Health

Health

Migraine – more than just a headache

Elvis Presley, Stephen King, Serena Williams, and Princess Margaret are just some of the famous people who have suffered from migraines.

Migraines are headaches that typicallyimages-14 last from 4-72 hours and you may experience nausea and vomiting as well as sensitivity to light or sound.

There are more than three million migraine sufferers in Australia, meaning that more people suffer from migraine in Australia than diabetes, asthma, or coronary heart disease. It is thought that more women suffer migraine than men due to hormonal factors. Onset of migraine is from childhood onwards but most commonly in the 20s and 30s.

Symptoms of migraine

A migraine headache has different symptoms from other types of headache. Migraine symptoms can include:

  • headache: one sided, throbbing moderate to severe
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sensitivity to light
  • sensitivity to sound
  • affected vision, such as an aura (bright zigzag lines, flashing lights)
  • difficulty in concentrating, confusion, co-ordination
  • stiffness of the neck and shoulders
  • sensitivity to smell and touch
  • numbness of the face or extremities

What causes migraine?

Susceptibility to migraine is normally inherited.  Certain parts of the brain employing monoamines, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, appear to be in a hypersensitive state, reacting promptly and excessively to stimuli such as emotion, bombardment with sensory impulses, or any sudden change in the internal or external environment.  If the brainstem systems controlling the cerebral cortex become active, the brain starts to shut down, a process starting at the back of the brain in the visual cortex and working slowly forward.  The pain nucleus of the trigeminal nerve becomes spontaneously active; pain is felt in the head or upper neck and blood flow in the face and scalp increases reflexly.  Noradrenaline is released from the adrenal gland and causes the platelets to release serotonin.

Want more information about the pathophysiology of migraines? Click here..

Triggers for migraine

No one really knows what causes migraine, however attacks are almost certainly triggered by a combination of factors, such as:

  • diet –images-16 cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, alcohol (especially red wine)
  • sleep – too little or too much
  • menstrual cycle
  • physiochemical – excessive heat, light, noise or certain chemicals
  • emotional causes – stress, excitement or fatigue
  • relaxation (weekend migraines) – often triggered by a period of stress and overwork followed by relaxation.

 

Nearly all people who suffer from migraines report a reduction in social activities and work capacity.

Treatment of migraine

images-15There is no cure for migraine and prevention is difficult, but treatments can help reduce the number of attacks. Migraines vary greatly from person to person and so does the treatment. If you feel you suffer from migraines it is important to consult your health care professional to discuss treatment options.

The four treatment options available to migraine sufferers include:

  • prevention – avoiding trigger factors – this can be difficult, if not impossible since migraines are often triggered by a combination of factors
  • pain-relieving medication and medication to alter pressure on blood vessels
  • preventative treatment medication
  • non-medication therapies – including acupuncture, biofeedback, goggles, hypnotherapy, exclusion diets, relaxation, yoga, meditation, herbal or homeopathic remedies.
Information Sources: headacheaustralia.org.aubetterhealth.vic.gov.au

Diabetes Basics

Diabetes is the name given to a group of conditions where there is too much glucose, or sugar, in the blood. This glucose comes from the carbohydrates we eat and includes starchy foods (eg breads, cereals, potato, pasta, rice), fruit and certain dairy products. Blood glucose levels are regulated within the body by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin moves glucose from the blood into the body’s cells where it can be used by the body for energy. Diabetes develops when the pancreas isn’t making enough insulin, or the insulin isn’t working properly.

 

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Information Sources: diabetesnsw.com.au, diabetesaustralia.com.au

Winter health hazards at home

 

The cooler months means we will probably be spending more time in the home than anywhere else. It is also a time of seasonal hazards. As we unpack our hot water bottles and electric blankets please keep these reminders for a safer winter.

