Live Well

Child Immunisation

One of the most important things that a parent can do for their child is to make sure that they have all their routine childhood vaccinations. It is the most effective way of keeping them protected against infectious diseases.

Ideally, children should have their jabs at the right age to protect them as early as possible and minimise the risk of infection.

Vaccination Checklist

Here’s a checklist of the vaccines that are routinely offered to everyone in the UK for free on the NHS and the age at which you should ideally have them.

2 months:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib, a bacterial infection that can cause severe pneumonia or meningitis in young children) given as a 5-in-1 single jab known as DTaP/IPV/Hib
  • Pneumococcal infection

3 months:

  • 5-in-1, second dose (DTaP/IPV/Hib)
  • Meningitis C

4 months:

  • 5-in-1, third dose (DTaP/IPV/Hib)
  • Pneumococcal infection, second dose
  • Meningitis C, second dose

Between 12 and 13 months:

  • Meningitis C, third dose
  • Hib, fourth dose (Hib/MenC given as a single jab)
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), given as a single jab
  • Pneumococcal infection, third dose

3 years and 4 months, or soon after:

  • MMR second jab
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio (DtaP/IPV), given as a 4-in-1 pre-school booster

Around 12-13 years:

  • Cervical cancer (HPV) vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer (girls only): three jabs given within six months

Around 13-18 years:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus and polio booster (Td/IPV), given as a single jab

65 and over:

  • Flu (every year)
  • Pneumococcal

Vaccines For Risk Groups

People who fall into certain risk groups may be offered extra vaccines. These include vaccinations against diseases such as hepatitis B, tuberculosis (TB), seasonal flu and chickenpox. See the NHS Choices pages on vaccines for adults to find out whether you should have one.

Read more about vaccines for kids on the NHS Choices website.

Health Guides

We want you to manage your own health and stay fit and healthy. To help you to do this we have provided three Health Guides which are available to view electronically  – http://www.neneccg.nhs.uk/health-guides/

Common Childhood Illness Guide – http://www.neneccg.nhs.uk/childhood/

A Young Persons Guild To Health And Happiness – http://www.neneccg.nhs.uk/young-persons/

Keeping Healthy And Happy In Later Life – http://www.neneccg.nhs.uk/older-persons/

Symptoms Sorter – http://www.neneccg.nhs.uk/symptom-sorter/

Get Fit For Free

The secret to getting fit for free is to use every opportunity to be active.

Armed with a bit of get-up-and-go and good planning, you can be fitter than ever without spending a penny.

NHS Choices have enlisted the help of top fitness experts to help you explore new ways and places to exercise for free. Click on the following to find out more:

Birth To Five

Your NHS guide to parenting in the early years

Whether your child is a newborn, a toddler or a pre-schooler, this Birth to five guide is for you. It has 150 pages of NHS-accredited information, videos and interactive tools to help you through the parenting process.

They answer all your questions, from how to soothe a crying baby to how to prepare your child for school. Learn how to spot the signs of serious illness, how to cope if an accident happens, and how to check your child’s development.

And they haven’t forgotten about you: as a parent or carer, your wellbeing is crucial too. The guide covers all you need to know about your health after having a baby, as well as your rights, benefits and NHS services.

Baby Essentials

Health and Development

You and Your Life

Mental Health

It’s easy to think that mental health issues don’t concern us, but in fact a quarter of us will have problems with our mental wellbeing at some time in our lives.

Mental health problems are equally common in men and women, but the types of problems differ. Women are one-and-a-half times more likely to be affected by anxiety and depression, while men suffer more from substance abuse (one in eight men is dependent on alcohol) and anti-social personality disorders. Men are also more prone to suicide: British men are three times more likely than British women to die as a result of suicide.

Serious mental health problems are also more common than you might think. One person in 100 has a severe mental health condition such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

All these figures are based on people who have sought help for their mental health problems. Many more could be living with undiagnosed mental health issues, according to mental health charity MIND.

If you’re worried about your mental health, or if someone in your life is affected, there are plenty of ways to get help. Find out more about mental health support.

You can also contact mental health charities such as Sane and the Mental Health Foundation.

Read more at NHS Choices

Winter Health – Beat The Blues

Winter depression (seasonal affective disorder or SAD) is thought to affect up to one in 15 Brits every year between September and April. Many more of us (about 17%) get a milder form of the condition, known as the winter blues.

Key symptoms

  • depression
  • sleep problems
  • lethargy
  • overeating
  • irritability
  • feeling down and unsociable

According to Sue Pavlovich of the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA), these 10 tips could help. “Everyone’s affected differently by SAD so what works for one person won’t for another. But there’s usually something that will help, so don’t give up if the first remedy you try doesn’t work. Just keep trying,” she says.

1. Keep active

Research has shown that a daily one-hour walk, in the middle of the day, could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues. Read more about walking to get fit.

2. Get outside

Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on bright days. Inside your home, choose pale colours that reflect light from outside, and sit near windows whenever you can.

3. Keep warm

Being cold makes you more depressed. It’s also been shown that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by half. Keep warm with hot drinks and hot food. Wear warm clothes and shoes and aim to keep your home between 18C and 21C (or 64F and 70F degrees). For further information on what you can do, including applying for grants to keep your home warm, read our article on keeping warm and well.

