Welcome to The Room, where children and young people can get information about the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Your Health


In this section you can find general information and useful links to other organisations on health topics that may affect you. To learn more, click on the links below

Acne
Alcohol
Bullying

Dentist
Drugs

Exam Stress
Exercise
Healthy Eating

Periods
Puberty
Sexual Health
Smoking

 

Acne
Acne is the most common cause of spots in teenagers/young people.  The spots can be on your face, back and chest.

Acne happens to about 80% of people aged 11-30.  It is most common in girls aged 14-17 and boys aged 16-19.

The spots can be blackheads or whiteheads and can be mild or more severe.  The spots can last a long time and might leave scars.

There are lots of creams and lotions you can get to help.  You can get these from a local pharmacy.

If your acne is causing you to feel unhappy or is more severe then go to see your doctor.  Your doctor may give you antibiotics or a different/stronger cream than you can get from a pharmacy.

The creams/lotions can take up to 3 months to work so don’t expect the spots to go straight away.

Here are some tips to help with acne:

  • Don’t wash the skin where you have acne more than twice a day. Washing too much can irritate the skin.
  • Wash using a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water. Very hot or very cold water can make acne worse.
  • Don't try to squeeze spots or blackheads. This can make them worse and cause permanent scarring.
  • Don’t wear too much make-up. If you do wear make-up try and use water-based products (this means the product is less likely to block the pores in your skin).
  • Make sure you take all of your make-up off before going to bed.
  • If your skin is dry use a fragrance-free, water-based moisturiser.
  • Exercise doesn’t make acne better but is good as it boosts your mood and confidence. Shower as soon as possible after exercising as sweat can irritate your acne.
  • Regularly wash your hair and try not to let your hair fall across your face.

Further info:
NHS Direct Wales - Acne
Your local doctor (GP)
Your local pharmacist


Alcohol

It is against the law for anyone under the age of 18 to buy alcohol in England and Wales.

Alcohol is a depressant which means it slows down your brain.  This means it can affect your reactions, vision, hearing, emotions and movement and generally how you think about things.  The effects can last for several hours, even to the next day.  It can make you feel drowsy and sick and give you a hangover the next day.

Because alcohol changes how you think and gives you a false confidence it can make you do things you wouldn’t normally do.  Underage drinking can lead to accidents, injuries, unsafe sex, violence and crime.

Heavy drinking and long term drinking can both lead to serious health problems.

Further info:
Drink Aware
NHS Direct Wales - Alcohol Misuse
Dan - Wales Drug & Alcohol Helpline

 

Bullying

Bullying can happen to anyone at any age.  It can happen anywhere including in school, at home and even online and happen in lots of ways like pushing, hitting and name calling.

Childline have lots of advice for anyone who is being bullied – you can call them or chat to them online without giving your name or any details.

Further info:
Childline - they also have a helpline 0800 11 11. Calls are free and confidential.
Young Minds
Childline - cyber bullying

 Dentist

Take a look at our video 'How to Brush our Teeth'  Don't forget you should have regular check ups too.

Drugs

Taking drugs is very bad for your health.

If you have a problem with drugs there are lots of people who can help.  Going to see your doctor (GP) is a good place to start.  If you don't want to go to see your doctor, you can get help and advice from DAN 24/7, you can ring them for free anytime day or night on 0808 808 2234, text on 810066 or visit the DAN 24/7 website.  Anything you tell DAN 24/7 will be confidential and you don't even have to give your real name.

Here are some common drugs and how they can affect you:

Cannabis (sometimes called hash, grass, weed, skunk, marijuana)

Cannabis is a calming drug, made from the cannabis plant.  It can be smoked, drunk as a tea or eaten when mixed into cakes and biscuits.

Cannabis can make you feel relaxed and happy, but sometimes makes people feel tired, paranoid and anxious.  Cannabis affects how your brain works, so can make concentration and learning very hard.

Cannabis can be addictive and some people do experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it.

Cocaine (sometimes called powder cocaine, coke, crack)

Cocaine is a powerful drug that can be smoked, the powder snorted or injected.

