NHS leaders urge Britons to get jabbed as hospital flu cases up ’10 times’ on last year

Sobering figures show hospital flu cases are up 10 times over last year, putting yet more pressure on the NHS to deliver in coming weeks. The update has spurred concern that shortages in intensive care beds could push the health service towards a tipping point. Leaders have warned hospitals are currently facing the threat of a “tripledemic” of Covid, Flu and record demand for emergency services in the weeks to come. Boots’ Superintendent Pharmacist Clare Nevinson, is urging everyone to get their flu vaccination by the end of November to protect themselves and the NHS.

The pharmacist explained: “December is a time to get together with friends and family to celebrate the month’s festivities.

“It’s a good idea to plan ahead to ensure you have your flu jab, and your COVID-18 booster vaccination if you are eligible.

“If you’ve not had them already, this is the best way to protect yourself and reduce the risk of passing the viruses to others.

“The flu vaccination stimulates an immune system response by producing antibodies against the virus.”

Approximately 33 million people are eligible for the free NHS flu jab, including those over 50 years of age, pregnant women and those with medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

Current data show the vaccine is up to 60 percent effective for healthy adults between the age of 18 to 64.

Superintendent Nevinson said: “The flu vaccination stimulates an immune system response by producing antibodies against the virus.

“The antibodies stay in your body so that if you’re exposed to the flu virus naturally your immune system can recognise it, attack it and prevent it from causing flu.

“It typically takes between 10 and 14 days after the flu jab for the body to develop enough antibodies to provide protection.”

The higher-than-average ICU occupancy has also prompted calls for Britons to get their COVID-19 booster in addition to the flu jab.

Though the jabs cannot prevent mild illness, there is overwhelming evidence that both vaccines protect against the complications of their illnesses.

“If you are eligible for both, the flu jab and COVID-19 booster can be administered together during the same appointment in a Boots store where we offer both vaccinations,” added the pharmacist.

“With around 85 percent of the population estimated to be within 10 minutes of a Boots store, it is an accessible and convenient option for patients who want a flu jab.”

Boots has already administered one million flu vaccinations to date, but there are still approximately one million appointments available to book only.

The shift in the patterns of influenza and Covid mean patients should act soon to get enough antibodies, experts have warned.

They added that it has become overly “apparent” that the seasonal pattern of respiratory viruses and influenza would peak much earlier this year.

Older, frail or generally immunocompromised people are being asked to consider taking a COVID-19 test before family gatherings this holiday season, amid the exceptionally quick spread of Omicron.

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  • 1 час, 20 минут назад 09.12.2022Health Care
    ‘Landmark moment’ as breast cancer drug found to shrink tumours – thousands could be saved

    Up to 8,000 cancer patients in the UK could receive a game-changing drug shown to shrink tumours and slow the progression of the disease, experts have said. A trial of 700 people yielded “fantastic” results after showing the drug could double the amount of time it takes before the disease progresses. Both patients with the advanced form and most common form of breast cancer could benefit from the treatment, when taken alongside hormone therapy.

    The findings of a phase III clinical trial were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on Thursday.

    As part of the trial, 355 patients received the drug alongside fulvestrant, a common hormone therapy administered to patients with progressing disease.

    Capivarsertib appeared to complement the hormone therapy by inhibiting the activity of cancer-driving protein molecule AKT.

    When coupled with hormone therapy, researchers found the drug shrank tumours in 23 percent of patients, compared with 12 percent of those who received a placebo.

    Another key finding was that the time of progress of the disease in these patients grew from 3.6 month to 7.2 months.

    Professor Kristian Helin, chief executive of the ICR, said: “This is a landmark moment for the treatment of advanced forms of the most common type of breast cancer.

    “Capivasertib could offer a completely new treatment option for these patients.

    “This is a major success story for UK science – the discovery and development of capivasertib showcases the benefits of collaboration between academia, charities, and industry to bring game-changing new treatments to people with cancer as quickly as possible.”

    For the trial, an additional 355 patients received the common fulvestranttreatment with a placebo.

    This helped prove that the new drug regime was most effective in patients with mutations to their AKT signalling pathways.

    In this group, 29 percent saw their tumours shrink, compared to 10 percentwho received the placebo.

    Nick Turner, professor of molecular oncology at the ICR and consultant oncologist at the Royal Marsden, who led the study, described the findings as “fantastic”.

    He added: “Even with the best current treatments, people with this type of advanced breast cancer will eventually see their cancer stop responding to treatment and it will progress.

    “We’re delighted that this potential first-in-class drug combined with hormone therapy can lower the progression of these advanced cancers, and in almost a third of cases can shrink tumours.

    “We believe this new treatment could allow more women and men to live well and live longer with breast cancer.”

