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Flu sufferers being urged to ‘think carefully’ before seeking assistance

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WITH a recent rise in the number of recorded cases, health professionals are reminding people affected by flu to think carefully before seeking further medical assistance.

To ensure busy emergency services and GP practices are able to save lives and help those most in need, it is important to remember the vast majority of healthy people with symptoms of flu don’t need to see a doctor.

Flu is a viral infection for which antibiotics are not helpful – instead, the advice if you believe you may have flu symptoms is to stay home from work, school and other public places for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone to avoid infecting other people, drink plenty of fluids, take ibuprofen or paracetamol and avoid any contact particularly with vulnerable individuals while you have symptoms.

Most people will feel better within a week of becoming infected with the flu virus, although coughing may last for another one or two weeks. People are advised to have a look at the NHS Direct Wales symptom checker for cold and flu advice.

Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda explains how people can look after themselves this winter: “The first line of defence should be for people to get their flu vaccination so I would urge those of you that haven’t had your vaccine to contact your community pharmacy for advice on whether you are eligible. This is particularly important as we are now seeing cases of flu in the community, with numbers set to rise over the coming weeks.

“Free flu vaccination is available every year to people in at-risk groups – including those aged 65 and over, people with certain long-term health conditions, pregnant women, frontline healthcare workers, carers and young children. Anyone who has missed out on vaccination this year should speak to their pharmacist for advice; it is not too late for you to protect yourself and your family by having the flu vaccine.

“Health and social care workers are also strongly advised to get their flu vaccination from their local occupational health departments to protect the patients they care for.

“Viruses such as flu can be extremely serious for sick and vulnerable patients and we are asking for your support to protect patients and healthcare workers including not going to visit patients in hospitals and care homes if feeling unwell, we want to limit the spread of conditions such as flu and Norovirus.”

To help reduce the chances of flu spreading, people should:
•         Catch it: always cough or sneeze into a tissue
•         Bin it: dispose of the tissue after use
•         Kill it: then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to kill any flu viruses

The public are also reminded to use local community pharmacy services to help reduce pressure on busy A&E departments this winter. These include a Common Ailments Service which covers a number of conditions whereby participating pharmacists can assess and provide medication at no charge, if suitable, without the need for a prescription and also, in participating community pharmacies, the Triage and Treat service to support those affected by low-level injury or illness. Visit www.hyweldda.wales.nhs.uk/winterwise for further details.

Mrs Jervis added: “We’re asking people who may be experiencing flu-like symptoms to call their GP surgery or visit https://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/SelfAssessments/symptomchecker/coldflu rather than attend the surgery or an A&E department, which can increase the risk of spreading infection to others.”

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Food assembly reaches fruition

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MORE and more people in Carmarthen are ditching the supermarket trolley and buying fresh food directly from local producers.

The Carmarthen Food Assembly – an online platform that allows a direct link between customers and producers – continues to grow from strength to strength, helping people have more control about what ends up on their plates whilst supporting local businesses.

This week the assembly celebrated its first anniversary, and now boasts 700 customers and 20 producers, with fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy and baked goods sold and collected weekly.

Customers order their goods through an online platform, giving producers special requests if required, before picking it up on collection day at Carmarthen’s Xcel in Johnstown, or The Warren in Mansel Street.

As well as supporting the local economy the assembly also has health and environmental benefits – customers can find out exactly what has gone into their food, and carbon footprint is also reduced with food travelling an average distance of 28 miles to the pick-up point compared to around 600 miles to a supermarket.

It also reduces waste as nothing gets picked or baked unless it is ordered.

Organiser Carrie Laxton is a retired GP who saw the benefits of a food assembly and decided to set one up in Carmarthen, with the support of Carmarthenshire County Council.

“Local producers are struggling to make a living, and this is an ideal way of supporting them,” she said.

“We have anywhere between 12 and 18 producers most weeks who set up a mini-market at our collection points to meet their customers and hand over the pre-ordered goods. It makes good local food more accessible to local people as well as supporting local producers.”

Cllr Cefin Campbell, Carmarthenshire County Council’s executive board member for rural affairs, said: “This is a fantastic way to support the local economy and local producers. Rural industries continue to struggle but as consumers become more conscious of what they eat we hope that they will return back to the more traditional shopping route which is to buy from local farmers, bakers and butchers.

“The food assembly helps link customers and producers and bringing in the modern element of online orders it is working well for a growing number of people.”

Anyone can register to become a customer of the food assembly, and food producers in around the Carmarthen area are encouraged to find out how they can become involved.

Find information at www.foodassembly.com

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Man arrested on suspicion of murder

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POLICE are continuing with their thorough enquiries in the search for 28-year-old Hollie Kerrell, who is missing from Knighton.

She was last seen at her home address in Knighton on Sunday, April 22, at around 10am. No one has heard from her since.

An incident room has been set up in Llandrindod Wells police station, and enquiries have led to the arrest of a 35-year-old man on suspicion of murder. He is currently in police custody.

Superintendent Jon Cummins said: “Although there has been a significant development in this investigation in respect of an arrest taking place, we still need the help of the public in this enquiry.

“We’re appealing to anyone with any information or sightings of Hollie from 5pm on Saturday, April 21st onwards to contact us as a matter of urgency. She is described as being 5’5”, medium build with dark brown hair and blue eyes. She was wearing a black skirt and long black cardigan when last seen.

“Please, if you have any information contact us by calling 101.”

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: 138 of April 23.

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Police issue security advice to businesses following attempted burglary

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is urging businesses to consider increased security measures following an attempted burglary at a business in Dyffryn Road, Ammanford.

Two people were seen attempting to gain access to a unit at around 7.20pm on April 9.

Following on from the incident, Ammanford police have offered the following advice to business owners in the area.

​PC Elinor Rees said: “We would advise all businesses to look at their current security measures and consider if they are robust enough to prevent crime.

“We recommend investing in CCTV cameras covering all buildings and grounds around your premises, and ensure the relevant staff are aware of how to download footage in the event it is needed.

“If you need further information on protecting your business, please contact your local neighbourhood policing team by calling 101.”

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