Health Matters EBOP March 2018 - Page 2

Mumps From the Chair outbreak Sally Webb - Chair, Bay of Plenty District Health Board This edition of Health Matters highlights some of the exciting initiatives happening across Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) that are strengthening your health services. One in particular I encourage you to r ead highlights the success of the BOPDHB as a teaching and research facility for the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. This success has resulted in our DHB being officially recognised as a Clinical Campus. This gives us the opportunity to have more students coming here to train which gives them the chance to find out what a great place it is to work and live. And it also keeps us ‘front of mind’ when students graduate and are considering where they’d like to work. The Clinical Campus status helps us to recruit and retain high quality staff which means we continue providing you with high quality health services. This month we also have two articles on immunisation that I encourage you to reflect on. Whooping cough and mumps are both still prevalent in New Zealand. Immunisation is your best protection. Have you checked your immunisation records and that of your family? Contact your health centre for details. March marks the end of summer and it won’t be that long before winter is here. Every year we have the influenza vaccination programme to avoid you getting unnecessarily sick. So now is the time to be thinking about getting your “flu” shot. By being immunised, you not only protect yourself, but you help to ensure you don’t pass on influenza to your families, friends and colleagues. Flu immunisation is free for people who are most likely to get very sick, including those 65 +, pregnant women, children under the age of 4 who’ve been in hospital with breathing problems and people who are under the age of 65 with diabetes, heart or lung health issues. Don’t wait till it is too late - talk to your doctor to find out more this week. We want you to stay well. He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people! Arohanui Sally Webb protect you and your family with immunisation New Zealand is experiencing a mumps outbreak. Although the outbreak is focused on Auckland, most parts of the country have been affected. In the last month 17 mumps cases in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts have been notified to the local Medical Officer of Health. “Immunisation with the MMR vaccine is the best protection against Mumps – and it also protects against Measles and Rubella,” says Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health. MMR is recommended and free for anyone born since 1 January 1969 and is routinely given to children at 15 months and 4 years of age. “We strongly recommend that everyone checks whether they have received two doses of MMR vaccine. If you’re not up to date, please visit your family doctor to get immunised. MMR is free for anyone who needs it,” says Dr Shoemack. doctor to check. Mumps is very infectious and spreads from person to person by coughing and sneezing, or through contact with infected saliva, such as by sharing food and drink. Symptoms of mumps infection include fever, headache and swelling over the cheek or jaw area on one or both sides of the face. Symptoms usually appear 2 to 3 weeks after contact with someone who is infectious. It is usually a mild illness that lasts about one week, but it can have serious complications. If you think you have symptoms of mumps please stay at home and phone your family doctor, or Healthline on 0800 611 116, for advice. For more information about mumps visit www. toiteora.govt.nz/mumps Teenagers and young adults aged 12 to 29 are at greatest risk of catching mumps because, due to changes in our national immunisation schedule, they may not have been fully immunised as children. If you’re not sure whether you or your family are up to date with immunisations, contact your family Immunise your family to protect against whooping cough With the current national whooping cough epidemic, it’s important to check that you and your family are up-to-date with your immunisations, especially if you’re pregnant or have a baby. Since November 2017, across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts, there have been 255 cases of whooping cough notified to the local Medical Officer of Health. Whooping cough (also called pertussis) can be a serious disease. It is caused by a bacterium that is easily spread by coughing and sneezing. “Symptoms usually start with a runny nose and dry cough. The coughing gets worse and is followed, particularly in babies, by difficulty breathing (referred to as ‘whooping’), and sometimes vomiting,” says Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health. Babies under one year old are most at risk of serious complications from whooping cough. They are often unable to feed or breathe properly so become very ill and may need to be admitted to hospital. “The illness is usually milder in adults many of whom don’t realise they have whooping cough. Adults are often responsible for spreading the illness and anyone with a cough should, if possible, avoid contact with young babies,” says Dr Shoemack. On-time immunisation is the best way to help protect babies, children, pregnant women and adults from whooping cough. Protection for babies begins in pregnancy with free immunisation for pregnant women between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy. “By getting immunised each pregnancy, you pass on your immunity to your baby. This helps protect them from birth until their Help stop the spread first immunisation at of whooping cough 6 weeks old,” says • Make sure all your children are up to date with their immunisations. Dr Shoemack. • Keep your baby away from anyone with a cough. “It is really • If you have a cough yourself, important that stay away from babies. babies get their • If you’ve got a cough that won’t go away, see your doctor. first immunisation on time at 6 weeks. If immunisation is delayed your baby is more at risk of catching whooping cough from others,” says Dr Shoemack. After the 6 week immunisation, further free childhood immunisations are required for ongoing protection. Contact your family doctor to check whether you, your baby and other family members are up to date with whooping cough and other immunisations and make an appointment if needed. For more information visit www.toiteora.govt.nz/whooping_cough