    The drug is currently being manufactured by AstraZeneca after completing a programme of drug discovery research at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London.

    According to Cancer Research UK, one in seven females will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

    There are approximately 56,000 new cases diagnosed every year, which equates to 150 per day.

    Fortunately, death rates for the disease have steadily decreased since 1989, marking an overall decline of 43 percent through 2020.

    After diagnosis, it is estimated around 75 percent of women will survive their cancer for 10 years or more.

  • 3 часа, 20 минут назад 09.12.2022Health Care
    ‘I can’t see’: Dame Judi Dench opens up about her ‘bad enough’ health condition

    Dame Judi Dench has worked on both stage and screen since the late 1950s. Back in 2012, the acting legend was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration, or AMD for short. While this condition doesn’t cause total blindness, it makes everyday activities like reading and recognising faces tricky. However, the 87-year-old said she won’t let this “bad enough” condition stop her remarkable career, despite not being able to see properly.

    Labelled a national treasure, Dench has opened up about the eye condition that runs in her family during an interview with Louis Theroux for BBC Two.

    When asked about her acting plans for the future, she said: “I’m not doing anything much at the moment because I can’t see.”

    She explained that this decline in her vision is caused by age-related macular degeneration that her mother also had.

    According to the NHS, this “common condition” targets the middle part of your vision and usually first affects people in their 50s and 60s.

    AMD can make anything from reading to driving difficult, with symptoms including:

    The James Bond star explained that her AMD is “bad enough” and it makes her eyesight “fuzzy”.

    She even recalled a dinner party, where she couldn’t see what was on her plate. Dench said: “I went to a dinner a few weeks ago – a rather important dinner.

    “It was so dark that I said to David, who was next to me, ‘Have I anything on my plate’?

    “He said ‘Yes’ and I said ‘Does it need cutting up’?

    “He said ‘Yes’ and I said ‘Would you do it’?

    “He handed something to me on the fork and that’s the way I ate. I don’t even know if I finished it.”

    Reading lines as well as spatial awareness are extremely important for a theatre star like Dench. However, she’s not letting her condition stop her from acting endeavours.

    Dench told Theroux: “I’ve got to teach myself a new way of learning because I have a photographic memory.

    “So, a person saying to me ‘This is your line’ and I can do that, and I have many people who will help me. Nevertheless, I realise that I need to know where it is on the page.

    “I’ll teach myself a way, I know I will as long as I don’t trip over doing it.”

    Dench had also revealed in a previous interview that she now also prints all of her scripts in 22-point font and takes a friend to the cinema so they can tell her what is going on.

    She said: “On my scripts, my font is point-size 22, so you can imagine… if we’re doing a sonnet of 14 lines, all the others will have one page and I’ll have 14!

    “It’s ridiculous, it’s a farce, but I’m not going to give in.”

    Fortunately, the acting royalty is not planning to retire any time soon, despite her failing eyesight.

    There is currently no cure for AMD but treatments and various visual aids may help patients to carry out daily tasks, depending on what type of AMD they have and how bad it is.

    From eye injections to a light treatment called photodynamic therapy, there are different interventions that could help stop your vision from getting worse, according to the NHS.

    Dench added: “I’m not going to be beaten by my eyes for instance. I have macular degeneration, which means treatment every six weeks, but you just have to settle for it.”

  • 3 часа, 20 минут назад 09.12.2022Health Care
    Doctor on 13 dangers of vaping – ‘Increased risk of cardiovascular issues in adults’

    Research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in October 2022 highlighted the potential harms of vaping, including raised blood pressure. “When you have a study indicating that vaping brings an increased risk of cardiovascular issues in adults, you have to wonder what the effects of prolonged vaping will be,” Doctor Fisher pondered. “Prolonged high blood pressure comes with an increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, eye and kidney problems, and heart failure,” he added.

    “Unsurprisingly, there’s an effect on their respiratory system, too.”

    People who vape are more likely to suffer from a chronic cough compared to those who do not vape or smoke.

    “Vaping can also reduce the function of the lungs overall,” warned Doctor Fisher.

    “When you have evidence like this, it’s clear that those who believe vaping is just ‘water vapour’ are sorely mistaken,” he stated.

    For those who are vaping and coughing, Doctor Fisher said the “simple answer would be to stop or to cut down on vaping”.

    Understanding that this “isn’t something everyone can just do”, he advises to drink more water.

    Alternatively, coughing “may be a sign that you need to lower the amount of nicotine in your vapes”.

    At present, there are many disposable vapes that contain 20mg/ml of nicotine, but there are options to have liquids containing “zero, three, six or 12mg/ml”.

