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By Local News

It’s not always easy to tell if you are developing sepsis. There are lots of possible symptoms. Symptoms can be vague. They can be like symptoms of other conditions, including flu or a chest infection.

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New Website

By Local News

We’ve taken a leap thanks to our web partner Code Stack and upgraded our website.

The site now offers online script orders, work certs, new patient registration, and custom payments.

We will also be adding a section that will allow you make an appointment online as well as virtual consultations.

Working all day, we know it can be hard to stay up to speed on ordering scripts, so we have decided this would be a huge help to our patients, and will in-turn take the strain off the phone lines during the day.

The team at Ballyduff Medical Centre are proud to put these services online for you – our customers!

Be SunSmart

By Local News

Golfer Padraig Harrington supports SunSmart campaign

As we head into the June bank holiday weekend, the HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and Healthy Ireland are raising awareness of the steps you and your family can take to protect your skin from the sun and reduce your risk of skin cancer in Ireland.

Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy Hildegarde Naughton, Dr Triona McCarthy from HSE’s NCCP and professional golfer Padraig Harrington, are highlighting the many ways in which people can be SunSmart this summer.

Spending time outdoors is good for everyone as it can improve overall health and wellbeing. But it is important to protect our skin when outside in the sun. If you’re spending the long weekend out in the sunshine, be prepared and be SunSmart.

Most people think they don’t need to take care of their skin when in Ireland but with almost 13,000 cases diagnosed annually, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in this country.

Even on cloudy days, from April to September, ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels in Ireland can be high enough to damage skin and increase the risk of skin cancer.

Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy says, “Taking care of your skin in the sun is not just for when you’re going abroad, the sun can be strong enough to burn in Ireland from April to September, so it’s important that people are protecting themselves properly both at home and abroad. The annual SunSmart campaign outlines the steps we can all take to protect skin from the sun and reduce the risk of skin cancer”.

Professional Irish golfer, Padraig Harrington says, “I travel the world playing tournament golf, which can mean many hours in the sun. Too much sun exposure can lead to many problems down the road as it is difficult to repair early skin damage and as a result, a few years ago I had a few basal cell carcinomas, a form of non-melanoma skin cancer removed from my face. Looking back I wish I had worn hats and applied sunscreen more frequently as a teenager. To reduce the risk, we can all protect our skin and enjoy the outdoors by following the simple SunSmart 5 S’s, monitor changes to our skin and see a doctor as soon as they occur.”

Dr Triona McCarthy, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, HSE NCCP says, “No sunscreen can provide 100% protection so it is important to use shade, clothes and sunglasses too. In this way you get the best possible protection from UV damage. In Ireland, make sun protection part of your daily routine particularly from April-September, even when it is cloudy. Stay safe by limiting time in the midday sun when UV is strongest, typically between the hours of 11:00am-3:00pm.”

Protect your skin by following the SunSmart 5 S’s of Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide:
  • Slip on clothing: Cover skin as much as possible, wear long sleeves, collared t-shirts.
  • Slop on broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen: Apply sunscreen with a sun. protection factor (SPF) of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for children, with high UVA protection and water-resistant. Reapply regularly. No sunscreen can provide 100% protection, it should be used alongside other protective measures such as clothing and shade.
  • Slap on a wide-brimmed hat: Protect your face, ears and neck.
  • Seek shade: Sit in the cover of trees to avoid direct sunlight. Use a sunshade on your buggy or pram. Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight.
  • Slide on sunglasses: Guard your eyes against harm by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.

And remember, do not deliberately try to get a suntan. Avoid getting a sunburn. Never use a sunbed.

To encourage people to be SunSmart and protect their skin, whether at home or abroad, the HSE and Healthy Ireland launches the SunSmart radio campaign this June bank holiday weekend.

For more information and to learn how to protect yourself and your family this summer visit the SunSmart hub and check out #SunSmart on social media.

