Beat the Flu

SneezeThe ‘flu, or influenza virus can cause infections all year round, but in the UK, it is most common in the winter. There are many strains, some of which are worse than others, such as swine ‘flu (H1N1 strain) which tends to have a more rapid onset, high fevers and stomach upset and has caused fatalities, often in previously fit adults.  ‘Flu affects 10% of the population each year, but rises to 25-30% during an epidemic. In contrast, adults have approx 2 to 3 colds per year and children 5 to 6.

Do I Have ‘Flu or a Cold?

Features of ‘Flu Features of a Cold
  • Symptoms appear suddenly
  • Leaves you exhausted and unable to move, affecting the whole body
  • Can cause complications, including pneumonia, sometimes fatal
  • Lasts for one week, then you get better
  • Symptoms appear gradually
  • Affects only nose, throat, sinuses and upper chest
  • Still able to function
  • Recover fully in a week

Vaccination Against the ‘Flu

Anyone can get the ‘flu and, the more a person is in close contact with people who have the virus, the more likely they are to get it.  Certain at risk groups are advised to have a ‘flu vaccination. They include:

  • Everyone over the age of 65.
  • People of any age with lung diseases, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes or lowered immunity.
  • Anyone living in a residential or nursing home.
  • Carers of those at risk.

The UK is fortunate to have a safe and effective vaccination against the ‘flu, which is provided free of charge by the NHS. Those most at risk are advised to have a vaccination every year. This is because the ‘flu virus changes slightly every year.  Despite popular belief, the ‘flu vaccination can not give you ‘flu. It’s true that some people experience symptoms of a heavy cold at the same time or just after they’ve had the ‘flu jab – this is simply a coincidence and the symptoms are caused by one of the many common cold viruses in the autumn and winter.  It is still possible to suffer heavy colds after a vaccination, as the ‘flu jab only protects people from the ‘flu virus, not other viruses.

The ‘flu vaccination is available from October each year.  Anyone who thinks they need it should talk to their doctor or nurse.

How to Treat the ‘Flu

Antibiotics are of no use in treating ‘flu. Anti-viral medication is available from the GP for at risk groups, but it needs to be taken early on in the disease to stop the virus multiplying, and may only reduce the symptoms rather than treating the infection.

The best ways to treat the symptoms of flu are:

  • Get plenty of rest. The body uses a lot of energy fighting infections, so resting for the first couple of days gets it off to a good start.
  • Keep warm.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and try hot water with lemon, ginger and honey to relieve symptoms such as sore throat.
  • Take paracetamol or anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches.

Always contact your doctor if you’re not getting better after a few days, if you’re unduly short of breath or if you’re coughing up blood or large amounts of yellow or green phlegm.

HappyHow to Keep Healthy and Avoid Getting the ‘Flu

  • Keep your immune system strong by eating a healthy diet.
  • Take regular exercise.
  • Get enough rest and relaxation.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Take regular vitamins and bump up your vitamin C.
  • Wash your hands often and keep a bottle of antibacterial handclean around.
  • Avoid people who are coughing and sneezing, especially if they’re not covering their mouth and nose.
  • Use and bin your tissues.

What Shall We Do in the Spring?


velodrome 1
In the summer, we have Cyclotopia – a charity bike ride with a difference at the Olympic Park Velodrome [].
In the autumn, we have our #Breathtember campaign  – raising awareness of pulmonary fibrosis and Jo running 9Kasking people to get out of breath and tweet the term #Breathtember [].
Holst SingersIn the winter, we have our fabulous Charity Christmas Concert [11.12.15]
We also support awareness days, such as World COPD Day and World Pneumonia Day in November. 
We are looking into what we could hold in the spring – it could be a 5K/10K run, a clean air campaign, another awareness day, a sponsored climb … anything!

Rugby Union World Cup Quiz, Autumn 2015 Newsletter


Q: How many players make up a Rugby Union team?

A: 15


Q: How many Rugby World Cups have there been?

A: 8


Q: How many points for a drop goal?

A: 3


Q: What is the Rugby World Cup trophy called?

A: Webb Ellis Cup


Q: Who scored the most tries in the 2015 Rugby World Cup?

