Can Flu Jabs protect against Heart Attacks ?

22.07.2022 Category: Flu Jabs Author: Dr Richard Dawood

If you have a heart condition you have a greater risk of becoming more seriously ill from flu (seasonal influenza) than the general population. In addition, having the flu can exacerbate pre-existing conditions like diabetes or asthma.

According to the NHS, “every year over 11,000 people in England die from complications caused by the flu virus. Many of these deaths could have been prevented by having the flu vaccination.”

Preventing the flu in the first place is the best option.
The best protection is to have a Flu Vaccine each winter.

What is the flu?
Many people think having influenza, also known as the flu, is like having a bad cold, but in reality flu is a nasty respiratory virus that can make you very unwell. Influenza causes inflammation in the body and can be very serious – sometimes leading to hospitalisation or even death. 

There is evidence that heart attacks happen more often during or immediately after an acute inflammatory illness, such as flu. 

A flu jab is the best protection against flu.
In general, the flu causes stress and inflammation on the body, increasing blood pressure, heart rate and  heart function. This is not good for someone with heart or circulatory problems. 

Flu vaccination is strongly recommended for anyone who has ever had a heart attack, stroke or has underlying heart disease. A previous diagnosis of heart or circulatory diseases is considered a high risk factor for complications or even another heart attack, for anyone who becomes ill with flu. 

Does flu affect heart medication?
If you take warfarin, flu symptoms can affect your blood clotting rate (INR). You should speak to your doctor if this happens so they can monitor your situation closely. It does also mean if you do become unwell, it may take you longer to recover than the average person.

In addition, some over-the-counter flu medicines can’t be used when taking medicines for heart conditions, so contact your doctor before taking things like painkillers and cough medicines. It is better to check before beginning any new medications.

When is the best time to get the flu jab?
Flu vaccinations become available from mid to late September, and through the season until February. It’s best to get your flu vaccine in September or October. The peak time for catching flu runs from Christmas to Easter. The aim is to be vaccinated before flu transmission starts, and to allow at least a couple of weeks post-vaccination, for maximum immunity to develop. The sooner you have the vaccination, the sooner you will be protected. 

You can book your flu jab online.

We have specialist flu vaccinations available, such as an egg-free alternative, FluAd (for those aged 65 year and older), kids nasal spray or the premium recombinant flu jab. You can book these online too.

It is important to have a flu jab every year because the flu virus can change. There are many strains of flu already and some are more dominant than others. Each year strains are analysed to determine which strains are likely to be the prevalent strains circulating that year. They can vary year to year so relying on a past vaccination for protection is risky. The previous year’s vaccine may not offer you the right protection against the strains in circulation this year. 

In addition, immunity to flu decreases over time. Exposure to the flu virus strengthens the immune response and offers natural protection. With less flu circulating over the past few years due to covid restriction measures, natural immunity in the general population will have decreased. 

A flu vaccine will boost immunity.

In comparison to the previous year many workers have now returned to the office, social distancing restrictions have eased and in general there are less protective measures set in place. This means that there is a greater chance of the flu spreading and more people falling ill this winter. Although there has been a massive easing of covid restrictions this year that doesn’t mean that the pandemic is over. With both illnesses circulating around it is highly recommended to reduce the risk by getting the flu jab.

Protect yourself against the flu.
You can find more information on the types of flu vaccines available

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Wanting to book a Workplace Flu Vaccination Programme?

Flujabs.org is part of Fleet Street Clinic and has been providing workplace flu vaccinations to UK businesses for many years. 

Request a quote – Fill out the online  form and one of our flu coordinators will get back to you with current availability and costs.

How To Avoid Running Injuries

14.07.2022 Category: Osteopathy Author: Andrew Doody

With (hopefully!) sunnier and longer days upon us, summer is a great time of year to get your running shoes on. As a keen runner myself, I understand the appeal; it’s pure, it’s meditative, and it gets your blood pumping like little else.

Unfortunately, for all its positives, running can be problematic for the body and it tends to bring out minor issues and turn them into major ones. These often include achilles tendonitis, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, ITB syndrome, stress fractures, hip and lower back issues, and more knee problems than I have time to list.

Many of the problems from running come from two areas. Firstly, heel strike which is where the heel hits the ground repeatedly and sends a shock through the whole skeleton which causes issues from the heel itself all the way up to the lower back. Secondly, gait – which is the way a person walks; the whole lower limb (especially the knee) is quite finely tuned to work in certain ways, and anything that affects that can begin to cause problems. A dropped arch, tight muscle, old injury, slight one-sidedness etc can bring these issues on.

What can be done to prevent these issues? 

Like always, the number one rule is to get any symptoms you are experiencing looked at as soon as possible. Early diagnosis, advice and treatment is vital.

One thing that can really help heel strike and gait is by getting the right trainers. Here’s a few things to consider:

  1. Don’t confuse fashion and effectiveness. Good running trainers generally don’t look cool! Some of the bigger brands will advertise to you that they are great for sports but do your research. I would usually recommend Asics or Brooks.
  2. Replace your shoes regularly. The soles of most trainers are good for about 200-250 miles maximum. So, if you’re running 20 miles per week, you’ll probably need to replace them after 4-6 months.
    The shoe may still look okay after that but there is an increased risk of injury. It is, therefore, important to ensure that you are replacing your trainers as regularly as required.
  3. You don’t need to buy the most recent model. Many of the best running trainers are on their 20th/30th or so iteration. When a new model is released the price of the last couple of iterations will drop quite significantly, and will still be an excellent option.
  4. Good arch support. Trainers largely work on preventing pronation etc. by the way they flex. Many have little if any arch support, even with good ones you may need an additional orthotic insole made for your specific needs. This may also mean you need half a size bigger.
  5. Speak to the experts. A running machine in a shoe shop is useful, but remember the shop assistant has probably only had a brief introduction in what to look for, and no idea of your other contributing factors. Speak to a specialist – an osteopath, podiatrist, or physio.

