Published: Thursday, 14 September 2017 08:43
Flu season is upon us!
Winter is on it's way and that means coughs, colds and flu! For many people, having flu means a week in bed with some TLC but for others it can be very serious, requiring hospitalisation and may even be fatal.
Certain groups of people are more at risk of complications from flu (see below.) These groups should have an annual flu vaccine.
Contrary to popular belief, flu vaccine does NOT give you flu! You may feel a little “off colour” following the vaccine, but if you develop true influenza it is because you have been in contact with an infected person PRIOR to having your jab. You may develop flu for up 2-3 weeks after receiving the vaccine as it takes this amount of time for the vaccine to confer protection. If you develop flu after your flu jab, I’m afraid it is because you have caught it from somebody before the vaccine has had time to “kick in”.
Everybody over the age of 65 is advised to be vaccinated as many older people die needlessly each year following complications associated with flu.
You should also consider vaccination if you have:
Any chronic lung disease, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cystic fibrosis and asthma. It is also recommended for any child who has previously been admitted to hospital with a chest infection.
Heart disease including angina and heart failure, or if you have ever had a heart attack.
Kidney disease including nephrotic syndrome, kidney failure, a kidney transplant.
A serious liver disease such as cirrhosis.
A weakened immune system, including those who are receiving chemotherapy or steroid treatment, if you have HIV/AIDS or if you have had your spleen removed.
Certain serious diseases of the nervous system such as multiple sclerosis.
Or if you are a pregnant woman
Other groups who should consider vaccination are health care workers, people who work with poultry and those who live in nursing homes or other residential institutions.
Flu vaccines are now available so don’t delay in booking yours!
Published: Thursday, 14 September 2017 08:41
The plantar fascia is a thin ligament that connects the front of the foot to the heel. It supports the arch and enables mobility.Sometimes this ligament can be overused and or overstretched and develop minute tears. Repeated use of the damaged ligament results in inflammation and then plantar fasciitis can occur.
A sudden sharp stabbing pain on the bottom of the foot near the heel may be the first symptom. Plantar fasciitis is a very common orthopaedic complaint and is often called runner’s heel.
Causes of Plantar fasciitis
There are a number of factors that can contribute to plantar fasciitis. Men can get it but it is more common in women. You’re more likely to get this condition as you get older or if you:
Take up a new form of exercise or increase the intensity of your usual regime suddenly
Are on your feet for several hours each day
Have other medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Normally wear high heeled shoes and then switch to flat ones.
Wear foot wear which is worn out with no arch support and thin soles.
Have flat feet or an unusually high arch.
Have legs of different lengths or have an abnormal walk or foot position.
Have tight Achilles tendons
Pain in the bottom of your foot, especially at the front or centre of the heel bone.
Pain that is worse in the morning when getting out of bed or when standing up after a long period of sitting and also when doing exercise especially in non supportive shoes.
Plantar fasciitis is quite easy to diagnose because of the fairly unique symptoms such as pain on getting out of bed which gets better after a few minutes and pain when pressure is applied to a specific area of the foot but not other areas. After taking a history your family doctor can be fairly certain of a diagnosis. Occasionally they may suggest an X-ray to exclude a stress fracture.
The initial treatment is usually conservative. You may be advised to avoid any exercise that makes the pain worse. Further treatment advice can be given by a qualified Podiatrist such as Philip Mann at the Family Medical Centre Albir
Published: Thursday, 14 September 2017 08:33
Health benefits of sweating
No one likes looking sweaty. In fact, sometimes the thought of getting all hot and sweaty is actually enough to put us off working out in the first place. We’ve been brought up believing that sweating is not nice, that women should ‘glow’ not sweat, that those little sweat patches we sometimes get under our arms are not something we want. But did you realise that sweating actually has some health benefits?
It improves our mood
When we exercise we feel happy and there’s a scientific reason for that. When we sweat, we release endorphins. Endorphins are the feel good chemicals in our bodies, which help ease stress and anxiety and make you feel happier and more relaxed.
It helps our skin
It has always been thought that sweating is the worst thing ever when it comes to keeping your skin spot-free, but this could have been wrong. Dr Virginia Hubbard, Consultant Dermatologist at London Bridge Hospital says “Sweating is an essential part of our skin health,” “It can have the same effect on skin health as a facial treatment – the pores enlarge and the dirt and dead skin cells on the surface are cleared away.” Word of warning though, you can’t just sweat and go as all that dirt from your pores will accumulate on the surface of your skin. So aim to clean your face three times a day. And don’t forget to apply the SPF.
It clears the body of toxins
Sweating is a massive detoxifier for our bodies and can help clear the kidneys of excess salt and calcium buildup. So even though the gym is the last place you may feel like heading the morning after the night before, a sweaty work-out could de-bloat you, clean your clogged arteries and help cure your hangover.
It keeps illnesses at bay
A study from Eberhard Karls University Tubingen in Germany suggests that human perspiration contains a naturally occurring antimicrobial peptide called dermcidin. Dermcidin helps to fight off bad bacteria that our skin comes into contact with. So sweat acts as a kind of invisible force field against germs. Plus sweating can help with the healing process. When we get a cut or a wound, our bodies sweat out dermcidin to help kill potential bacteria, and help cuts and grazes to heal.
It regulates body temperature
Sweating acts as our own personal air conditioning system helping to maintain and regulate our body temperature. When our skin gets wet with sweat, it feels cooler. Then, as that sweat evaporates into the air, heat is removed as well.
It lowers risk of kidney stones
Research from the University of Washington found that regular exercisers sweat out salt and tend to retain calcium in their bones, rather than the salt and calcium going into the kidneys where stones form. People who sweat frequently also tend to drink more water, which can act as another stone prevention mechanism.