Fire safetydownload (1)

About half of all fires in the home start in the kitchen, and more than 40% of all deaths from fire happen during winter. Here are a few tips to keep you and your home fire safe:

  1. Have a written home fire escape plan and practice it regularly.
  2. Install smoke alarms throughout your home and test them monthly. Change the batteries every year.
  3. Keep curtains, tablecloths, clothes and bedding away from portable heaters and fireplaces.
  4. Clean the lint filter every time you use a clothes dryer.
  5. Always keep children away from open heat sources such as fireplaces and gas stoves, and remember that even clothing with a ‘low fire danger’ label can still catch on fire.

Fireplaces & Heatersdownload (2)

If you have a fireplace in your home then make sure the chimney is clean and not blocked. Always place a screen in front of a fireplace when it’s being used, and never burn rubbish such as plastics or foam as these create toxins.

  1. Store matches and lighters in a safe place out of reach of children.
  2. Check that each heater is safe to use every winter.
  3. Don’t leave portable heaters in places where people or pets could knock them over.
  4. Gas heaters produce heat when they burn gas fuel. This also produces air pollutants and water vapour. If your gas heater doesn’t have a flue, service it regularly and make sure the room is well ventilated.
  5. Use just one appliance per power point and switch them off when you’re not using them. Heaters consume a lot of power and may overload the supply which can cause a fire.
  6. Never use a gas heater designed for outdoor use inside your home.

Electric blanketsdownload (2)

Check your electric blanket is in good condition and hasn’t been recalled by checking the Recalls Australia website. About 400,000 potentially faulty electric blankets were recalled in 2012. Faulty electric blankets can overheat, cause an electric shock, spark and potentially cause a fire.

You should always roll your blanket up to store it because folding it can damage element wires inside the blanket. When you take it out of storage and use it for the first time, lay it flat on the bed and check for hot spots as it heats up.

Hot water bottlesdownload (3)

Use warm, but not boiling, water to fill your hot water bottle and examine it for leaks before you use it. Replace it as soon as it starts to look cracked or worn or every two years. Remember – the rubber can perish from the inside so you may not be able to see if it’s worn out.

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Learning first aid can help you to

identify potential hazards and

be prepared to act if an accident where to occur. 

Book into one of our public courses here.

 

information source: www.healthdirect.gov.au

5 Tips to creating a better culture of workplace health and safety

 How can you improve the current workplace culture toward Work Health and Saftey?

1. Frequent and informal communication.

imagesCommunication between workers and management on safety management raises workers’ awareness of and can potentially contribute to a positive preventative safety culture. People work more safely when they are involved in the decision making process.

 

 

images (1)2. Set the example.

Managers that model behaviour by making a personal contribution to WHS consultation can significantly change the way their team thinks about health and safety in the workplace.

 

 

 

3. Reward positive contributions. download (1)

This has lasting effects to culture change. An organisation is formed to achieve certain goals and objectives by bringing individuals together on a common platform and motivating them to deliver their best. It is essential for the employees to enjoy the workplace for them to develop a sense of loyalty towards it. The organisation must offer a positive atmosphere to the employees.

 

 

download4. Promote team building activities.

Conduct training programs, workshops, seminars and presentations to upgrade the existing skills of the employees and to bind the employees together. Team building improves communication, boosts morale, increases motivation, improves productivity and a fun way to learning effective health and safety strategies.

 

 

 

personal responsibility5. Make it personal.

Personal safety responsibility, control and rational judgment are essential to a good health and safety culture. An organisation is said to have a strong work culture when the employees follow the organisation’s rules and regulations and adhere to the existing guidelines.

Allowing personal responsibility within organisational guidelines gives employees ownership of their responsibilities and personal satisfaction.

 

 

Information source: comcare

Prepare Your Emergency Go Bag

images (4)What do you grab in an evacuation situation, when you’re panicked, you have to leave in a hurry and you’re facing the possibility that your home and everything you own will be destroyed?

Not the things you really need, people can say from experience. Panic stations is not a time to be thinking about packing a go bag. The following is a list of suggested items to pack.

