How to Stay Happy and Healthy During the Spring

By Kishan Vithlani, Clinical Director at Qured 

We typically associate colds and flu with the winter season, but you can catch a virus at any time of the year. This springtime, colds and flu aren’t the only health conditions to contend with, it is also the start of the Hayfever season. Luckily, there are measures you can take to reduce the chances of falling ill this spring and minimise the symptoms of cold, flu and Hayfever. 

Fighting illness 

It’s good to have a balanced diet throughout the year with enough varied fruits, vegetables, and legumes. These foods help us intake sufficient levels of vitamins and minerals needed for healthy body functioning. We tend to gain weight in the winter and eat more carbohydrate-heavy ‘comfort foods’. But this intuitive eating doesn’t necessarily provide us with the extra nutrients we need.

We often think that taking high doses of vitamin C supplements will stop us from catching a cold or the flu, however, there’s little evidence to support this. Nonetheless, we still need enough vitamin C in our diet to maintain a healthy immune system. The NHS suggests 40 mg a day, (there is 72 mg in one potato, and 51 mg in one small orange). Additionally, taking zinc supplements within a day of symptoms beginning may reduce the severity and duration of common cold symptoms. 

Our gut contains a large proportion of our immune defences along its mucosal lining so it’s important to keep our gut healthy by consuming probiotic foods with good bacteria such as yoghurt, kefir, and kimchi. This can be helpful to balance the effects of antibiotics if they are prescribed to you during an illness.

If you suffer from dry skin or eyes due to weather conditions, try including more foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. These include fish, flax seeds, hemp, and walnuts which are good for skin and hair. 

The benefits of Vitamin D

To stay healthy, Vitamin D is an important micronutrient for numerous reasons. Not only is vitamin D thought to be linked to low mood, but also is considered to make people less susceptible to infection or illness. If you suffer from sore joints or muscles, vitamin D may relieve this too. Foods with high levels of vitamin D include oily fish like salmon and mackerel, red meat, liver, egg yolks, and fortified foods including fat spreads, fortified cereals and milk. 

We should try to get all the nutrients we need from our diet as some studies show that many supplements may have little to no effect on the average person. However, it is recommended by The Department of Health that you should take a daily 10 microgram vitamin D supplement to help maintain healthy body functioning.

Beating fatigue 

To reduce the effects of fatigue, you should avoid eating and drinking alcohol late at night, as this has been said to disrupt melatonin and human growth hormone (HGH). You should also avoid caffeine consumption after 3-4 in the afternoon.

Alongside being conscious of Coronavirus, it’s important that we are aware of different ways to monitor our overall health and wellbeing heading into spring. As the seasons rapidly change, having a balanced diet with a range of vitamins and minerals is crucial to fighting illness, fatigue and maintaining a positive mood for the rest of the year.

How to fight the symptoms of hayfever

The key to managing your symptoms of hayfever is preparation and planning ahead of travel. Firstly, be mindful of where you are going and check the pollen levels before you go. The next step is to make sure you equip yourself with the best strategies to stop pollen sticking to you and following you. This also depends on how hay fever affects you, whether it’s the watery eyes, the runny nose, sneezing or all of it. Firstly try to avoid the amount of pollen you expose yourself to by keeping windows and doors shut, avoid walking or laying on grass and avoid drying your clothes outside. 

When you are going out, limit the pollen getting to your mouth and nose by using petroleum jelly around your nostrils, this will stop the pollen getting into your respiratory tracts. You can use well-fitting wrap around sunglasses to limit the pollen getting to your eyes. Once you have been out, remember to change your clothes and have a shower to get rid of any pollen that may have stuck to your hair and body. It’s also useful to realise that pollen not only sticks to you but also to your pets so make sure you keep them clean. You should also remember to regularly vacuum and dust your house to get rid of any buildup of pollen on floors and surfaces. 

Hayfever and healthy eating

There is also a link between hayfever and your diet. There are certain foods which are rich in histamine (the component that is released in response to an allergen) and this can therefore worsen your hayfever symptoms. 

Common foods include dairy, alcohol, caffeine, fermented foods and nuts, particularly cashews, walnuts, pistachios and almonds. If you are a smoker or around cigarette smoke, this may worsen your symptoms too due to the toxins from the smoke making your respiratory tract more sensitive. There are also foods that can help with managing hay fever. In particular, studies have shown that ginger and vitamin C can be very effective due to their antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. There is also evidence to support the benefits of an increased oral intake of omega 3 to help reduce and prevent symptoms.

Some animal studies have suggested turmeric and onions being effective too but further research is required to determine its uses in humans. For many years, bee pollen has frequently been suggested to help with preventing hay fever by ingesting small amounts throughout the year, to cause desensitisation and prevent symptoms during the spring and summer. Although there is limited evidence to prove this, there is some supporting evidence in animal studies along with other anecdotal evidence indicating the use of locally sourced honey. Fortunately, the above ingredients can easily be incorporated into meal plans and therefore allow you to determine your own conclusions.

5 Health Benefits of Liposuction

Not enough of us discuss the health benefits of liposuction. This procedure is carried out across Canada to help people lose weight by directly removing body fat. While most of us have heard about liposuction, many do not understand the important health benefits it can provide. Read on to find out what advantages you can receive from undergoing this surgery.

 

Reduces Inflammatory Cells

Several studies indicate that liposuction can lower the amount of inflammatory cells in the body. In fact, liposuction on average can decrease the total amount of inflammatory cells in the body by 11%. Cardiovascular disease is linked with inflammatory cells. This means if the number of inflammatory cells in the body is reduced, your risk of getting cardiovascular disease is also reduced.

 

Improved Self-Esteem

How you view your body can massively impact your confidence and self-esteem. If you aren’t happy with your physical appearance, this can hinder your quality of life. In fact, it’s highly common for individuals who are overweight or obese to suffer from low confidence. If you don’t like the way you look, you may continue to gain weight which isn’t good for your body. Liposuction drastically alters your physical appearance for the better, which can improve your self-esteem dramatically and benefit you in your personal and professional endeavors.

 

Enhanced Mobility

There’s no doubt that being overweight or obese can affect your mobility. The key purpose of liposuction is to eliminate fat pockets in several areas of the body. It isn’t uncommon for these fat pockets to restrict mobility. After they have been removed with surgery, you should notice a startling improvement in your mobility. Depending on how much you weigh, your mobility can be restored in the hips, thighs, and knees. What’s more, enhanced mobility can lead to better posture.

 

Lower Risk of Serious Health Problems

Obesity puts you at a heightened risk of developing serious health conditions. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol. If you decide on liposuction, the surgery can significantly lower your risk of developing any of those listed. Liposuction can also prevent chronic back and neck pain. Whether you choose BodyTite in SpaMedica or opt for another kind of liposuction, these procedures can improve your wellbeing and help you lead a better quality of life.

 

Better Libido

Another health benefit of liposuction is an increase in libido. Studies indicate that individuals who are overweight or obese experience more fatigue. Some research shows that being overweight can decrease libido. After you undergo liposuction, the surgery can improve your sex drive and help strengthen relationships.

 

Liposuction is a common and popular cosmetic treatment used to get rid of unwanted body fat. If you’ve decided the procedure is right for you, ensure you pick an accredited and trustworthy doctor to carry out the surgery.

Liposuction is a major surgery that carries risks and possible complications. This means that, before you decide on treatment, you need to ensure you weigh up the pros and cons of the procedure and know what to expect before, during, and after treatment ends.

Essential Hygiene Rules For a Gym

Nowadays, when people go to a gym to stay physically active, they also want the place to be clean and hygienic. Proper hygiene helps users stay away from infections and germs and it increases your reputation as a business owner, showing your customers that you care about their health and well-being. In this way, you also show your professionalism. We’ve compiled 5 essential hygiene rules you need to follow to keep your gym clean. 

 

1. Providing Hand Sanitizers

Hand hygiene is the first essential tip for providing cleanliness in your gyms. It can be achieved through proper handwashing and the usage of hand sanitizers. You can promote handwashing among your users and staff members through posters and signs. Hand sanitizers should be available at the entrance, near gym equipment, and in the changing rooms. Since washrooms aren’t always within reach, you’ll need to provide hand sanitizers for quick hand cleaning. Your hand sanitizers should have at least 60% alcohol to be effective enough against germs. 

