Laura Oakley

Laura brings you all the latest stories from the British Red Cross' work across the UK – from emergency response to health and social care – as well as West and Central Africa.

Posts by Laura Oakley:

Bonfire Night: First aid for burns

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Friends and family gather for Bonfire NightBonfire Night – a time when friends and family gather to ‘Ooo’ and ‘Ahh’ at the night sky as firework after firework light up the darkness with an almighty bang.

Whether you’re having your own party, attending a friend’s or off to a display, there’s a common risk that comes from celebrating with fireworks – burns.

But have no fear. We’ve got some top advice for helping someone with a burn this Bonfire Night.

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First aid for cyclists: From average Joe to sporting pro

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The Senior Academy programme with British Cycling have been brushing up on their first aid skills with the Red Cross. Cycling in Britain is at an all-time high. More than two million people across the country now cycle at least once a week.*

Perhaps we’ve all been inspired by Chris Froome adding a third yellow Tour de France jersey to his collection, or the Great Britain Cycling Team sweeping up 12 Olympic medals at Rio 2016?

Whatever the reason, it’s great that more and more people are sharing a love of cycling.

But new research conducted by the British Red Cross found that while 90 per cent of cyclists think sports people have a responsibility to look after each other, 40 per cent would not have the confidence to help a fellow cyclist in a first aid emergency.

Bumps, scrapes and falls come hand-in-hand with sporting activities – no matter what level you’re at. And we want to make sure people know what to do in a crisis. From average Joe to pro.

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Students: Are you sure that’s freshers’ flu and not meningitis?

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A young woman sits with a book and notebook on her lap holding her head while other students drink coffe and smile in the background

© Steve Debenport

 

The new academic term is a time for meeting fresh faces, getting to grips with new timetables… and freshers’ flu. But are you sure that’s what your flu-like symptoms are?

Students sometimes miss the signs of a much more serious illness known as meningitis because its symptoms are similar to that of freshers’ flu – the collective coughs, fevers and viruses caught during your first few weeks at university.

Meningitis is rare – but can be life threatening. Students are at more risk of it because they often live in close proximity to one another.

So if you’re heading to university this month, make sure you know the signs.

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The health and social care crisis: Joyce’s story

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Joyce Hall with a Red Cross volunteer who helped her regain her independence after she broke her arm Joyce waited an agonising two days before going to hospital with a badly broken arm. She couldn’t just go to the hospital – she had her younger brother to think about.

As the sole carer for Lenny, who has epilepsy and learning difficulties, she was worried about leaving him alone. He was unable to do everyday tasks like getting dressed and feeding himself.

But after two days of pain she had little choice.

The British Red Cross met Joyce for the first time when she was discharged from the hospital and referred to our support at home service.

We were able to help her not just through her recovery, but find more support for her and Lenny from other services in the long-term too.

But with six consecutive years of budget cuts and an increasing demand on health and social care services, the system in England has become unsustainable. The care people like Joyce and Lenny need, is at risk.

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Don’t stop at 999: ‘If it wasn’t for you, she could have died’

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Natasha applied pressure to an elderly woman's bleeding leg to help stem the flow of blood.

As Natasha headed home after a routine hospital check-up, she spotted a commotion up ahead. At first she couldn’t make out what was happening – then she saw the pool of blood. 

“All I could see from the distance was just this red pool gathering and it was getting bigger and bigger,” Natasha said.

She knew she had to help.

“I don’t know why or what came over me – everyone was flapping and no one was helping. I dropped my bag and ran – I’d say about half a mile down the street!” Natasha said.

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Back to school? Don’t forget about first aid

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A girl in a secondary school first aid class holds a boy's arm to practise first aid for a broken bone

© Matt Percival/British Red Cross

The long summer holiday is over – it’s time to head back to school. What’s the most important thing you think pupils will learn this year?

Perhaps they will conquer equations, master French, or triumphantly learn the periodic table off by heart.

But what if they learnt how to save a life?

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World Humanitarian Day: meet the people we all rely on

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Today is World Humanitarian Day. Many aid workers are risking their lives to help people in dangerous places from Syria and Yemen to South Sudan and Afghanistan. Others are volunteering their time and skills to help others in their communities. Join us on a trip around the world to meet the people who are always ready to help in a crisis.

Italy
Italian Red Cross nurse Daniela and her team rescue a group of people stranded in a sinking boat in the Mediterranean.

Italian Red Cross nurse Daniela and her team rescue a group of people stranded in a sinking boat in the Mediterranean. The work on board the rescue boat is relentless as hundreds of people are rescued from the water every day. Aid workers like Daniela ensure people feel safe and protected. (Photo: Jason Florio / MOAS)

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