Health advice

Get your free NHS Health Check

If you are between the ages of 40 and 75 then you could benefit from a free NHS Health Check at your local pharmacy. The check will assess your risk of some of the biggest causes of early death in England such as heart attack and stroke. These conditions can often be prevented, even if you have a family history of them. After the check you will receive free personalised advice to help you live well and stay healthy.

Visit Discover Southampton to find your nearest participating pharmacy and book your free health check.


NHS Health Check: Dr Dawn Porter Personal Story

Dr Dawn Harper explains why going for your NHS Health Check is so important, and Ron describes how having one saved his life.
Find out more about the NHS Health Check
Click on the image to play the video.


Help to stop smoking, quit alcohol.  Help to lose weight and move more.

Smoking: Stop for 28 days and you’re five times more likely to quit for good.  Help available includes an app, email and social media, to expert face to face support from Southampton Quitters and the different types of stop smoking aids available to you; including medicines and e-cigarettes.

To take your first step on the journey to becoming smoke free get in touch with Southampton Quitters.  If you want to speak to one of our team about your quit needs call us on 0300 123 3791.  

Southampton Healthy Living Hub:

Phone: 0300 123 3791


Mental illness support for patients and their informal carers

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for the millions of people affected by mental Illness.  Their website contains resources for those who have mental illness and also resources for friends, family members and informal carers.

Rethink have published a self-help workbook for family and friends supporting people with mental health problems that you can download called Caring for Yourself.  You can find it here:

You can also find the relevant section of their website here:

Sleep problems

This website has lots of advice on sleep issues:

One of the tips they give is a breathing technique, described here:

As well as relaxing you before bed, you can use this breathing exercise whenever anything upsetting happens, and before you react. It can be done anywhere because you don’t have to lie on your back: 1. Sit up with your back straight and place the tip of your tongue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there throughout the entire exercise. 2. Practice exhaling with your tongue in this position. It will be easier if you purse your lips. 3. Now close your mouth and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds (counting one one thousand, two one thousand etc) 4. Hold your breath for 7 seconds then exhale through your mouth, taking 8 seconds to exhale completely 5. Repeat 3-4 times and try to be accurate with the counting 6. Do this every evening before bed

Welcome to

Find information and support for a range of health issues from seeing and hearing people’s real life experiences. Thousands of people have shared their experiences on film to help you understand what it’s really like to have a health condition such as breast cancer or arthritis.
Find out more or select from the list of health conditions on the menu.

Read more:
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives
Follow us: @healthtalkorg on Twitter | on Facebook

Undernutrition in the elderly

Information from the Malnutrition Task Force

It’s not good to be overweight or underweight, and it is easy for weight to drop off without noticing.

Undernutrition in later life is very common and affects over a million older people. It increases the risk of ill health and infections and can result in a longer recovery time from surgery and illness.

If you have noticed rapid or steady weight loss over time, it’s important to see your GP to check for any underlying health issues and advise on the best course of action.

Guides: To find out more about the signs of unhealthy weight loss and what you can do, have a look at MTF guides. They include tips and ideas for tasty snacks for those with a small appetite:

“Are you eating enough? Advice for older people” booklet

“Eating enough in later life: Advice for carers” booklet

If you would like hard copies of MTF Guides, please email

You may also want to download and display MTF campaign posters:

Smaller appetite? Losing weight?

Is someone you care for losing weight?


To discover more, you may be interested in the MTF blog which will be updated with handy guidance on how undernutrition can be avoided in later life, amongst other topics.

PHE now advises that 10 micrograms of vitamin D are needed daily to help keep healthy bones, teeth and muscles. July 2016

To protect bone and muscle health, everyone needs vitamin D equivalent to an average daily intake of 10 micrograms, Public Health England (PHE) advised the government (Thursday 21 July 2016).
Public health advice in England and Wales now says that everyone should consider taking vitamin D supplements in autumn and winter, particularly when sunlight, which helps in vitamin D production, is scarce.  For most people, the bulk of their vitamin D is made from the action of sunlight on their skin.
Sunshine, not food, is where most of your vitamin D comes from.  Limited amounts of the vitamin are found in foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals.  So even a healthy, well balanced diet, that provides all the other vitamins and goodness you need, is unlikely to provide enough vitamin D.
And official estimates suggest one in five adults and one in six children in England may have low levels.
Now, an extensive review of the evidence suggests everyone over the age of one needs to consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day in order to protect bone and muscle health, through taking supplements if their diet is unlikely to provide it.
Factsheet on Vitamin D from The Association of British Dieticians is here:

Public Health England announcement July 2016:

Make sure you have the Flu Vaccineflu-jab-pic

The flu jab is FREE for carers, available via pharmacies and GPs

If you care for someone who is elderly or disabled, speak to your GP or pharmacist about having a flu jab along with the person you care for.

