The everyday choices you make can have a big effect on your health, your life and your wellbeing.
Below is a number of things that you can do to help you be as healthy as you can.
Staying fit and healthy is really important. If you're worried about your health, then making an appointment with your Doctor is a good way to make sure everything is ok.
Your Doctor or GP (as they are otherwise known), will be able to talk to you about any health worries or existing illnesses you have; your foster carer, PA or social worker will be able to book you an appointment. If you're 16 or above you will be able to book your own appointments.
It's not just doctors who work at the surgery, you will most probably find as well practice nurses, midwives, health visitors and health care assistants.
If you are staying in the area where you live, you will continue to go to the GP you are registered with for any routine appointments. If you are not registered with a GP, or have moved away from the area where you have lived before, you will be registered with a new GP and your health records will move as well so that your new GP knows about your health.
Your teeth, mouth, gums and tongue are all really important parts of your body and keeping them healthy should be part of your daily routine.
You should only need to see a Dentist once a year, but if your worried about your teeth, don't delay in making an appointment.
Where will I go for my dental appointment?
- If you are staying in the area where you live, you will continue to go to the NHS dentist that you are registered with
- If you are not registered with a dentist, or you have moved away from the area where you lived before, your social worker or foster carer will register you with a new NHS dentist
Some treatments may require you to go to a dental hospital but your dentist will advise you about that
What if I'm scared of the dentist?
Looking after your teeth is important and going to the dentist is a normal part of life and isn't something you should be worried about. However if you are worried or anxious speak to your foster carer, social worker, PA or GP who might be able to help you overcome your fears.
Orthodontist - is someone who aims to improve the appearance of your teeth if they are positioned badly, crooked or abnormally arranged. Commonly they will use a brace to help improve these things. Your dentist will refer you to the Orthodontist.
Braces - there are a few different types of braces out there, some are removable and some will be attached to your teeth. Braces also come in lots of different styles and if you want lots of different colours. Typically you will have your braces on for 18-24 months to make sure you get a good result and a beaming smile at then end.
Bridges - these are used as a fixed replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. Usually they will be made out of metal or porcelain and will be fixed in so you cant take them out.
Crowns - a crown is a cover that completely covers a real tooth, and will be made out of porcelain or metal. A crown will be fitted if you have a broken, decayed or damaged tooth.
Fillings - a filling is used to repair a hole in your tooth that might of been caused by decay, the filling will be made out of a mixture of metals but your dentist will be able to talk you through it.
Scale & Polish - this is when a hygienist cleans your teeth which involves removing the deposits that build up on your teeth.
Things to know:
- If you are under 18 dental care if free
- If you are in full time education and under 19 dental care is free
- If you are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months dental care is free
- If you are staying in a NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by a hospital dentist your dental care is free
- If you are on income support your dental care is free
- If you are on Income-related Employment and Support Allowance your dental care is free
- If you are on income-based Jobseekers Allowance your dental care is free
- If you are on a low income, you can get free dental care if you present a HC2 certificate, you need to complete a HC1 form which is available through most Job Centre Plus offices, NHS Hospitals or your dentist may be able to supply you with one.
If you don't fall into one of these categories then treatment is broken down into bands:
Band 1, £18.50 - covers an examination, diagnosis (including X-rays), advice and a scale & polish
Band 2, £50.50 - this covers everything listed in band 1 plus any other treatments such as; fillings, root-canals or teeth removal
Band 3, £219 - this covers everything in band 1 and 2, plus crowns, dentures and bridges
What is a health assessment?
When you first come into care you will have an initial health assessment with a doctor, you health assessment will:
• identify any health issues you may have now
• help prevent any health problems in the future
• create a health plan to outline any health care and support you might need
• let you know who will be responsible for making sure you receive that care and support
• give you information on how to keep healthy
At your first assessment you will usually see a doctor at a surgery, but in some areas like Basingstoke you may go to the hospital for your health assessment. Your health assessment is not something you should worry about, lots of people have health checks, and part of your initial health assessment is to catch up on the checks you should of already have had.
