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The problems social distancing guidelines pose to blind and partially sighted people

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A Welsh woman is highlighting the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines are having on people with sight loss.

A survey by eye research charity Fight for Sight has found that two in five respondents with significant sight loss reported finding it difficult to follow social distancing rules as a result, while more than half said their access to food and other products has gotten worse during the pandemic, including access to food deliveries. This has been made more difficult by the fact that blind and partially sighted people are not classed as a vulnerable group, and therefore are not given priority delivery slots.

The survey also found that four in ten people with sight loss fear their sight will further deteriorate during the Covid-19 pandemic, as they struggle to access treatment for their eye conditions. While 73 percent of respondents said their access to treatment has gotten worse during the pandemic, with some reporting cancelled surgeries, as well as cancelled injections for age-related macular degeneration.

Angharad Paget-Jones, 27, from Port Talbot, South Wales is blind and is a guide dog user. She said: “I can’t go into stores anymore because my guide dog Tudor doesn’t understand social distancing. Queuing outside shops is also a problem because Tudor is trained to find the door, he’s not trained to find the end of the queue.”

Angharad has described how people have been unwilling to assist her during this time: “People in the shops won’t help me. In one shop, a woman yelled at me for being too close to her, even though she was walking the wrong way around the one-way system that was in place.”

Fight for Sight is calling on the government to update its advice to retailers on social distancing measures to ensure the needs of people with poor vision are not excluded or put at risk. Blind and partially sighted people should also be given priority delivery slots for online shopping if they want it. Additionally, the government is being urged to come up with an urgent plan to make sure that people do not lose their eyesight due to lack of appointments as a result of social distancing measures.

Fight for Sight is also raising awareness for the need for more investment in eye research, which could transform the lives of over two million people with sight loss through new treatments as well as taking pressure off an already stretched NHS.

Chief Executive of Fight for Sight, Sherine Krause said: “Our survey shows that people with sight loss are particularly affected by the pandemic, which is having a huge impact on their wellbeing. To address this, we’re calling on the Government to urgently update its advice to retailers on social distancing measures to ensure the needs of people with poor vision are not excluded. Our high streets must not become no-go areas for people with sight loss. In the longer term, we must continue to fund research for new, more efficient treatments and cures for the leading causes of blindness and sight loss, to help ease the pressure on our NHS.”

With so many breakthroughs on the horizon, science has the power to transform millions of lives, but unfortunately research is now at risk due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fight for Sight is launching an urgent appeal to help researchers cover the costs of delays to projects and returning to the lab and get eye research back on track. To help support the appeal, visit Fight for Sight’s website at https://www.fightforsight.org.uk/.

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Global Litter Charity has announced the date of its next Welsh litter picking event

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Uocean project Carmarthenshire weekend clean up taking place on Saturday 25th September 21 at Pembrey Country Park

THE UOCEAN Project, part of the Vayyu Foundation, which has set itself the target of removing 1 billion kilos of waste from the world’s oceans by 2030, will be holding its next litter collection taskforce event at Pembrey Country Park  in Carmarthenshire.

Everyone is invited to join The UOcean Project volunteers and to make a difference by collecting litter, especially plastics, which are polluting our environment and ending up in the world’s oceans.  The UOcean Project has highlighted the dramatic increase in litter from plastic bags to face masks since lockdown restrictions were lifted, making it even more important to clean-up and reduce waste pollution. 

Chris Desai, head of The UOcean Project commented. “Picking up one plastic bottle or single use face mask may not appear to be significant, but at each event we are collecting many kilos of plastic because more and more individuals are joining our litter picking teams.

RSVP TO JOIN WWW.THEUOCEANPROJECT.COM

The combined collections here and overseas are the only way to make a difference and start fighting back against pollution.” 

The UOcean Project organises litter pick-up teams who work across the UK, especially around coastlines, as well as internationally.  By organising volunteers into Chapters and providing them with the tools and equipment to pick up litter, they have already collected 53,000 kilos of waste which would have ended up in the seas.  

All volunteers are provided with the equipment needed to safely pick up litter so that it can be disposed of in the right way.  For more information about The UOcean Project please go to the website www.theuoceanproject.com

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Warning! Dangerous Valium circulating in Llanelli

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the drugs being distributed and used in the Llanelli area at present could be extremely dangerous

Warning! Dangerous Valium circulating in

POLICE are warning drug users in Llanelli to take extra care following information received that dangerous valium is circulating in the area.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “We have reasons to believe that the drugs being distributed and used in the Llanelli area at present could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately should they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone that you believe could come into contact with these drugs.”

To seek advice and support, visit https://barod.cymru/where-to-get-help/west-wales-services/ddas-dyfed-drug-and-alcohol-service/

Please be aware that some services may operate an automated service outside office hours.

In an emergency, or if you think someone’s life is at risk, always dial 999.

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Parents warned to look out for respiratory illness in children

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RSV is a common respiratory illness which is usually picked up by children during the winter season

RESPIRATORY Syncytial Virus (RSV) is circulating amongst children and toddlers in the Hywel Dda area (Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire)  

Hywel Dda UHB Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive Dr Philip Kloer said: “Because of the COVID restrictions, there have been few cases of RSV during the pandemic, but this virus has returned and in higher numbers now people are mixing more.

“RSV is a common respiratory illness which is usually picked up by children during the winter season, and causes very few problems to the majority of children.  However, very young babies, particularly those born prematurely, and children with heart or lung conditions, can be seriously affected and it’s important that parents are aware of the actions to take.”

Parents are being encouraged to look out for symptoms of severe infection in at-risk children, including:

*a high temperature of 37.8°C or above (fever)

*a dry and persistent cough, difficulty feeding, rapid or noisy breathing (wheezing).

The best way to prevent RSV is to wash hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser regularly, dispose of used tissues correctly, and to keep surfaces clean and sanitised.

Most cases of bronchiolitis are not serious and clear up within 2 to 3 weeks, but you should contact your GP or call NHS 111 if:

  • You are worried about your child.
  • Your child has taken less than half their usual amount during the last two or three feeds, or they have had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more.
  • Your child has a persistent high temperature of 37.8C or above.
  • Your child seems very tired or irritable.

Dial 999 for an ambulance if:

  • your baby is having difficulty breathing
  • your baby’s tongue or lips are blue
  • there are long pauses in your baby’s breathing
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