    Doctor Fisher revealed that 20mg/ml is equivalent to “around 40 cigarettes worth”.

    “When it comes to oral health, the use of e-cigarettes has been found to be massively linked to cases of gum disease,” Doctor Fisher pointed out.

    There have also been reports of issues with oral health, such as developing mouth ulcers.

    “Vaping can indeed lead to mouth ulcers, for a couple of reasons,” said Doctor Fisher.

    “The main one is that vaping causes your mouth to dry out, which can lead to your mouth and gums becoming easily irritated. Therefore, you may have a higher chance of developing ulcers.

    “Vaping has also been shown to alter the bacteria within your mouth, which can make you even more susceptible to developing sores and ulcers.”

    Chronic nicotine exposure seems to have a “detrimental effect” on the brain, which can increase the risk of depression.

    In terms of people concerned about second-hand smoke from vaping, Doctor Fisher said “the research is still ongoing”.

    Thus, it’s advisable to “avoid vaping around children and pregnant people”.

    At present, though, vaping products release water vapour “and not tobacco smoke”, so the “usual associated risks of second-hand smoke don’t apply here”.

    People still need to be aware that vaping “could further someone’s nicotine dependency if left unchecked”.

    13 dangers of vaping:

    The health body says: “Nicotine vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking. It’s also one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking.

    “Vaping is not recommended for non-smokers and young people because it is not completely harmless.”

    Common side effects can include:

    “Ideally, if you are vaping to quit smoking, you should aim to eventually stop vaping too,” the NHS says.

    Doctor Brian Fisher is the Clinical Director at the wellness app Evergreen Life.

  • 9 часов, 19 минут назад 09.12.2022Health Care
    B12 deficiency can harm children’s development suggests research

    A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, a condition with a range of symptoms and complications.

    While the impact of this can be serious it adults, it can be even more profound in children, a time when getting the right vitamins and nutrients is so important.

    A Danish study published in Plos Medicine found a link between this deficiency in children and poor development.

    First author of the study Professor Henrik Friis was concerned about not just the deficiency, but the amount of attention paid to it.

    Professor Friis said: “Among the many children who participated in our study, we found a strong correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and poor motor development and anaemia,

    “B12 deficiency is one of the most overlooked problems out there when it comes to malnutrition. And unfortunately, we can see that the food relief we provide today is not up to the task.”

    With regard to how to fix the deficiency, the team said that just giving people food with vitamin B12 in it doesn’t work.

    This, they said, was in part down to how a child’s gut works.

    Professor Friis explained: “”During the period when children were provided with food relief, their B12 levels increased, before decreasing considerably once we stopped the programme.

    “Despite provisioning them with food relief for three months, their stores remained far from topped up. This, when a typical food relief programme only runs for four weeks.”

    Doctor Vibeke Brix added: “A child’s gut can only absorb 1 microgram of B12 per meal. So, if a child is lacking 500 micrograms, it will take much longer than the few weeks that they have access to emergency food relief.

    “Furthermore, longer-term relief programmes aren’t realistic, as humanitarian organizations are trying to reduce the duration of treatment regimens with the aim of being able to serve a larger number of children for the same amount of money.”

    While preventing the deficiency occurring is the best solution, it is not a lasting one.

    Questions have been raised over whether fortified foods or tablets may suffice.

    On this, Friis said: “”Possibly, but the problem in low-income countries is poorly resourced and weak health care systems. Handing out tablets to millions and millions of people is not cost-effective.

    “And to enrich foods with B12, it must be added to foodstuffs that are accessible to the poor. This requires industrial expansion, as many people currently eat only what they can produce themselves.”

    Professor Friis added: “Furthermore, it requires legislation that it is not based on voluntary participation.

    “”Individual households could be incentivized to keep chickens and perhaps goats, which a mother could manage and use to provide access to animal-based foodstuffs.

    “Finally, work needs to be done to develop fermented products with B12 producing bacteria — something that doesn’t yet exist, but towards which researchers and companies are already working.”

    As a result, the solution, as with other medical questions, is not simple, but one which will require further development.

  • 9 часов, 19 минут назад 09.12.2022Health Care
    Expert recommends eating nuts to slash risk of blood clots – backed by studies

    A certain amount of blood clotting is necessary in the body as it prevents excessive bleeding when you suffer a cut. Blood clots are small clumps of blood that form into a king of gel. Those that don’t dissolve naturally are of concern.

    This is because they can break away and travel to vital organs, leading to emergencies such as strokes and pulmonary embolisms.

    A number of factors can put you at greater risk of developing blood clots including being overweight, smoking and if you’re unable to move around much – such as following an operation.

    However, there are certain things that could actually reduce your risk.

    According to one expert, eating nuts could do this.