What to expect at my review health assessment?
- If your over five you will have a review once a year
- Your review will be carried out by a nurse and they will respect your views, so if you are not comfortable, let them know
- It may be possible to have your review at school or home
- Your foster carer can attend if you like, you can also be seen alone, just let your foster carer or nurse know
- The nurse will weigh you and check your height
- You can discuss lots of things in your assessment, not just your health such as; school, diet, sleep and exercise
- Any recommendations made on your health plan will be reviewed by a nurse until they are achieved
What happens if I need to see a doctor?
You can see a doctor, nurse or any healthcare professional at any time you need to - you don't need to wait until your next health assessment. Speak to your social worker or foster carer who will be able who will be able to make you an appointment or you can contact the GP surgery yourself.
You can have your health plan reviewed at any time so we can respond to any health changes you may have.
Have a look at Going to the Doctor page for more information.
How do I give my consent for a health assessment?
When you first come into care, you and your birth parents, or agency/adult with parental responsibility, will complete a consent form to say you are happy for your health information to be shared where appropriate. If you are under 16, your doctor, social worker, foster carers or family will help you to make decisions about your health care and will explain anything you don't understand.
Once you reach 16, you will be able to give consent yourself for your own surgical, medical or dental treatment and any associated procedures, investigations, anaesthesia or nursing care. This means that you should be treated as an adult - for example, if a signature on a consent form is required, you can sign for yourself.
Who will know about my health assessment? Is it confidential?
Anything you say to the doctor or nurse will be confidential. Sometimes we need to tell other people to make sure you are safe.
We will always talk to you about anything that needs to be discussed with others first so that you know.
Eating well is major part of keeping healthy and having a balanced diet is a really great way to make sure you are looking after yourself.
Having a balanced diet:
Having a balanced diet is really important, you need to have a mixture of all the foods in the eatwell plate to make sure you are getting all the right nutrients. Avoiding too much fat, sugar and salt as well will make sure that you getting a really balanced diet.
Try to choose a variety of foods from the four main food groups:
- bread, rice , pasta, potatoes and other starchy foods
- fruit and vegetables
- milk and diary foods
- meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-diary sources of protein
What if I don't like eating something?
We all vary in the foods we like, it is not unusual to experiment with different eating habits - you may have decided to become vegetarian or tried changing your diet to improve your health. Let your social worker or foster carer know what you do or don't like - you could maybe write them a list if its easier for them to remember.
What if I'm concerned about my diet?
Some eating patterns can be damaging. Problems with food can begin when used to cope with those times when you are bored, anxious, angry, lonely or sad. If you feel you are not receiving a balanced diet, or you think you may have an eating disorder, you should speak to your foster carer, social worker or someone who you trust, such as a teacher who will be able to help you or find you support.
Having a poor diet you may notice that your skin may become more spotty or your hair may become more greasy, so in order to keep yourself looking well you need to eat well.
What if I have a food intolerance?
You should let your social worker or foster carer know if you have an existing food intolerance, so they can make sure it's not included in your diet. If you think you have a food intolerance, speak to your doctor who will be able to give you advice about what to do about your diet.
Food allergy or intolerance?
A genuine food allergy is pretty rare and only affects about 2% of the population, however if you have one it can be really dangerous or even life threatening. Common food allergies are usually; fish, shellfish, nuts and sometimes milk and eggs can cause severe reactions. If you have a food allergy make sure that you read food labels really carefully and if your not sure what might be in your food don't be afraid to ask, also if you need to carry medication to treat severe reactions, make sure you have it on you at all times.
Many people are more likely to have a food intolerance and this may be to one certain food or a group of foods such as diary. Symptoms may vary from person to person, if you think you have an intolerance speak to your doctor.
Keeping fit, is an important part of being healthy. It is suggested that you do an hour of exercise a day and this can range from moderate activity like walking to school or college or scooting to school, to vigorous activity such as running or tennis. This might sound like a lot but you are probably already doing it.