Hand soap and sanitizers are required at gyms to encourage proper hand hygiene.

Custodians should ensure that hand soap and paper towels are constanty restocked  in washrooms so that users can properly wash their hands.

 

2. Cleaning Equipment

Your cleaning staff should clean the equipment of the gym properly by using disinfectant wipes and cleaning solutions. You need to clean frequently-touched areas of the gym, including door handles, equipment buttons and handles, weight changing levers, free weights, floor mats, lockers, faucets, showers, and more. 

Custodians can use spray bottles and anti-bacterial cleaners to clean, disinfect, and sanitize gym equipment. These bottles are effective ways to clean your equipment because they contain ammonia-based cleaning solutions that can eliminate germs and bacteria from equipment. You should schedule regular cleaning at your gym to reduce the number of pollutants from your tools and equipment by cleaning and disinfecting them frequently. Your custodians need to have high-strength cleaners for thorough equipment cleaning a minimum of once a day. But you must be sure that your cleaning supplies are not dangerous for your staff’s health. Also, custodians should wear gloves, masks, and protective equipment while cleaning anything. 

 

3. Clean the Floors 

When visitors enter the gym and wander around with their sneakers, the floor becomes noticeably dirty. If you don’t clean your carpets and floors properly, they can wear and fade quickly. You can use high-filtration vacuum cleaners that enter into carpet fibers and floor scrubbers to remove germs and dirt.

 

4. Promote Air Hygiene 

You need to install humidifiers and ventilators whenever you want to improve air quality. In common spaces, you should also consider opening windows or regulating air conditioning to allow for additional ventilation. There are two major reasons for poor air quality in gyms: for one, gym customers who often breathe more heavily than in other places because of their workout, cause an increase in airborne microorganisms, such as viruses and secondly, gyms that have poor air filtering, low air ventilation, and great usage of recirculated air.

Airborne dust and microorganisms can cause many health issues and diseases. So, ensure to keep the indoor air clean and hygienic. 

 

5. Educate Staff and Users 

Locker rooms are the least hygienic rooms in gyms. And the showers in your washrooms may have more bacteria as a damp environment promotes germs to thrive. You need to educate your staff and your users so that you can reduce the transmission of infections. Here are some useful tips for your staff to follow for hygiene: 

  • Wash their hands before and after cleaning the equipment. 
  • Clean the gym equipment, using spray bottles, paper towels, anti-bacterial cleaners at least once or twice a day. 
  • Wipe down the highly-touched surfaces, using wet disinfectant wipes.
  • Ensure that trash bins are not full and visitors can dispose of their trash. 
  • Wear protective clothing when cleaning. 

And tips for users who attend gyms: 

  • Wash hands before entering the gym and use hand sanitizers after using gym equipment. 
  • Athletes’ feet and other fungal illnesses grow rapidly in wet areas, so it’s critical to safeguard your feet. In the shower, wear something protective over your feet and make sure your feet are completely dry after.
  • You need to wash your gym clothes after a workout. Germs sticking to your clothes can be removed with soap and hot water. We advise changing out of your exercise clothing as soon as possible, showering thoroughly, and washing your garments as soon as feasible.
  • Don’t wipe off your sweat using your shirt not to transmit the germs from your shirt to your face. 
  • Bring your own floor mat and bottle of water. 

Double-check these tips and feel free to use it as a checklist for providing the best hygiene practices at your gym. We recommend buying only the best hygiene products in Sydney to maintain the overall cleanliness of your gym. Maintain your and others’ health!

What Protein Powder Can Do For Your Physique

Looking to get your body in the best shape? You should consider using the best protein powder to help you achieve your physique goals and optimise your physical performance.
Read more below about why you should include protein powder in your daily routine.

Why Do I Need A Protein Powder?

If you’re putting in the hard yards in the gym, chances are you’re seeing good results but your results could be hampered if your protein intake is insufficient.
Whether you’re targeting more muscle mass or trying to lose weight, then adding a protein shake to the mix is essential.

Protein powders support muscle growth and including a protein supplement in your daily routine is essential.

There are a multitude of protein shakes on the market but not all of them are equal, that’s why you need to find a shake that contains high-quality protein.
Many brands boast protein supplements that contain more than 30 grams of protein per serving, but this is almost irrelevant if the components of the protein don’t include the essential amino acids we need.

How Protein Works In The Body

The best protein powder is debatable, and you can read more about the different types of protein powders further down in this article.

So, why is protein important how can it help people achieve their desired physique?
Lifting weights helps you gain muscle but adding the right dietary supplement improves muscle function.

If you’re trying to bulk and need to maintain a calorie surplus, then you’re already eating a lot of food, then you need to be conscious of how many grams of protein you’re getting in every day.
Eating a balanced diet is key and you need to include foods that we call a complete protein, like fish and poultry. A complete protein source means that it includes the nine essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce on their own.

Also, make sure you’re getting your essential fatty acids which are beneficial in promoting muscle growth.

Protein powder offers an array of health benefits, especially when paired with resistance exercise.
Whether your fitness goals focus on reducing fat mass or weight loss, muscle gain or simply achieving your desired lean muscle mass – drink protein shakes!
Seriously, they aid in muscle growth, help with body weight management and help reduce chronic inflammation.

If your current diet isn’t optimal, then you might be getting less protein than your body needs. High-quality protein sources in powder form provide an easy relief to a diet that is lacking protein.
More protein means more amino acids. The building blocks of protein are amino acids which are essential for maintaining a healthy, optimal body.

The Most Common Protein Powders

Whey protein powder

Arguably the most commonly used form of protein athletes and frequent gym-goers opt for is whey protein.

Whey is the watery portion of milk that separates from the curds when making cheese.
All the forms of whey contain branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) which aid in muscle recovery.
It’s commonly used to help people achieve their daily protein intake goals, in accordance with the recommended dietary allowance.
Whey protein is rapidly absorbed by the body which makes it a great post-workout supplement, essential for muscle building.

Casein

The majority of protein found in cow’s milk is casein, which constitutes around 80% of the protein found in cow’s milk.

It’s a slow-release protein which means it plays a critical role in muscle protein synthesis when supplemented in a routine that involves resistance training.

Research suggests casein protein powder, when paired with healthy eating can help build muscle.
A healthy diet and a good exercise routine are crucial to achieving your health and fitness goals, and getting enough protein is a prerequisite for a healthy immune system.
Plant-based protein powders

Plant-based protein powders

Plant-based protein powder is the option of choice for vegans and vegetarians.
Protein supplementation is beneficial for all but even more so for vegans and vegetarians who have a more restricted diet.

Drinking protein shakes comprised entirely of plant proteins has become increasingly popular.
The most common plant-based sources used in protein powders are rice, soy and pea.
Pea protein is a favourite among vegetarians and vegans because pea protein is a high-quality and easily digested protein source.

Soy protein is another favourite because it’s relatively cheap and it’s a high-quality source of protein found abundantly.

How Much Protein Powder Should I Use?

There are a variety of factors to consider when deciding how much protein powder you should use.

Some important factors

What sources of protein are you currently consuming? Are you already getting a lot of egg protein or hemp protein? Consider your current diet and then plan to add protein powder accordingly.

Body composition

What does your physique currently look like? If you’re trying to add lean mass and you already practice weight lifting, then you will probably be looking to add a hefty portion of protein powder to your daily regimen.
If you’re not too active and you’re slightly overweight, have an excess of body fat and are just looking to get some more high-quality protein in your diet – consider taking a milder approach.

Summary

Incorporating regular use of protein powder can be incredibly beneficial for your physique. Regardless of your health goals or fitness goals, protein powders are almost always a brilliant addition.

Your Sleep Patterns Debunked: A Guide for Every Age

The human anatomy is beyond fascinating. Our ‘body clock’ informs us when it’s time to doze and when to wake up, thus dictating our sleep pattern.  Everyone’s sleep schedule is different based on a variety of factors, including age, gender, and lifestyle.

As we age, our sleep pattern changes. While children and older people need more naps through the day, adults can go about their day and sleep through the night due to their busy schedules.

