Breathe easy this winter - join in with #Scarfie

Health professionals across mid and south Essex are encouraging people with respiratory conditions to stay well this winter by joining in with a new campaign #Scarfie launching today (Monday 4 December).

#Scarfie hopes to encourage people with Asthma, COPD and other respiratory illnesses to wear a scarf this winter to ease their breathing and keep well.

Across mid and south Essex there are more than 93,000 people with Asthma and COPD. In the Basildon and Brentwood districts alone, there are 16,555 people with a recorded diagnosis of Asthma and 5,320 with a recorded diagnosis of COPD.

Last winter (November 2016-February 2017) 1002 people living in the Basildon and Brentwood districts attended A&E due to respiratory problems and of these 227 people were taken to hospital by ambulance.

Following a simple tip to wear a scarf in cold weather could help many people with respiratory conditions to stay well this winter.

Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group has enlisted a little help from the Gruffalo characters at Thorndon Country Park in Brentwood to spread the message about the health care benefits of winter scarves to parents whose children have asthma in particular.

Local GP Dr Sooraj Natarajan, who is the clinical lead for paediatrics at Basildon and Brentwood CCG, said: “By wearing a scarf which covers the nose and mouth, people warm up their breath before it goes into their lungs and this can help stop any respiratory conditions from getting worse in the colder weather.

“Hospital admissions for asthma traditionally peak during periods of particularly cold weather. This is because children with asthma pick up colds and flu which circulate more during the winter months.

“Children whose Asthma is well-controlled are more likely to be able to withstand the risks of winter and avoid having to spend any time in hospital. It is also important to ensure your children are vaccinated against influenza.”

Other tips for parents on keeping asthma under control include making sure your child has a regular asthma review with your doctor or asthma nurse.

If prescribed, taking regular preventive medicine is vital. Check your child has their inhaler with them at all times and that they are using it in the correct way.

Asthma UK’s #Scarfie campaign asks everyone to take a selfie while wearing a scarf, which is wrapped loosely around their nose and mouth. To help spread the message, please post your photo to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #Scarfie.

To support the campaign staff at Basildon and Brentwood CCG have knitted their own giant #Scarfie to take to local child-themed landmarks such as the Gruffalo trail in Thorndon Country Park. The scarf will later be used to raise funds for a local charity.

Information about #Scarfie and staying well over the winter is available on all CCG and Hospital Trust websites across mid and south Essex and is being shared with all GP practices and other health and care professionals.

For more information on the Asthma UK #Scarfie campaign visit:

You can also follow the #Scarfie campaign on Basildon and Brentwood CCG's Twitter feed @BB_CCG



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