular eye check-ups is just one of many ways you can improve your eyesight and prevent injuries or illnesses that could harm your vision.
Get enough key vitamins (A, C & E) and zinc which contain antioxidants that can help to keep healthy eyes. Recommended foods – carrots, red peppers, broccoli, spinach, strawberries, sweet potato, citrus and salmon.
Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help your eyes. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common in people who are overweight or obese, can cause damage to the tiny blood vessels in the eyes.
Tough, protective eyewear is essential if there is a risk of chemicals, sharp objects, or materials such as wood shavings, or metal shards entering the eye, especially while working.
Wearing sunglasses is one of the most important steps you can take when it comes to improving your eyesight. You want sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation from sunlight.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Your eyes work hard during the day and need a break now and then. The strain can be especially intense if you work at a computer for long stretches at a time. To ease the strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule. That means every 20 minutes, you should stop staring at your computer and look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Every two hours take a 15 min. break.
Every year in the UK, thousands of people die or are seriously injured in incidents. Many deaths could be prevented if first aid was given before emergency services arrive.
If someone is injured, you should:
- first check that you and the casualty aren’t in any danger, and, if possible, make the situation safe
- if necessary, dial 999 or 112 for an ambulance when it’s safe to do so
- carry out basic first aid
If someone is unconscious and breathing: If an adult is unconscious but breathing, and has no other injuries that would stop them being moved, place them in the recovery position until help arrives. Keep them under observation to ensure they continue to breathe normally.
If someone is unconscious and not breathing: If an adult isn’t breathing normally, call 999 and start CPR straight away. Use hands-only CPR if you aren’t trained to perform rescue breaths. Read more about CPR, including instructions and a video about hands-only CPR.
Every home should have a First Aid Kit and a First Aid Book that will cover: anaphylactic shock, bleeding, burns and scolds, choking, drowning, electric shock, fractures, heart attack, poisoning, shock, stroke and more.
Every home should be fitted with smoke alarms and have a carbon monoxide alarm. Talk to LTI for help and advice.
Through membership of Lincolnshire Council for Voluntary Youth Services, LTI offers regular, free First Aid training. Contact LTI on 07503878740 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of the common signs of a heart attack are:
- A ‘vice-like’ pain in the centre of the chest
- pain can spread to either arm, neck, jaw, back or shoulders
- pale, cold, clammy skin with grey or blueness to lips
- feeling or being sick, shortness of breath, dizzy, weakness
Sit the person down and make them comfortable. Don’t allow them to walk around.
Call 999/112 for emergency help
If you have been diagnosed with a condition, or know someone who has, the British Heart Foundation offers reliable information and help.
Having high blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Drinking too much alcohol, smoking, being overweight, not doing enough exercise and eating too much salt, all increase your risk of getting high blood pressure. Knowing your blood pressure can save your life. 120/80 is ideal. Blood Pressure UK – www.bloodpressureuk.org has a really clear chart that explains your blood pressure reading and advice on lowering your blood pressure.
You can get your blood pressure checked at GP surgeries, at some chemists and LTI has a Blood Pressure Tester on the LTI bus.
For information, advice and support:
British Heart Foundation – Heart Helpline – for medical enquiries 0300 330 3311
LTI: Tel 07503878740 or email: email@example.com
Good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease and can help you keep your teeth as you get older.
Heathy teeth and gums top tips:
- Start children early, as soon as they have their first tooth! One in four young children develop signs of tooth decay before they start school.
- Register all family members with a dentist and make regular visits to the dentist a normal part of family life.
- Brush teeth at least twice a day (morning and night) and floss once a day for healthy gums.
- Use toothpaste containing fluoride.
- Be sugar smart – make healthier food and drink choices by swapping out sugar.
- Avoid acidic drinks like soft drinks, cordials and fruit juices.
- Change tooth brushes 3 or 4 times a year
Or ring Healthwatch on 01205 820892
Sunbeds give out ultraviolet (UV) rays that increase your risk of developing skin cancer (both malignant melanoma and non-melanoma). Many sunbeds give out greater doses of UV rays than the midday tropical sun. The risks are greater for young people. Evidence shows:
- people who are frequently exposed to UV rays before the age of 25 are at greater risk of developing skin cancer later in life
- sunburn in childhood can greatly increase the risk of developing skin cancer later in life
- Indoor tanning dramatically speeds up how quickly your skin ages
It’s illegal for tanning businesses in the U.K. to allow people under the age of 18 to use sunbeds. There is a clear parental responsibility to protect young people from the dangers of exposure to UV rays.
Sunbeds, sunlamps and tanning booths give out the same type of harmful radiation as sunlight. UVA rays make up about 95% of sunlight. They can cause your skin to age prematurely, making it look coarse, leathery and wrinkled. UVB rays make up about 5% of sunlight and burn your skin.