Suggested Content List:

  • Comfortable clothing – Layers, sealed in weather proof bag
  • A current family photograph including pets – to use for identification.
  • Water for drinking and sanitation
  • Non-perishable food such as energy bars, tinned tuna etc.
  • Extra set of car and house keys
  • Proof of identification and ownership of pets
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • AM/FM radio and extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • A method of water purification.
  • Can opener for food & utensils for eating
  • Extra toothbrush and toothpaste, toiletries
  • Lighter or flint
  • Mobile phone with chargers
  • Important documents (see tips below)
  • First aid kit & manual
  • List of Contact Numbers
  • Local maps and compass
  • Money small denominations rather than large notes.
  • Unique family needs such as prescription medications, pet supplies, infant supplies, eyeglasses

 

images (2)Documents Tip

Prepare certified copies of important documents and having them packed safely in a sealed waterproof sleeve. Alternately you can get electronic copies of these documents and your family pictures and store them on a USB. Store correctly in sealed bag to protect. Remember you can only access a USB with a computer or device and power.

Make copies of important paperwork such as:
– drivers license, medicare card, marriage certificates, birth certificates, insurances, property deeds, banking details, current medications & treatments, proof of residence, insurance policies, and tax records.

 

Information sources: nrdc.org, wikihow, nyc.gov

Hand hygiene in the workplace

Hand Hygiene is the single most important factor in reducing the spread of infections

Everyone has germs. Infection control in the workplace begins by assuming that everyone is potentially infectious. Our bodies are covered with germs that actually help us stay healthy. In addition to the germs that are usually present on our skin, we also pick up germs from contact with other people or objects in our surroundings. These germs are easy to pick up and transfer. In this way, they can cause you, or others, to get sick. Although people usually think that germs are spread through the air, the fact is that germs are most easily spread through hand contact.

Infection is caused by pathogens (‘bugs’) such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa or fungi getting into or onto the body. It can take some time before the microbes multiply enough to trigger symptoms of illness, which means an infected person may unwittingly be spreading the disease during this incubation period.

When should you use antibacterial hand rubs?

If you have contact with contaminated objects in the environment e.g. dirty tissues/nappies, shopping trolley handles, when handling coins, phones, keyboards or shaking hands.

Before and after you contact anyone who is sick

For routine cleaning of hands anytime they are visibly clean

Whenever you want to decontaminate your hands

Hand Facts: 

95% Of People Don’t Wash Their Hands Correctly After Using The Bathroom – eeew!

So how should we wash our hands?

1. Wet hands in clean running water

2. Apply soap

3. Rub hands together to lather soap, not forgetting your nails, thumbs, the back of your hands and between fingers

4. Continue rubbing for at least 20 seconds

5. Rinse in clean running water

6. Dry with clean cloth or paper towel

To find out more about hand hygiene go to:

Hand Hygiene Australia

Better Health Vic

The Five Daily Habits of Successful People

Time Management

time-430625__180A great skill to have is knowing what is absolutely urgent and what can wait until tomorrow. This one takes time to figure out as well as a fair amount of discipline, but just remember that not every email needs to be answered the day it is received.

TIP: Write a to­-do list with a time budget next to each.

Once the assigned amount of time is up, move on to the next thing. This ensures small tasks don’t blow out and take half a day.

Minimise Distractions

macbook-606763__180A huge part of making time productive is minimising distractions. Again, this is easier said than done. Keep your phone at a physical distance, stay out of the kitchen to avoid boredom eating and have a clear working space.

The worst thing about being in front of a computer for hours each day means it’s incredibly easy to get distracted by an infinite number of blogs, cat videos and social media sites.

Tip: Turn Wi­Fi off when possible, turn off email notifications and block distracting sites.

Follow A Routine

Whether it’s waking up at the same time every day, hitting the gym early or catching up on business news and current affairs, it’s important to create positive habits to reduce stress and start the day well. Successful people don’t sleep until 2pm on the weekends, or roll out of bed five minutes before a meeting either.

break-18987__180Tip: It’s all about being prepared, relaxed and productive.

They say it takes about three weeks to form a new habit, so start today and you’ll be seeing the benefits in no time at all.

