Every week BARBARA FISHER looks at issues that affect us all – the issues that get you talking. You can join in by emailing bmailbarbara@police station
AS we move into ‘flu season’ it’s time for people with asthma to protect themselves against the flu virus. New analysis by Asthma UK reveals that around 1 million Brits with asthma are at risk because they’re not planning to get the flu vaccine – even though 8 in 10 people with asthma say flu is a top trigger for life-threatening asthma attacks.
That’s why Asthma UK is urging people with asthma to get the flu vaccine as soon as possible to reduce their risk of catching the virus and prevent a life-threatening asthma attack.
The flu virus can increase the inflammation in the airways so they can become narrow, leaving people coughing, wheezing and gasping for breath. This increased inflammation also means people are more likely to react to other triggers, such as pollen or pollution, increasing the chance of an asthma attack. Every asthma attack is potentially life-threatening with around three people dying from one in the UK every day.
Unfortunately, there are lots of myths about the flu jab not working, causing side effects or causing flu, and our research shows this is preventing people from getting it. But the vaccine can’t give you flu, the potential side effects are minimal and it could save people’s lives by preventing a lifethreatening asthma attack. Asthma UK’s website provides all the information you need about flu – visit asthma.org.uk.
The flu vaccine is available free of charge to anyone with asthma who meets any of the following criteria: ■ they have been using preventer medicine
■ they have needed a course of oral or systemic steroids
■ they have had a previous hospital admission because of their asthma.
It can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective, so we are urging people to get it as soon as possible so they’re protected during the ‘peak flu’ season in December and January. People with asthma should also make sure they keep taking their regular preventer medicines for their best chance of staying well with their asthma.
Here are some top tips for people with asthma to protect themselves from flu this winter:
■ Get a flu vaccine as soon as possible if you’re eligible
■ Take your preventer inhaler (usually brown) as prescribed
■ Carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you at all times
We are urging people to get the facts about flu so they can make an informed decision by visiting asthma.org.uk/flu. Dr Andy Whittamore
Clinical Lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP IT WAS interesting to see Diana Lamplugh in the news again,
She died in 2011 but her name lives on because of her trust set up 20 years ago to tackle the problem of personal safety, particularly for women.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust was named after her estate agent daughter who disappeared in 1986 after a property viewing in Fulham. It felt like a TV drama when it was announced that he had booked his appointment under the name of Mr Kipper, but this wasn’t a soap opera. Suzy, 25, was never seen again.
Diana toured the country with her husband Paul to talk to children in schools about keeping themselves safe. She campaigned for better street lighting and handed out rape alarms to freshers at university.
I once interviewed her and was impressed by her dignity and commitment to saving others from her daughter’s fate by early education.
At that time she was also campaigning to regulate mini-cabs. The prime suspect for Suzy’s disappearance and probable murder remains John Cannan, a former car salesman, who was jailed for life in July 1989 for murder and sexual offences. His preferred targets were professional women.
This week it was reported that a garden in Sutton Coldfield, previously owned by his mother, is being dug up and a garage dismantled.
I do hope this case can be resolved but, sadly, any new leads will not be followed by her father, who died this year.
Can I appeal to police to stop announcing which crimes they intend to ignore in future because of their limited resources?
We were told some forces were no longer chasing petrol thieves while others were turning a blind eye to minor burglaries. Now we hear they may refocus on core policing, but not follow up on things like hate crime.
It’s like saying to a class of children, because we are understaffed, in future we will not punish anyone who sticks a fellow pupil’s head down the toilet. All other crimes will still be investigated. Hopefully.
So … if we all decided to rob our neighbours’ houses while they were on holiday and zoom away from petrol stations without paying, what would it be called? A state of emergency? Anarchy? Certainly the opposite of law and order, the reason we established a police force in the first place.
They need to prioritise, but not publicise what’s dropped off the list.
The fear of punishment is still a deterrent for many.
Officers are trained and paid to keep our communities safe and to pursue the perpetrators of crime. Not treat the job like a pick and mix counter.
And while we’re at it.
Own up. Who stole