To celebrate National Sleep Awareness Month, we talked with Dr Verena Senn from Sleep Science by Emma, who sheds a light on the evolution of sleep as we get older and how to get the best night’s sleep.

The four stages of sleep

There are four stages of sleep that repeat throughout our sleep cycle each night and are vital for our physical and cognitive health. Three of those stages fall into a non-REM (non-rapid eye movement) phase, and one in a REM (rapid eye movement) phase.

Stage One: Non-REM sleep

During stage one, you’re in a light-sleep state and can be awoken very easily. Your heartbeat, eye movements, and breathing will slow down and your muscles will begin to relax. You might experience muscles twitching, as well. This stage lasts roughly 10 minutes.

Stage Two: Non-REM sleep

During stage two you’re still in a light-sleep state. Your heartbeat and breathing continue to slow down, while your muscles become more relaxed. Your eye movement and twitching stop but bursts of brain wave activity might occur, which are known as sleep spindles. This stage lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.

Stage Three: Non-REM sleep

During stage three, you’re in a deep-sleep state, and your heart rate and breathing will be at their slowest. This stage is extremely important for your immune health and energy and your muscles will begin to restore. It’s usually difficult to be awoken during this stage, which lasts between 20 and 40 minutes.

Stage Four: REM sleep

The REM stage usually occurs 90 minutes into your sleep cycle and is vital for memory consolidation. During this stage, eye movements and brain waves speed up and your muscles are paralysed. That’s when dreaming occurs. The first REM stage usually lasts about 10 minutes, while each additional REM stage becomes prolonged through the night.

How have sleep patterns changed through the ages?

According to Dr Verena Senn, “sleep and sleep disorders endure significant modifications from birth to old life”. Let’s explore what changes occur in our sleep cycles as we get older and how to make the most of our sleep.

Infant and young children’s sleep pattern

Many parents are anxious about raising their children and sleep forms an important part of a baby’s upbringing. No matter how many books and guides parents read, it can be difficult for them to find peace of mind. But here are all the basics you need to learn about your children’s sleep routine.

As newborns, babies tend to spend the majority of the 24-hour day sleeping. In fact, up to 20 hours are spent sleeping daily, of which about 50% is REM stage sleep, says Dr Verena Senn.

“Frequent awakenings characterise newborn’s sleep, and sleep episodes are generally coupled with a straight transition from alertness into REM.”

As they reach the age of six weeks, their sleep schedules become more consolidated during the night but afternoon naps are still common.

As children grow older, their sleep patterns undergo more changes. By the ages of four and six, the amount of stage four REM sleep reduces further, while stage-three deep sleep increases significantly. Before children go into puberty, it’s common to experience some parasomnias, which are a category of sleep disorders. These include sleepwalking, sleep terrors, and confusional arousals, which are brief arousals or awakenings that occur during stage three. During confusional arousals, a person might open their eyes or talk in their sleep while they remain in bed.

Adolescent and young adults’ sleep patterns

We often blame teenagers for sleeping in and going to bed late, but according to Dr Verena Senn, “there is a propensity for a later sleep onset time during adolescence and difficulties waking up in the morning.”

Teenagers are also prone to sleep disorders. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS), for example, disrupts breathing during sleep. While going to bed early is common, some teenagers might develop a Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, which causes difficulties when aligning their sleeping pattern to their day-to-day routine.

“Psychological or mental illnesses, characterised by anxiety and depression, are also frequent in this age range and may induce disrupted sleep,” added Dr Senn.

Young adults can also experience difficulty waking up in the morning, as well as increased frequency of awakenings. Nevertheless, sleep is extremely important during this age period as it supports brain development and helps maintain energy levels. It’s also vital for the mental and physical health of the individual.

Adults and elderlies’ sleep patterns

In middle age, sleep deprivation becomes more common. The total sleep period reduces and individuals experience more frequent awakenings. It’s normal for people to become parents between the ages of 26 and 35, and that can largely affect their sleep quality, especially during the first months of the baby’s life.

“In your 40s, new concerns about sleep can arise including sleep apnoea, decreased quality of sleep, feeling tired throughout the day, changes in hormones, and less production of melatonin,” says Dr Verena Senn.

Elderly people tend to have a short sleep duration during the night but strong inclinations for daytime naps. They primarily experience stage-one or stage-two light sleep and often lack stage-three deep sleep.

Because some older adults might lack growth hormone secretion, they are likely to develop certain sleep disorders. REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder, for example, usually occurs in people over 60 and is “characterised by episodes of vigorous speech or shouting, and violent movement or behaviour”. Medical and psychological illnesses can also occur amongst the elderly, which can cause insomnia.

How much sleep do you need for your age?

Here is how much sleep you need for your age, according to Dr Verena Senn:

Best Clean Room & Laboratory Design/Build Company 2021

The highly specialised design for the pharma industry reinvents itself day by day with surprising acceleration, improving and exceeding itself, taking ideas, innovation and technology to their maximum demand for a result of excellence – on a planetary scale, where the political and geographic limits are anecdotal.

As an architecture and engineering studio, LAB Sud has focused on strategic approaches such as the orange economy and design thinking, defining its DNA matrix, promoting artistic and scientific creativity, appealing to excellence in the quality of each of its projects.

It has applied creative design in every possible way, from tiny pieces of industrial furniture to clean rooms and micro-architecture, as well as in large-scale projects for urban developments (larger than 25 hectares) or large size buildings (greater than 5,000 m2).

LAB Sud’s team thinks in terms of science-design, where this pairing does not separate; it is a tandem that defines the firm creatively and technically. For three years, it has accelerated a lot in the race to technology within its human team and workspace. Today, it is applying the best current technology to each project: BIM methodology, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), 3D printing, drone technologies, software interoperability, and communication in the cloud between professionals and technicians to work on each project.

The firm’s latest projects have had a fabulous variety and diversity, working on indoor agricultural projects for medicinal cannabis in GMP and GAP laboratories; designing capsules for industrial and GMP mobile laboratories; clean rooms for pharma, health, cosmetics, veterinary and research; as well as designs for academic projects. The different scales have also been a great challenge; participating in the development of highly specialised micro elements of furniture, and reaching specialised large-scale urban projects for science, research and logistics of more than 100 hectares.

LAB Sud has become a reference in the pharma and health industry advising national and international companies and governments. It is doing it with intensity, and it wants to share its know-how in all possible areas. Experience and knowledge must transcend to innovate.

The great current challenge for LAB Sud is to approach designs while adjusting to the changing times, and by always aiming to work outside its comfort zone, where it believes it gives its maximum potential as a team. It cannot solve problems and crossroads in the same way that it did two years ago; the context changes too quickly. The creative and technical demand, as well as lateral thinking, presents a scenario of incredible possibilities to develop projects and new ideas. The team is fascinated by being surprising with the results it achieves. It has tried to unlearn and relearn. The codes and forms are changing very fast, and the strategy is to embrace resilience in every decision and action. This is LAB Sud’s habitat and it is very comfortable with the change.

For further information, please contact Juan Andrés Marín or visit www.lab-sud.com

Adopting a Culture of Movement: Supporting Employees to Keep Active and Healthy

As many workplaces have gradually switched to a flexible working scheme, alternating between working in the office and at home, there is no hiding that employees may currently be struggling to receive support for their physical health and keep active.

The NHS suggests that adults should be aiming for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week. In fact, prolonged inactiveness accounts for about 70,000 deaths per year in Britain alone.

What’s more, research shows that the rate of unexpected, illness-related absenteeism is more substantial in workers who are less physically active. Small tweaks in habits can have a massive impact on people’s productivity, absence rates, and overall health.

With some insights from Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at Westfield Health, we take a look at how employers can prioritise employee wellbeing and encourage their staff members to be more active both outside and inside the workplace.

Setting up a culture of movement

Workplace culture can have a significant effect on employee wellbeing and behaviour. A manager or leader who promotes the importance of physical health will truly encourage their workers to exercise more during the day.

One way of embedding activity into the workplace culture is to include physical health support as a key feature of your wellbeing plan and strategy. Here are some policies you may want to consider:

  • Offer discounted rates for equipment and gym access
  • Schemes to encourage employees to cycle to work
  • Educational fitness classes or exercise sessions that are free of charge
  • Reserving time slots for exercise and physical activity during people’s shifts
  • Standing desks and flexible workspaces

Of course, every organisation will take a different approach based on its needs and possibilities, but always make sure to ask your employees how you can help to keep them active while at work.

