Newham

Your health

On this page you can find out how we help you to look after your health. And you can get advice on how you can best look after yourself while you are in care.

​Health check-ups for looked after children and young people

When you first become looked after, you will be invited to have an initial medical check up with a paediatrician and a Looked After Children (LAC) nurse. This is to make sure that you have no health problems and are keeping well. And you can talk about any worries you might have about your health.
 

Yearly check-ups

While you are looked after by us, you will be invited to have a health check with one of the LAC nurses every year. During this check up, the nurse will talk to you about any health concerns you might have as well as making sure you know how to get any more health information you might need
 
While you are looked after we will:
  • make sure that your routine immunisations are up to date. These are very important as they protect you from a lot of serious illnesses
  • make sure you are registered with a dentist and have check-ups every six months to keep your teeth in good condition
  • make sure you have regular eye tests at the optician. Once a year is recommended.
  • send you a health care plan after your health checks with the LAC nurse, which will tell you what you talked about and what you or your carer should go to see a doctor or another health professional about.
 
 

If you feel unwell

Everyone has times when they don’t feel well. You should always tell your carer or social worker if you are feeling unwell. They will be able to help you.
 
You should be registered with a GP local to where you live, so that you can get advice and manage any health problems you may have.
 
 

Keeping yourself healthy

Keeping healthy should be a life-long goal. Being fit and healthy can improve the way you look and feel. There are many things you can do to keep healthy.
 

Eating well

You should try to eat lots of:
  • fruit and vegetables
  • fish and meat
  • foods containing fibre
  • and not eat too many sweets, crisps and junk food. Try to drink milk or water instead of fizzy drinks.

Eating disorders

Many young people have problems with eating food at some time in their lives. The most common eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia.
 
Anorexia nervosa is when people avoid eating and lose a lot of weight. They often feel or think they look fat even when they are very thin.
 
Bulimia is when someone binges (eats lots of food at once) and then makes himself or herself sick to get rid of it. Some people with bulimia also use laxatives, which can cause diarrhoea.
 
Compulsive eating is when someone eats much more than their body needs without being able to stop when they are full. Compulsive eating is often a comfort and distraction from upsetting thoughts or feelings that are difficult to cope with.
 
Eating problems often hide other problems. Any number of things can trigger an eating problem. It may come from:
  • pressure to be thin
  • bullying
  • being abused
  • the death of someone close to you.
If you are worried about something, you can talk to your social worker or carer about it or phone our Newham Virtual School team on 020 3373 1336 or you can email NewhamVirtualSchool@newham.gov.uk. You can also phone the LAC nurses on 020 7059 6578 or 020 7059 6578.

Exercising

Keeping active helps to improve your mood and keep a healthy body. You can take part in school exercise classes and join clubs for football, swimming, athletics, dancing or any other exercise that you enjoy.
 
You have a right to a free leisure pass to all Newham Leisure Centres. Ask your social worker, key worker or your carer about getting your free pass.
 

Relaxing and sleeping

It is really important for you to get enough sleep so your body can grow and refresh itself. Relaxing gives your body time to get rid of tension and stress. It can help you keep a healthy mind.
 
 

Things that could harm your health

Smoking

Did you know that smoking can be as addictive as taking heroin or cocaine? Most adult smokers started smoking when they were teenagers, encouraged by their friends or because they wanted to fit in.
 

Health risks of smoking

Smoking can cause serious health problems when you are older such as heart attacks, strokes and diseases that can affect your breathing.
 
Smoking will also cause:
  • wrinkles around your eyes and mouth - smokers’ skin can be prematurely aged by between 10 and 20 years
  • tobacco-stained fingers
    yellowish-brown teeth, gum disease and bad breath
  • your hair and clothes to smell of smoke.
Get help to give up smoking.
 

Drugs

Trying any drug can lead to addiction, which means that you will need to take it regularly, because you will have withdrawal symptoms if you do not.
 

Illegal drugs

All drugs that have not been prescribed by your doctor or bought from a chemist are illegal to have. 
 

Solvents, glue and gases

Sniffing solvents or gases such as:
  • glue
  • cigarette lighter refills
  • aerosols
  • petrol
  • cleaning products
on purpose to get high is called solvent abuse.
 
You could also:
  • suffocate
  • choke
  • hallucinate, which can be very scary
  • be sick.
It can also cause:
  • your heart to race or give you an irregular heart rhythm
  • explosions because solvents can catch light very easily.
 

Alcohol

Unlike illegal drugs, alcohol is accepted as part of most people’s social life.
Drinking small amounts of alcohol has no bad effects on your health, but regularly drinking too much can have serious effects now and in the future. If you binge drink – that is, drink too much in one go – you could:
  • die
  • pass out and be robbed or assaulted
  • suffer brain damage.
 

Contraception and sexual health

If you need:
  • contraception advice
  • emergency contraception, such as the morning after pill
  • pregnancy testing
  • testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections
  • HIV testing and counselling
  • free condoms and safe sex advice
you can go to The Greenway Centre at Newham General Hospital. You don’t have to have an appointment.
 
You can also phone the LAC nurses on 020 7059 6575 or 020 7059 6578. They can arrange for you to speak to the sexual health nurse.
 
And you can go to your own GP for advice about contraception.
 

Pregnancy

From the time a young woman starts her first period, she can become pregnant if she has unprotected sex.
 
Pregnancy tests that you buy at a chemist can tell you if you are pregnant soon after you have missed your period.
 
If you think you might be pregnant, you should talk to someone you trust. This might be:
  • your carer
  • your teacher
  • the LAC nurses
  • your GP.
You can also go to a SHINE clinic for help.
 
 

Healthy minds

We all have trouble coping with our feelings sometimes. If you feel:
  • anxious
  • worried
  • panicky
  • moody
  • sad
  • like sleeping all the time
it is best to share your feelings with someone. You can talk to:
  • your friends
  • your carer
  • your social worker
  • an adult you can trust.
Phone Childline for free on 0800 1111 or chat to a Childline counsellor online.
 

Support after someone has died

If someone close to you has died, it is important that you do not try to cope with it alone. You can talk to:
  • your carer
  • social worker
  • an adult you can trust.

Self harm

Self harm is when a person deliberately hurts themselves by:
  • cutting or scratching
  • bruising
  • pulling their hair out
  • burning or poisoning.
 
Self harming doesn’t usually mean that someone wants to end their life.
 
If you feel that you want to hurt yourself or you have hurt yourself, you should talk to someone you trust like your foster carer, your social worker, a teacher or go to see your GP.

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Contact us

  • Looked After Children (LAC) nurses

    020 7059 6578 or 020 7059 6578

  • Newham Virtual School

    020 3373 1336

    Email us