Set Goals

It’s easy to avoid doing things or to get stuck in a rut when there’s no end in sight. From daily to­-do lists to broader long­-term goals, make sure you know where you’re headed.

They could be financial, career ­related, personal or business ­related.

how to set goals (3)

Work Life Balance

Being successful requires hard work, determination and plenty of resilience. But you also need a strong support network and life outside of work. Barack Obama ensures he gets home to eat dinner with his family each night. If he can do it, so can you.

brothers-457237__180It could be spending more time with family and friends, learning a new skill, playing sport, or ensuring you have enough time for a hobby or holiday; the most important thing is that work isn’t the only thing you do.

Tip: Make it a rule to take time out, turn work emails off at home and prioritise what’s really important.

Source: Kochies business builders

Holiday safety – alcohol, driving and empty homes

Leaving Home for the holidays

  • house-insurance-419058_640Ensure the house is securely locked, including windows usually left open
  • Cancel newspapers and redirect your mail or have it collected by a friend
  • Put pets into a boarding kennel or have friends visit them often
  • Tell neighbours or friends who can check on the house, you are away and whom will be at the house legitimately – e.g. gardeners, pet minders
  • Secure your garage or, if unable – move items such as bikes inside the house
  • Consider security devices, including light timers etc.
  • Do not leave cash in the house and locate jewellery in a safe place
  • Ensure your lawn is cut, the property tidy and stop all deliveries
  • Avoid leaving the answering machine on and turn the phone volume down

Young people and alcohol

Young people and particularly those under the age of 18 are vulnerable to the damaging effects of alcohol.cocktail-594173__180

  • In Australia alcohol is a key factor in the three leading causes of death among adolescents; unintentional injury, homicide and suicide.
  • Over one in five (22%) of all hospitalisations of young people aged 15-24 years old are alcohol related.
  • Of all those hospitalised, 30% of young men and 23% of young women are hospitalised because of an alcohol related assault.

As well as the serious and obvious health consequences of underage drinking, alcohol places the drinker and those around them at considerable risk of harm. Alcohol use, particularly excessive use can increase young people’s risk of becoming a victim and / or an offender of alcohol related crime, often violent crime such as sexual assault, physical assault, robbery, driving accidents, violence and antisocial behaviour offences.

Driving distractions and crash risk

Distractions that divert attention from driving increase your risk of crashing.

automobile-160339__180Recent research suggests that at least 14 per cent of all crashes involve the driver being distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle. As many as one in ten fatalities have been directly attributed to driver distraction. Yet even though surveys have indicated that 98 per cent of people believe that using a mobile phone while driving, for example, is very dangerous, 28 per cent of people admit to doing it themselves.

Typically, the two biggest distractions inside the vehicle are other passengers and adjusting the sound system. Research has also shown that drivers using mobile phones and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) while driving are also much more likely to be involved in crashes. Text entry into a GPS unit while driving can be extremely dangerous. Sending and receiving text messages on a mobile phone while driving is also extremely dangerous, and is also illegal.

What is a ‘stitch”?

Dr Darren Morton, a senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Science at Avondale College of Higher Education in NSW, went on to do his PhD on stitches. These are his findings:

A fraction too much friction

running-573762_640The membrane lining the abdominal cavity is known as the peritoneum. It is a double-layered membrane, with the outer layer lying tight against the front abdominal wall and folding around under the diaphragm, the dome-shaped sheet of muscle that separates your chest from your abdomen. The inner layer of the membrane wraps around the contours of the abdominal organs. Between the two layers is a small amount of fluid, which helps reduce friction when your organs shift as your body moves.

Morton’s theory is that this protective system sometimes goes wrong, and there is friction between the layers, resulting in irritation and the pain we call a stitch. The lining under the diaphragm is attached to the phrenic nerve, which refers pain to the shoulder tip region, which may explain why some people get shoulder tip pain with a stitch.

The link with sugary drinks

drink-19202__180The irritation can be triggered by pressure from the inside when organs, such as your stomach, are very full and swollen.

But it can also happen when the amount of fluid in the space between the two layers drops. One thing we know can cause this is drinking concentrated fluids such as sugary drinks.