Share your exercise policies with your team and invite them to take advantage of the various options. To keep track of the effectiveness of your physical activity programme, make note of people’s engagement and evaluate the long-term impact it’s having on the business.

How to encourage your employees to move more and feel empowered!

To ensure you are incorporating physical activity into the working day, it is crucial to enable your people to prioritise it. One idea could be to send out monthly wellbeing emails with resources, links to online workouts and general exercise tips.

Also, make allowances for managers to discuss physical wellbeing, as well as mental health, personal targets, and performance, during one-to-one meetings with team members. Ultimately, employees will feel empowered to make physical activity a priority if their managers are too.

As for in-office facilities, business owners can actively support their workers’ physical health by creating a designated area for exercise and activities within the workplace. Whether it’s converting a quiet corner or a compact meeting room, an active space with mats, resistance bands and dumbbells can become a huge asset to the office. In fact, it will certainly encourage and help employees enjoy some exercising at work.

If you don’t have enough space for an active space, consider offering your employees discounted memberships for popular chain gyms. This will help your team stay fit and healthy whatever their schedule.

Seven great resources to help get you started

  1. NHS physical activity guidelines – Exercise advice for people aged 19 to 64.
  2. Sit less with Get Britain Standing – Tips and information to encourage employees to stand up more during the day, whether in or outside the workplace.
  3. Helpful Move More at Work guidance – Feel free to download these resources as a PDF and print out some useful workplace posters. You will also find some 10-minute workplace exercise videos.
  4. Adaptable, active spaces – Advice on how to tailor active spaces to your workplace to get your people moving.
  5. Pomodoro Technique and Tomato Timer – An online timer which reminds you to take short breaks every 25 minutes.
  6. Health and lifestyle screenings – Confidential one-to-one health screenings for employees with an experienced coach.
  7. Physical wellbeing webinars – Our own recorded and live webinars covering topics including posture and back pain.

Four Dangers of Self-Diagnosing Through the Web

With an almost limitless amount of information available to us 24/7, it has become a common practice to turn to Google for answers to ailments. However, while in theory learning more about potential symptoms may help ease a person’s mind, the risk of self-diagnosing looms large. A Statista survey found that 68% of British adults diagnose themselves through the web at least every few months – if not more regularly.

The issue with self-diagnosis is that it may deter people from visiting a doctor. Without medical expertise, self-diagnosis can often become misdiagnosis. Together, with Jonjo Hancock-Fell at private health cover provider, Westfield Health, we take a look at the key issues with self-diagnosing using the web.

1. Inaccurate information

One of the most significant problems with self-diagnosing is that it can often be based on inaccurate information. In the case of online searches, unregulated sources of medical information on the web can be highly unreliable. With limited medical knowledge, it’s not always easy for a patient to determine the information’s credibility.

This is why it’s crucial to ask for professional help when something’s not right. A doctor will be able to spot what is causing an issue and give safe advice. With years of training, qualifications, and experience under their belt, they should always be the first port of call. What’s more, physicians have access to a patient’s medical history, which provides them with a clearer picture and a better understanding of the potential causes of symptoms. This also means that they are able to prescribe safe medications and solutions, taking into consideration existing conditions and whatever other medication the patient is taking.

2. Overlapping symptoms

It is fair to say that many conditions have similar symptoms. Weakness, pain, and fatigue are generally the most predominant, and they can be linked to an extremely wide range of possible health issues. Therefore, it is often tricky to formulate a diagnosis based on these common symptoms alone.

Doctors have the knowledge and equipment to rule out possible illnesses and identify the true cause of discomfort. A quick and accurate diagnosis is vital, as some conditions will need further treatment – a door that self-diagnosis cannot open. Occasionally surgery may be required to properly treat your condition. For faster access to surgical treatment, you can get private health insurance, helping you to avoid lengthy waiting lists for surgery and get you on the road to recovery quicker.

3. Over or under-diagnosis

Of course, another prevalent risk with self-diagnosing is overestimating or minimising symptoms. Confusing a headache for a much more serious condition can lead to unneeded distress, but in the same way dismissing a pain with reassurance from the internet could cost a patient their important early diagnosis window.

4. Can cause stress

There is no denying that self-diagnosis can be anxiety-inducing. Based on information found online, a person may start to feel worried and anxious, believing that their health is worse than it actually is. This is particularly true for people suffering from cyberchondria, a condition which induces a person to both seek medical information online and feel very nervous about the intimidating diagnoses they find.

Self-diagnosing can hide an array of potential risks and dangers. From sourcing inaccurate information to miscalculating the gravity of symptoms, there are many downsides to trying to self-diagnose. Therefore, we hope this article shines a light on the importance of seeking medical help and advice, which can instead provide founded answers and – hopefully – some much-needed peace of mind.

Health Apps: Offering Wellbeing Solutions or Exacerbating Our Health Problems?

In the era of smartphones, we can now manage and even improve our health on our handheld devices. Whether you’re struggling with your mental health, want to boost your physical health with your exercise regime or, you’re seeking to achieve a better night’s sleep – there’s a wide choice of apps to turn to for support.

Apps range from guided meditation to comprehensive running plans, and they can even track your sleep and mood. But are they doing more harm than good?

With some insight from Jonjo Hancock-Fell at private health cover firm, Westfield Health, will explore how certain types of health apps could potentially have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing

Could sleep apps be making our sleep worse?

Some of the most innovative uses of health technology are apps that track our sleep. Whether you use your mobile phone or a smartwatch, you can track how long you slept for, the time you spent in deep and REM sleep, and even set an alarm to wake you up in your lightest phase of sleep (which is proven to be the easiest time to wake up).

Many of these apps are designed to help us sleep better by waking us at the right moments and providing insights into how we’re currently sleeping. But, conversely, they could be making our insomnia worse – or even triggering insomnia in the first place.

Sleep disorder specialist Dr Guy Leschziner has said that these apps are making us anxious and obsessed with sleep, which negatively impacts our ability to, well, sleep. If these apps tell us we’ve had a bad night’s sleep, it acts as a placebo and makes us behave as though we have slept poorly – even if that’s not the case. They also don’t offer much in the way of actionable support, instead just offering data on how well we’ve slept the previous night.

Fitness apps put too much pressure on people

Similar to sleep trackers, wearable tech has given us insights into our fitness performance. We can track our running progress through our improved time and speed, and even see our energy expenditure throughout the day, with prompts to get moving if we’ve been stationary for too long.

These apps and devices are designed to be motivational but can make us feel worse about ourselves. The Digital Health Generation survey found that young people felt “anxiety and terror” when using these apps. It also noted that they can lead to unhealthy, obsessive behaviours such as overexercising and dangerous calorie restrictions.

While these apps can help us track progress, it’s important to not overuse them. They can help us understand if we’re not active enough during the day, but they can lead us to feel guilty and, as a result, engage in obsessive exercise.

Do mental health apps prevent you seeking real support?

Mental health apps, like Calm and Headspace, are almost as commonplace on our devices as Facebook and Twitter. Research has shown that the 15 most popular mental health apps were downloaded over a million times between February and May 2020 as lockdown took its toll on our mental wellbeing.

These apps have come under fire for their lack of scientific evidence, with academics criticising studies that argue they are effective. Some used a small sample size, while others focused on people who weren’t receiving mental health treatment, meaning they couldn’t conclude that these apps help people manage existing mental health conditions.

Another issue pointed out by psychologist Chris Noone is that these apps can prevent people from seeking professional support for their mental health conditions. While some users may see improvements when using these apps, they aren’t a replacement for tailored support delivered by qualified experts.

Are all health apps bad?

While it’s clear that some health apps can worsen the problems they’re designed to help with, they can have a place in our lives. These apps should never be used as standalone solutions to medical problems though.

Apps like sleep monitors and fitness trackers can help us to identify a problem, but alone, they are not the solution. If you’re finding yourself tired throughout the day, for example, a sleep tracker can help you identify that you wake frequently through the night. Equally, a mental health app can help you track your mood, identify triggers, and provide in-the-moment meditation exercises, but formal therapy, with the help of private health cover, and medication may be required.

