Friday, 23 November 2012

Breath of Fresh Air Awards (BoFFAs) 2012

We drove down to Cardiff yesterday for the annual Breath of Fresh Air Awards. It's great to get together with the other Breathe Easy groups in South Wales and exchange news.
Our group was thrilled to receive two awards. One was for being the best fundraising group. You only have to look back to our August entry to see why that was. We amazed ourselves this year by being able to give over £8,000 to BLF Wales.

Then Doug and Margaret were proud to accept their certificate for outstanding service to Breathe Easy and the local community

Wherever there is a gathering of people they seem to be there as well with an Awareness Stand full of information and advice on all aspects of lung health both for patients and their carers.
We gave a lift to Brian from Swansea group and met up with others from Swansea, who shared our table.

The drive home was eventful though, through what can only be described as monsoon conditions.



Saturday, 17 November 2012

Clean air in Port Talbot

Sara Thomas has been doing some interesting work on a pilot scheme in Port Talbot, monitoring the air quality. They have sensors in the Margam area which register the very fine particles in the air which are invisible. We can all see when there is dust about but these invisible particles are the ones with the potential to get deep into our lungs, causing harmful irritation to those who already have lung conditions such as COPD or asthma and could cause harm to healthy lungs too.

I read an article today which indicates that maybe the presence of these microscopic particles can affect thinking and reaction times, especially in older people.

But let's not give Port Talbot and it's industries a bad name. Some of this pollution comes from the motorway and much of it comes from the Sahara Desert. The monitors have shown peak readings when the winds have been blowing the dust over us.

Well done Sara and her team and keep up the good work of making sure that our air is clean but at the same time supporting local industry and transport which are essential for jobs in the area.

We all had the chance to go through the "Changing for the better" book outlining the plans for change in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board. We have completed and returned the questionnaire emphasising the need to extend the pulmonary rehab program to reach more people than it does now - five/six programmes a year with eight people in each course is maximum forty eight patients a year, which is a mere drop in the ocean when compared to the number of people in the area who are living with a lung condition. We all know that the lessons learned in Pulmonary Rehab are vital in helping keep us out of hospital and access to rehab is a part of NICE recommendations.

Monday, 12 November 2012

World COPD Day - 14th November

Many people don't know what COPD is, and even if they have heard of it they don't know what it means :-

  • Chronic - it won't go away
  • Obstructive - airways are blocked
  • Pulmonary - to do with the lungs
  • Disease - it's an illness
Let's hope that we can find more of those "Missing Millions" who have COPD but are yet to be diagnosed. Early diagnosis and early treatment are essential for the best outcomes for COPD patients.

This is our information board in the Baglan Medical Resource Centre - lots of information about COPD, living with it, caring for someone with it,anxiety about it, depression because of it, end of life questions, support from British Lung Foundation and much more useful stuff.

So, if you are any three of these
  • breathless
  • coughing more than everyone else
  • a smoker or ex smoker
  • producing phlegm
go and see your pharmacist or GP for a simple lung test - it doesn't hurt, all you do is blow into a tube.

From Monday 12th November, a health campaign will launch across Wales which encourages people to talk to their pharmacist if they are suffering with a persistent cough.

Brian from Swansea and Only Men Aloud launched the "Love Your Lungs" campaign in Cardiff

Did they let you sing ?