Health professionals across mid and south Essex are encouraging people with respiratory conditions to stay well this winter by joining in with a new campaign #Scarfie launching this winter.
#Scarfie hopes to encourage people with Asthma, COPD and other respiratory illnesses to wear a scarf this winter to ease their breathing and keep well.
Dr Sharon Hadley, local GP and respiratory lead for Southend CCG said: “By wearing a scarf, people warm up their breath before it goes into their lungs and can help to ease any respiratory conditions from getting worse in the colder weather.
With so almost 8,000 local residents attending A&E for respiratory related issues in 2016/17 – this simple tip could help many people stay well this winter.”
7,966 people living in Southend and Castle Point and Rochford have a recorded diagnosis of COPD and 21,925 with a recorded diagnosis of asthma.
#Scarfie, an Asthma UK campaign, encourages people to share a selfie of them wearing scarves on social media.
Sonia Munde, Head of Asthma UK Helpline and Nurse Manager, said: “During the winter people are at greater risk of having a life-threatening asthma attack due to seasonal triggers such as cold air and cold and flu viruses.
“Wrapping a scarf loosely around your mouth and nose warms up the air before you breathe it in, which can reduce your risk of an asthma attack. More than 72,000 people in mid and south Essex have asthma and this could help them to stay safe this winter. We’d encourage anyone with asthma who needs further information and support to contact Asthma UK’s Helpline, which is staffed by nurses on 0300 222 5800 or visit www.asthma.org.uk”
The local voluntary services have been working with local knitting groups and other volunteers to make or bring scarves to give away for free this winter. Local schools, sports groups, patient groups and hospitals are also joining in the campaign to help keep people well this winter.
Giant scarves have also been placed on a number of high profile landmarks across mid and south Essex to help raise awareness of the #scarfie campaign, including the Hadleigh Olympic cyclist statue.
Knightswick Women’s Institutes, Canvey said: “We’ve been so excited to get involved in #Scarfie – our group is always looking to support great local projects and this one could even save lives.”
Information about #Scarfie and staying well over the winter is available on all CCG and Hospital Trust websites across mid and south Essex and being shared with all GP practices and other health and care professionals.
Anyone can get involved in #Scarfie - all you need to do is take a selfie with a scarf covering your nose and mouth and post to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #Scarfie.