The apps are best used in conjunction with professional medical care. After using them to identify patterns, you could show your GP the information that identifies stress as a cause of sleep deprivation, and they can then provide you with the right treatments. Monitor your use of these apps and be aware they could trigger or exacerbate obsessive and anxious behaviours and prevent you from speaking to your GP.

As technology has grown more advanced, we now have access to health support at our fingertips. And while health apps can be useful to help us identify patterns or give us the opportunity for a mindfulness break, they aren’t the solution to our health problems. Instead, they should be used sparingly to support professional medical diagnosis and treatment.

5 Easy Ways to Take Care of Dry Skin

Dry and dehydrated skin can be challenging to manage. You might notice that it’s flaky, rough, irritated, and even showing a lack of resiliency when pinched. Some people can have both dry and dehydrated skin, while others might experience one problem or the other based on lifestyle or genetic factors.

While your doctor is ultimately best placed to provide both a diagnosis and treatment options, there may be ways to ease discomfort associated with dry or dehydrated skin or even eradicate the issue altogether. You may see the value in doing some of the following things.

Using CBD Creams

Skin and body CBD creams from leading manufacturers like Joy Organics may allow you to experience relief from dry and dehydrated skin. Many CBD creams with gentle ingredients like water, organic olive oil, and aloe barbadensis leaf juice claim to nourish dry and cracked skin and even revitalize muscles and joints.

The therapeutic potential of CBD for skin health and disorders is becoming more widely known, especially in some of the latest studies. While some research is still in its infancy, hemp may have therapeutic potential to prevent conditions like atopic dermatitis while modulating itch response and possibly even having antimicrobial effects against acne.

If you’re experiencing itchy, dry, dehydrated, or irritated skin, consider trying CBD creams to see if they have the desired effect.

Avoiding Hot Showers and Baths

As relaxing and invigorating as hot showers and baths can be, they aren’t doing your skin any favours. The warmer the water is, the easier water can flow out of your skin and evaporate in the shower or bath, leading to dehydrated skin.

Avoiding hot water doesn’t mean you need to avoid showers altogether. However, you may be able to reduce your discomfort and improve skin hydration by taking short, lukewarm showers and limiting how many baths you take overall.

Not Using Harsh Skin Cleansing Products

When you’ve long experienced problems with acne or blemishes, it’s tempting to purchase any number of skin cleansing products in an attempt to eradicate uncomfortable pimples and fix an uneven skin tone.

However, not all skin cleansing products are gentle on your skin, and some may even exacerbate the problems you’ve been having. Some cleansers can strip your skin of its natural oils, putting you at potential risk of further dryness, redness, cracking, and even eczema.

Wear Sunscreen

Many of us only think of applying sunscreen when we’re heading to the beach in the sunshine or enjoying a picnic in the park on a hot summer’s day. In reality, if we want to ensure our skin is healthy and hydrated, we should be wearing it as much as possible.

The free radicals in UV rays can be highly damaging to skin, leading to dryness and irritation when your skin barrier breaks down. However, you may be able to lock in moisture and protect your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Don’t forget to reapply it throughout the day.

Eat Healthy Skin-Promoting Food

Many people experience relief from dry, irritated skin with CBD creams, humidifiers, and gentle products, but you may also see the value in eating foods that promote healthy skin. You may then give your body a sound foundation to work from for excellent skin health. Some ideal options include:

Fatty fish

Avocado

Walnuts

Sweet potato

Fatty fish like salmon and herring contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for supple and moisturized skin. Fish is also an excellent source of zinc, which may assist with relieving inflammation and supporting overall skin health.

If you haven’t yet included avocado in your diet, you may like to try it for the health of your skin. Avocados contain healthy fats, vitamin A, and vitamin C, all of which may protect your skin from oxidative damage while also assisting with collagen creation.

You may also enjoy a healthy dose of omega-3, omega-6, and zinc from walnuts, while sweet potatoes contain beta carotene to potentially benefit your skin health. Carotenoids, such as beta carotene, function as a natural sunblock and may assist with protection from sun exposure that often causes sunburn, dry skin, cell death, and wrinkled skin.

Finding a solution for dry or dehydrated skin shouldn’t be a long or complicated process. If you’re unsure how to experience relief, any of these tips above may be how you start noticing a difference in the appearance and feel of your skin.

7 Easy Ways to Take Care of Dry Skin

Dry and dehydrated skin can be challenging to manage. You might notice that it’s flaky, rough, irritated, and even showing a lack of resiliency when pinched. Some people can have both dry and dehydrated skin, while others might experience one problem or the other based on lifestyle or genetic factors.

While your doctor is ultimately best placed to provide both a diagnosis and treatment options, there may be ways to ease discomfort associated with dry or dehydrated skin or even eradicate the issue altogether. You may see the value in doing some of the following things.

Using CBD Creams

Skin and body CBD creams from leading manufacturers like Joy Organics may allow you to experience relief from dry and dehydrated skin. Many CBD creams with gentle ingredients like water, organic olive oil, and aloe barbadensis leaf juice claim to nourish dry and cracked skin and even revitalize muscles and joints.

The therapeutic potential of CBD for skin health and disorders is becoming more widely known, especially in some of the latest studies. While some research is still in its infancy, hemp may have therapeutic potential to prevent conditions like atopic dermatitis while modulating itch response and possibly even having antimicrobial effects against acne.

If you’re experiencing itchy, dry, dehydrated, or irritated skin, consider trying CBD creams to see if they have the desired effect.

Avoiding Hot Showers and Baths

As relaxing and invigorating as hot showers and baths can be, they aren’t doing your skin any favours. The warmer the water is, the easier water can flow out of your skin and evaporate in the shower or bath, leading to dehydrated skin.

Avoiding hot water doesn’t mean you need to avoid showers altogether. However, you may be able to reduce your discomfort and improve skin hydration by taking short, lukewarm showers and limiting how many baths you take overall.

Not Using Harsh Skin Cleansing Products

When you’ve long experienced problems with acne or blemishes, it’s tempting to purchase any number of skin cleansing products in an attempt to eradicate uncomfortable pimples and fix an uneven skin tone.

However, not all skin cleansing products are gentle on your skin, and some may even exacerbate the problems you’ve been having. Some cleansers can strip your skin of its natural oils, putting you at potential risk of further dryness, redness, cracking, and even eczema.

Wear Sunscreen

Many of us only think of applying sunscreen when we’re heading to the beach in the sunshine or enjoying a picnic in the park on a hot summer’s day. In reality, if we want to ensure our skin is healthy and hydrated, we should be wearing it as much as possible.

The free radicals in UV rays can be highly damaging to skin, leading to dryness and irritation when your skin barrier breaks down. However, you may be able to lock in moisture and protect your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Don’t forget to reapply it throughout the day.

Eat Healthy Skin-Promoting Food

Many people experience relief from dry, irritated skin with CBD creams, humidifiers, and gentle products, but you may also see the value in eating foods that promote healthy skin. You may then give your body a sound foundation to work from for excellent skin health. Some ideal options include:

Fatty fish

Avocado

Walnuts

Sweet potato

Fatty fish like salmon and herring contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for supple and moisturized skin. Fish is also an excellent source of zinc, which may assist with relieving inflammation and supporting overall skin health.

If you haven’t yet included avocado in your diet, you may like to try it for the health of your skin. Avocados contain healthy fats, vitamin A, and vitamin C, all of which may protect your skin from oxidative damage while also assisting with collagen creation.

You may also enjoy a healthy dose of omega-3, omega-6, and zinc from walnuts, while sweet potatoes contain beta carotene to potentially benefit your skin health. Carotenoids, such as beta carotene, function as a natural sunblock and may assist with protection from sun exposure that often causes sunburn, dry skin, cell death, and wrinkled skin.

Finding a solution for dry or dehydrated skin shouldn’t be a long or complicated process. If you’re unsure how to experience relief, any of these tips above may be how you start noticing a difference in the appearance and feel of your skin.

Is CBT the Only Effective Online Treatment?

We know how negative feelings and thoughts can trap someone in a vicious cycle and wreak havoc with the person’s health. This may lead to a significant increase in anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, with instances of domestic violence and substance abuse being also reported.