Read more about the flu jab for carers on the Carers UK website.

This NHS leaflet gives information about the flu vaccination 2016-17 aimed at carers of and people with a learning disability.

Mind’s guide to supporting someone with mental health problems

Coping as a carer of someone with a mental health problemMental Health for Carers from Mind

Anyone can become a carer, no matter their age, gender or background. You may care for someone who has a long-term health condition or someone who needs support after an accident or sudden illness. The care you provide could be short- or long-term. You may or may not live with the person you are a carer for.

I was completely unaware that what I was doing was a carer role and of the effect it was having on me. I didn’t think about reaching out for support for myself.

What’s it like to be a carer?

In this video, Chloe, Kate and Ally talk about their experiences of caring their mum, husband and son, all of whom have a mental health problem.

Mental Health for Carers from Mind


You can find more information here:

What is the low FODMAP diet?

Treatment of IBS with the FODMAP diet

The team at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, and FoodMaestro have developed this app to provide additional support in following the low FODMAP diet.

The diet is not recommended to be used without specialist dietary advice from a registered dietitian. This app should be used in conjunction with the advice the dietitian has given you to support you with the food choice you need to make. It can also can help you monitor and review your symptoms as you follow the different stages of the diet.

You do not have to use the app but some people may find it helpful when selecting suitable products in supermarkets, tracking symptoms and following the different stages of the diet.

This app is currently available on the Apple and Google Play stores. You can download it for free for 14 days, and it then costs £3.99 per year. You can download it by clicking below:

icon_appstoreicon_googleplay  If you have any queries installing the app please email

The FODMAP by FM app guides you through each stage of the diet (Restriction, Re-Introduction, and Personalisation) and provides you with details of which foods are suitable and which ones you need to avoid.

FODMAP app_3 stages

The app can scan food barcodes to help you find suitable food products and uses reaction ‘smiley’, ‘neutral’ and ‘sad’ faces to identify whether the food product is suitable or not.

Other key features of the app are:

  • Discover every day products you can eat
  • Portion guidance for specific foods
  • Record and track symptoms
  • Create personalised dietary profile
  • Watch short videos that detail how the low FODMAP diet works and how to follow it

This information comes from this website page:

Diabetes education courses

Most people with diabetes only spend around three hours a year with their doctor, nurse or consultant. For the other 8,757 hours they must manage their diabetes themselves.

Managing diabetes day-to-day can be difficult. This is why it’s important people have the knowledge and skills to manage their diabetes so they can live well and avoid complications.

What are diabetes education courses? Diabetes education courses are group sessions led by healthcare professionals or trained peer educators which aim to help you take control of your diabetes and live a full and healthy life. There are specific courses available for people living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Course content will vary from course to course, but all courses should suit your needs and be delivered by trained educators. You should be given the opportunity to improve your diabetes management skills, ask questions and meet other people living with diabetes.

Click here for Details of diabetes education courses

Mediterranean diet to prevent joint pain

Southampton researchers have found a link between eating a Mediterranean diet and lower risk of knee osteoarthritis in later life.

Preventing joint pain

Osteoarthritis is very common in older age, affecting 8.75 million people in the UK – around a 1 in three of over 45s.  It sees the joints become damaged, thinning the protective cartilage layer and causing swelling and stiffness. This leads to pain in the joints and difficulty moving around.  Knees are particularly prone, as these joints take the most stress and strain during the course of a person’s life, affecting just over half of all people seeking treatment.

Benefits of a Mediterranean diet

The native diet of people in the Mediterranean is widely considered to be healthy,  rich in plant and fish oils it is known to help prevent a range of conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

This study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, indicates that it is likely to be beneficial for preventing knee osteoarthritis – the more ‘Mediterranean’ a person’s diet, the less likely they were to develop the condition.