    Registered dietician at JustCBD, Nataly Komova, explained: “Nuts are high in Omega-3 fatty acids that total and low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol levels.

    “If your cholesterol levels are dangerously high, plaque may develop in your arteries (atherosclerosis).

    “High cholesterol levels also increase the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) or blood clot in the vein.”

    VTE includes deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot in the arm or leg – and pulmonary embolism – a blood clot in the lung, both of which are dangerous.

    Her claim was supported by a study published in Nutrients journal in 2019.

    The research found that eating nuts could improve vascular function (improving how blood vessels across the body work).

    “In summary, nuts have the potential to improve vascular function and future studies should consider the population, dose and length of nut supplementation as well as suitability of the different vascular function techniques,” the study says.

    A separate paper, published in Diabetes Care in 2011, found that eating nuts not only helped control blood sugar, but lowered cholesterol levels.

    As part of the research participants were split into three groups.

    One group was given muffins, one was provided with a mixture of nuts including raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, and macadamias, and the other was given a mixture of muffins and nuts.

    Participants in the nut-only group reported the greatest improvement in blood glucose control and a reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol).

    The consumption of nuts has also been recommended to lower the risk of blood clots by the Mayo Clinic.

    The clinic says: “Regularly eating a healthy diet that includes nuts may decrease the risk of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.”

    It also cites other health benefits of nuts, saying they can:

    You are more at risk of blood clots if you:

  • 9 часов, 19 минут назад 09.12.2022Health Care
    Waking up tired? Experts warn it could be a red flag of advanced liver damage

    Waking up tired can be unnerving, especially if you’ve had your full eight hours of sleep. According to the NHS, the causes of daytime sleepiness are usually not serious: long hours spent at work and too many late nights are the common culprits. But in some cases, it can be down to the progress of fatty liver disease.

    Fatty liver disease can be caused by drinking too much booze or other things such as obesity.

    It’s when fat builds up in your liver. As it progresses, it can damage cells and mess with the organ’s function over time. In its most severe stage where the liver becomes inflamed and scarred, people can experience a buildup of toxins in their blood as the organ can no longer do its job of breaking down malicious substances.

    Cirrhosis is thought to cause daytime sleepiness although experts aren’t certain about the reason behind this link. Many researchers, such as Doctor Montagnese of the University of Padova, think it could be down to this buildup of toxins.

    In a review titled Sleep-wake abnormalities in patients with cirrhosis, Doctor Montagnese wrote: “A considerable proportion of patients with cirrhosis exhibit insomnia, delayed sleep habits, and excessive daytime sleepiness.”

    She added that this may be down to the buildup of a toxin called ammonia in the blood, which eventually spread to the brain causing changes that are behind sleep disruption.

    One study published in the journal Hepatology found that healthy people and cirrhosis patients with high levels of ammonia in their blood had a “significant increase in daytime sleepiness”.

    The researchers from the Dipartimento di Medicina in Padova, Italy, and the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology in Zurich, Switzerland, stimulated people to produce ammonia in their bodies by giving them a protein mixture.

    It found increased sleepiness in both groups, indicating that the presence of ammonia in the blood is responsible for the effect.

    Doctor Montagnese, who was also involved in the study, said that “subjective sleepiness” could be used as a “marker” of serious liver complications as a result of the study.

    The effect is thought to also be down to your liver failing to break down the sleep hormone melatonin during the day.

    Melatonin is a sleep hormone that populates your brain during sleep. Normal nighttime levels of melatonin are roughly 10 times higher than during the day.

    But during cirrhosis, levels can build up, which could be responsible for daytime sleepiness.

    One study also found that poor liver health could also result in a delay in the melatonin peak at night, resulting in sleep disruption.

    But it isn’t just sleep that is affected by advanced liver disease.

    According to the British Liver Trust, the “early symptoms” of the buildup of toxins in your brain include confusion and forgetfulness.

    Experts suggest that you should check for other symptoms if you’re waking up tired.

    The other signs of cirrhosis include vomiting blood, your skin and the whites of your eyes turning yellow, and tarry-looking stools.

    Cirrhosis can develop following years of suffering fatty liver disease (acute cirrhosis) or in a matter of days or weeks. Acute cirrhosis is normally caused by conditions like hepatitis B or C or as a side effect of prescription medications.

    The NHS says: “If a GP suspects cirrhosis, they’ll check your medical history and do a physical examination to look for signs of long-term liver disease.”

    There’s no cure for cirrhosis but there are ways it can be managed and slowed down.

    Doctors may encourage you to quit drinking or lose weight if you’re overweight.

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Health Care NHS leaders urge Britons to get jabbed as hospital flu cases up '10 times' on last year