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Health Visiting Hub

Health Visiting Hub

Summer Time @ The Health Visiting Hub


With summer here and the school holidays around the corner our 0-19 Health Visiting Team has launched a new campaign to help local families stay safe this summer whilst having fun.


The summer season is a great time to be out doors with your family and our campaign will help you prepare for any potential dangers your little ones may face during the summer months. Our campaign provides you with a wealth of tips and advice including the importance of staying hydrated in the warm weather, getting enough Vitamin D without risking sun damage, keeping safe during BBQ parties and knowing what outdoor plants can cause irritating scratches or stings to your little explorers.


The Health Visiting Hub Facebook page is a great source of information, bringing you the latest advice, tips, events and fun activities to help give children the best start in life. It's open to everyone - parents, carers and families. Like and share the page!


Vitamin D


Vitamin D


Are you and your family getting enough vitamin D?
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bone development and we get most of ours from sunlight exposure. We need vitamin D to help the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from our diet. These minerals are important for healthy bones and teeth. A lack of vitamin D – known as vitamin D deficiency – can cause bones to become soft and weak, which can lead to bone deformities. In children, for example, a lack of vitamin D can lead to rickets. In adults, it can lead to osteomalacia, which causes bone pain and tenderness.


Those most at risk of Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • pregnant women (especially young women under 20 years)
  • new mothers (particularly those breastfeeding)
  • breastfeeding women
  • babies
  • young children
  • over 65s
  • people with darker skin or who cover up for cultural reasons.


Did you know the sun is our main source of vitamin D?
Only 10% of our vitamin D is down to our diet - the main source of vitamin D is from the sun. However, being in the sun for too long can lead to health problems such as dehydration, sunburn, sunstroke and the risk of skin cancer. If you plan to be out in the sun for a long period of time, ensure to cover up with suitable clothing, seeking shade and applying at least SPF15 sunscreen to prevent sun damage on the skin. Just 15-30 minutes spent outside a few days per week in the summer (between 10.00am and 3.00pm) is enough to top up your vitamin D. Always remember to put your sunscreen on as normal.


People with dark skin absorb less sunlight and may therefore need to spend more time in the sun to generate enough vitamin D. For paler skinned adults and children the time may be less. It is advised that young children aged less than six months old should be kept out of direct strong sunlight.


You can't make vitamin D from sitting indoors by a sunny window so make sure your children get out in the sun and stay active.


Other ways to top up your vitamin D levels
Food will help keep levels of vitamin D topped up. These foods can include:

  • oily fish such as salmon
  • mackerel & sardines
  • meat
  • eggs

Manufacturers also have to add it to all margarine and infant formula milk. Other manufacturers add it voluntarily to some breakfast cereals, soya products, some dairy products, powdered milks and low-fat spread. However, this is often a minimal amount.


For more information visit NHS Choices.




Staying hydrated


Staying hydrated

It's important to ensure that babies and children get plenty of liquids to stay healthy during the summer months and help them develop good hydration habits for a lifetime.


Babies and young children need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated:


  • if you're breastfeeding your baby, you don't need to give them water as well as breast milk. However, they may want to breastfeed more than usual
  • if you're bottle feeding, as well as their usual milk feeds, you can give your baby cooled boiled water throughout the day. If your baby wakes at night, they'll probably want milk. If they've had their usual milk feeds, try cooled boiled water as well

You can be creative when trying to keep your babies and children hydrated:


  • if they're over six months old and they get bored with water, try giving them a combination of very diluted fruit juice, ice cubes and homemade fruit juice lollies throughout the day
  • for older children, plenty of fruit and salad will also help keep their fluid levels up
  • allow your children to pick their own drinking cups or travel bottles in their favourite colours or decorated with their favourite characters or make use of crazy straws


Staying hydrated doesn't only have to include liquids such as water, but many fruits and vegetables in your child's diet would have a similar effect such as watery fruits and vegetables like watermelon, strawberries, broccoli, celery, cucumbers and others.


For more information visit NHS Choices.


BBQ season


Staying safe during BBQ season


Barbecues are something children are naturally curious about. They want to see the bright lights, how it works and what is.


Although exploring is good for little ones, barbecues are seen as very dangerous when considering statistics showing that the most common types of BBQ-related accidents include burns, scalds, cuts and tears. In fact, each year about 1 000 people suffer injuries such as burns caused by barbecues.


