News and articles

We will post here any important announcements about the clinic, as well as useful and interesting medical information.

Hay Fever

5th April 2019

Hay fever is a common allergic reaction triggered by allergens that affects 1 in every 5 people at some point in their lives. These allergens can be mould spores, tree pollen, grasses and weeds, pet dander and dust mites. Some plants release pollen as early as January, and can continue as late as September. In hay fever, the body launches an immune response to these allergens as it identifies these as a potential threat. As part of the immune response, the chemical histamine is released which triggers the symptoms of hay fever.

 

Typical symptoms of hay fever are a runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no cure for hay fever but there are some initial simple measures that can help reduce the symptoms

  1. Avoid pollen triggers.

– Pollen can stick to clothes and hair so to minimise pollen build-up, shower at night and change into fresh clothes.

– If your hay fever tends to occur during certain months, try to limit the time you spend outdoors, especially at dawn or dusk.
– Avoid activities like grass mowing and grassy areas on high pollen count days.
– Don’t hang your clothing or bed linen outside to dry when there’s a high pollen count.
– Remove pollen and soothe your eyes by regularly splashing them with cold water. Appling petroleum jelly around the inside edges of the nostrils helps to stop pollen from irritating the nose.
– If you’re outdoors, wear wrap-around glasses to protect your eyes from pollen and wear a hat with a wide brim. This stops pollen from getting on your hair and falling down onto your face.

 

  1. Pet dander (dead skin flakes) can be a trigger for hay fever. Try to keep pets outside or in a single area in the house to minimise exposure to the dander. If it’s a high pollen count day, and your pet comes indoors, smooth its fur down with a damp cloth or give it a bath once a week.

 

  1. Declutter and keep dust to a minimal as this reduces dander and dust mites which can be triggers.

 

  1. Hayfever treatments

There are numerous types of nasal sprays, eye drops and antihistamine tablets which are available to buy over the counter. It is important to remember that rotating antihistamines can be particularly effective. This means switching from one antihistamine to another after a few weeks as they can become less effective with time. Your friendly local pharmacist can advise regarding this. Around 10% of hay fever sufferers find their symptoms do not respond to over the counter treatments. As an alternative, there is an antihistamine which can be prescribed by your GP but caution needs to be taken in patients with a family history of heart conditions. Another alternative sufferers may consider is the use of a steroid injection or tablets.

 

For severe sufferers, life can be seriously disrupted by hay fever. It has been shown that untreated hay fever can reduce exam results by between 5-10%. Steroids help supress the body’s immune response and are used to treat a variety of conditions in which the body’s immune system gets out of control. These can be used for hayfever. Each one steroid injection is roughly equal to the steroid dose from taking a 5mg tablet of Prednisolone every day for around three weeks. Hay fever sufferers generally only require one steroid injection to reduce symptoms for the entire hay fever season. The steroid injection does not cure hayfever. One of the benefits of the injection is that it does not have to go through the liver or the digestive system, so you can administer a slightly lower dose than the tablet form.

 

The steroid injection is not risk- free and it is possible to experience side effects. At your appointment at Dorset Private GP we will assess your current hay fever symptom management and help advise on the most suitable option. If the steroid injection is advised then this can be can be given during your Dorset Private GP appointment.

Winter Sun

29th January 2019

More than a third of Britons now head abroad each winter to seek the sunshine. With travelling times becoming shorter and trips abroad to exotic places more affordable, it is important to remember your health, as the health risks in these places are still very real.

 

Vaccinations

We all love a bargain and booking a holiday at the last minute can sometimes save you a few hundred pounds however this can lead to difficulties organising the correct vaccinations and medications for your trip. It is important to remember, some vaccines are given in several doses. Ideally, you should always check which vaccinations you will need and how long they will take to arrange before you travel. As a general rule, allow 6-8 weeks to arrange the vaccinations you will need. This allows for the possibility of requiring several doses or boosters.

It is also important to know that many countries in Africa and South America require a certificate verifying that you have been vaccinated against Yellow Fever before you can enter. Many Asian countries will also require a certificate stating that you’ve been vaccinated against Yellow Fever if you are arriving from a country with a high risk. Here at Dorset Private GP we have authorisation to provide this certificate.

 

Malaria

The ABCD of malaria is a useful tool to take precautions against Malaria when travelling.  A is for Awareness of risk – find out whether you’re at risk of getting malaria. B for Bite prevention – avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent, covering your arms and legs, and using a mosquito net. C for Check whether you need to take anti-malarial tablets – if you do, make sure you take the right anti-malarial tablets at the right dose, and finish the course. D for Diagnosis – seek immediate medical advice if you have malaria symptoms, including up to a year after you return from travelling.