A: Julian Savea of New Zealand



Autumn 2015 Newsletter

For our Autumn 2015 Newsletter, please click here



Scientific Round Up for 2015

By Dr Porter and Prof Brown

It has been a busy year for presentations this year in the Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) Group. Dr Theresia with CryoscopeTheresia Mikolasch (Breathing Matters Lawrence Matz Clinical Fellow) presented the UCLH experience of relatively non-invasive cryobiopsies at the European Respiratory Society in Amsterdam in September. This was very well received as she is the pioneer of this procedure in the UK and it is only currently available at UCLH. Dr Mikolasch is also due to give a talk on her work at the British Thoracic Society meeting in December.

Dr Akif Khawaja is presenting his work on rheumatoid arthritis associated ILD at the American Society of Rheumatology in November in San Francisco. The results from the novel PET imaging project has shown some remarkable correlations between the results of the original FDG-PET scan of the lungs and mortality in pulmonary fibrosis of all varieties and we hope that this paper will be published in the New Year.

Dr Sara Brilha has completed a paper looking at the effect of fibrosis on the lung epithelium which is now submitted for publication.

The group continues to grow with a new research nurse and study coordinator and has signed up to five clinical trials in ILD, including a study of combined pirfenidone and nintedanib therapy in IPF; pirfenidone in non-IPF ILD; septrin in IPF; dabigatran in IPF; losmapimod in RA-ILD; as well as our ongoing studies.

We have also been awarded a joint grant with Papworth to look at obliterative bronchiolitis, a complication that affects many patients post-lung transplant, that we hope to start in the New Year.

It has also been a busy year for publications for Professor Brown’s Lung Infection group with 11 research papers published so far. The highlights are a paper in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (Suri et al in press JACI) describing how exposure to welding fumes makes pneumonia more likely, and a paper published in November in the European Respiratory Journal (Quint et al. Europ Resp J in press 2015) which shows that bronchiectasis is  much commoner than previously thought and is increasing in both incidence and prevalence as well as associated with a marked increase in age-dependent mortality.

Blue coats in labThe eagerly awaited laboratory refurbishment is at last complete and we are excited that the New Year will be very productive after being uprooted from the laboratories for the move. The refurb has been funded by UCL as part of their commitment to keep the buildings in working order.

Dr Manuela Plate, one of our researchers says, “The newly refurbished labs are truly wonderful. It is not just the way they look, it is also the way spaces have been designed around us. It has really improved the way we work and the quality of our output.

I really like the new open plan office as well, the fact that we are all in the same room is improving communications between us and with the Principal Investigators and Professors, fostering conversations and collaborations between people in different groups. There is a really nice, collegiate atmosphere.  A big success all around!”

We would like to say a massive THANK YOU to all of our patients and fundraisers for taking part in our studies and for providing the means for us to keep our studies going.Thank You







Pin badges are Here!

Pin badge

We are so proud of our new pin badges!

These are £2 each to purchase.  To order, please email to wear these with pride or sell for awareness.


Christmas Calling: Get your Concert Tickets Now!

Holly Please join us for

an Evening of Carols

for Choir and Audience

with Seasonal Readings 


St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden

St Pauls logos


Friday 11th December 2015 at 7.30pm

 The proceeds from the concert will go towards funding Professor Jeremy Brown’s research at UCL into Bronchiectasis 

 BM Holst-Singers

The Holst Singers is one of Britain’s foremost choirs

and has been described by the BBC

as a leading chorus on the international stage”.

In concert, the choir is renowned for dramatic and engaging performances, described by The Times as

“interactive concert going at its most revelatory”.


We are delighted that Jessica Ransom is coming to give a reading for us at this year’s concert. Jessica Ransom is a British actress, born in Sheffield. Her television appearances include Series 4 and 6 of Horrible Histories and Series 5 onwards of Doc Martin as medical receptionist, Morwenna Newcross. 


Tickets are £25 and are available from:


Many thanks to Dial2Donate who is kindly helping with advertising of this event   


Just Give It Up!

no smokingHave you tried quitting smoking before or have you persuaded yourself that your genes will protect you from the ravages of cigarettes?

First, think of why you should stop smoking and then, when you have decided to (and this might be the difficult step), take the first teeny weeny step. You do not have to throw all your cigarettes away for good – although that might be one approach. Take a small step, develop a new habit and, once it is taken, you are on the road to being an ‘ex-smoker’.  Keep taking little steps that help you develop little habits and you will achieve your aim.

