The more you know about your pregnancy and your options, the more you are likely to feel in control. The information given here is based on The Pregnancy Book, which your midwife should give you at your first appointment.
Here's a checklist of the vaccines that are routinely offered to everyone in the UK for free on the NHS, and the age at which you should ideally have them.
** Where two or more injections are required at once, these should ideally be given in different limbs. Where this is not possible, injections in the same limb should be given 2.5cm apart.
There is a good guide on the NHS website which describes various conditions affecting children. There is advice on how to diagnose them, how to treat them and if further advice should be consulted.
NHS childhood illness slideshow
Having an ill child can be a very scary experience for parents. If you understand more about the illness it can help you to feel more in control. This booklet is for parents (and older children) and deals with common infections in children who are normally healthy.
Download the booklet
See the NHS Choices Conditions and Treatments browser for an in-depth description of many common health issues.
These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice
The Meningitis C vaccination will be introduced during the 2013/14 academic year and the vaccine supplied will depend on the brands available at the time of ordering
Download the booklet
Most symptoms of a fever in young children can be managed at home with infant paracetamol. If the fever is very high, they may have an infection that needs treating with antibiotics.
Head lice are insects that live on the scalp and neck. They may make your head feel itchy. Although head lice may be embarrassing and sometimes uncomfortable, they don't usually cause illness. However, they won't clear up on their own and you need to treat them promptly
Nosebleeds (also known as epistaxis) are fairly common, especially in children, and can generally be easily treated.
Five health symptoms men should not ignore:
"British men are paying the price for neglecting their health: more than 100,000 men a year die prematurely.
On average, men go to their GP half as often as women. It's important to be aware of changes to your health, and to see your GP immediately if you notice something that's not right." Find out more
Each year about 36,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer, making it the most common cancer in men. It mainly affects men aged over 50.
These symptoms aren't always caused by prostate cancer but if you have them, see your GP.
Find out more about the symptoms, causes and diagnosis of prostate cancer by using the resources below.
BUPA - Prostate Cancer
NHS Choices - Prostate Cancer
Testicular cancer, though the most common cancer in young men, it is still quite rare. With 2000 new cases being diagnosed each year, this makes it the biggest cause of cancer related death in 15 - 35-year-old males. It accounts for around 70 deaths a year within the UK alone.
The most common symptom of testicular cancer is swelling or a pea-sized lump in one of the testes (balls). There is no current screening test therefore it is important that you look out for the following signs and symptoms.
NHS - Information on Testicular Cancer
BUPA - Testicular Cancer
It’s estimated that one man in 10 has a problem related to having sex, such as premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction. Dr John Tomlinson of The Sexual Advice Association explains some of the causes, and where to seek help.
Find our more on NHS Choices
Cervical screening is a method of preventing cervical cancer by detecting abnormal cells in the cervix (lower part of the womb). Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, but it is a test to check the health of the cervix.
Most women's test results show that everything is normal. But for one in 20 women, the test will show some changes in the cells of the cervix. Most of these changes will not lead to cervical cancer and the cells will go back to normal on their own. In some cases, the abnormal cells need to be treated to prevent them becoming a problem later.
NHS Choices - Cervical Screening The why, when & how guide to cervical screening
NHS Inform (Scottish Patients) Cervical Screening information, risks, benefits and tests for patients based in Scotland
Cervical Screening This factsheet is for women who would like information about having a cervical smear test for screening. This means having the test when you don't have any symptoms.
Since September 2008 there has been a national programme to vaccinate girls aged 12-13 against human papilloma virus (HPV). There is also a three-year catch up campaign that will offer the HPV vaccine (also known as the cervical cancer jab) to 13-18 year old girls.
The programme is delivered largely through secondary schools, and consists of three injections that are given over a six-month period. In the UK, more than 1.4 million doses have been given since the vaccination programme started.
What is Human papilloma virus (HPV)? Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the name of a family of viruses that affect the skin and the moist membranes that line your body, such as those in your cervix, anus, mouth and throat. These membranes are called the mucosa.
There are more than 100 different types of HPV viruses, with about 40 types affecting the genital area. These are classed as high risk and low risk.
How you get HPV? Types of HPV that affect the skin can be passed on by skin contact with an affected person. The types of HPV that affect the mouth and throat can be passed on through kissing. Genital HPV is usually spread through intimate, skin to skin, contact during sex. You can have the genital HPV virus for years and not have any sign of it.
How HPV can cause cervical cancer?Most HPV infections are harmless or cause genital warts, however some types can cause cervical cancer. Most HPV infections clear up by themselves, but in some people the infection can last a long time. HPV infects the cells of the surface of the cervix where it can stay for many years without you knowing.
The HPV virus can damage these cells leading to changes in their appearance. Over time, these changes can develop into cervical cancer. The purpose of cervical screening (testing) is to detect these changes, which, if picked up early enough, can be treated to prevent cancer happening. If they are left untreated, cancer can develop and may lead to serious illness and death.
Cancer Research UK HPV Facts and information
NHS Choices - HPV VaccinationWhy, how and when is the vaccination given and what are the side effects
HPV Vaccine This factsheet is for people who would like information about the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. About 46,000 women get breast cancer in the UK each year. Most of them (8 out of 10) are over 50, but younger women, and in rare cases men, can also get breast cancer.
The NHS Breast Screening Programme invites over 2 million women for screening every year, and detects over 14,000 cancers. Dr Emma Pennery of Breast Cancer Care says: “Breast X-rays, called mammograms, can detect tumours at a very early stage, before you’d feel a lump. The earlier it’s treated, the higher the survival rate.”