Cocaine can give you energy, a feeling of happiness and being wide-awake, and an over confidence that can lead to taking risks.  The effects do not last long which can make people take more of it.  After it is often followed by a nasty 'comedown' that makes you feel sad and unwell.

Taking cocaine can cause heart attacks and damage your nose if you snort it.  If you inject it you are at risk of dying from an overdose.

Cocaine is very addictive.

Mephedrone (sometimes called meow meow, miaw miaw, meph)

Mephedrone is a fine white or off white powder that can be snorted, swallowed wrapped in paper or injected.

It can make you feel awake, confident and happy. But it can also make you feel paranoid and anxious.  It can cause vomiting and headaches, stop you sleeping, people can have fits and start seeing/imagining things.

Ecstacy (sometimes called MDMA, pills, crystal, E)

Ecstacy is usually taken as a tablet but can be dabbed on gums or snorted as a power.

Ecstacy can make you feel altert, affectionate and chatty, and it can make music and colours seem more intense.  Taking ecstacy can cause anxiety, confusion, paranoia and memory problems.

Ecstacy can be addictive and people get used to the effects meaning they end up taking more and more in order to get the same effect.

Speed (sometimes called amphetamine, billy, whiz)

Speed is usually and off white or pink powder that is dabbed onto gums, snorted or swallowed in paper.

Speed can make you feel alert, confident and full of energy, and can reduce appetitie.  But it can make you aggitated and aggressive and can cause confusion and paranoia.  You can also become very depressed and lethargic for hours or days after a period of heavy use.

Taking speed can be dangerous for the heart as it can cause high blood pressure and heart attacks.  Regular use can become highly addictive.

Further info:

NHS Direct Wales -
drug misuse

DAN 24/7 - Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline

Frank Talk to Frank

Exam stress

Worrying about exams in school or college can be very stressful.  Being prepared and knowing how to rest and relax will help you cope better and get the best results.

Further info:

NHS Choices - Surviving Exams 
Childline - Exam Stress
NSPCC - Beat Exam Stress

 

Exercise

Exercise is good for you and helps keep you fit and your mind and body healthy.

Young people between 5 and 18 should do 60 minutes (1 hour) of exercise every day.

Exercise can boost your confidence, give you more energy and make you feel happier.  You will also sleep better.

Here are some different ideas you could try:

  • Football
  • Netball
  • Rugby
  • Hockey
  • Cricket
  • Skipping
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis

It doesn’t mean you have to go to a class or be expensive.  Kicking a ball in a field and dancing in your bedroom are free – so get some friends together and enjoy!

Further info:
Walk for Life


Healthy Eating

Eating a healthy balanced diet is very important.  A balanced diet means eating the right amount of food from all of the food groups.

A good, balanced diet can help you live a longer, healthier life and be a healthy weight.

The five food groups are:
 

Carbohydrate – like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and cereals

Protein – like meat, fish, eggs, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds

Fruit & Vegetables – can be fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juices

Milk & Dairy – like milk, cheese and yoghurts

Fats & Sugars – like crisps, soft drinks, chocolate, chips, burgers, sweets, biscuits, cakes, ice cream, butter and any fried food

Carbohydrates should be a third of what you eat, fruit and vegetables should be another third, and the rest should be split between protein and milk/daily products.  Only a very small amount should be fats and sugars.  The eatwell plate will help you see this.

Further info:

Teenwise: provides information on being active and there are a number of healthy recipes available on the website

Enjoy Healthy Eating -  a number of healthy recipes to choose from

Change4Life Wales - learn more about how to eat well, move well and live longer

Change4life Wales - info about 5 a day, what is it and how you can get started

 

Periods

Girls can start to have periods from the ages of 8-16, but most start around 12 years old.  Periods will happen every month when you will bleed from your vagina for a few days.  Periods can last up to 8 days but usually it is around 5 days.  You will get periods until you are around 45-55 years old.

You might get mood swings, pain in your back or stomach and swollen breasts around the time of your periods.

Some people lose more blood than others.

If your periods are very heavy or painful, go and see your doctor who will try and help you.

You can use sanitary towels or tampons to absorb the blood.  If you use tampons read the packet carefully as you have to change them often to avoid Toxic Shock Syndrome.