In order to cope with these overwhelming issues, people are turning to online mental health treatment more than ever before. For those who are unable to leave their homes, or choose not to for any reason whatsoever, counselling via telehealth has provided the much-needed relief.

Out of all available treatment techniques, CBT has been the predominant one online. Cognitive behavioural therapy aims to change negative thought patterns and establishing good habits to improve your mental wellbeing. This, combined with the fact studies had shown it to be extremely effective even when conducted in a virtual setting, has led to its ever-growing popularity.

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioural therapy, also referred to as CBT, is a type of talking therapy, which has been found to be very effective in not only decreasing the symptoms of anxiety and depression, but equally good for treating panic disorder, specific phobia and post-traumatic stress disorder as well.

CBT is also considered to be a short-term therapy, where online sessions last usually between eight to fifteen weeks, leading to roughly a 50% improvement in the patient’s mental health condition. Since the treatment is time-limited, a person will know when the course ends and have a clear idea of what the outcome will be.

The cost of each session may vary, but it is in the range of £40-£100 per session, if one opts for a private session. Otherwise, a person can directly access a free course (under some conditions) for therapy treatment from the NHS psychological therapy service (IAPT) without a prescription from a GP, or ask their GP for a referral if they so desire. Sessions usually last for an hour and take place once a week.

How does CBT actually work online?

Online CBT works exactly the same way as an in-person consultation with a specialist except that the conversation is in writing instead of spoken. Studies have shown that many persons find this method easy, secure and less intimidating than a face to face interaction in a regular clinic where one mind it less daunting to express their true feelings.

This dominant method of treatment works by assisting a person to challenge and identify their behaviour, emotions and dysfunctional thoughts. A qualified therapist will guide you from start to finish through the sections, worksheets, messaging (whenever needed) and live video sessions, no matter the part of the world you are in and in working hours that fit your time zone.

More specifically, CBT adopts an approach that is goal-oriented and requires an extremely active involvement by the individual to succeed, as it focuses on their present thoughts and behaviours. By changing their way of thinking, CBT can decrease distress and make the person function in a manner that will benefit them and even those around them.

Advantages of CBT

CBT has been found to be effective in:

Treatment of mental health disorders and especially in cases where medications alone have not worked.

Compared to other talking therapies, CBT can be completed in a shorter period.
Since the course is highly structured it can be provided in different formats such as groups, self-help journals and computer programmes.

The knowledge gained from CBT can be incorporated in day to day life to help cope with any issues which may arise long after the treatment has been completed.

The downside of CBT

CBT has its downsides too. Some of them are:

CBT requires absolute dedication to the process. A therapist can only advise you, but the commitment has to come from within.

Due to the structured nature of CBT it may not be suitable for persons with complex health issues or those with learning difficulties.

CBT involves confronting one’s own anxieties and emotions which can initially lead to emotional distress.

CBT only focuses on the capacity of individuals to change their feelings and thoughts. It does not address the wider issues relating to their health and well-being or the possibility of an unhappy childhood.

Alternative approaches to CBT

All talking therapies are a form of psychological treatment for emotion related issues and involve working with a trained therapist. Since different therapies may suit different people, one talking therapy may provide better help than the other.

Counselling: This talking therapy involves speaking in confidence with a counsellor. The NHS may offer you this service to treat types of depression arising from a bereavement or those having fertility issues. Counselling can finish in one session or over a course of sessions lasting for weeks or months.

Behavioural Activation: Behavioural activation is another talking therapy that is offered to one or more individuals over phone calls by a therapist. The aim is to motivate a person to make small but positive changes to improve one’s life.

Interpersonal Therapy: ITP focuses on treating people suffering from depression issues arising within the family and relations. The idea is to improve the poor relationship that can cause mild depression that has not responded to other talking therapies, including CBT.

EMDR: The eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy is for those who have post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. People who have PTSD may experience flashbacks of traumatic events from their past. EMDR helps to remove these negative images from the brain and requires active support of families and friends as the recovery process can be quite distressing.

MBCT: Known as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy helps a person to focus on their thoughts and feelings the moment they occur. MBCT uses mindfulness techniques like breathing exercises with cognitive therapy to manage your thoughts to make you feel better.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: This type of therapy traces back your childhood experiences that you are unaware of but are affecting your behaviour today. This approach is widely popular and considered the best alternative to CBT, if your objective is to dive deeper.

Best apps and other tools for online mental health

Finding the best mental health app, or tool, in a rapidly rising technology world can be intimidating with so many options to choose from. The silver lining, however, is that these remote options are quickly giving a bang for the buck to their traditional rivals. Some of the best tools are:

Online information
Online communities
Social media
Blogs/Podcasts
Chatbots

Here is a list of some of the best mental health apps you can download today itself:

BetterHelp (Best overall)
Headspace (Sleep and Meditation)
Thrive (mood relaxation techniques)
My Possible Self (mood tracker, journals and motivation messages)
Calm Harm (manage self-harm)
Recovery Record (eating disorders)
Quit That (addictions)
Moodfit (comprehensive set of tools)

As mentioned, CBT is a talk-based therapy technique and isn’t usually combined with medical prescriptions. NHS psychologist do have the ability to combine therapy with meds, but if you prefer to use an app of your own choosing, then Get Cerebral is the best option for combining both. You can read Get Cerebral reviews Get Cerebral reviews and see how it compares to leading online therapy sites such as Betterhelp for example.

Online therapy is here to stay

With telehealth usage scaling great heights, resolving concerns related to security and privacy will be a critical issue. Despite this, several studies at Georgetown University in the US have shown that both providers and patients have viewed telehealth favourably.

Proper, effective and inexpensive therapy options can provide succour to people to live a better life by filling in the gaps for those who would otherwise get priced out. The shift to telehealth, in the US especially, has brought about a massive change. While it has lowered one bar to care it has raised new therapeutic challenges and it will be interesting to keep following these trends as they develop.

How to Support a Child with Autism

Are you wondering how to support a child with autism spectrum disorder? Well, check out this article, which should give you a few pointers.

Supporting Autism

Suppose you’ve just found that your child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or you believe they may be on the spectrum. In that case, you’re undoubtedly wondering about what to do next, and an ASD diagnosis can come with many questions. Hundreds of questions may be rushing through your mind. What can I do to help? How can I support my child? What is CPI training? Hopefully, in this article, we can answer some of these questions for you.

What is ASD?

Autism spectrum disorder is a part of the neurodivergent spectrum and can present in many ways. Ultimately it will vary from person to person, and your child can be anywhere on that spectrum. ASD is not something to be “treated” or “cured” because being neurodivergent in any sense is not a bad thing. Getting a diagnosis should be seen as a positive because now you understand your child that bit more.

In the US, assistance is available to meet your child’s particular needs and help them learn, grow, and flourish in life, from free government services to school-based programs. In the past, it was a struggle in schools, but many are now better equipped to help.

Here are some helpful tips and advice that you may find beneficial. Remember, not every child’s autism is the same, so while some of these suggestions may help some children, they may not work for others.

 

Routine

The world can be a confusing and anxiety-inducing setting for autistic children; therefore, a predictable and stable routine may provide them with immense comfort. A routine or schedule can be made together, with both parent and child making suggestions to have a productive and fun day planned.

First, you must find a way to explain their daily schedule to them. Creating a visual timetable is a popular and successful approach for accomplishing this. This timetable could entail arranging images and simple phrases on a timeline in chronological sequence to depict the child’s daily activities and transitions. This visual assistance provides reassurance to the youngster while also making them feel they have ticked off everything from their to-do list.

Positivity

Children with autism spectrum disorder, like everyone else, may respond well to positive reinforcement. Try giving compliments or rewards like stickers for having a great day or completing a task. Some tasks like reading together can become overwhelming if they feel they are being judged, so offering to read a sentence each and getting a sticker at the end of a chapter for example, could help them feel supported and make them want to read more.

Remember to also value your child for who they are, whether on the spectrum or not. It’s crucial to love your child for who they are as a member of your family.

  

Your Home

Create a private space in your home for your child to unwind, feel comfortable, and feel secure; this will entail structuring and establishing boundaries in a manner that your child can comprehend. Visual cues, such as colored tape defining off-limits areas or labeling goods in the house with drawings, can be helpful.