It is important to note that for certain anti-malarial medications you may need to take them before your travel to be sure of full protection. At Dorset Private GP we can recommend the most appropriate medication for the area you are travelling and can issue a prescription.

 

Protect your skin

The main reason most of us will be taking a holiday abroad this winter is to catch some sun.  But after months of British cloud and rain, exposing pale skin to intense sunshine can cause sun burn which is one of the main causes of skin cancer. It is advisable to only go in the sun for a few hours for the first few days of your holiday and to avoid the lunchtime sun rays. It can be tempting to go on a sunbed to prepare your skin for your holiday but you are simply exposing your skin to harmful and damaging rays so this is not advisable. Make sure you take the right sun creams away with you, check the expiry date and remember that no sunscreen provides 100% protection so always use with a broad brimmed hat, sunglasses, covering clothing and shade. 

 

If you are heading off for some winter sun then contact Dorset Private GP to help keep your health safe while you are away. We are here for you if you even if you don’t live in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch and whether for travel vaccinations or simple GP advice.

Be Safe!

 

Seasons Greetings from Dorset Private GP!

18th December 2018

Here at Dorset Private GP we would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. With the festive season currently in full swing it is easy to overindulge- mince pies, roast turkey, Christmas pudding, chocolates… all washed down with a few glasses of wine. But overeating and drinking can leave you far from feeling festive, but here’s the good news, it can be avoidable. With a few simple steps, you can make the festive season much more enjoyable.  

1. Make a plan

What to do when faced with a party buffet? Plan to eat only a few items of your favourite foods – let’s say six. By focussing on the very best, truly delicious items and eating them mindfully in sensible small portions, you’ll genuinely enjoy your choices – rather than eating a bit of everything and feeling guilty afterwards. Some people find it helps to use a smaller plate. While it may seem tempting to starve yourself throughout the day so you can justify eating more at a party later on, this strategy is likely to backfire. You’ll end up feeling so hungry and weak by the time you get to the event that you’ll end up consuming even more than you’d originally planned – most likely in the form of sugary and high-fat snacks. Eat a small balanced snack before heading out to a social event so you won’t arrive starving and ready to eat everything in sight

2. Don’t forget breakfast

Start your Christmas Day with a sensible breakfast. This will ensure you do not sit down to Christmas lunch ravenous and finish it in 2 minutes. A breakfast of porridge will stabilise your blood sugar levels and will make sure you do not become so hungry by the time Christmas lunch comes that you overeat.  

3. Exercise

You don’t have to do hours of exercise during the holiday season in order to stay on track. A short 15 minutes work out can be all that is needed to burn calories and keep the pounds off for the New Year. If that’s not possible, then get the whole family involved and take a winter walk after a big dinner- it’ll be a refreshing way to speed up digestion.

4. Keep hydrated

Alcohol units and calories can really mount up over Christmas, so try to keep tabs on what you’re drinking and sip plenty of water between alcoholic drinks. Before you head to a party for buffet and booze, have 2 glasses of water and have alternate non-alcoholic drinks when you’re there. Stick to lighter-coloured drinks, which tend to be lower in chemical by-products and lessen the hangover in the morning. You probably need more water than you think at this time of year, as although it’s not hot outside, central heating, alcohol and the stress of racing around getting your shopping done can all contribute to dehydration. Aim for around two litres of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic fluid a day. 

5. Make it about festivities

Enjoying party spreads and Christmas dinners with friends and family is a huge part of the festive season, but you don’t have to stuff yourself to truly experience it. Quality rather than quantity is key. Gorge less and eat more mindfully, engage your brain and keep your mind active. Round the family up for a game of Trivial Pursuit or Charades when you’re feeling the urge to munch. If that’s not possible, take some time-out and gather your thoughts with some simple meditation. Sit comfortable with a straight spine and tune into your breath as it flows in and out through your nose.

 

Come January 2019, if a festive season of moderation has not gone according to plans, then a New Year is a fresh start to focusing on improving your health. Making a list of achievable and simple goals can be an excellent start. At Dorset Private GP covering Bournemouth, Poole and the whole of Dorset, we offer full medical screening and health checks. This is an ideal opportunity to get up to date tests such as your Body Mass Index, Blood Pressure, Heart Age, Cholesterol, Diabetes and many more. For many people, having health goals generated from their check up with planned follow up can make these goals more achievable leading to improved physical health.