GHP July 2017

GHP / July 2017 15 NEWS , One of the most ef- fective and obvious ways to prevent in- fections on board a ship is good personal hygiene, according to the UK P&I Club. Sophia Bullard, crew health pro- gramme director at UK P&I Club, discusses the importance of vac- cinations for seafarers said that for seafarers who travel worldwide, good personal hygiene is often not enough. “Vaccination is the most effective method to prevent the spread of common, preventable, illness- es on board, such as Hepatitis B and Chickenpox. The crew health programme has investigated the cost of immunisations in numer- ous locations, and whilst costs do vary depending on location, many are very reasonably priced and in some countries certain vaccines are even offered free. “Seafarers frequently travel to many destinations around the globe and each port may bring its own disease or illness. Also, be- cause of the long periods of time they go without receiving any med- ical care, it is recommended crew obtain early vaccination. Certain specific infections, such as yellow fever, Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid fever are all readily preventable but cannot be treated on a ship and can have serious consequences. “Just because crew members may be regular travellers to the same part of the globe, it doesn’t mean vaccinations should be skipped. Seafarers are not alone on the ship and it is impossible to know if all members of the crew have had their vaccinations or if they may have an active infection. Cross-in- fection in confined spaces is a very real possibility. “The UK P&I Club encourages ship owners to consider early interven- tion through the introduction of a vaccination programme at crew en- try level. Immunisation is advised for all crew to ensure maximum prevention of disease. Additional- ly, if required at a later stage, crew could also be vaccinated as part of their pre-employment medical ex- amination. “Seafarers are encouraged to keep their vaccinations up to date. A seafarer who can fight the infec- tion will be able to continue in his job and be efficient on board. In the worst case scenario, a sick sea- farer may need to be repatriated, putting more pressure on his fellow members, and risking the spread of the infection to the rest of the crew.” periods off work or school, time in hospital and even death. Treat- ment options for these people are extremely limited, with most re- lying on high-dose steroids such as oral corticosteroids, and even with these medications, their asthma is hard to control. The side effects of the drugs available can leave people with severe asthma with other long term health problems, includ- ing diabetes and osteoporosis so new treatments are urgently needed. Reslizumab has the po- tential to reduce reliance on high doses of corticosteroids which have unpleasant and harmful side effects in the long term. Kay Boycott, Chief Executive of Asthma UK, said: “Reslizumab has the potential to dramatical- ly improve the quality of life for some people living with severe asthma and we are delighted that it has been recommended for use on the NHS. “New monoclonal antibody treat- ments, which have shown suc- cess in clinical trials are likely to be effective in treating around 30- 40% of those living with severe asthma, so it is imperative that they are made available. “While this news is an encour- aging step forward, it’s important to note that these treatments will only benefit a certain group of people. There remain many thou- sands more for whom no effective treatments are available. More research is needed so that in the future all people with severe asth- ma will have an effective treat- ment option.” Case study, Nichola Duane, 40, Whalley, Lancashire Patient representative Nichola Duane spoke to the NICE com- mittee about her own experience with severe asthma. Nichola was first diagnosed with asthma just after her 20th birthday. For the first four years after her diagno- sis she was in and out of hospital every three to four weeks. Her severe asthma diagnosis meant she had to stop playing hockey and rugby, leave her job as a nursery teacher and move The Best Defence Is a Good Offence - Why Vaccinations Matter Sophia Bullard, crewhealth programme director at UK P&I Club, discusses the importance of vaccinations for seafarers. back in with her parents. Speak- ing about the NICE decision, she said: “I’m really excited that Resli- zumab has been recommended as a new severe asthma treat- ment on the NHS. “For people like me this is a life-changer, being able to lower the dosage of steroids I have to take would completely enhance my life because the side effects I experience would lessen. I’m on a high dose of steroids and thus I have experienced side effects such as diabetes. “Now, I must make a 150-mile round trip to hospital every two weeks for treatment, but the new monoclonal antibody treatments are designed to be taken once a month which would free up my time and have a huge impact on my life.” To read more of Nichola’s story, visit: severe-asthma/your-stories-se- vere-asthma/nichola-duane. The Asthma UK Data Portal is a new online tool for journalists to ex- plore trends in asthma outcomes across the UK. Information on asthma facts and statistics can also be found on our website. About Asthma UK • In the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treat- ment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 mil- lion adults (1 in 12). • Every day, the lives of three families are devastated by the death of a loved one to an asthma attack, and trag- ically two thirds of these deaths are preventable. • Asthma UK’s mission is to stop asthma attacks and cure asthma. We do this by funding world leading re- search, campaigning for im- proved care and supporting people to reduce their risk of a potentially life threatening asthma attack. • The Asthma UK Helpline is open weekdays from 9am to 5pm on +44 (0)300 222 5800. • For more information about asthma please visit www.