HSE at the 2019 Ploughing Championships

HSE Press Release: 11 September 2019

Providing practical information to help improve your health and wellbeing

 Find out about lots of health and wellbeing campaigns and initiatives

 Avail of information and registration for free screening services including BowelScreen,  DiabeticRetinaScreen, and Peripheral Artery Disease


The HSE will be on hand to provide a wealth of information to help improve health and wellbeing  for visitors to the National Ploughing Championships, taking place from  17th to 19th September in Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co Carlow.   The HSE team will be based in the Health and Wellbeing marquee, located at Block 3, Row 21, Stand 458 in the Government of Ireland Village, over the three days.

The Health and Wellbeing marquee will host a series of hourly demonstrations and health events – including how community first-responders help those in emergency, CPR demos, Alcohol & Parenting chats, health checks and quizzes. Visitors to the HSE stands can avail of an array of free advice and health information. Drop by to learn about getting your family started on a healthy lifestyle makeastart.ie, quitting smoking (QUIT.ie), sepsis, preventing skin cancer, living well with and beyond cancer, attending your local injury unit amongst many other health topics. There is also a registration area for screening programmes such as BowelScreen and Diabetic RetinaScreen.

Cut down on screen time

Screens are part of our daily lives but did you know they can affect our family's sleep, appetite and activity? Champion the reduction of the time you are spending on screens and praise other family members doing the same too. On Tuesday, HSE child psychologist Conor Owens will share top tips for parents to manage screen time at home.

Conor Owens, Senior Psychologist said: “The best way for children to become healthier, fitter and more sociable is through play. Families are telling us they want a healthier balance between technology and play. We know that too much screen time negatively impacts on all aspects of a child’s development. Our tips are practical and simple and will make a real difference to you and your family. Reducing screen time, even by 30 minutes every day will bring real benefits. Introducing your kids to games that you played when you were their age is a great way for everyone to get moving and active. Check out our ‘Pause for Play’ initiative on makeastart.ie ”

Say no to skin cancer

With over 11,000 people diagnosed with skin cancer in Ireland every year and numbers rising steadily, the HSE National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) is advising people, especially farmers and outdoor workers, to take precautions to protect themselves against skin cancer.  Over a quarter of a million people working on farms around Ireland are potentially at risk.*

Dr Caitriona McCarthy NCCP Consultant in Public Health Medicine explains the importance of outdoor workers protecting their skin: “Outdoor workers, such as farmers, are exposed to UV radiation dose 2–3 times higher than indoor workers, meaning are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. Exposure causing sunburn is the most damaging, but long term exposure without burning also significantly increases the risk of skin cancer. Outdoor workers should protect their skin every day but especially from March to September. 

Farmers should pay particular attention to protecting areas of your skin which are exposed to sunlight whatever the weather, by using a wide brimmed hat, and sunscreen to protect your ears, face and neck.  The good news is simple steps can reduce your risk when working outdoors”.

Your questions answered by HSELive

Managing your and your family's health can be challenging and even confusing at times. It’s not always easy to know where to turn to for guidance or support when navigating the Irish public health system. HSELive the HSE’s public information service, answered over 171,000 queries in 2018. The team will be available to answer your questions at the Ploughing Championships, providing practical advice and information. HSELive will be situated in the Health and Wellbeing stand (no: 458).

Geraldine Charman Team Manager of HSELive says: “HSELive is the HSE’s public information service and we can tell people how to access health services, who qualifies for HSE health services and where to find further information about health. We’re delighted to be at the Ploughing Championships this year, and encourage attendees to drop by for a chat with our HSELive team. We’re here to help.”

The HSELive team is available to answer your questions from 8am - 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am - 5pm on Saturdays, online, on the phone, via webchat and through HSE social media channels  Specific examples of information HSELive can help you with include how to:

  • get married in Ireland
  • apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme / Long-Term Illness (LTI) scheme
  • contact your local health office
  • apply for a medical card

Prevention and management: Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is a narrowing of the peripheral arteries serving the legs, stomach, arms and head. Both PAD and coronary artery disease (CAD) are caused by atherosclerosis (is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries). You can learn more about this condition by visiting the stand for professional advice on prevention and management of PAD and knowing the risks and symptoms involved.

According to Pamela Ryan, Vascular Clinical Nurse Specialist, University Hospital Limerick: “We are launching an awareness and screening drive on peripheral artery disease at the Ploughing Championships. Health literacy is extremely important among the public and is effective in terms of preventing and managing a diagnosis of peripheral vascular disease and knowing the risks and symptoms involved. Even though many of the risk factors are similar to cardiac disease, the initial symptoms patients suffer are often mistaken as muscular related.”

Health screening

The National Screening Service will also be welcoming visitors to their stand in the Health and Wellbeing marquee. Registration for both BowelScreen, which offers a free home test to men and women aged 60 to 69 every two years, and Diabetic RetinaScreen, which offers free, regular diabetic retinopathy screening to people with diabetes aged 12 years and older.

Bowel screening can detect changes in the bowel before cancer develops. It can also detect cancer at an early stage, making it more treatable. The quick and easy to use test is non-invasive and can be done in your own home.  See BowelScreen.ie for more information.

Sepsis – Think… Could it be Sepsis?

September is Sepsis Awareness Month.  Sepsis  is a life threatening medical emergency and should be treated with the same urgency as a heart attack or stroke. It is the body’s abnormal response to infection where the body’s own immune system ends up attacking its own tissues and organs. Infections are common and do not all progress to sepsis, but the condition is complex and can be difficult to diagnose.

If you have an infection that is not responding to treatment, and show any of the  signs or symptoms listed below, you should get medical help. Early recognition and early treatment will reduce the risk of dying from sepsis.

Here are the most common signs and symptoms.

Shivering, fever, feeling very cold

Excessive sleepiness or drowsiness, confusion

Pain or discomfort in the muscles or joints, passing very little or no urine

Severe breathlessness, sensation of a racing heart

feel like I am going to die

Skin changes like pale, cold, mottled skin or a rash that won’t fade when pressed on

If you or a loved one have an infection and any one of these symptoms please seek urgent medical attention. Ring 999 or 112 or go to the nearest emergency department.

In children the signs to look out for include;

  • abnormally cold to the touch
  • looks  mottled , bluish or pale
  • breathing very fast
  • is unusually sleepy and difficult to wake
  • has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • having fits or convulsions

Also in children under 5;

  • not feeding 
  • vomiting repeatedly
  • has not had a wet nappy in last 12 hours

The most effective way to reduce death from sepsis is by prevention; good sanitation, personal hygiene, eating healthily, exercising moderately, breastfeeding, avoiding unnecessary antibiotics and vaccination for vaccine-preventable infections i.e. flu vaccine.

The HSE team looks forward to another great Ploughing Championships and to providing health service information to all visitors.



Last updated on: 11 / 09 / 2019