Staying Healthy

Listen to this page

Healthy Skin

Skin puts up with a lot of wear and tear from hat, cold, wind, soap etc., so taking care of it is important. Try to find out what products suit your particular type of skin as this will really help to keep it healthy.

Getting Spots

Skin has natural oils in it to keep it supple and waterproof. As you get older the glands that produce this oil start to work harder which can make your skin feel greasy resulting in spots or acne. Try not to worry about this – nearly 70% of us get acne, at some stage and in differing degrees. Most people experience spots in their teens, anywhere from the face to the neck, back or chest, but many are affected in their twenties and thirties. Over the counter treatments are available so do ask your chemist for advice. If they don’t clear up or are severe or cause scarring see your GP as they can prescribe medication to help.

Healthy Hair

Everyone’s hair is different and you’ll get to know what feels right for you. It is worth finding a shampoo and conditioner that suits your hair type. Try to shampoo and condition your hair at least once or twice a week. You might notice that your hair gets more greasy as you reach puberty. This is normal – it just means that you might have to wash it more often than you used to for a while.

Black people may not need to wash their hair as frequently as white people. If you are black, your hair may be naturally dry so its important to use conditioners to replace the natural oils. You could try putting oil on your hair once or twice a week to prevent dryness.

Problems with hair

Dandruff

This can be really embarrassing but don’t worry, loads of people get dandruff and it’s completely manageable. Ask at your local pharmacy which shampoo you should use.

Head lice or nits

These can occur at any time at any age and it doesn’t mean that you or your hair is dirty. In fact, head lice prefer clean hair. They can’t jump, fly or swim but are spread by walking from one head to another. They can be treated with special shampoo and a nit comb – ask your local pharmacist which one to use.

Healthy ears and eyes

Your eyesight should be tested regularly as part of your general health care. But if you feel you have a problem with anything, make an appointment for a check-up with either an optician or a doctor as soon as you can. Remember eye tests are free until you are 16, and if you are in full-time education, they are free until you are 18.

Luckily it’s not too hard to look after your ears and eyes, just try to stick by the following and you should stay healthy:

  • Always remove any make-up from eyes at night as this can irritate your eyes and even cause an infection
  • Try to keep your ears clean but don’t use cotton buds as these will push wax further into your ears. Use a wet flannel or cotton wool instead.
  • Don’t play really loud music, especially when using headphones, as this can permanently damage your hearing.

Childhood Immunisation Programme

The following immunisations are offered routinely to everyone in the UK for free.

The current programme is:

At what age to immuniseDiseases protected against
Two months old Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) Pneumococcal disease
Three months old Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Hib, Meningococcal group C disease (MenC)
Four months old Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Hib, MenC, Pneumococcal disease
Between 12 and 13 months old – within a month of the first birthday Hib, MenC, Pneumococcal disease, Measles, mumps and rubella (German measles)
Three years and four months or soon after Diptheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio Measles, mumps and rubella
Girls aged 12 to 13 Cervical cancer caused by human papillomavirus types 16 and 18
13 to 18 years old Tetanus, diphtheria and polio

Immunisations play a very important part in keeping us all healthy and well. The immunisation programme has been vital in eradicating diseases. If people do not have the immunisations then the diseases start to come back such as measles and whooping cough. These illnesses can be very dangerous and may not only lead to death they can lead to chronic ill health and are a risk to a baby if you are pregnant.

For more information visit: www.kentcht.nhs.uk

If you are unsure if you are up to date with your vaccination check with your GP or Practice Nurse

Health Services near you

Find your local Primary Care Trust - http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/ServiceSearchAdditional.aspx

Healthy Teeth

Brush your teeth and gums (where the gums meet the teeth) at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and change your toothbrush regularly. Make sure you visit the dentist for a check-up once every six to nine months. If you would prefer ask someone to go with you to keep you company. Try to avoid having too many sugary food and drinks, especially between meals as the frequency of having sugar in your
mouth makes acid which then causes decay and you won’t feel like smiling and your breath will smell.

How do I keep my teeth healthy?

Brush them at least twice a day with toothpaste and change your toothbrush regularly. Make sure you visit the dentist for a check-up once every six to nine months. If you would prefer ask someone to go with you to keep you company.

Dental treatment is free if you are under 18, aged 18 and in full-time education, are pregnant, or have had a baby in the 12 months before treatment starts.

If your teeth are a bit crooked it’s worth putting up with a brace. Usually you won’t have to wear it longer than about 18 months and think how great you’ll look when it comes off.

Try not to eat too many sugary foods as they can cause teeth decay meaning you might need fillings or other dental treatment.

If you don’t take care of your teeth, cavities and unhealthy gums will make your mouth really sore, eating meals will be difficult and you won’t feel like smiling. So take care of them and remember to visit the dentist if you think anything is wrong.