Physical harm that may affect children can be prevented by the following:


  • ensuring that children are supervised constantly around the barbecue
  • use of accelerants such as paraffin and petrol is highly discouraged where children are involved
  • when the barbecue is being turned on, children should not be anywhere near the area
  • if children are around ensure that the barbecue is well covered
  • when the barbecue is on, it must never be left unattended
  • once the barbecue is done, the grill should not be moved until it has cooled down completely. The ashes should be emptied on to the garden soil or taken to an appropriate place

To avoid food poisoning good food and hand hygiene must be considered before, after and dealing with the food. Ensuring the food is fully cooked before serving it can be considered as very important. Burgers, sausages and kebabs should be cooked until they are piping hot all the way through, with no pink meat remaining and the juices run clear.


So, if you're considering planning a barbecue this summer always think food safety and try to plan ahead to prevent any harm to your guests.

Green fingers

Green finger safety


We're a nation of gardeners and love walking in the countryside. But rural rambles can bring perils. While most plants that grow in the UK are harmless, some sting, scratch or are poisonous.


To ensure that your children stay safe keep all plants, bulbs and seeds out of reach. When spending time with children outside you can use this time to steer them away from plants and when bringing plants from the plant nursery you can consider leaving the name tags to help identify which plant is which.


The following plants include hazards and what you would do if anybody is affected by them:


Stinging nettles
Stinging nettles, one of the most widespread plants in the UK, are the bane of many a country walk, especially for small children. Nettle leaves are covered in tiny, needle-like hairs. When you brush against a nettle, the hairs break off, penetrate your skin and sting you, producing the familiar burning sensation, itch and rash.

According to the Natural History Museum, the old wives' tale that the dock leaf is an effective natural remedy for nettle rash is true. The dock leaf, says the museum, contains chemicals that when rubbed over the sting, neutralise it and cool the skin down.


What to do: If you get stung by a nettle, look out for a dock leaf to rub on the rash. Dock leaves usually grow close to nettles. It's also a good idea to teach toddlers what stinging nettles look like so they can avoid them.


Giant hogweed
Giant hogweed can grow up to five metres tall, often along footpaths and riverbanks. If the sap of the plant comes into contact with your skin, it can cause severe, painful burns and make your skin sensitive to strong sunlight.


What to do: If you touch a giant hogweed, cover the affected area, and wash it with soap and water. The blisters heal very slowly and can develop into phytophotodermatitis, a type of skin rash which flares up in sunlight. If you feel unwell after contact with giant hogweed, speak to your doctor.


Thorny plants & rose thorns
Thorns, needles or spines from plants such as roses, holly, blackberry bushes, brambles can cause infections or other medical problems if they become implanted in your skin.


What to do: Remove thorns with tweezers - sometimes this is easier after soaking the area in warm water for a few minutes. Avoid injuries by teaching children how to check for plants with spiny leaves or thorns and always wear gardening gloves when you handle thorny plants.


Poisonous plants
Most British plants are harmless, but some - such as the yew, chrysanthemums, Hemlock Water Dropwort, deadly nightshade, snowdrops and mistletoe - are potentially toxic. Their leaves, berries, flowers, fruit, sap or bulbs can poison you, either by making you ill after eating them (as is the case with daffodil bulbs) or giving you a skin rash after touching them.


What to do: Remind children not to eat anything from the garden, unless you've said it's OK. If anyone shows symptoms such as tummy ache, vomiting, rashes or diarrhoea after playing outside, take them to an A&E department immediately with a sample of what they've eaten. When picking and eating wild mushrooms and berries, such as blackberries and elderberries, be absolutely sure of their identity beforehand.


The Royal Horticultural Society has advice on how to keep your family safe from potentially harmful garden plants. You can also call its helpline on 0845 260 8000 (10.00am - 12.30pm and 1.30pm - 4.00pm).

Competition time


It's competition time at the Health Visiting Hub


Be in with the chance of winning a £50.00 Blackwell's book voucher.


No matter the weather - rain or shine - we want you to know what you and your family are getting up to this summer holiday. Whether it’s a day on the beach, having fun in the local park, going on a bike ride, chilling in the garden, having a picnic indoors we would like to hear from you.


All you need to do is post a photograph of your fun family day out and tell us what you have been up to and where you have been. It couldn't be easier...


To qualify and enter:
1. Post your family fun photograph to our page - by posting your photograph you are agreeing to our competition terms and conditions (T&Cs can be found here)
2. Comment what you and your family have been doing and where you and you have been. Add hashtag #FamilyFun
3. Encourage your family and friends to like our 0219HVHub page
4. All enteries will be go into a prize draw and a winner will be selected at random 
5. Competition prize: £50.00 Blackwell's book voucher
6. Closing date: Friday 2 September 2016

7. Winner will be announced on Friday 9 September 2016 




Last Updated: Wednesday, 02 November 2016 14:22

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