After terrorist attacks in Paris people across France donate blood

Screenshot 2015-11-18 at 16.13.39ONE of the more heartening stories to come out of the darkness of the attacks in Paris was the number of people volunteering to give blood at Parisian hospitals.

Well it looks as though that ripple of volunteerism has spread throughout France as the national blood doner service has seen increased numbers of people coming to its collections.

The Sud Ouest website reports that at one event over the weekend in the Lot-et-Garonne 111 people turned up, way above the 55 or so expected.

On Wednesday morning in my local village, Villefranche du Périgord, there were around a dozen people filling out forms, seeing the doctor, in the process of donating blood or enjoying a drink and a biscuit afterwards.

Two more people dropped in as I chatted to a nurse, and the collection from the village will go on to Bordeaux where it will be used or if necessary transferred around the country.

The national blood donor association, L’Etablissement Français du Sang, said that on Saturday, 14 November, the day after the terrorist attacks, nearly 10,000 people turned up at centres across France to donate blood.

The number of people donating blood in Paris was three times as many as normal, while nationally there were twice as many people.

Unfortunately British people are not able to volunteer and donate blood due to fears over Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or mad cow disease.

The restrictions mean that if you spent a year or more in the UK between 1980 and 1996 then you are prohibited from donating.

If people are able to donate blood then they must weigh at least 50 kg and be aged between 18 and 70, with the actual process of giving blood taking 10 minutes and with a minimum of 400 ml being withdrawn.

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Report claims pollution costs France €100bn a year

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A FRENCH Senate committee report has estimated that air pollution costs France around €100bn a year.

The study said that not only was air pollution damaging to health, it also had an impact on the economic well-being of France as many employees had to take sick leave.

The committee estimated the financial impact of atmospheric pollution for health reasons at "between 68 and 97 billion euros" per year, ranging from treatment of aggravated conditions like asthma to battling forms of cancer caused by smog.

Vehicle pollution was highlighted in the report and it backed fiscal policies to encourage use of cleaner technologies, increasing fuel duty on diesel and measures to compliment incomplete or inefficient regulations already in place.

Paris has recently faced high pollution levels forcing authorities to restrict driving and make public transport free, but other corners of France have also suffered including along the Rhone valley.

Related: Diesel exhaust fumes cause cancer

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France in denial over alcohol abuse, says health minister

France must do more to tackle alcohol abuse and smoking, the country’s health minister has said.

Marisol Touraine said France was renowned for its healthcare but needed to do more in terms of preventing diseases. She said there was a very French form of denial over the hazards of alcohol, which is believed to cause an estimated 50,000 premature deaths a year in France.

Touraine also said the number of French women who smoke – and particularly those who continue to do so in the last three months of pregnancy – as well as the number of young and poor who light up was worrying.

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Smoking in children's playgrounds set to be banned

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THE French health minister, Marisol Touraine (pictured), has announced that smoking in public playgrounds will be banned from the start of summer.

In a statement the minister said that she intends to introduce a decree into parliament at the end of June with immediate effect.

Ensuring that the busy summer months would be tobacco smoke free in children's play areas.

There will also be a campaign to help people stop smoking with a phone number, 39 89, available to offer advice.

And the minister also said that bars and restaurants should do more to make sure outside terraces are smoke-free, to appeal to more visitors and tourists.

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French MPs vote to change laws on smoking, nutrition, binge drinking, fashion models

TouraineFrance’s lower parliament voted in favour of a package of wide-ranging reforms affecting many areas of public health regulations on Tuesday.

Many public health lobbyists are happy about the changes, although they say some measures still need to be elaborated in practice.

Most of the attention the proposals of Health Minister Marisol Touraine have received in the French media has revolved around protests from doctors over changes to fee payment systems.

However, it also contains far-reaching measures on regulations around smoking, including making it illegal to smoke inside of a vehicle with someone under 18 years of age or to smoke electronic cigarettes in workplaces.

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Pollen levels in French towns and cities

image from www.pollens.frALTHOUGH the spring sunshine is welcomed by many, it is not greeted as warmly by those people who suffer from hay fever.

Le Réseau National de Surveillance Aérobiologique (RNSA) website is a useful stop for hay fever sufferers as there are guides and regular updates available.

There are historical records for towns and cities across France enabling you to spot when pollen levels are at their highest.

For up to the minute advice and possible high levels in the coming few days there is a carte de vigilance, which at the moment is highlighting risks in the south of France.

One feature of the RNSA website that could prove particularly useful is a weekly email service that allows you to choose up to three départements and get updates to your inbox about pollen level risks.

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Vive la différence: French minister explains why France is still a welfare state

While British politicians argue over just how austere the next stage of the austerity era will need to be, Laurence Rossignol, the French minister for the family, older people and adult care makes it clear that her government’s approach is very different.

“France hasn’t entered the age of austerity,” she says. “We have made the choice to reduce our public expenditure and to encourage growth while at the same time maintaining solidarity and the welfare state. Social spending has not decreased in France. We are reducing other spending but we are not cutting spending on sickness, ageing or education. It is a choice.”

It is this French drive for a “more sustainable welfare state, not less of a welfare state”, as Rossignol’s team puts it, that will see a new law passed this year to transform the way France addresses the challenges of an ageing society.

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France proposes assisted dying bill to let doctors put patients into 'a deep sleep' until death

FRENCH politicians have unveiled proposals for a bill that would allow doctors to put terminally ill patients into a deep sleep until they die, reviving the divisive end-of-life debate.

The bill would also make “living wills” – drafted by people who do not want to be kept alive artificially when they are too ill to decide – legally binding on doctors rather than merely consultative as they are now.

Euthanasia is illegal in France, but François Hollande pledged in his 2012 presidential campaign to look into an issue that divides a country where heart-wrenching end-of-life stories continue to make headlines.

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Nurse with Ebola virus being cared for in Paris hospital

Msb12022_mediumHUMANITARIAN aid organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), has said it has brought back a volunteer French nurse who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia.

The nurse is now in the Begin military hospital on the edge of Paris, where she is being given experimental treatments to fight the deadly disease.

"Her condition is stable and doctors are doing their best so she gets better," Mego Terzian, head of MSF, told France Inter radio, adding that medical staff were optimistic about her recovery.

Mego Terzian said 15 colleagues had been infected by the Ebola virus, although no further details of their health were given.

In total around 3,000 people in west Africa are believed to have died from the disease in the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus.

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Headache tablets and flu pills may soon be available in supermarkets

IT may soon be possible to buy headache tablets and flu pills in supermarkets, as the monopoly enjoyed by pharmacies is under attack.

Les Echoes reports that the Inspection générale des Finances (IGF) believes more competition is necessary in the area of medicines that do not require a prescription.

Products such as Doliprane, Nurofen and Humex have come under the IGF's spotlight, as despite making up around 9% of a pharmacy's trade, their prices have increased by 3% a year between 1998 and 2011.

The IGF says the best way to push the price down of such tablets and medicines is to boost competition, and open up the sale of some products to supermarkets.

This move comes at a time when many professions are being looked into by the government to promote competition, and cut costs for the public.

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