If you do not have a NHS dentist you can phone the Dental Enquiry Line Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm

  • East Kent 08082 389797
  • West Kent 08000 850850

If you need emergency Dental Treatment:

  • Dentaline 01634 890300, they are open weekdays 6pm-10pm

Growing Up and Body Changes

Everyone needs to know about growing up, body changes and sexual health. Sometimes adults find it hard to discuss these things with young people but it’s a good idea to talk to someone you can trust.

Adolescence – the timebetween being a child and becoming an adult, and puberty – the physical changes during adolescence can be a difficult and confusing time.

So What’s Going On?

All sorts of changes to your body and emotions start to happen. Puberty happens to different people at different times, so don’t worry if your friends have started to develop before you. You may be feeling….

  • Moody! Happy one day, angry and tearful the next
  • Worried about what your friends might think about you
  • Anxious for your independence as you’re starting to have your own ideas and make your own decisions
  • Too fat or thin, that your hair is wrong or unhappy about what you look like

So What Happens?

Girls

  • Your breasts start to develop
  • You will grow hair under your arms, on your legs and in the public area (between your legs) of your body
  • You will start to release your eggs (ovulate) and have periods once every month
  • You may start getting spots

Periods

These can start at any time during your adolescence but usually start between the age of 10 and 17. Once you’ve got used to them, they are not hard to manage. Use a sanitary towel or tampon to catch the blood and change it every few hours. At first your periods are likely to be light and may be irregular. It’s a good idea to write the date down so you know when to expect the next one. They usually last between 3-7 days. Your life should carry on as normal during your period – it’s fine to carry on doing sport, including swimming, just keep your body clean. Missing a period is normal but remember, if you have had sex, it may be the first sign that you are pregnant.

Pre-menstrual Syndrome/Tension (PMS or PMT

This is the few days before your period when some girls can feel moody, anxious, achy or a bit sick. There are some ways you can help ease this such as:

  • Exercise – this helps with both the physical and emotional symptoms
  • Drink lots of water to help with the sickness or try eating or drinking some ginger with ginger biscuits or ginger ale
  • Take a hot bath or use a hot water bottle
  • Talk to your doctor about why they can do to help

Boys

  • Your voice will break (get deeper)
  • You will start to grow hair on your face, in your pubic area (between your legs), under your arms, on your legs and on your chest
  • You might get spots
  • Your penis and testicles will get bigger
  • Your testicles will start to produce sperm which means you can make a girl pregnant if you have sex
  • Some boys develop breasts during puberty – this is nothing to worry about. They will disappear once your hormones settle down.

Get more information here: http://www.teenagehealthfreak.org/

Allergies

What are allergies?

Lots of us suffer from allergies. You probably know at least one person that has hayfever or is allergic to nuts. An allergy is a bad physical reaction to something. This something that you are allergic to is known as an allergen and it is oftenharmless to other people. The most common allergens are pollen, nuts, pets and dust. For most of us, allergies are simply annoying, but for some people the reactions can be really bad and can only be treated with medicine.

How do I know if I’ve got an allergy?

An allergy means our immune system is having an excessive response to something. Some common reactions are:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Runny, sneezy nose
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing when we breate out
  • Rashes (most commonly blotches or little red bumps)
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhoea

Talk to your doctor if you are worried about allergies. Check out the NHS Choices Website for loads more information about allergies and how to cope with them. http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/allergies/Pages/Allergieshome.aspx

Sleep and Rest

Sleep, rest and relaxation are important for a healthy mind and body. Your body needs times to rest and repair a day’s activity.

If you have been having bad dreams, talk to someone about them. This can help you to understand why you might be having them. If you are worried about being unable to sleep or find yourself really sleepy during the day, talk to your doctor or nurse.

Can’t sleep?

Everyone finds it hard to sleep occasionally but some people suffer more than others. You might be having trouble sleeping because:

  • You’re ill
  • You’re worried or stressed out
  • You’re kept up by noise or bad dreams
  • You’ve taken drugs, been smoking or have drunk too much caffeine
  • You’re really excited about something
  • You’re sleeping somewhere new
  • You’re uncomfortable or too hot or cold
  • You’re hungry

Here are some things that can help:

Talk to someone about what’s worrying you or make a list of your worries and ideas of how you could tackle them. This can make things seem a bit more manageable.

Get a regular sleep pattern – go to bed and get up at the same times every day.

Try to wind down before you go to bed. Try reading a book, listening to music or having a hot bath. Whatever it takes for you to relax.

Exercise during the day. This makes your body tired which should help you sleep. But try not to exercise just before you go to bed as you might find it hard to settle.

Have a hot drink like hot milk before you go to bed. Don’t drink anything with caffeine in such as tea or cola, tea or coffee as this will keep you up. If you are hungry have a snack.

For more information on sleeping well click on this link: http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/problems/sleepproblems/sleepingwell.aspx

 

Health Centre