Flu / RSV

By Local News

GPs and Hospitals across Ireland continue to see a rise in the numbers of young children affected by respiratory symptoms and viruses. Last week saw the highest cases of RSV the country has recorded.

Dr Abigail Collins is the National Clinical Lead for the HSE’s Child Health Public Health Programme and a Consultant in Public Health Medicine, and has the following advice for families:

“Given the current concerning RSV numbers, we all have a particular part to play in protecting newborn and small babies who are most affected. The best way we can protect ourselves and our family members from RSV, common colds, and other winter viruses is to reduce the chance of infection and spread through staying at home if unwell, good respiratory etiquette and hygiene practices. I also strongly encourage all parents of children aged 2 to 17 to get them the free Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine from your local GP or pharmacy.”

There are 7 key ways to help prevent the spread of viruses:
  1. If you or your child are unwell with cold symptoms, do not attend places with young children and babies, such as child care facilities and school, particularly primary schools and SEN facilities where there is a greater chance of extension out to families with young babies and/or medically vulnerable children.
  2. Parents of young babies do need to take extra care and be clear about shielding babies from situation where they may come into contact with a virus. This may mean putting friends and family off from visiting for a while if someone is unwell, not encouraging people to touch your baby’s face, and asking people to wear a mask around your baby can also help.
  3. Clean your hands and your child’s often – ask anyone in contact with your child to clean their hands first.
  4. Encouraging respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene around all babies and links to babies. Cover your toddler and older child’s nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze, and teach them how to if they are old enough.
  5. If you’re breastfeeding, it may prevent them from getting bronchiolitis. This is because babies get special proteins called antibodies from breastmilk. Antibodies can protect your child from infection.
  6. Keep children away from smoking.
  7. Learn about the flu vaccine for children.

Dr Collins explains why we are seeing such a steep rise in respiratory infections this winter:

“We expect to see more children with these illnesses this year when compared to last year because they have had more contact with one another and therefore the risk of spreading of winter respiratory viruses is increased. In addition, because children had limited contact with one another last year their exposure to all respiratory viruses and resultant immune response was diminished and therefore more children will have lower immunity to these viruses this year.”

“The good news is that most cases are mild and clear up within 2 to 3 weeks without treatment. Antibiotics are not needed and will not help to treat a viral infection. There is lots of great advice on how to look after yourself and your family when you’re sick or have a high temperature on and However, we advise parents to always contact their GP if they are worried, especially if a child’s symptoms get worse quickly or if the symptoms and fever persist despite the use of paracetamol and Ibuprofen”.

About RSV (Bronchiolitis)

RSV, or Bronchiolitis, is a common chest infection in babies and young children. This virus spreads when someone coughs or sneezes and it affects babies and young children under 2 years old, especially babies under 6 months old. Most cases are mild and clear up within 2 to 3 weeks without treatment. Antibiotics are not needed and will not help to treat it.

Main ways to assist babies with bronchiolitis:
  1. Keep breastfeeding if you are breastfeeding
  2. Don’t smoke around them
  3. Feed little and often as able
  4. Know signs and symptoms and when to present to GP/ED.

Sometimes RSV can be more serious and children with bronchiolitis will need to be cared for in hospital. Parents are advised to trust their instinct, and to always contact their GP if they are worried, especially if the symptoms get worse quickly.

More information and advice can be found at Last updated on: 28 / 11 / 2022



By Local News

Update on the epidemiology of iGAS in Ireland

There has been a small increase in iGAS in Ireland since the beginning of October.

A common presentation of GAS in children can be scarlet fever which causes the following symptoms: fever, a raised rash which can feel rough to the touch like sandpaper, sore throat, and a swollen tongue.

Whilst GAS infections, including scarlet fever, are common; the more serious Invasive Group A Streptococcal (iGAS) infections are rare.

To date in 2022, HPSC has been notified of 55 iGAS cases in Ireland, 14 were in children aged under 10 years old compared to 22 cases in children aged under 10 for the same period in 2019.

