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Get the latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19)
Get tested for COVID-19
Find out about the main symptoms of coronavirus and what to do if you or your child has them.
Get a test to check if you have COVID-19, find out what testing involves and understand your test result.
Get your COVID-19 vaccination, read about the vaccines and find out what happens when you have your vaccine.
NHS COVID Pass
Find out how to get your COVID Pass to attend trial events in England or to travel abroad.
Self-isolation and treating symptoms
Advice about staying at home (self-isolation) and treatment for you and anyone you live with.
People at high risk
Advice for people at higher risk from COVID-19, including older people, people with health conditions and pregnant women.
Long-term effects (long COVID)
Find out about the long-term effects coronavirus can sometimes have and what help is available.
Advice about avoiding close contact with other people (social distancing), looking after your wellbeing and using the NHS and other services.
Using the NHS and other health services
Find out about changes to using health services, such as GPs and hospitals, because of COVID-19.
Take part in research
Find out about health research studies and how you may be able to take part.
Download the NHS COVID-19 test and trace app
Blandford Medical Centre, Mace Avenue, Braintree, Essex, CM7 2AETel: 01376 347100
Asthma is a common condition that causes coughing, wheezing, tightness of the chest and breathlessness. Most people with asthma who take the appropriate treatment can live normal lives, but left untreated, asthma can cause permanent damage to the airways
The usual symptoms of asthma are
Not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Some people experience them from time to time; a few people may experience these symptoms all the time.
There isn't a cure for asthma. However, treatments are available to help manage your symptoms. Your treatment plan will be individual to you, combining medicines and asthma management in a way that works best for you
Medicines are only part of your treatment for asthma. You will also need to deal with the things that make it worse. Keep a diary to record anything that triggers your asthma - this can help you to discover a pattern. Using a peak flow meter to monitor your lung function can also help. If you have repeatedly low readings in a certain situation (for example, at the end of a working day, after exercise or after contact with an animal) this may indicate the trigger.
Asthma UK This website has been revamped to meet the needs of the thousands of people with asthma who visit the site each day, either to find important information about asthma and how to control it
Asthma An excellent resource with useful video, audio, images and references relating to asthma.
NHS - Asthma Further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of Asthma.
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.
One in three people will be affected by cancer at some stage in their life. There are many different types of cancer and this page doesn't cover them all, but the general information will help you to access further information and support.
There are videos available Macmillan and the support they offer on the Macmillan Video Site
There is further information and educational videos on the Cancer Research UK Video Site
Cancer - Healthtalkonline Healthtalkonline, an award-winning charity website, lets you share in other people's experiences of health and illness. An excellent resource compiled after interviewing a wide range of people suffering from heart disease.
Cancer Overview An excellent resource with useful video, audio, images and references relating to differing forms of Cancer, the causes & treatments.
Cancerhelp Free information service provided by Cancer Research UK about cancer and cancer care for people with cancer and their families. Information is formatted in such a way that makes understanding the website an easy process
Macmillan Cancer Support Europe's leading cancer information charity, with over 4,500 pages of up-to-date cancer information, practical advice and support for cancer patients, their families and carers.
NHS Further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of Cancer
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a preventable disease that was responsible for the deaths of 88,000 people in the UK in 2008 (British Heart Foundation CHD Statistics 2010). In all, 191,00 died from heart and circulatory disease in the UK. Death rates are highest in Scotland and North of England and lowest in the South of England. CHD is the biggest killer in the country.
There are videos available on all aspects of BHF and heart disease on the BHF video site
Now you can download and listen to podcasts free from the BHF - either on the move or in the comfort of your own home. We have a few examples below.
Giving Up Smoking
Risk Factors & Heart Disease
"The British Heart Foundation is Britain’s leading charity fighting heart and circulatory disease – the UK’s biggest killer. The BHF funds research, education and life-saving equipment and helps heart patients return to a full and active way of life. The charity relies on donations to continue its vital work."
The BHS recommends that only properly validated BP monitors be used both in the clinic and at home. All the monitors listed on their website have been clinically validated. This means that all the machines, regardless of their cost, give reliable readings when used correctly. Please note that added cost does not equate to added accuracy.
View a list of clinically validated BP monitors
CHD - Healthtalkonline Healthtalkonline, an award-winning charity website, lets you share in other people's experiences of health and illness. An excellent resource compiled after interviewing a wide range of people suffering from heart disease.
CHD An excellent resource with useful video, audio, images and references relating to CHD.
NHS Further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of CHD.
British Heart Foundation Our vision is of a world in which people do not die prematurely of heart disease. We will achieve this through our pioneering research, our vital prevention activity and by ensuring quality care and support for people living with heart disease.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. The main symptom of COPD is an inability to breathe in and out properly. This is also referred to as airflow obstruction.
NHS Guide to the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and risks of COPD from the NHS
COPD Factsheet This factsheet is for people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or who would like information about it.
British Lung Foundation Information and guidance on living with COPD
Diabetes is a long-term (chronic) condition caused by too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. It is also known as diabetes mellitus. There are two types of diabetes - type 1 and type 2.