Large scale research

Information was collected using a survey on the diets of 4358 North American people from the Osteoarthritis Initiative dataset, with an average age of 61 years, from four different sites in the USA.

The survey asked them to state how often they ate certain foods, choosing from nine different categories that ranged from ‘never’ to ‘every day’. The researchers then used a scoring system to evaluate the extent to which each person’s diet could be considered Mediterranean.

Even after accounting for other influential factors, such whether a person was overweight, they found that participants who ate a more Mediterranean-style diet had a significantly reduced probability of knee osteoarthritis.

Posted on Thursday 10 November 2016.  Source:

 Exercises to manage pain (scroll down)

More information on other sources of pain relief may be found here:

Phone: 0300 790 0400  Email:

Campaign Against Living Miserably

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male.

  • This is a campaign for all men. Anyone can hit a crisis and so we could all do with support when things get tough.
  • Offering support to men in the UK, of any age, who are down or in crisis via their helpline, webchat and website
  • Supporting those bereaved by suicide, through the Suicide After Support Partnership (SASP), hosted by CALM, which aims to ensure that everyone bereaved or affected by suicide is offered and receives timely and appropriate support

Phone: 0800 58 58 58  (5pm–midnight, 365 days a year)


Online directory to locate local support:


Watch their video here:

Unfogettable Guide to Staying Out of Hospital Front Cover

A Guide to Staying Out of Hospital when you have dementia

This guide is provided free by the Unforgettable website and covers:

Chapter 1: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Chapter 2: Delirium
Chapter 3: Pneumonia
Chapter 4: Distressed behaviours
Chapter 5: Falls
Chapter 6: Malnutrition/ Dehydration
Chapter 7: Support in the community for people living with dementia
Chapter 8: Support in the community for you

Pain Toolkit Quiz

Pain Toolkit Quiz Questions

Test your skills and improve your knowledge of self-care management with the new Pain Toolkit Quiz by Ryde Digital.  Click on the image.

Help and guidance for people with persistent pain may be found here:




FREE ‘Handi App’: NHS medical advice when caring for a child

There is a new mobile app that will give you up-to-date advice about common childhood illnesses and how to treat them.

The app has been designed as a way to reduce the number of children and young people who visit A&E, but need no treatment.

The app contains information about when and how to ask for help, along with what to expect when your child is being assessed.

It has been developed by paediatric consultants and will give you access to home care plans, as well as GP and hospital clinical guidelines, for the most common childhood health care concerns.

It’s called the HANDi Paediatric app and was originally developed by Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust. It’s now available to download for free onto any Apple or Android smartphone or tablet.

PLEASE be aware that this at the moment is set up for people who live in the South West, so will only signpost resources local to that area.  The app is still useful for taking you through symptom checking.

Click here to find out more and download the FREE app.

To download HANDi for free, please use the following links:

Child health advice you can trust

Healthier Together is a website and app developed for parents by local healthcare professionals. It’s packed with information, tips and advice that you can trust to help you care for your baby on:

  • Staying healthy in pregnancy
    • Keeping your baby safe and healthy
    • Possible symptoms of illness
    • Where to go for help

Visit the Healthier Together website or download the app for Android or Apple devices. It is there for you as your baby grows up, with support and guidance for every stage of their development.

Depression self-assessment


NHS Depression Self-Assessment Tool

This is for information only and is not intended to replace a consultation with a GP.

Click on the image to start the self-assessment.





Southampton parkrun

Every Saturday / 9am / Southampton Common / Freesoton-parkrun

The parkrun on Southampton Common is consistently in the top 3 of all parkruns in the country. If you are thinking of taking up running to improve your fitness, what better place to start.

Co-ordinated by volunteers, this 5km run is you against the clock, you set your own pace. It’s free, but you do need to register first. The parkrunners are a friendly bunch and often grab a cuppa together at the Hawthorns Centre cafe afterwards. Why not give it a go this Saturday or become a volunteer marshal. Find out more here:

There is also a free Juniors parkrun held every Sunday at 9am at Riverside Park with a 2km run suitable for 4-14 year olds.


Managing stresscheck-your-mood-image

There is good advice here:



Take Time Out