“What we know is that things like really sugary drinks draw fluid out of that space and are very provocative of stitches,” Morton says.

In experiments where people are given such drinks, like fruit juice or soft drink, and then asked to exercise “everyone sort of keels over left, right and centre with a stitch”, he explains.

Sports drinks, which are around 6 per cent sugar (compared to around 11 per cent for fruit juice), don’t have this effect. In fact, they are no worse than water at bringing on a stitch.

Sugary drinks have a “double whammy” effect – reducing the rate at which the stomach empties its contents into the intestines, which may lead to bloating and further friction through direct pressure.

While high fat foods also slow the emptying of the stomach, and hence help to bring on stitches, they’re less frequently eaten before exercise than high sugar food and drinks.

Tips to avoid a stitch

So what are Morton’s top tips to reduce the odds of a stitch next time you get active?

There’s most evidence for these three:

  • Make sure you’re well hydrated by drinking lots of water in the 12 hours before you exercise. In the two hours immediately before, drink only small amounts so you stay hydrated, but your stomach’s not bloated (and therefore less likely to press on the lining of your abdominal cavity).
  • Don’t eat large volumes of food for at least two hours before exercise (perhaps even three to four hours before if you’re especially prone to stitches).
  • Avoid very sugary drinks, such as fruit juice or soft drinks, before or during your exercise. Sugary foods like lollies may also be a problem.

There’s less evidence for these, but they’re still worth a try:

  • Get fitter: Some evidence suggests the fitter you are, the less frequently you get stitches. Exactly why isn’t understood. But plenty of very fit athletes are still plagued by them.
  • Strengthen your core: Strong trunk muscles, especially the deeper abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominus, may help ward stitches off, probably by offering more support to abdominal organs. Pilates and exercises using a stability ball may help.
  • Improve your posture: “We haven’t yet done intervention studies to see if changing people’s posture makes a difference but we have anecdotal reports of people who’ve done that and it’s been helpful.” A physiotherapist may be able to help.

If you do get a stitch, you might find the following techniques can bring relief:

  • deep breathing
  • pushing or stretching the affected area
  • bending over forward.

In lab experiments, stitches generally disappeared 45 seconds to two minutes after stopping activity. Some people can still feel sore a couple of days later though.

source: ABC health and wellbeing

8 Facts about coconut oil

1. Healthy Fat Coconut oil contains a “healthy” form saturated fat. Our body metabolises these fats in the liver, immediately coverting this into energy rather than it being stored as fat.

2. Lower Diabetes Risk Researchers discovered coconut oil is easy to digest and also protects the body from insulin resistance, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

3. Restore Digestive Balance Coconut oil has been found to benefit digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome. Fatty acids in coconut oil contain anti microbial properties, which have a soothing affect on bacteria, candida, or parasites that cause poor digestion.

4. Boosts Immune System Coconut oil is made up of healthy fats which contain anti fungal, antibacterial, antiviral prosperities to boost the immune system.

5. Boosts Metabolism  Researchers found that participants who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil per day burned more kilojoules than those who consumed less. A speedy metabolism helps boost the body’s immune system and keep weight off.

6. Slows Fine Lines Coconut keeps the skin’s connective tissues strong, which prevents sagging and wrinkles. Apply coconut oil directly to your skin to soften the appearance of fine lines or use it daily on your face and body for a healthy glow. Be sure you use virgin coconut oil with no additives.

7. Cooks in High Temperatures Because coconut oil is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid, it gives it a higher smoking temperature, unlike olive oil which will oxidise at high temperatures, creating free radicals.

8. Stops Sugar Cravings Because good quality fat is more satiating than carbs, if you cut down on sugar and replace with coconut oil you will feel less ‘ravenous’. Most of us do not realise but constant hunger is a major clue that your body is not being fed correctly.  With the proper amounts of fats and protein, you can fuel your energy reserves properly, and come off the sugar roller coaster that many of us are on.

Source: Body&Soul - Michele Chevalley Hedge