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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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Recycling plant closed after collision

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LLANELLI RECYCLING CENTRE is currently closed following a road traffic collision outside.

Police and collision investigation teams are at the scene, but no further details have been made available at this stage.

Carmarthenshire Roads Policing Unit said that the location would be closed ‘until further notice’. ‏


A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police said: “Dyfed-Powys Police was called to Trostre Industrial Park at 2.12pm following a report of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle.

“The ambulance service is also in attendance, and the road leading to the recycling centre is currently closed.”

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Modern and traditional methods used by Neighbourhood Watch groups

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TRADITIONAL monthly meetings and Facebook groups might seem worlds apart, but these are the methods two Carmarthenshire communities are using to keep their neighbours safe.

As part of Neighbourhood Watch Week, the long-standing Glanmor group and the newer Llwynhendy and Pemberton group have shared the secrets to their success – be it through old-school meetings or the reach of social media.

Jason Hart helped to set up the Llwynhendy and Pemberton Neighbourhood Watch group last summer following a spate of burglaries in the area. Although he admits it was slow to get off the ground using traditional means, the launch of a Facebook group saw the scheme take off.

“We still hold monthly meetings, but we found we have more of an impact on social media,” he said. “We set the Facebook group up and had over 400 members in a couple of weeks.

“A lot of people who work or who have children can’t make it to our meetings, so for them a Facebook group is ideal.”

Members are approved before joining, and can then post on the group’s timeline. Mr Hart explained that it gives people the opportunity to raise issues or concerns if they are unable to attend the evening meetings.

“They post about things like suspicious vehicles in the area, or if they have seen someone trying car doors, and we will then report it to the police,” he said. “We also feed in information from the police if something has happened, and people let us know if they have seen or heard anything.”

The success of the group is such that people living in the neighbouring community of Bryn have asked for it to expand.

Mr Hart said: “We will invite them to come along to our meetings to see how it works, and if there is enough interest they can break off and form their own group. It’s great that people think it’s working and want to see it covering their area too.”

Meetings are held from 5pm at the Bryn and Trallwm Social Club on the third Tuesday of the month, and the Facebook group can be found by searching Llwynhendy and Pemberton Neighbourhood Watch.

Over on the other side of Llanelli is the longstanding Glanmor Neighbourhood Watch group, which has been running for the past 17 years. The watch covers Nelson Terrace, Richmond Terrace, Llys yr Orsaf, Llys y Gof and part of Bryn Road, does not use social media and stands by the routine of monthly meetings.

Group coordinator John Jones said: “We had a lot of trouble in the area at that time, and everyone was complaining to me as I was a magistrate. We decided that the best way forward was to set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme so people could meet regularly and discuss any problems in the community.

“It went from there, and we are still going 17 years later.

“The number of people who attend depends on what problems there are each month, but there is a core membership who always comes along. We aim to deal with issues straight away.”

Meetings are held at The Cambrian, in Marine Street, at 6.30pm on the first Monday of the month – unless it is a bank holiday, when it will be held the following Monday.

Sergeant Dawn Fencot-Price, of the Dyfed-Powys Police Crime and Harm Reduction Team, said: “We would like to thank both Neighbourhood Watch groups for their support in keeping our communities safe.

“It is great to see people working together in this way, sharing crime prevention messages and looking out for each other.

“We are always looking for innovative ways of keeping our communities safe. If you’re interested in setting up a Neighbourhood Watch group, or have an idea you think might work in your area, contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101.”

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3,000 Welsh landlords still unregistered

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JANET FINCH-SAUNDERS AM has called on the Welsh Government to urgently work to improve landlord registration under Rent Smart Wales, as estimates released indicate around 3,000 remain unregistered.

Ms Finch-Saunders said: “Rent Smart Wales estimates that still 3,000 landlords are unregistered here in Wales.

“Whilst that makes up a small percentage of our total landlords, it is most concerning for those living in properties leased to them by those who have not yet registered.

“The Welsh Government has confirmed that a landlord who is not registered with Rent Smart Wales is unable to serve a valid Section 21 eviction notice – so where unregistered landlords do indicate that they want tenants to vacate a property, this is not recognised by local housing associations, which can cause stress to tenants who may not be aware of their full rights under the law.

“By focusing on ensuring that all landlords are properly registered, the Welsh Government can alleviate such concerns, and I will be urging the Cabinet Secretary to act to ensure all landlords are abiding by this legislation in full.”

The Minister for Housing and Regeneration told Ms Finch-Saunders that the latest figures released by Rent Smart Wales show that 90,812 landlords are now registered. Rent Smart Wales’ latest estimate for the number of unregistered landlords is approximately 3,000.

This is based on the dwelling stock estimates recently published by StatsWales, and an estimation of the average number of properties owned by each landlord.

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