Find out more about breast cancer screening
Macmillan Cancer Research The causes and symptoms of breast cancer in women and explains how it is diagnosed and treated
NHS Choices Symtpoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention & screening information
Influenza – flu – is a highly infectious and potentially serious illness caused by influenza viruses. Each year the make-up of the seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the influenza viruses that the World Health Organization decide are most likely to be circulating in the coming winter.
Regular immunisation (vaccination) is given free of charge to the following at-risk people, to protect them from seasonal flu:
For more information on flu immunisation, including background information on the vaccine and how you can get the jab, see Seasonal flu jab
HPA - Season Flu Guide
Seasonal Flu Factsheet
We're bombarded with scare stories about weight, from size zero to the obesity 'epidemic'. But a healthy body is determined by different factors for each of us.
NHS - Good Food Guide Information on a healthy diet and ways to make it work for you
NHS - Why be active? Even a little bit of exercise will make you feel better about yourself, boost your confidence and cut your risk of developing a serious illness.
These links all come from trusted resources but if you are unsure about these or any other medical matters please contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Both men and women need to look after their sexual health and take time to understand the issues that surround contraception and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
For instance there are some STIs, like chlamydia, that you could be carrying without having any symptoms. This infection can affect fertility, so it's important to make use of the sexual health services available for free on the NHS.
Sex & Young People A comprehensive guide to the questions you may have about sex from the NHS
Sexually Transmitted Infections Issues, symptoms and treatments
Sexual Health FAQs Expert answers from a qualified Doctor
NetdoctorHere you'll find tips for a fulfilling sex life plus advice on STDs, contraception and common sex problems.
FPA - The Sexual Health CharitySexual health advice and information on contraception, sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy choices, abortion and planning a pregnancy.
There are so many different types of contraception available that you should be able to find the right method. You may have to try several different things before you choose the one you like most.
NetDoctor A Family Planning specialist writes about the different types of contraception, the benefits and pitfalls and how effective they are
Contraception - NHS Choices Information on Contraception from NHS Choices including why, when and how it should be used and with links to other useful resources.
Hormonal Contraception This factsheet is for women who are taking hormonal contraceptives, or who would like information about them.
Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection among under-25s. Often there are no symptoms, but testing and treatment are simple.
Causes and risk factors Chlamydia is usually passed from one person to another during vaginal, oral or anal sex, or by sharing sex toys. It can live inside cells of the cervix, urethra, rectum and sometimes in the throat and eyes.
NHS Choices - focus on ChlamydiaInformation, videos and advice from the NHS website
Chlamydia This factsheet is for people who have chlamydia, or who would like information about it.
The NHS Health Check is a sophisticated check of your heart health. Aimed at adults in England aged 40 to 74, it checks your vascular or circulatory health and works out your risk of developing some of the most disabling – but preventable – illnesses.
Think of your NHS Health Check as being your "midlife MOT". It checks that some of your body's most important systems are all running smoothly. Among other things, your blood pressure, cholesterol, and BMI will all be checked and your results given to you.
Crucially, your NHS Health Check can detect potential problems before they do real damage. Everyone is at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and some forms of dementia. The good news is that these conditions can often be prevented.
Your NHS Health Check will assess your risk of developing these health problems and give you personalised advice on how to reduce it.
It's free of charge, including any follow-up tests or appointments.
Thousands of people have already had an NHS Health Check. They are now armed with information and support to reduce their risk of developing heart and vascular problems. Why not join them?
Together, the vascular conditions identified by the NHS Health Check are the biggest cause of preventable deaths in the UK, affecting more than 4 million people.
Every year, the NHS Health Check is expected to help:
If you want to avoid being a statistic, it's worth making an appointment for an NHS Health Check as soon as you get your invitation.
Find out more about why you should have an NHS Health Check.
You'll be invited for an NHS Health Check every five years if you are between 40 and 74 years old, as long as you don't have an existing vascular condition.
You'll usually get your NHS Health Check at a GP practice or local pharmacy, but it could happen at other convenient places in your neighbourhood, depending on where you live. Find out more about ways to get the NHS Health Check.
Even if you don't qualify yet for an NHS Health Check, there are plenty of other ways to build up a picture of your health.
Start by taking the online heart age test now to see how healthy your heart is.
At the check, you'll be asked some questions about your lifestyle and family medical history. You'll also have some routine tests. From these, your healthcare professional will be able to give you an idea of your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes. As well as a breakdown of your results, you'll get an overall score giving your risk of getting heart disease or stroke. If you're over 65, you will also be told the signs and symptoms of dementia, and you'll be made aware of memory services nearby.
After your results have been explained, you’ll be offered personalised advice and support to help stay healthy, and lower your risk if any of your results need improving. This advice could include suggestions on small changes to your diet or how much exercise you should take if your risk is low or moderate.
If you are at higher risk, your healthcare professional might want to discuss whether you should be taking medicines to control your blood pressure or cholesterol, along with help to take action such as losing weight, becoming more active or stopping smoking.
By having a routine NHS Health Check for these conditions every five years, you can take action early and greatly improve your chance of a longer, healthier and happier life. You may be surprised how some small, long-lasting changes to your lifestyle can make a huge difference.
Once you've had your NHS Health Check, you'll have a good idea of what your risk is of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia. There are some risk factors for these diseases that can't be changed; for example, your risk increases with age. But there's a lot you can do to reduce your risk. You can:
Your NHS Health Check will give you information and support to help you reach your health goals and enjoy a better quality of life. By acting to reduce your risk, you'll have more chance of dodging the debilitating and potentially disabling effects of illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and stroke.
For more details, read FAQs about the NHS Health Check
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