Health experts predict rise in stomach bugs and STIs during the Olympics
With the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games set to begin in just over three weeks, the capital is bracing itself for thousands of people descending into the city to catch a glimpse of the action. With this is mind, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) have begun steps to ensure people stay safe from such conditions as sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and stomach problems. The HPA is an organisation set-up by the UK government back in 2003 and they aim to reduce the dangers to health from infections, chemicals and radiation hazards as set out in the HPA Act. The HPA spoke on Tuesday and said they were ‘Games ready’ in their attempts to control any infections and limit their impact on the event itself. They are expecting a slight increased risk of stomach bugs and chest infections and some reports suggested that the capital could be ‘flooded with prostitutes’. Justin McCracken, chief executive of the HPA, said in a statement, “We want everyone to enjoy the Games safely and by taking practical steps like ensuring good hand hygiene, being up-to-date with routine vaccinations and practising safe sex, it will help to ensure everyone stays healthy during this worldwide spectacle.” The core of the HPA’s actions include three systems; rapid laboratory testing, enhanced syndromic surveillance and undiagnosed serious infections illness surveillance. They aim to diagnose infections such as Salmonella in just 24 hours whereas usually it would take 48. Symptom patterns will be analysed from anybody unwell who contacts the NHS direct, goes to an NHS walk-in centre, or simply visits their own GP. In addition, doctors have been informed they must make aware any emerging infections or symptoms of any exotic diseases. Dr Brian McCloskey the HPA Olympics lead and director for London, explained how the organisation are prepared for the Games, “In preparation for London 2012 we have put in place world class systems to monitor and respond rapidly to any outbreaks of infectious diseases or environmental hazards. These new and enhanced systems will provide the first indication of emerging infections in the community and hospitals if they are to occur. Our experts will analyse surveillance data daily to identify issues of public health significance that could have implications for the Games." The HPA have stressed the importance of always carrying with you any medications for existing conditions (such as asthma) and having enough of the medication to span the duration of the Games. If you do unfortunately suffer from any stomach or bowel problems now, during the Games, or anytime after – Medical Specialists Pharmacy can help you. Visit our brand new ‘stomach and bowel’ section of the website to browse through the huge range of products we have recently added. These include Mebeverine, Buscopan IBS relief, Doxycyline and many more! We also note that the HPA advise to practice safe sex during the games? We argue you should be doing this all the time anyway! Sexually transmitted infections have shown to be on the increase due to alarming careless behaviour in both teens and even the ‘baby boomers’. Men should ideally always wear a condom when engaging in sexual intercourse. If you do suspect you may have chlamydia, we now offer the Clamelle chlamydia test kit from just £24.85, which can be used in the privacy of your own home to avoid an embarrassing visit to your doctor. Or, if you have been confirmed as having this or gonorrhoea, the antibiotic Azithromycin can prevent the spread of the bacteria so that your body’s natural defences can fight back and remove the infection from your system. We also have Valtrex which helps to slow the spread of the herpes virus, and many more medications such as asthma inhalers cheaper than the NHS.