Author Archives: Brian Flower

Protecting your child.

June 2019. Devon County Council has asked us to share a letter of notice. Public Health England is seeing an increase in the number of cases of scarlet fever and/or chickenpox.

Chickenpox is a mild and common childhood illness that most children catch at some point. It causes a rash of red, itchy spots that turn into fluid-filled blisters.
For most children, chickenpox is a mild illness that gets better on its own. But some children can become more seriously ill and need to see a doctor. Contact your GP straight away if your child develops any abnormal symptoms.

Scarlet Fever is also a mild childhood illness but unlike chickenpox, it requires antibiotic treatment. Symptoms include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, followed by a fine red rash which typically first appears on the chest and stomach, rapidly spreading to other parts of the body.
If you think you, or your child, have Scarlet Fever, contact your GP straight away or contact NHS 111 as soon as possible.
Please click on the download button to read the letter of advise from Devon Cornwall and Somerset Public Health England Centre.

If you think you, or your child, have Scarlet Fever, contact your GP straight away or contact NHS 111 as soon as possible.


Please click on the download button to read the letter of advise from Devon Cornwall and Somerset Public Health England Centre.

Are you tick aware?

When the sunshine makes an appearance, what better way to enjoy the weather than spending time in the outdoors?  There are some beautiful walks throughout Devon, from dramatic coastlines and sweeping bays to secluded valleys and the moors of Dartmoor and Exmoor, all waiting to be discovered.

Enjoying the outdoors is great for our health and wellbeing and has many positive benefits.  Coming into Summer, Public Health Devon are encouraging the public to be ‘tick aware’ to maximise enjoyment outside.

Ticks are small spider-like creatures that feed on the blood of animals, including people.  They are found in woodland, grassland and moorland where there is a dense vegetation layer and can be found in some urban parks and gardens.  Ticks don’t jump or fly, but they attach themselves to animals or people as they brush past something the tick is on.  Adult ticks are more active in late spring and summer.

Some ticks carry may carry an infection which can pass on to you when you are bitten, including Lyme Disease.  Not all ticks carry Lyme-causing bacteria and not all bites from an infected tick result in Lyme Disease.  Lyme disease can be treated effectively with antibiotics, but if it is not treated or if there is a delay in treatment it can lead to complications.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Mild flu-like symptoms including fever, headache and tiredness.  Sometimes people develop a ‘bulls-eye’ rash but not everyone develops this rash.

There are some simple steps to reduce the chances of getting a tick bite:

  • Walk on clearly defined paths to avoid brushing against vegetation
  • Wear light colour clothing so you can see ticks and brush them off
  • Use an insect repellent that can repel ticks
  • Wear long trousers and long-sleeved tops to reduce the direct exposure of ticks to your skin

Tick check

Ticks are very small and their bite is not painful so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.  After you have enjoyed your walk, do a tick check to make sure there are none attached to your skin, by looking and feeling for ticks.  Look out for anything as small as a speck of dirt or freckle.

What do I do if I find a tick?

If the tick is removed from your skin within 24 hours you are less likely to get an infection.  The safest way is to use fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool.  Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upwards slowly and firmly.  Once removed, wash with soap and water or apply antiseptic and keep an eye on the area.

If you being to feel unwell contact your GP and remember to tell them you have been bitten by a tick.

You can find more information about ticks on the NHS Choices website: www.nhs.co.uk

Protecting your child against mumps and measles

May 2019. Devon County Council has asked us to share a letter of notice. Public Health is seeing an increase in the number of cases of mumps across Devon.

Mumps is a virus spread in the same way as colds and flu. Mumps is most known for painful swellings at the side of the face under the ears, giving a person with mumps a distinctive “hamster face” appearance. Other symptoms include a high temperature with joint pain and loss of appetite. Swellings are not always present – mumps can sometimes have the same symptoms as other viruses such as glandular fever.

It is important that you contact your GP if you think your child may have mumps so that a diagnosis can be made and advice given.

Please click on the download button to read the letter of advise from Devon County Council.

Top 10 tips to help children enjoy reading

Reading should be fun.  What you can do to help turn your kids into little bookworms.

Top 10 tips to help children enjoy reading


1. Make books a part of family life – Always have books around at home. That way you and your children are ready to get reading, even if it’s only for ten minutes.

2. Join your local library – Get your child a library card. They’ll be able to get their hands on hundreds of fantastic books, as well as the latest video games, blu-rays and DVDs. Let them choose what they want to read to help them develop their own interests.

3. Read about something they’re interested in – Help your child find the right book for them. It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction, poetry, comic books or non-fiction.

4. All reading is good – Don’t rule out non-fiction, comics, graphic novels, magazines or leaflets. Reading is reading and it’s all worthwhile.

5. Get comfortable! – Snuggle up together somewhere warm and cosy, whether it’s in bed, on a beanbag or on the sofa. And make sure your child has somewhere comfy to read on their own too.

6. Ask questions – To keep them interested in the story, ask your child questions as you read. Start with ‘Where did we get to last time?’, ‘Can you remember what’s happened so far?’ and ‘What do you think will happen next?’.

7. Read whenever you get the chance – Have a book or magazine with you for any time your child has to wait, like at the doctor’s or the dentist.

8. Read favourites again and again – Encourage your child to re-read the books and poems they love. Re-reading helps to build fluency and confidence.

9. Enjoy bedtime stories – Read with your kids at bedtime as often as you can. It’s a great way to end the day and to spend valuable time with them.

10. Make the most of rhyme and repetition – Books and poems with rhymes and repeated words or phrases are great for getting your kids to join in and remember the words.

For more helpful tips for parents visit  Small-talk.org