Health Matters EBOP May 2016

Take a Breath of Fresh Air This May Quitting smoking can be a difficult process but things like creating a smokefree car and home are a great step in the right direction. “Creating a smokefree car and home helps protect family and visitors from secondhand smoke,” says Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Smoking Cessation Co-ordinator Wendy TustinPayne, who is helping promote World Smokefree on Tuesday 31 May. “More than 350 New Zealanders die from second-hand smoke each year, and the dangers of smoking remain long after the cigarette has been extinguished.” EBPHA Immunisation Advocate Raewyn Trainor (right) explains the importance of getting immunised during pregnancy and starting baby’s immunisations on time, at 6 weeks old, to mum-to-be Atareti Hape (left). Protecting Baby Starts in Pregnancy The importance of expectant mums getting immunised whilst pregnant has been highlighted during National Immunisation Week. The week, held between 2-8 May, ran under a theme of ‘protecting baby starts in pregnancy’ with mums-to-be urged to get immunised themselves, immunise baby on time and enrol early with a midwife and GP. Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance (EBPHA) Immunisation Coordinator Liz McAdam stressed the importance of immunisation against whooping cough and influenza during pregnancy. “Whooping cough can cause babies to become seriously ill, and can sometimes be deadly. Immunisation against whooping cough during pregnancy protects nine out of ten babies in their first few weeks of life, until they are fully immunised. “Expectant mothers should also get the seasonal flu immunisation. Getting the flu while pregnant can be serious for the mother – and baby. In fact, pregnant women are five times more likely to be admitted to hospital when suffering from influenzarelated complications than women who are not pregnant. “Both immunisations are recommended, free and have a proven safety record.” As well as encouragement to immunise baby on time, the week also highlighted the role of all health professionals working with new and expectant parents - midwives, practice nurses, GPs and hospital staff. As such the week was timed to coincide with International Midwives Day and this week’s International Nurses Day. For more information on immunisation go to:, or phone 0800 IMMUNE The dangers of second-hand smoke are well known and recent research is bringing to light the dangers of third-hand smoke. This occurs from ash and smoke that settles on the surface of furniture, carpet and car interiors which can be ingested or inhaled, even long after smoking has stopped. “Children in particular are vulnerable to the effects of cigarette smoke, and often don’t have a choice to move away,” says Wendy. “Not smoking around children also sets a good example, as research indicates children with parents who do smoke are three times more likely to take up smoking themselves.” This May, why not make your home and car smokefree, and encourage others to do. Ask friends and whānau to support you by not smoking in your car and home, put up ‘no smoking’ stickers, and be a positive role model by not smoking around children. If you are thinking about quitting smoking, or want some advice on creating smokefree environments contact Quitline on 0800 778 778. They provide free quit smoking counselling, nicotine replacement therapy and information about cessation medication, and can help you link up with local support services. Free smokefree stickers and resources can be ordered online via the Health Promotion Agency website Volunteers Sought for Parkinsons Research Volunteers are being sought for groundbreaking research into the effects of singing and music on Parkinson’s disease sufferers. The research, the first random control trial of its kind, is being conducted by Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Senior Speech and Language Therapist Robin Matthews. “The aim of the study is to answer an international call for a well-designed controlled study to evaluate the impact that singing and music has on voice and wellbeing in people with Parkinson’s disease,” said Robin. Parkinson’s New Zealand believes the data will assist them in ensuring their service delivery remains evidence based, responsive and relevant. The Lottery Health Research Committee agrees and have awarded Robin $32,000 to fund part of his research. He is now looking for volunteers within the Bay of Plenty to take part in the project. Robin said a recent survey of 500 New Zealanders with Parkinson’s found that fewer than 24% had seen a speech and language therapist, despite up to 90% developing communication difficulties. “Physical exercise, although essential for muscle tone, mobility and balance, does little to improve the muscles of voice. Therefore, a different and more direct form of exercise is required, which is why there is increasing global interest in group singing and vocal exercise as a means of improving voice in people with Parkinson’s and the reason behind this new research.” If you are interested in volunteering, or simply want to find out more, contact Robin by phone on 07 579 8783 or 027 326 1464 or by email on