Severe symptoms

If your symptoms are so bad that you can’t live a normal life, see your GP for medical help. 

4. Eat healthily

A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight  ove r winter.  Balance your craving for carbohydrates, such as pasta and potatoes, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

“Some people tell us that taking extra vitamin D helps,” adds Pavlovich. Good food sources of vita min D include oily fish and eggs. 

Read more about healthy eating.

5. Lighten up

Light therapy can be effective in up to 85% of diagnosed cases. One way to get light therapy at home in winter is to sit in front of a light box for up to two hours a day.

Light boxes give out very bright light that is at least 10 times stronger than ordinary home and office lighting. They’re not available on the NHS and cost around £100 or more.

“Some people find that using a dawn simulator [a bedside light, connected to an alarm clock, which mimics a sunrise and wakes you up gradually] as well as a light box can enhance the beneficial effect,” says Pavlovich

The SADA Information Pack contains full details of recommended light box manufacturers and how to use them.

6. Take up a new hobby

Keeping your mind active with a new interest seems to ward off symptoms of SAD, says Pavlovich. “It could be anything, such as playing bridge, singing, knitting, joining a gym, keeping a journal or writing a blog. The important thing is that you have something to look forward to and concentrate on,” she adds.

7. See your friends and family

It’s been shown that socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Make an effort to keep in touch with people you care about and accept any invitations you get to social events, even if you only go for a little while. It will really help to lift your spirits.

8. Talk it through

Talking treatments such as counselling, psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you cope with symptoms. See your GP for information on what’s available locally on the NHS and privately. Or, read this article on how to access talking treatments.

9. Join a support group


Think about joining a support group. Sharing your experience with others who know what it’s like to have SAD is very therapeutic and can make your symptoms more bearable.

SADA is the UK’s only registered charity dedicated to seasonal affective disorder. It costs £12 (£7 for concessions) to join and you’ll receive an information pack, regular newsletters, discounts on products such as light boxes and contacts for telephone support.

10. Seek help


If your symptoms are so bad that you can’t live a normal life, see your GP for medical help. 

Read more about the treatment of seasonal affective disorder.

More Winter Health at NHS Choices

Summer Health

Barbecue Food Safety

It’s important to cook food thoroughly at a barbecue to avoid food poisoning. Food poisoning is usually mild, and most people get better within a week. But sometimes it can be more severe, even deadly, so it’s important to take the risks seriously. Children, older people and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to food poisoning.

The two main risk factors to cooking on the barbecue are:

  • undercooked meat
  • spreading germs from raw meat onto food that’s ready to eat

This is because raw or undercooked meat can contain germs that cause food poisoning, such as salmonella, E.coli and campylobacter. However, it’s easy to kill these germs by cooking meat until it is piping hot throughout.

When you’re cooking any kind of meat on a barbecue, such as poultry (chicken or turkey), pork, steak, burgers or sausages, make sure:

  • The coals are glowing red with a powdery grey surface before you start cooking, as this means that they’re hot enough.
  • Frozen meat is properly thawed before you cook it.
  • You turn the meat regularly and move it around the barbecue to cook it evenly.

Remember that meat is safe to eat only when:

  • It is piping hot in the centre.
  • There is no pink meat visible.
  • Any juices are clear.

Hay Fever – Allergy UK helpline: 01322 619898

Hay fever affects around 20% of people in the UK. Lindsey McManus of Allergy UK offers some tips on avoiding the causes and reducing your symptoms.

“The main triggers of hay fever are tree and grass pollen,” says Lindsey. “The pollen count is always higher when it’s a nice, bright, sunny day.”

Top Tips:

  • If grass makes you sneeze, get someone else to mow your lawn. If you react to grass and you spend time on the lawn, you’ll get symptoms.
  • Create a barrier by smearing Vaseline inside your nostrils.
  • Don’t sit outside between 4pm and 7pm or in the early morning, as the pollen count is highest at these times.
  • Don’t sleep or drive with the windows open, as this will allow pollen to come in.
  • Damp dust regularly.
  • Wash your hair. Pollen is sticky and may be in your hair.
  • Vacuum. Pollen can live in carpet for up to three months.
  • Talk to your GP or pharmacist about any treatment you’re taking for hay fever as it might be worth trying a new treatment. The same antihistamine [anti-allergy treatment] doesn’t always work for someone year after year. Try something different, such as a nasal spray or a new antihistamine.

Sun Safety

It’s important to protect your and your children’s skin in the sun to avoid sunburn and heat exhaustion.

Click here for NHS Choices Questions and Answers

Stings

Knowing how to treat an insect sting and how to recognise when it needs medical attention will help you do the right thing if you or your child are stung.

Insects such as wasps and bees sting as a defence mechanism (when they feel in danger) by injecting poisonous venom into the skin. For most people, stings are painful but harmless. But some people can have an immediate allergic reaction to being stung, which can be very dangerous.

Click here to read more about stings

More Summer Health at NHS Choices

Map of Medicine


The Map of Medicine is used by doctors throughout the NHS to determine the best treatment options for their patients. NHS Choices offers everyone in England exclusive and free access to this cutting-edge internet resource, which lets you see exactly what your doctor sees.