According to the charity Diabetes UK, more than two million people in the UK have the condition and up to 750,000 more are believed to have it without realising they do.
More than three-quarters of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes mellitus. This used to be known as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or maturity-onset diabetes mellitus. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is rapidly increasing as it commoner in the overweight and obese, which is itself a growing problem.
The remainder have type 1 diabetes mellitus, which used to be known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
It's recognised that the sooner the blood sugar levels are brought under control, the better the long term prospects of preventing damage. Lifestyle advice about diet, weight management and regular activity is the first step.
Type 1 diabetes will require immediate insulin therapy, Type 2 diabetes will first be managed with a drug called Metformin, if lifestyle changes alone aren't effective. There are now several other drugs used in type 2 diabetes, although eventually some type 2 diabetics will need insulin therapy as it's a progressive disease
There is further information and education on the Diabetes UK Video Site
Diabetes - Healthtalkonline Healthtalkonline, an award-winning charity website, lets you share in other people's experiences of health and illness. An excellent resource compiled after interviewing a wide range of people suffering from heart disease.
Type 1 Diabetes An excellent resource with useful information and references relating to Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes A useful resource regarding Type 2 Diabetes.
Diabetes UK Largest charity in the UK devoted to the care and treatment of people with diabetes in order to improve the quality of life for people with the condition
NHS Further information about symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention of Diabetes
Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave. One in four people in the UK have a mental health problem at some point in their lives, which affects their daily life, relationships or physical health.
Mental health disorders take many different forms and affect people in different ways. Schizophrenia, depression and personality disorders are all examples of mental health problems. Diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia generally develop in old age, whereas eating disorders are more common in young people.
The Alzheimer's Society is the leading care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers.
They provide further information and education, support for carers, and quality day and home care on the Alzheimer's Society Video Site
You can subscribe to wellbeing podcasts on the Mental Health Foundation Website.
The website of the Mental Health Foundation outlines the charity’s work in research, policy, service development and service user involvement. The site offers information and publications to download on research, good practice in services and on mental health problems and key issues.
Mental Health - Healthtalkonline Healthtalkonline, an award-winning charity website, lets you share in other people's experiences of health and illness. An excellent resource compiled after interviewing a wide range of people suffering from heart disease.
Alzheimer's Disease An information sheet helping to understand mroe about Alzheimer's Disease
Depression An information sheet helping to understand more about the causes, treatment and understanding of Depression
Alzheimer’s Society Comprehensive information for people with all forms of dementia. Alzheimer's Society is a membership organisation, which works to improve the quality of life of people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Alzheimer Scotland Alzheimer Scotland provides a wide range of specialist services for people with dementia and their carers. We offer personalised support services, community activities, information and advice, at every stage of the dementia journey
Mental Health Foundation Founded in 1949, the Mental Health Foundation is a leading UK charity that provides information, carries out research, campaigns and works to improve services for anyone affected by mental health problems, whatever their age and wherever they live
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting 8.5 million people in the UK. It develops gradually over time, causing joints to become stiff and painful. It can affect any joint but commonly affects the hands, knees, hips, feet and spine.
Osteoarthritis usually develops in people who are over 50 years of age, and it is more common in women than in men. It is commonly thought that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of getting older, but this is not true. Younger people can also be affected by osteoarthritis, often as a result of an injury or another joint condition.
Arthritis Research UKArthritis Research UK is the charity leading the fight against arthritis. Everything we do is underpinned by research
NHS Guide to the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and risks of Ostearthritis from the NHS
Osteoarthritis Factsheet This factsheet is for people who have osteoarthritis or who would like information about it.
Arthritis Care Arthritis Care exists to support people with arthritis. They are the UK’s largest organisation working with and for all people who have arthritis.
The NHS website contains lots of useful information, tips and advice on living with chronic pain.
Help from your GP and use of NHS services dedicated to pain management can help make sufferers more independant, reduce the severity of pain and assist in day to day with coping with what can be a debilitating condition.
A stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.
Like all organs, the brain needs the oxygen and nutrients provided by blood to function properly. If the supply of blood is restricted or stopped, brain cells begin to die. This can lead to brain damage and possibly death.
Strokes are a medical emergency and prompt treatment is essential because the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen.
The NHS Stroke Act FAST pages offer a great deal of information about stroke, including how to recognise the signs, some real stories of stroke sufferers and advice on how to live your life after a stroke.
NHS - Stroke
Chest Heart & Stroke Charity (N.Ireland)
Chest Heart & Stroke Charity (Scotland)
A transient ischaemic attack (TIA), or 'mini-stroke', is caused by a temporary fall in the blood supply to part of the brain, leading to a lack of oxygen to the brain. This can cause symptoms that are similar to a stroke, although they don’t last as long. A TIA lasts only a few minutes and is usually resolved within 24 hours
As TIAs are serious, it is important that they are always investigated so that appropriate treatment can be given quickly. With treatment, the risk of a further TIA or a full stroke can be greatly reduced.