During the pandemic, normal social mixing patterns were interrupted which led to changes in how diseases such as (iGAS) presented.

Twenty-one of the 55 IGAS cases notified in Ireland in 2022 have been reported since the beginning of October, 4 of whom were aged under 10 years old.

We are currently investigating the death of a child which may be linked to Strep A in the HSE Public Health Area A (North East and North Dublin area).This is subject to further laboratory investigation and confirmation, and the HPSC is monitoring the situation closely.

Further information on Group A streptococcus (GAS)

Group A streptococcus (GAS) is a common bacteria. Lots of us carry it in our throats and on our skin and it doesn’t always result in illness. However, GAS does cause a number of infections, some mild and some more serious.

The most serious infection caused by GAS occurs when it becomes invasive (invasive group A strep).  That is when the bacteria gets into parts of the body where it is not normally found, such as the lungs or bloodstream. This is called invasive Group A Strep (iGAS) and in rare cases it can be fatal.

Whilst iGAS infections are still uncommon, there has been a small increase in cases this year reported in the UK, particularly in children under 10 and sadly, a small number of deaths.

How is it spread?

GAS is spread by close contact with an infected person and can be passed on through coughs and sneezes or from a wound.

Some people can have the bacteria present in their body without feeling unwell or showing any symptoms of infections and while they can pass it on, the risk of spread is much greater when a person is unwell.

Which infections does GAS cause?

GAS causes infections in the skin, soft tissue and respiratory tract. It’s responsible for infections such as tonsillitis, pharyngitis, scarlet fever, impetigo and cellulitis among others.

While infections like these can be unpleasant, they rarely become serious. When treated with antibiotics, an unwell person with a mild illness like tonsilitis stops being contagious around 24 hours after starting their medication.

The first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, a sore throat and swollen neck glands (a large lump on the side of your neck).

A rash appears 12 to 48 hours later. It looks like small, raised bumps and starts on the chest and tummy, then spreads. The rash makes your skin feel rough, like sandpaper. The rash will be less visible on darker skin but will still feel like sandpaper. More information on scarlet fever can be found on

What is invasive group A strep?

The most serious infections linked to GAS come from invasive group A strep, known as iGAS.

This can happen when a person has sores or open wounds that allow the bacteria to get into the tissue, damage in their respiratory tract after a viral illness, or in a person who has a health condition that reduces their immunity to infection. When the immune system is compromised, a person is more vulnerable to invasive disease.

What infections does invasive group A strep cause?

Necrotising fasciitis, necrotising pneumonia and Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome are some of the most severe but rare forms of invasive group A strep.

What is being done to investigate the rise in cases in children?

Investigations are underway following reports of an increase in lower respiratory tract Group A Strep infections in children in the UK over the past few weeks, which have caused severe illness.

Currently, there is no evidence that a new strain is circulating. The increase is most likely related to high amounts of circulating bacteria.

It isn’t possible to say for certain what is causing higher than usual rates of these infections. There is likely a combination of factors, including increased social mixing compared to the previous years as well as increases in other respiratory viruses.

What should parents look out for?

It’s always concerning when a child is unwell. GAS infections cause various symptoms such as sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches.

As a parent, if you feel that your child is seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement.

Contact your GP if:

  • your child is getting worse
  • your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
  • your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration
  • your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38C, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39C or higher
  • your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
  • your child is very tired or irritable

Call 999 or go to an Emergency Department if:

  • your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs
  • there are pauses when your child breathes
  • your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue
  • your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake

How can we stop infections from spreading?

Good hand and respiratory hygiene are important for stopping the spread of many bugs. By teaching your child how to wash their hands properly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, using a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes, and keeping away from others when feeling unwell, they will be able to reduce the risk of picking up, or spreading, infections. Last updated on: 06 / 12 / 2022

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