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OSTEOPATH AT FLEET STREET CLINIC

Andrew Doody is an osteopath at Fleet Street Clinic and is fully registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOSC).
Book an appointment with him if you have any musculoskeletal injuries by calling 0207 353 5678, email info@fleetstreetclinic.com or book an appointment online.

Travel Advice: Travelling with Children

06.07.2022 Category: Travel Health Author: Anna Chapman

Travelling with children can be an enlightening and wonderful experience for the family – creating memories and opening their minds to other cultures and ways of life. But on the flip side it also can be quite daunting, especially if this is your first time travelling with children. The best way to establish a safe travel experience abroad is to take early precautions.

Before Your Travels

When it comes to travelling with children, careful planning and preparation should be considered. It is highly advised to have a travel consultation well in advance of your travels. The travel nurse will make you aware of any travel risks and take into consideration your child’s current wellbeing. Depending on where you are travelling, your child may require certain vaccinations. 

These preventative measures will safeguard your child from any diseases or illness. 

Your may be advised the following vaccinations: 

  • Rabies
  • Yellow Fever
    –  Some countries require this as a condition of entry and will ask for proof of vaccination when you arrive into the country.
  • Hepatitis A 
  • Typhoid 
  • Tick-borne Encephalitis 
  • Japanese Encephalitis 
  • Hepatitis B
  • Meningitis ACWY
  • Cholera

All vaccinations require a duration of time following vaccination to reach full protection, usually 10 – 14 days, so factor this time in before your travels. In addition, some vaccinations require a multi-course dose before they are considered effective, such as rabies which requires 3 vaccinations to be considered a complete course. Book a travel consultation early to ensure you have enough time before you travel.

In addition to travel vaccinations it is worth discussing any upcoming childhood vaccinations that could be beneficial to have at the same time so your child is protected against any other common diseases that aren’t necessarily associated with just travel.

If you intend to go to countries with a high malaria risk it is important to discuss antimalarial protection  during your travel consultation. Malaria can be fatal and there is a higher risk for children. Antimalarials (malaria tablets) are generally taken for a duration before, during  and after your trip  and need to be purchased in advance of your travels. There are a number of different types and are suitable for different people so it is important to discuss your options with a travel health expert. The tablets work by ensuring the malaria parasite doesn’t reach unmanageable numbers, keeping you healthy whilst you travel. 

Travelling abroad can be exhausting, especially for young children. Jet Lag is known to cause temporary sleep disturbance, which can have an impact on your mental health and other bodily functions. To prepare ahead, The Jet Lag Calculator can tell you how long it will take the body to adjust to your new time zone when you travel – and to adjust back again when you come home.

To undergo a Pre-Travel Consultation, book online or for more information on Travel Health Services.

 

During Your Travels

Travelling can sometimes result in unexpected situations. For the protection of your child/ren and your family in general, always carry a First Aid Kit. This will reduce your need to seek medical aid for minor accidents or journeys to a chemist, especially if local towns are at a further distance.

When travelling to warmer climates, sun safety is crucial as young children are more vulnerable to sunburn from outdoor activities. To protect the skin apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30, with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection throughout the day. In addition, hot weather can also pose a risk of dehydration and heat stroke. Ensure you and your child are hydrated throughout the day by drinking  water from a safe source. This can be bottled water, boiled water, or water that has been filtered. 

To further avoid traveller’s diarrhoea:

  • Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating
  • Carry an alcohol-based sanitiser 
  • Keep children from crawling or sitting on the ground
  • Avoid swimming in contaminated water
  • Don’t swallow any shower or pool water
  • Eat raw fruits and vegetables only if washed in clean water or peeled 
  • Stick to foods that are well cooked and served hot
  • Stick to canned or bottled beverages
  • Avoid food that has been sitting on a buffet to avoid contamination

We have launched a new, free online consultation for Travellers’ Diarrhoea – by answering a few simple medical questions about yourself, we can check if antibiotics are recommended for your trip. You can pay online and we’ll dispatch them directly to you if you are suitable. 

Alternatively, you can have a more comprehensive travel consultation in-clinic with one of our experienced travel nurses. 

For more information on the prevention and treatment of Travellers’ Diarrhoea.

 

The feeling of discomfort from bug bites can truly be a nightmare whilst travelling. Insect bites such as mosquitoes, ticks, biting fleas and kissing bugs can cause pain, irritation and even spread diseases. However, they can be avoided through protective clothing. Our Ultimate Bug Kit  has everything you need from repellents to aftercare. Alternatively, you could purchase individual items and create your own kit.

 

After Your Travels 

Travelling can expose your child to certain diseases. If your child falls unexpectedly ill – contact your doctor or emergency services right away. A high temperature/ fever could mean an infection. For most people, travellers’ diarrhoea usually clears up within a few days. However, if your stomach bug has been ongoing for weeks after returning home, then you will need to do testing to investigate the root cause. Viruses, bacteria or parasites all cause similar symptoms but require an entirely different treatment approach. Our Gastrointestinal (GI) Panel PCR test looks for any microbes that are causing your symptoms and can quickly identify the exact cause of your Travellers’ Diarrhoea. Results can be provided in as little as 1-hour, so that accurate and effective treatment can begin straight away.