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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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Recovery efforts underway in aftermath of floods

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A HUGE clean-up operation is underway to deal with the aftermath of the worst flooding Carmarthenshire has seen in decades.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s operational team has now switched its efforts from emergency response to recovery and supporting affected communities and businesses.

Additional resources have been put in place to collect ruined carpets, furniture and other waste, with cages and skips being dispatched to worst hit areas. People are advised to check with their insurers before disposing of any items.

Dehumidifers have been provided to as many homes as possible.

A hardship fund has been established for residents most in need of financial support, and housing officers will be visiting homes and helping people to complete and submit insurance claims.

Business support officers are also making contact with retailers and businesses to support them, and rate relief is also being sought from Welsh Government.

Highways, cleansing and refuse crews continue to sweep and clean debris left by the receding floods, and inspections will take place on all affected road surfaces, verges and bridges.

Specialist teams are being drafted in to support crews, including divers to inspect underwater structures and areas that have experienced land slide.

The council continues to urge people to take extra care and to allow extra time for their journeys as a number of diversions will remain in place.

Carmarthenshire County Council Chief Executive Mark James said: “Our staff have been working hard to respond in extremely difficult conditions. Now that the flood waters have subsided we have shifted our focus from response to recovery and we are doing all we can to support everyone affected.

“A full assessment of the damage is underway, and, as well as working with partner agencies, we are also speaking with Welsh Government to ensure appropriate resources are in place.”

· Follow updates on the council’s Newsroom, Facebook and Twitter

· Anyone in need of assistance should call 01267 234567 or email direct@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

· Apply for support for flooding recovery: https://myaccount.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/en/service/Support_for_flooding_recovery

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Llandysul: Fire service cordoned off gas cylinders

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ON SUNDAY (Oct 14) at 11:45am, firefighters from Llandysul were called to a flood-related incident in Station Road, near the Tyweli River.

On attendance to the incident, firefighters were confronted with a strong smell of gas, where approximately 60 gas cylinders had entered the river and accumulated in a culvert. Western Power were also in attendance to make safe a live electrical wire, from a three-phase electrical pumping station.

The Fire Service evacuated 12 properties from either side of the river and cordoned off Station Road for public safety.

Firefighters retrieved approximately 40 cylinders from the river and monitored the incident until the level of the flood water dropped.

The Police Service were also in attendance.

The cordons have now been lifted and business owners and residents have returned to their properties.

The Fire Service received the stop message at 09:02am this morning (Oct 15).

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Police say ‘stop protecting’ murder suspect Steve Baxter

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JUST over two weeks ago Simon Clark, aged 54, was found dead at Grove Caravan Park in Pendine, Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police is continuing its manhunt for Steve Baxter, who is wanted on suspicion of Simon’s murder.

Baxter also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.

He has connections in the West Wales, South Wales, South West and North England areas of the UK.

Officers and staff are working round the clock to follow all possible lines of enquiry.

The independent charity Crimestoppers is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the arrest of Steve Baxter and he has been added to the Most Wanted section of their website. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.

Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “It’s over two weeks since Simon Clark was murdered at Grove Caravan Park, Pendine.

“The manhunt for Steve Baxter is ongoing and I must stress to the public that officers and staff are working round the clock to investigate all possible lines of enquiry that could lead us to him.

“I urge anyone with information of Baxter’s whereabouts to come forward. If you do not want to speak to police directly, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, which is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to his arrest.

“Someone knows where he is or has been in the last two weeks. Please stop protecting him. Simon Clark’s family deserve to see all those involved in his death brought to justice.”

Four people have been charged in connection with the murder: Jeffrey Stephen Ward, aged 40, from Pendine, has been charged with murder; Linda Mary Rowley, aged 52, from Pendine, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder); Kirston Macklin, aged 52, from Newport, Gwent, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder) and Julie Louise Harris, aged 46, from Tonypandy, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder).

If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999. Do not approach him.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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