Take Small Steps

What smalls teps can you take?  Try these:

  1. Develop a disgust for cigarettes. Spend 5 minutes each day imaging the toxic smoke filling your lungs and turning them black, and large globs of fat being deposited in the blood vessels of your brain, heart and legs. The surgeon teeing you up for an amputation operation, etc. Remind yourself of this every time you smoke.
  2. Toss a coin each day. Heads you smoke that day, tails you don’t.   Or, if that is too difficult, ‘tails’ you don’t smoke until midday or something similar. Keep this going for a year and you may reduce your intake by 50% (provided you don’t smoke twice as many on the smoking days).  On smoke-free days, have a shower, wash your hair, put on clean clothes and enjoy the fresh smell that you exude.
  3. Take fewer draws from each cigarette (you are going to have to be honest here).
  4. As an incentive, you could get yourself sponsored for giving up smoking and help a charity at the same time – a ‘Charity Quit’, if you will!
  5. Make the first step to getting expert help.  You can get excellent help from the following:

No matter how small your first step, it is a first step and it will be difficult – if it wasn’t, everyone would do it.  Keep in mind the pluses of being an EX-smoker.  Reward yourself for even a small achievement (not with a cigarette please).

Here are some of the reasons why you should quit (this is taken directly from

Health Benefits

  • You will reduce your risk of developing illness, disability or death caused by cancer, heart or lung disease.
  • You will reduce your risk of gangrene or amputation caused by circulatory problems.
  • You will protect the health of those around you by not exposing them to second-hand smoke.
  • You will reduce the chances of your children suffering from asthma or glue ear.
  • You will improve your fertility levels and your chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
  • You will improve your breathing and general fitness.
  • You will enjoy the taste of food more.

Your lifestyle WILL improve (after the short term discomfort)

  • You will save money – as much as several hundred pounds a month, if you’re a heavy smoker.  Perhaps some of this ‘spare’ money could be given to charity!
  • You will no longer smell of stale tobacco.
  • The appearance of your skin and teeth will improve.
  • You will feel more confident in social situations – you won’t be worrying about the second-hand smoke you create anymore.
  • As a non-smoker, you may even find you get approached more often by potential new friends and partners when out socialising.
  • Your home will smell fresh and you will no longer be staining your walls with tar.
  • You will reduce the risk of fire in your home.

Share your own stories with Breathing Matters. Post your story on our facebook page or tweet it.


IPF Awareness Week WebTV Show 5.10.15

Join Dr Klaus Dugi and Steven Wibberley on this live, interactive and informative show where we discuss the serious disease IPF (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis).

Show : 05 October 2015 at 14:00  hours

With Evel Knievel among its famous sufferers, Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a very serious and ultimately fatal interstitial lung disease, killing more people in the UK than leukaemia. However, many of us have never even heard of the condition let alone the severity of it meaning it is often spotted very late.

On this special live and interactive show, broadcast during World IPF week to raise awareness, we are joined by Dr Klaus Dugi (Medical Director, Boehringer Ingleheim UK and Ireland) and Steven Wibberley, (Chief Operating Officer, British Lung Foundation) as they educate us on how to spot the signs and symptoms in yourself and in other people, the importance of early diagnosis and treatment and enlighten us on everything you may not have known about IPF.

Submit your questions prior or during the live show  and to also watch the show live at 2pm on Monday 5th October 


Do you know about the new No Smoking Ban?

no smoking in cars with kids

What is the ban?

It will be illegal to smoke in a car (or other vehicles) with anyone under 18 present.

Is there a fine?

Both the driver and the smoker could be fined £50. The law applies to every driver in England and Wales, including those aged 17 and those with a provisional driving licence.

The law does not apply if the driver is 17 years old and is on their own in the car.

When does the ban start?

1st October 2015.

Why is there a ban?

Every time a child breathes in second hand smoke, they breathe in thousands of chemicals.  This puts them at risk of serious conditions including meningitis, cancer, bronchitis and pneumonia.  It can also make asthma worse.  Second hand smoke is worse in a confined space, such as a car.  This ban protects our children.

Is the ban on every car?

This applies to any private vehicle that is enclosed wholly or partly by a roof. It still applies if people have the windows or sunroof open, have the air conditioning on, or if they sit in the open doorway of the vehicle. The law won’t apply to a convertible car with the roof completely down.

Are there any exceptions?

  • The law does not apply if the driver is 17 years old and is on their own in the car.
  • The law won’t apply to a convertible car with the roof completely down.


For more information, visit smoking