If you notice any change in your normal periods e.g. if it is lighter or longer or if you have any bleeding between periods you should contact your doctor.

Further info:
NHS Direct Wales - Periods

Brook

 

Puberty

Puberty is when your body starts changing from a child’s body to being an adult’s body.

You will notice a lot of changes in your body as you go through puberty.  You may also have mood swings, be more self-conscious and feel angry sometimes – but this is a normal part of growing up and puberty.

Boys and girls will experience some of the same changes and some different changes:

Boys

  • Puberty starts between the ages of 9-15, usually around 12
  • Your voice will get deeper – this is sometimes known as your voice breaking
  • Your shoulders will get broader and you will get more muscular
  • You may start to grow facial hair
  • Hormones are released and you will start to make testosterone and sperm

Girls

  • Puberty starts between the ages of 8-14, usually around 11
  • Your breasts will start to grow
  • You will get curvier as your hips widen
  • Hormones are released and you will start your periods (see Periods for more information)

All

  • You will get taller
  • You will start to grow pubic and underarm hair.
  • Because of an increase in hormones you may also get a lot of spots or Acne (see Acne for more information).
  • You might notice that you smell differently too – this is known as body odour or BO.  To help you can shower every day and wear clean clothes – you can also use a deodorant.

Not everyone will develop at the same age or as quickly as each other.  If puberty happens much earlier or later than the ages above, you should see your doctor who may want to do some tests to see if there is a reason for it.

 

Sexual Health

It is very important that everyone takes care of their sexual health.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed on through unprotected sex. The types of STi that you may have heard of include:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • chlamydia
  • gonorrhoea
  • herpes
  • syphilis
  • genital warts

Each STi has a lot of different symptoms. Some of these aren't obvious, so you could have an infection and not even know about it. That's why it's important to get checked.

Wearing condoms can protect against STIs. Most of these infections can be treated easily if they're discovered early. They can get more serious for your health if they're left untreated, so if you have had unprotected sex or think you have caught an STI you should get checked straight away.

You should go to your doctor or local genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic as soon as posiible. You can get contraception and sexual health advice from your regular GP. However, you may want to go to a different clinic for help and advice about sexual health. Staff who work at these clinics can give you tests and treatments for STIs and free contraception.

Further info:

NHS Direct Wales - Contraception

NHS Direct Wales - Sexually Transmitted Infections

Family Planning Association - information on a number of topics under 'Help and Advice'

Brook - advice for people under 25

Children First - sexual health and puberty information

Childline - Puberty information for boys and girls

NHS Choices - Sex & Young People

Your local doctor (GP)

Your local sexual health clinic also known as GUM clinics. To find your nearest GUM clinic or Young People Services

 

Smoking

If you smoke, giving up is the best thing you can do for better health.

Smoking is one of biggest causes of death and illness in the UK.

In Wales all enclosed (indoor) public places are smoke free.  It is against the law to smoke inside cafes, shopping centres, restaurants, pubs, buses and trains.

There is a £50 on the spot fine if anyone is caught smoking in a public place.

You must be over 18 to buy cigarettes or other tobacco products in Wales, England and Scotland.

What’s in a cigarette?

Cigarette smoke has more than 4000 chemicals in it, lots are very poisonous/toxic, and over 60 of them can cause cancer.

Here are some of them and what else they are used for:

  • Tar – is used in making roads
  • Cadmium – is used in batteries
  • Formaldehyde – this is used to preserve dead bodies
  • Polonium210 – is radioactive and can kill
  • Chromium – is in paints
  • Methanol – used to fire rockets into space
  • Benzene – is in petrol
  • Ammonia – is in toilet cleaners

Smoking is bad for your health and makes it more likely that you will get a serious disease that could kill you.  Smoking is known to cause things like cancer, pneumonia, heart disease and asthma.

Further info:

NHS Direct Wales - Quitting Smoking
Stop Smoking Wales - this organisation has a helpline number which is 0800 085 2219
Quit - this organisation also has a helpline 0800 00 22 00
Smokers Helpline Wales - contact them on 0800 169 0 169