A tan is your body’s attempt to protect itself from the damaging effect of UV rays. Using a sunbed is not safer than tanning in the sun and can in fact be more harmful. Prolonged exposure to UV rays increases your risk of developing malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. You cannot always see the damage UV rays cause. The symptoms of skin damage can take up to 20 years to appear.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issues advice on the health risks associated with UV tanning equipment, such as sunbeds, sunlamps and tanning booths.
“Our vision is to raise the profile of sleep as a major factor for health and wellbeing and to be recognised as the third pillar of good health alongside diet and exercise.
A good night’s rest is essential to a healthy lifestyle – protecting you physically and mentally as well as boosting your quality of living.” – The Sleep Council
The definitive advice on getting a good night’s sleep comes recommended by one of Britain’s top sleep gurus, Professor Jason Ellis of Northumbria University. The guidelines are aimed at increasing or maintaining good sleep health.
The guidelines are simple to follow and show how making a few changes to your routine over a 24-hour period can make a huge difference to your wellbeing:
- keep a regular sleep schedule; where possible wake up at the same time each morning and go to bed at the same time
- get out into natural light as soon as possible in the morning – natural light resets the body clock, helps us get over feeling groggy and makes us more alert
- engage in daytime exercise
- avoid caffeine for 8 hours before bedtime
- don’t go to bed hungry, full or thirsty
- reduce electronic use (phone/computer) before bedtime
- don’t use alcohol to sleep
- avoid nicotine before bed – it’s a stimulant
- ensure the bedroom is cool, dark and quiet
- ensure bedroom clocks are not visible
The Sleep Council has lots of information, advice and tips to help everybody get a better night’s sleep.
Stopping smoking is always beneficial to heath and it is never too late. Every cigarette smoked damages the lungs in a way that may not show up until later in life.
Benefits of quitting:
After the age of 35-40 years, for every year of continued smoking a person loses about 3 months of life expectancy. Many smokers think that they will be more miserable when they stop but the evidence is that they will have better mental health and be happier once they are free of nicotine addiction. Using medication such as nicotine replacement therapy doubles the chances of successfully quitting while using a combination of behavioural support and medication further increases success rates.
After 1 year of quitting – excess risk of a heart attack reduces by half. After 10 years of quitting – risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a continuing smoker. After 15 years of quitting – risk of a heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.
Local NHS stop smoking services are free, friendly and can massively boost your chances of quitting for good. These services, staffed by expert advisers, provide a range of proven methods to help you quit. They’ll give you accurate information and advice, as well as professional support, during the first few months you stop smoking. They also make it easy and affordable for you to get stop smoking treatments. You’ll normally be offered a one-to-one appointment with an adviser, but many areas also offer group and drop-in services as well. Depending on where you live, the venue could be a local GP surgery, pharmacy, high-street shop, or even a mobile bus clinic. Overall, you’re up to 4 times more likely to stop smoking for good if you use a combination of stop smoking treatment and receive support from an NHS Stop Smoking Service.
www.nhs.uk – to access the NHS Stop Smoking Service
Call the free Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044
The National NHS Stop Smoking helpline (0800 022 4 332) is a free service for smokers who wish to stop smoking
A stroke is a serious life-threatening medical condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential. The sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.
If you suspect that you or someone else is having a stroke, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
Signs of stroke – FAST TEST
- Face: Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?
- Arms: Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?
- Speech problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?
- Time: If you see any of these three signs, it’s time tocall 999 straight away.
There are other signs that you should always take seriously. These include:
- Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, including legs, hands or feet.
- Difficulty finding words or speaking in clear sentences.
- Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight in one or both eyes.
- Sudden memory loss or confusion, and dizziness or a sudden fall.
- A sudden, severe headache.
If you spot any of these signs of a stroke, don’t wait. Call 999 straight away.
The best way to help prevent a stroke is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol.
Stroke Association – supporting people to rebuild their lives after stroke.
Stroke Helpline: Tel. 0303 3033 100
NHS vaccinations and when to have them:
It’s important that vaccinations are given on time for the best protection; but if you think you or your child have missed a vaccination contact your G.P. to catch up. Visit your surgery to learn which vaccinations should be given and when.
What vaccinations do:
- protect you and your child from many serious and potentially deadly diseases
- protect other people in your community – by helping to stop diseases spreading to people who cannot have vaccines
- get safety tested for years before being introduced – they’re also monitored for any side effects
- sometimes cause mild side effects that will not last long – some children may feel a bit unwell and have a sore arm for 2 or 3 days
What vaccinations don’t do:
- do not cause autism – studies have found no evidence of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism
- do not overload or weaken the immune system – it’s safe to give children several vaccines at a time and this reduces the amount of injections they need
- do not cause allergies or any other conditions – all the current evidence tells us that vaccinating is safer than not vaccinating
Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and our children against ill health. They prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide every year. Since vaccines were introduced in the UK, diseases like smallpox, polio and tetanus that used to kill or disable millions of people are either gone or seen very rarely. Other diseases like measles and diphtheria have been reduced by up to 99.9% since their vaccines were introduced. However, if people stop having vaccines, it’s possible for infectious diseases to quickly spread again. Measles and mumps cases have nearly doubled in recent years.