Flu mascot at Christmas light’s event to highlight what we can do to protect ourselves

Children will be able to high five the flu bug mascot whilst learning about how we can all protect ourselves from influenza at the Llanelli’s switching on of the Christmas lights on Friday November 18.
Hywel Dda University Health Board will have a stall with information on a range of measures people can take to help stay well this winter.
This will include information on influenza vaccinations, which are free and really important to people in the vulnerable groups; Choose Well guidance on how to choose the best health services to be seen quickly and help NHS emergency departments to save lives; and general advice on keeping yourself, your families and your neighbours well and warm.
The flu bug mascot is hoped to attract families to the stall, and goody bags for children will also be available.
Director of Public Health Teresa Owen said: “It’s really important both for us as an organisation, and for people in our communities, to prepare themselves for winter, and we hope to speak to lots of people at the Carmarthen event.
“One of the most effective things you can do to protect your own health, and that of others in the community, is to get the influenza vaccination. This is especially important for those in one of the high risk groups including everyone aged 65 and over, people with certain chronic long term health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or chronic respiratory disease, and pregnant women.”
Most NHS flu vaccines are given in GP surgeries, but it is also available in some community pharmacies across Wales, and if you are pregnant you can speak to your midwife.
Clinical Director for Unscheduled Care, Consultant Jeremy Williams, explained why choosing the right health care service is so important in the winter. "Many people attending our emergency departments are very sick and are attending appropriately,” he said. “But some people have conditions of a lesser severity, which would be best assessed and treated by other health care providers. Often if they attended at a Minor Injury Unit or one of our Triage and Treat pharmacies, for example, they would be cared for appropriately and likely much more quickly than in our emergency units. As well as helping people to be seen in the quickest time possible, this would ultimately help us to save lives.”
Dipping temperatures can have a significant impact on people’s health and one of the best ways of keeping yourself well during the winter is to stay warm. This can include keeping your home heated to at least 18C if you are aged 65 or over, or living with a health condition
There is a wealth of useful information on the NHS Choices website on keeping warm, eating well, staying active and detail on financial support that is available to some groups of people.
Teresa Owen said: “We are so fortunate to live in a part of the world where there are close-knit, caring communities. One of the most community spirited things we can all do, is to call in on an older or vulnerable neighbour to check they are well and warm this winter, it could be a lifeline to them.”

Information on the organisation’s winter plan, influenza immunisations, the Choose Well guidance and links to the NHS Choices webpage, can all be found on www.hywelddahb.nhs.uk/winterwise

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