Make the space calming and not overstimulating. Clashing colors, loud noises, and aggressive language should not be part of their safe space. A neurodivergent person may become overstimulated and might not have the communication skills or feel confident to explain this. Make sure they are involved in the design process and ask them what they would like in their safe space.

Support

Support from other families, professionals, and friends can be beneficial, whether online or in person. Friendships can be tough to sustain, and your child may require assistance in doing so. Helping to contextualize their friendships and understand the other person’s perspective can help defuse arguments. Also, offering to lead projects or crafts with a clear ending can help them work together to achieve their goal and build their friendship.

Communication

Autism affects children’s communicative ability in different ways. Delay in language development, difficulty maintaining a conversation, and a lack of verbal and nonverbal communication are all examples of possible communication blocks. In addition, cognitive processing difficulties are common in people with autism. These have little to do with a child’s intelligence or capacity but how the brain interprets written or verbal information.

For example, they may frequently take what you say literally; thus, even the most common idioms should be avoided because they can possibly be misread. Many autistic children have difficulty reading social cues and nonverbal signs, and others may misinterpret sarcasm, irony, or humor. As a result, when we ask questions, we must allow enough time for all children to comprehend the question adequately.

We should avoid using figurative or abstract language in our directions and keep them plain. Things may still be lost in translation, so repeat instructions as needed and urge kids to repeat them back to you if they are able. Repeating yourself might sound frustrating, but once you get the hang of how your child understands the world, communicating will come easier to both of you.

Behaviors

We need to try to understand where their behaviors are coming from before we respond, in addition to ensuring that boundaries are in place. Children with autism, for example, may display challenging behaviors as a result of frustration, anxiety, or a lack of practical assistance. To deal with such behaviors, we must remain calm and seek to figure out why they occur.

Staying calm and trying to understand their side can help greatly if they experience a meltdown. This could be because they are overwhelmed, or because they feel like they can’t communicate verbally what they feel. Try asking them to draw a picture of what they feel, or make a feelings sheet with emojis so they can point to the one that fits how they feel.

 

CPI training

CPI (crisis prevention institute) training first came about in the 1980s, with the goal of preventing and defusing aggressive and harmful behaviour.  CPI is best described as nonverbal crisis intervention training, which can be applied to notice an at-risk individual, by managing situations and destructive behaviors, with both verbal and non-verbal skills.

Some people with ASD may struggle to communicate their emotions and so could resort to being aggressive towards themselves, objects, or other people. While you should never restrain a person, even if you feel it is the right choice, there may be other ways to prevent aggressive behaviors, and defuse them if they occur. This training could be applied at home to help them communicate safely and effectively.

CPI is also often utilized in schools and workplaces as a communication tool.

Obsessions

Many people with ASD can become fixated on something and create an obsession. It could be listening to the same song, watching the same film, or arts and crafts. Obsessions can come and go, but some can last a while. Asking about their obsessions and getting involved can encourage them to pursue their passions, and help you understand them better.

Fidget toys

Stimming is often common in people with ASD. Stimming is a passive physical movement they need to help them concentrate, or to focus on while they process new information. It is important to not discourage stimming, as it is often a beneficial action for them. Fidget toys can be very helpful ways to stim. Items like fidget spinners, fidget cubes, stress balls, and small plushies are good examples. Some children may prefer things that feel soft, or things that make noise, so don’t be afraid to get them to try new toys until they find one that fits them.

 

Ask them

The best way to offer support is to ask your child what they need. For example, some will thrive under a routine, while others would like more freedom in their day. Taking cues from them will help them feel in control of their diagnosis while building your bond. It’s important to remember that this is ultimately their diagnosis and their life, so they should feel support from their family, while also being safe to explore how they process it.

Conclusion

We hope this was helpful advice. While your child’s diagnosis may be hard to accept at first, it’s the start of a great journey of understanding for them. The world at large may not be very understanding of who they are, which makes it all the more important to support them where you can.

ADHD In the Workplace: the Impact On Women

By Gabrielle Pendlebury, Chief Medical Officer at Onebright

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, often referred to as ADHD, is a condition that affects behaviour, it can lead to a lack of concentration, hyperactivity, restlessness, and impulsive actions. ADHD is commonly identified in childhood, especially at times of transition when symptoms can become more noticeable, such as the start of a new school. 

The disorder is the result of atypical brain development and there is no single cause for why someone’s brain might have the unique features that are linked to ADHD. However, one thing that has a big impact on how a person’s brain develops is their genes. There is a strong genetic basis for ADHD, which overlaps with conditions such as autism and dyslexia.

ADHD can impact many areas of life including work, daily activities, social and family relationships and psychological and physical well-being. Approximately 1 in 20 children and adolescents across Europe are affected by ADHD, with most cases persisting into adulthood. Prior to 1990, it was believed that children outgrow ADHD in adolescence as hyperactivity tends to lessen as the young person matures. It is now known, however, that many symptoms continue into adulthood and hyperactivity is usually experienced as internal restlessness.

The Mental Health and Young People Survey in 2021, showed an increase since 2017 from 1 in 9 to 1 in 6 children aged between 5 and 16 having a probable mental health disorder, with young girls and those with pre-existing mental health issues typically experiencing more negative impacts, as a result of the pandemic. ADHD can be extremely difficult to diagnose. Unless it is causing significant problems in at least two major areas of your life, even if you do have symptoms, you don’t qualify for a diagnosis because they’re not causing you obvious impairment.

ADHD symptoms can change and develop throughout a person’s life, especially at work, and hyperactivity could evolve into inner restlessness. Those battling ADHD also struggle with concentration, which can impact on productivity in the workplace, without appropriate treatment.

The underdiagnosis of ADHD in females 

There are many factors that can be attributed to the underdiagnosis of ADHD in females, primarily the differing way ADHD can present in females compared to males. A strong perception still exists that ADHD is more common in males, and here lies an issue that could see females miss out on necessary attention and treatment for their condition, as well as appropriate training for the support of girls and women who may display symptoms of ADHD in schools or at work. 

ADHD comes in two presentations: inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, or a combination of the two. Males tend to have hyperactive/impulsive ADHD, which may cause them to be fidgety, always on the go, disruptive, restless, talkative, impulsive, impatient, and have mood swings.

Females, on the other hand, tend to exhibit inattentive ADHD, which makes it hard to focus, pay attention to details, stay organised, listen, and remember things. Sometimes their difficulties are mistaken for being “hormonal” or “anxious”. Additionally, some of the characteristics of inattentive ADHD, such as being shy or impulsive, are often viewed as personality traits rather than symptoms.

Offering support in the workplace

Conditions such as ADHD can have an impact on women later in life, particularly on their productivity and their career progression. If someone is experiencing mental health difficulties, they are probably already feeling uncomfortable, confused, and sometimes misunderstood.

Positive adjustments may be needed to support an individual – and managers need to act without making the employee feel like a burden. Employees will pick up on any change of treatment, so where possible, carry on communicating with them as you would any employee. It also helps to ground them and bring a sense of ‘normal’ in their lives.

Women with ADHD may experience problems in the workplace, such as disorganisation, forgetfulness, inattention, accepting constructive criticism and appraisal, and difficulties managing interpersonal relationships with colleagues. This is likely to be exacerbated in the presence of other disorders. Women may also benefit from targeted support in managing feelings of stress and distress, managing and regulating emotions, coping with rejection and/or feelings of isolation, managing interpersonal conflict, assertiveness training, compromise and negotiation steps, which may help to improve their occupational outcomes and their ability to cope with everyday social interactions.

Appoint a Mental Health Champion

Enrol one person (or multiple people if you have a big team) to become your Mental Health Champions. All businesses have first aiders who you can go to in case of a physical medical issue, but many don’t have a Mental Health Champion who people can talk to and confide in. By providing professionally delivered mental health training to your Champions, you can develop peer-to-peer network support within your organisation, and you are creating an environment in which the individual may feel more comfortable to discuss any issues they may be having.  

The post-pandemic world has presented obstacles in everyone’s lives, and it is important to support all employees who have had to adapt to many new situations over the past years. Having the patience to listen to employees and introducing Mental Health Champions are proactive steps that can be taken to support women in the workplace.

