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In the latest edition
Go on, treat yourself
© InfoFind the news story by matching the sentence halves. Then explore the wider questions—in the classroom or as flipped learning.
- People with sore throats are being urged...
- An estimated one in five GP...
- The calls come from local councils which since...
- ...appointments are for minor ailments that patients could treat themselves.
- ...2013 have been responsible for public health matters.
- ...to see a pharmacist rather than visit their doctor’s surgery.
Answers:1c; 2a; 3b.
Where would you look for advice on whether a pharmacist or GP is most suitable for a particular medical condition?
What would you say to a friend who was making a GP’s appointment because of dandruff or travel sickness?
Discover what your local council is doing to encourage people to keep healthy. (Search online for public health and the name of your council.) Choose one health issue, and prepare to describe in your own words what it is and what the council is doing to support people’s health.
Croydon tram crash
© InfoJust after 6 am on Wednesday 9 November residents around Sandilands Junction in Croydon, south London heard a massive crash. An hour later, one local resident tweeted a picture of emergency services on the scene of an overturned tram. “Hope everyone is ok,” she said.
During the day, news came that everyone was not ok. Seven people died and 51 were taken to hospital. Eight people had injuries described as serious or life-threatening.
Discuss what it might be like for locals when a fatal accident occurs. A normal day is shattered, suddenly dominated by an array of emotions and thoughts on practical help. What might some of these emotions be? What would your personal coping mechanism be? Would you prefer to talk to other people about it? If so, who? Or would you be quiet and reflective, thinking about those involved? How might you help or support others?
Options in the Calais camp
© InfoThe makeshift camp in Calais, France, known as the ‘Jungle’, is being closed. Refugees are being moved out. Some children are staying on, in a camp made of shipping containers. Read about one boy and explore some of the options available to him.
A Syrian boy we call Elias, aged 15, applied for legal entry to the UK. The application took months to prepare, with the help of volunteer lawyers. All this time he waited in the unsafe and unsanitary conditions of the camp. He was alone and terrified.
The application was rejected after a few weeks because someone made a mistake processing it.
When Elias heard the news and was told he could resubmit the application he burst into tears and ran away.
Options for discussion
- Why do you think Elias ran off and left the ‘Jungle’? Was he panicked, in despair, exhausted, frightened? Did he have a better plan? Had he lost trust in his helpers? Discuss some of the emotions he might have felt.
- The helpers discovered that Elias had gone to Belgium. He was hoping to cross into the UK from there, illegally. He probably found out about this route from others in camp. If you had been with him at that time, what would you have advised him to do?
- Elias did come back, and resubmitted his request. But every night he tries to cross illegally through the Eurotunnel. Would improved living conditions in Calais be enough to persuade Elias to stop these dangerous attempts? If not, what would?
Unnecessary medical treatments
A group of senior doctors recently published a list of 40 medical treatments it says are pointless. For example, X-rays are of little help for lower back pain and children do not normally need a plaster cast if they have a small wrist fracture.
The list, drawn up by experts from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, also suggests that using drinking water from a tap is just as good for cleaning cuts and grazes as sterile saline solutions.
- Have you ever had a medical problem and been told by doctors that it will get better on its own and nothing needs to be done? How did that make you feel? Why do some people prefer action or intervention to waiting?
- Discuss the placebo effect. A young child with a hurt finger might feel better with a bandage, even if it isn’t strictly necessary. Do people heal more quickly if their pain is acknowledged and they are treated kindly?
- Have you ever cared for yourself or someone around you when they have been unwell or in a situation that called for first aid? What did you do? Did you trust your own judgement? Would it matter if what you did was regarded by some as unnecessary?
A snake bite from nowhere
A woman was bitten on the leg by a snake as she walked home one afternoon after shopping in Worcester city centre.
An unidentified, brown-coloured snake darted from the bushes and grabbed her leg, possibly attracted by food in her carrier bag. The snake bit the woman then disappeared. Snake experts say the snake was most likely to be an escaped exotic pet.
“It bit me on the side of the calf and it really hurt, I felt a burning sensation like my leg was on fire” said 57-year-old Patricia Bullock.
“It bit me and then it was gone – I was absolutely shocked.”
- Patricia got advice from a pharmacy and her doctor. What would you have done? Are there any other sources of help you might have tried in her position?
- If you’d been with her at the time, what would have been your first aid response? Discuss it, then review the advice from the British Red Cross, which is: “reassure the person and help them to sit down. Keep the injured part as still as possible, immobilise with a non-elastic bandage and seek medical help.” What can you congratulate yourself on getting right?
- Patricia told reporters she felt shocked and shaken afterwards. She had trouble sleeping at night and had visions of the snake lashing out at her. She worried about a child being bitten. If you were her friend, how might you respond to her distress? What could you do or say that might help her feel better? What might make her feel worse?
When the clocks go back
Try the quiz. Check the answers, then encourage further discussions about how to stay safe when out and about during the winter months.
- At the end of October every year the clocks go back one hour. Does this mean:
- We’re moving from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to British Winter Time (BWT).
- We’re moving from British Summer Time (BST) to British Autumn Time (BAT).
- We’re moving from British Summer time (BST) to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
- What is the most noticeable effect after the clocks go back?
- It is darker in the mornings.
- It is darker in the evenings.
- It is darker in the mornings and lighter in the evenings.
- Which of the following best describes what happens in winter at dusk, the time between daylight and darkness?
- Motorists can use headlights and so see more clearly and respond more quickly.
- Motorists may not properly adjust to the reduced daylight which makes their vision less sharp, and so may miss seeing things, including pedestrians.
- Motorists sleep better in the dark nights of winter and so are more alert.
- Which of the following is a good motto to adopt, repeat often and act upon when cycling?
- See and be seen.
- Be and be been.
- Go and be gone.
Answers: 1c; 2b; 3b; 4a.