What types of moderate activity can I do?
- walking to school/college/uni
- playing in the playground/park
- riding a scooter
- walking the dogs
- cycling on flat ground, or on ground that's a little bit hilly
- plus loads more ...
What types of vigorous activity can I do?
- energetic dancing
- martial arts
- cycling fast, or on ground that is really hilly
- plus loads more ...
What kind of sports can I do?
Sports are really easy to pick up and many of them you can do with friends down at the park, many of them do require a lot of equipment and can be really easy to set up, such as football, skateboarding, extreme Frisbee for example. Other sports may require a specialist pitches, equipment and clothing.
How do I decided what sport to do?
The best way to decide which sport to do is to think about your strengths and skills, and ultimately which sport(s) you prefer, its no good starting football when you love tennis.
Think about whether or not you like being part of a team, as a team sport like; football, rugby or basketball might be better otherwise choosing a sport where you are the only player like; tennis, swimming or running.
Joining a club:
Joining a club is a great way to meet new people along with meeting people that enjoy the same sport(s) as you.
You might already be part of a school or college team but progressing onto a club is a good way of developing your skills further, accessing more competitions or finding like minded people.
Your foster carer, social worker or PA will be able to support in accessing a club, if that's something that you fancy trying.
Your social worker, PA or foster carer will be able to let you know about any funding that you can access to cover the costs of the sport(s) you want to do.
Clubs and teams may also be able to help you with funding as well.
Your health and well-being is really important and that includes your mental well-being.
What is mental well-being?
Mental well-being is a mixture of thing such as; being happy, content, having high self-esteem, confidence, enjoying the things around you (the list could go on and on). Your mental and physical well-being are of course linked and if you are feeling fit and healthy, this will help you with your mental well-being.
Good mental well-being doesn't mean you won't ever encounter experiences that are difficult or challenging, but you will have the right skills to overcome problems.
Need to talk?
Sometimes talking through any problems, issues, worries or stresses can really help and take pressure off you. A problem shared is a problem halved.
Sometimes speaking to those close to you like your friends, family or foster carer can be really daunting. Try speaking to someone you aren't close to like; your teacher/tutor, doctor, a counsellor or a youth worker.
There are also lots of different charities that you can speak to, who have confidential helplines hat can answer your call 24 hours a day.
Worried? Need to talk?
Handy tips to help with your mental well-being:
- Try writing it down, sometimes seeing your worries written down will help you deal with them
- Do something physical like go for a walk, you may find it easier to identify what is wrong
- Take control of the situation, facing the problem head on can make a real difference
- Set yourself goals and challenges, having something positive to achieve can give you a different outlook
Forming healthy relationships is really important, you will have close relationships with friends, family, boyfriends and girlfriends. As you get older your relationships will change and develop and you get to know what you enjoy about a relationship and what you don't.
Not all relationships will work out and the person your involved with, may try and make you do things that you are not comfortable with or force you into things.
People who do this may want you to be their friend, girlfriend or boyfriend. They might offer your gifts or shower you with compliments, they also may use force, violence, bribery and humiliation to get you to do things that you don't want to, including having sex with you against your will.
Being aware of the warning signs is really important as sexual exploitation can happen to anyone, regardless of age, ethnicity and gender.
If you're worried about the situation that you are in or you're worried about a friend or family member, then there are lots of people you can talk to, don't bottle it up.
Childline - 0800 1111
Children's Services - 0300 555 1384
Children's Services Out of Hours - 0300 555 1373
Bullying can happen at any time to anyone, you can be bullied at school or college, online via social media or in at home, these are just a few places as it can happen anywhere.
People who bully do it for all sorts of reasons or for no particular reason at all. A bully might pick up on things that make you different and use that to hurt you. These things might be how you look, how you wear you hair or what clothes you like. Everyone is different, this is what makes us who we are and its not acceptable to be bullied, you must not blame yourself for being bullied.
