The Meningitis B vaccine (MenB) will now be offered as part of the child immunisation programme. The Meningitis B bacterium is the commonest cause of Meningitis and septicaemia. It resides harmlessly in the nasal passages of approximately 10% of healthy individuals and is spread by sneezing, coughing or kissing. Fortunately Meningitis is very rare-there were 74 cases in Scotland in 2014 but it is associated with a high mortality and is commonest in babies and young children. The peak incidence is 5 months which is why MenB vaccine is given at 2 and 4 months.
All babies born after 1st September 2015 will be offered the MenB vaccine at 2, 4 and 12 months and babies born after 1st July will have a “catch up” MenB vaccine with their other vaccinations.
The vaccine has been undergoing investigations and trials for 10 years and 1 million doses have already been given worldwide. As with all vaccines, it can cause side effects. These are usually minor- redness around vaccination site, irritability and temperature. A fever is more common with the MenB vaccine and it is recommended that three doses of infant paracetamol are given after each the first two vaccinations. If your baby has a fever on the day of the vaccination then it will be postponed but it’s OK to vaccinate a baby who has a cold without a fever. Visit www.immunisationscotland.org.uk for more information.
The Meningitis ACWY (a different strain of meningitis) is also recommended for school leavers aged 16-18. Please make an appointment at reception.
INFLUENZA VACCINE- FLU CLINIC - SATURDAY 3rd and 31st OCTOBER
The annual Flu jag will be available shortly. This is recommended for everyone >65 as well as pregnant women and those who work in health care. It is also recommended in the following conditions. Asthma, COPD, Heart Disease, Diabetes, MS, Chronic Kidney Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Coeliac Disease, Liver disease, HIV (AIDS), patients without a spleen and severe obesity. It should also be given to carers and anyone undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
We will be having a Flu Vaccine Clinic on SATURDAY 3rd October and 31st October- please book your appointment via reception.
If you are not in one of the above groups and would still like a flu jag then these can be obtained privately at low cost from most pharmacies but cannot be provided at the surgery.
A QUICK GUIDE TO VITAMIN D
Throughout life, vitamin D is essential for keeping bones healthy. It is important for
• pregnant and breastfeeding women
• babies and young children
to get enough vitamin D when bones are growing. Babies need enough vitamin D in their bodies before they are born. Without enough vitamin D children can be at risk of developing rickets, which causes weak and badly formed bones. In adulthood and later life, lack of vitamin D can lead to osteomalacia (softening of the bones) and a greater risk of broken bones. Recent research indicates that vitamin D may have an important role in preventing other health problems too.
How do we get vitamin D?
We get vitamin D from sunlight and from some foods.
From the sunlight
Our bodies can make most of the vitamin D we need through sunlight. In Scotland, we only get enough sunlight of the right wavelength (UVB for our bodies to make vitamin D in this way during roughly half the year (April to September), mostly between 11 am and 3 pm. 10–15 minutes of unprotected Scottish sun exposure is safe for all but care should always be taken to cover up or apply sunscreen before any exposed skin becomes red or begins to burn. However, 10–15 minutes of unprotected Scottish sun may not be enough to make vitamin D. This means some groups of people are unlikely to get enough vitamin D from sunlight. Sunbeds are not a recommended source of vitamin D.
Remember – if you use sunscreen correctly this will block UVB light and, therefore, vitamin D from being made. However, staying in the sun for long periods of time without the protection of sunscreen increases the risk of skin cancer.
It is difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone, however, it is found naturally in small amounts in: • oily fish – both fresh and tinned – such as salmon, mackerel, trout, kippers and sardines • eggs and meat. Some foods have vitamin D added to them, including: • all margarines with a fat content above a certain level (manufacturers in the UK are required by law to add it to these) • some breakfast cereals, soya and dairy products, powdered milks and low-fat spreads (amounts in these products are often small).
Who is at risk of vitamin D deficiency?
Research shows that many people in Scotland have low vitamin D levels, and several groups are at greater risk of deficiency:
• all people aged 65 years and over
• all pregnant and breastfeeding women, especially teenagers and young women
• children under five years of age
• people who are not exposed to much sunlight, for example, those who cover their skin for cultural reasons, are housebound or who stay indoors for long periods
• those who have darker skin and, therefore, need to spend a longer time in the sun to produce vitamin D.
If you are in one of these at-risk groups, you can make a difference to your health by taking a daily vitamin D supplement.
In the UK it is recommended that these groups take between 7 and 10 micrograms (μg) of vitamin D daily.
How do I get vitamin D supplements?
If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding mother or have a child under five years of age and are entitled to Healthy Start, then vitamin supplements are available free of charge. Ask your health visitor for further information.
Visit www.healthystart.nhs.uk or ask a health professional for more information.
Vitamin supplements are also available to buy. Ask your pharmacist about appropriate vitamin D supplements for you and your child. For adults, the best shops to buy single vitamin D supplements are larger branches of high street chemists, supermarkets and some health food stores. They are inexpensive.
For older adults, vitamin D with added calcium may be recommended by healthcare staff to protect against osteoporosis. If you are not sure whether you are at risk or not, or don’t know which supplements to take, consult your pharmacist or health visitor.