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A breath of fresh air?

Updated: Nov 4, 2019

It's touch or go whether the cables will support the enormous bus dangling below...

Finally my moment of fame. From the murky depths of anonymity to the sparkling heights of the celebrity in a matter of days. A photo and an article in the Press to celebrate our 'Green Impact for Health' project! What greater honour canst thou bestow on your humble servant, O Lord? Suddenly the grey concrete of our carpark becomes our catwalk. This is Milan dahling; Paris; the red carpet in Leicester square. I remind Dr Guion to dress smartly, and collect an armful of my choicest eco-props. I hesitate to remove from my crisp/biscuit packet recycling box the supposedly offensive 'no wrappers' sign with its background silhouette of a blinged-up US popstar with a 'WTF' logo on his T-shirt. Artist-like, I carefully arrange a pastiche of staff, boxes and posters. The camera flashes, the moment is over.

Holding back the tears, I wistfully survey the main road outside the surgery and consider the effect of all those cars. Respiratory health has again come to the fore recently with the head of NHS England speaking about the effects of air pollution on health saying "avoidable deaths are happening now, not in 2025 or 2050". But how can doctors help reduce air pollution? Should we glue ourselves to the power station chimneys (don't answer that), write to the local MP (already done it), or even write (or send basic easy-to-understand potato-print shapes) to the Prime Minister? Well, there are other more easily achieved options. For a start, let's look at inhalers which, like yours truly, hit the headlines this week in this BBC news article. Inhalers are vital for people with asthma, and you may well get through 6 or more in a year. Our friends over at Asthma UK estimate that someone has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack in the UK every 10 seconds. Have a look at PSNC for plenty more sobering statistics, such as: there are approximately 3 children in every classroom in the UK with asthma. Sherlock's sidekick (and the real brains of the operation IMHO) Dr Watson would call this "a bit not good".

But did you know that inhalers like Ventolin (blue preventer) actually have a green super-hero counterpart called a 'dry powder inhaler'? With industrial pollution levels expected to bulldoze on through to the next decade, and no firm plan in place to replace fossil-fuel power stations with renewables, asthma is set to continue as everyone's least favourite party guest who just will NOT go away. Worse, the propellant in some inhalers means they aren't helping the planet. This is where the dry powder inhaler caped-crusaders leap to our rescue (for most people). Their carbon footprint is estimated at 25 times smaller than a 'traditional' inhaler!

So have a look at the last page of this NICE document to find out how planet-friendly your inhalers are, and maybe pop in to chat to one of our friendly GPs or practice nurses if you'd like to consider trying a greener inhaler. Totally up to you. Just an option to consider. Even if it turns out it's not your thing, we'll still do your annual review just as usual and ensure your treatment plan is perfecto. We really are here to help. We want you to feel like you are breathing the fresh clean air at the top of a mountain, not like you are struggling to walk up one every day.

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