What is bullying?
- being called names
- being pushed around
- being humiliated or put down
- having you things messed around with
- having money taken
- having rumours spread about you
- being left out or ignored
- being threatened
- being physically hurt
- being intimidated
Bullying can take on many different forms so you might be experiencing a type that isn't listed, it can also take place in lots of different places such as Facebook or Twitter.
Sexting is when you might be asked to send photos of yourself naked or partially naked, or you send/share a picture of someone who is naked or partially naked. You might think its ok to send pictures of yourself to your girlfriend, boyfriend or friend. Once you have sent it though you wont have any control over it, and it might be shared on social media or via text.
Sexting is against the law and should be taken very seriously, by having pictures of friends or people that you know who are under 18 and are naked or partially naked then you would be in possession of an indecent image of a child and this is a serious criminal offence.
Is how you describe your feelings for someone who you might want to date or have a relationship with, they might be the same gender as you or they may be the opposite gender. You might also want to date both genders or you might not be interested in either or having a relationship at all. Or you might be confused about how you feel all together, if you do, don't worry, some people know from an early age and some may not know until they are older and more comfortable with themselves.
Some people are really confident at displaying their sexuality but it's not easy for everyone, however there are loads of different organisations throughout Hampshire and Nationally that can offer support, information and groups of like-minded people.
Also remember that no-one should have to go through any discrimination or bullying, if you or a friend is experiencing anything, you need to make sure you speak to someone as soon as possible.
Hampshire Police have Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers (LAGLO) who will speak to you in complete confidentiality if you are experiencing any discrimination or bullying.
At secondary school you will be offered different vaccinations that will be topping up previous vaccinations you would have had as a baby. You parent/foster carer will have to give their consent for you to have the vaccination and they are not compulsory, so you don't have to have them if you don't want them.
• 13-18? you will be offered the 3-in-1 booster. It's a single injection that protects you against tetanus, diphtheria and polio
• 12-13 and a girl? you will be offered the HPV vaccination that will help protect you from cervical cancer and genital HPV in later life
• 13-18? Men ACWY is a vaccination that will protect your from 4 different strains of meningitis
• 19-25 and thinking about going to uni? You may want to consider the Men ACWY vaccination. You can be at greater risk of catching the infection due to the high number of people you will encounter is places like uni halls. By having the vaccination you will lessen the risk of the bacteria spreading
What is it?
Meningitis - meningococcal disease is a term used to describe two major illnesses - meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain) and septicaemia (blood poisoning). These can occur on there own or more commonly both together. Most people will make a good recovery, but at it's worst meningococcal disease causes severe illness which can rapidly result in death.
HPV - human papilloma virus is the name given to the family of viruses that range from low risk such as warts or verrucas or high risk cervical cancer. HPV is very common and is easily spread through sexual activity. In most cases your immune system will fight the infection and it won't do you any harm, but in some cases the infection will be harder to get rid of and will lead to health problems. The vaccine you will be given will protect you against the two most common types of HPV virus that between them leads to 70% of cervical cancers. The vaccination will also protect you against genital warts.
Accessing confidential sexual health services couldn't be easier, you can access many services through: sexual health clinics, pharmacies, youth groups, youth clubs, drop-in sessions or your GP.
• Sexual health clinics provide a wide range of different services including: access to contraception, such as the Pill, the implant or STI testing
• Youth settings such as clubs, groups or drop-in sessions can provide confidential information to all young people, offer free condoms for 13-25 year olds and offer chlamydia testing
• Pharmacies across Hampshire offer free emergency contraception (known as the morning after pill) which can be taken 72 hours after unprotected sex, free condoms and chlamydia testing.
If you need an urgent appointment contact your social worker/keyworker/PA who can arrange an appointment for you, or if available a sexual health nurse can visit you.
To find out where your local services are based and information about sexual health have a look at the Getiton webpage.
If you're aged between 15-24 and want to do a chlamydia test you can order one online via Let's Talk About It.