Workplace adjustments

A ‘reasonable adjustment’ is a change to remove or reduce the effect of an employee’s disability so they can do their job. The Equality Act 2010 exists to help and protect those who choose to disclose, with employers having a legal duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for those who choose to disclose. These will depend on the individual’s needs but may include extra equipment, a change in work pattern or adaption of processes.

Line management

Ensure that each member of the team is valued, and it is appreciated that not everyone will think and communicate the same way. This will offer new ideas and perspectives.

The line manager is able to listen and support and offer training as required. Encouraging good communication leads to better relationships and the ability to initiate change.

Planning meetings and conferences so they are neuro-inclusive, a simple statement that inclusion is important is a good starting point.

The Positives of ADHD at work 

Regardless of how ADHD affects behavioural patterns, there are also various positives that can be brought to corporate and workplace settings. racing or “ping-ponging” thoughts often help create unique solutions to problems that other colleagues might not see. 

Employees with ADHD often always think further than others, and often have a keen sense of observation, which should be welcomed by their peers and seniors. Businesses should be more open and accepting of employees with ADHD, as they view the world in a more unique way than most, and also thrive off their ability to multitask and give work tasks the focus and attention required.

Even though ADHD is a complex condition, there is a responsibility on businesses to support employees who may suffer from it, as they can bring so much more to the table in terms of boosting productivity and performance, and uplifting their colleagues to promote a positive workplace culture.

Supporting the Whole Woman On International Women’s Day

The 8th of March marks International Women’s Day. While more employers do now offer health and wellbeing support that is specific to women, this is often limited to a particular life stage, such as maternity. Towergate Health & Protection is encouraging businesses to provide for women across the entire lifecycle, from early adulthood to menopause, and beyond.

Debra Clark, head of specialist consulting at Towergate Health & Protection, says: “Women are in the workplace from teenagers through to at least their 60s. Health and wellbeing support should, therefore, provide for their needs at all the different life stages that will be faced whilst they are working.”

Physical health

There are various phases of life in which women in the workplace may require guidance. Young women may benefit from specific advice on nutrition and exercise. There are almost certainly women of child-bearing age in the majority of companies, and they may require help on a number of levels, from fertility and birth, through to parenthood. Menopause has recently become a much more talked-about subject and specific guidance can help women to cope with any symptoms that might impact their work. Cancer, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease are common concerns for older women which all require support.

Mental health

Many of the physical changes affecting women in the workplace can also have a big impact on their mental health. Fertility issues, pregnancy, birth, and parenthood all present specific challenges for women. Menopause can impact on mental health as well as physical. For this reason, health and wellbeing for women needs to incorporate the mind as well as the body.

There are many options available for support, guidance, and counselling, from apps and online hubs, to signposting services, and one-to-one dialogue with a specialist. These may be available as standalone provision, or as added-value items within other employee benefits.
Specialist support for women
There are many different avenues of support available for women in the workplace, from specialist support and guidance, through to screening to identify physical health issues.

Help from within

It is also now possible to train members of staff to provide support for their colleagues. Companies can train employees as Female Health Champions, Employee Liaison Officers, and Mental Health First Aiders. Once trained, such employees can be armed with information on the best ways to obtain help, they can signpost assistance, and be someone to talk to and discuss concerns.

Supporting women at home and abroad

Women working overseas may find themselves in cultures where the different life stages of women are treated very differently to the UK. Support must, therefore, be tailored according to the specific challenges of the country in which they are working.

Sarah Dennis, head of international at Towergate Health & Protection, says: “When selecting international healthcare provision it is important for employers to consider the specific support required for female employees. Women working abroad may need help through any or all of the key life stages, including pregnancy and the menopause. This is something that may not be as advanced in some countries, or as easy to discuss, and support may not be available from the country’s own healthcare system.”

Communication and accessibility

Female-specific health and wellbeing support is becoming more and more accessible. Employers need to keep up with the advances and communication must keep pace too. It’s also very important that company culture supports women being open about any issues they may face, and it helps when women are more open too – so that the company is aware of specific challenges.

“Employers need to understand what support women in their workplace require,” explains Debra Clark. “Two-way communication is key, so that women feel able to express their concerns and needs, and so that employers can inform their staff of what is available in terms of support.”

What Types of Spinal Injury Can Employees Claim For?

Suffering an injury while at work is the last thing anyone wants to experience, with spinal injuries being among the most serious. But, what type of spinal injuries are employees actually able to make a claim for?

Everybody wants to feel as though they are well protected at work, and are able to avoid suffering any serious injuries. However, as we all know, accidents can and do happen, leading to regrettable incidents.

As an employer, the last thing you’ll want is for one of your employees to suffer a serious injury whilst working. Among the worst type of injuries an employee could suffer is a spinal cord injury, especially as these can often leave long-lasting effects.

Not only this, but anyone who suffers a spinal injury at work that was not their fault could be in line to make a spinal injury compensation claim. This means that you need to be well aware of what the potential risks are and what sort of spinal injuries someone could experience at work. Here, we discuss exactly that so, to find out more, read on below…

What Are the Most Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries?

 

Slips, Trips and Falls

First and foremost, the most obvious cause of spinal injuries in a work setting is through slips, trips, and falls. This is primarily because these sorts of accidents can happen at any time and in any work setting. Someone working in an office could easily slip on a set of stairs, the same as someone working in a warehouse could fall from a great height.

Slips, trips, and falls are often avoidable, particularly if an employer takes every possible step to ensure that a working environment is free from any potential hazards. This will often include taking very simple steps such as removing tripping hazards from the floor, removing unnecessary clutter, and putting signs up to warn people of slippery surfaces.

 

Motor Vehicle Accidents

If your business uses motor vehicles in any capacity (for example, if you have couriers, or employees that travel from site to site), this poses a potential risk of spinal cord injuries. Road traffic collisions can result in heavy blunt force trauma, which often leads to spinal injuries.

As an employer, you can reduce the risk of this occurring by ensuring that every vehicle used is frequently checked for any potential faults that would put an employee at risk. You could also implement thorough and recurring employee training to operate said vehicle.

 

Heavy Machinery Failure

If your business uses heavy machinery, you’ll be well aware that this can pose a serious risk. If an employee uses a piece of machinery incorrectly or unsafely, this may prevent them from being able to make a compensation claim for a spinal cord injury. But, if the machinery fails for any reason, this will likely be your responsibility.

What can you do to prevent this? The obvious steps apply. Have routine safety checks and maintenance scheduled, so you can be sure that every piece of equipment is fit for purpose and won’t put any of your employees at risk of suffering a spinal cord injury.

 

Types of Spinal Injuries an Employee Could Claim For

There are four main types of spinal cord injuries an employee may be able to bring a claim forward for. These are:

  • Cervical spinal cord injuries
  • Thoracic spinal cord injuries
  • Lumbar spinal cord injuries
  • Sacral spinal cord injuries

 

Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries

Cervical spinal cord injuries affect the head and neck region above someone’s shoulders. The cervical portion of the spine, as it’s known, comprises of seven vertebrae in the neck.

As this portion of the spine is the closest to the brain and affects a large portion of the body, cervical spinal cord injuries are typically the most serious form of spinal cord injury. They usually result in tetraplegia/quadriplegia, which means that there’s limited or no feeling below the shoulders and neck.

 

Thoracic Spinal Cord Injuries

Thoracic spinal cord injuries affect the upper chest, mid-back, and abdominal muscles. The thoracic spine is located in the upper and middle part of the back and comprises of 12 vertebrae.

The symptoms associated with a thoracic spinal cord injury will usually depend on the level of nerve damage. Spinal pain can extend to pain in the arms, legs or around the rib cage.

Someone suffering with a thoracic spinal cord nerve damage may experience:

  • Significant leg weakness or loss of sensation
  • Loss of feeling in genitals
  • No control of urine or stool
  • Fever
  • Lower back pain

While thoracic spinal fractures are serious, they can often heal with conservative treatment such as bracing, or surgery.

 

Lumbar Spinal Cord Injuries

Lumbar spinal cord injuries affect the legs and hips. The lumbar spine comprises the lowest portion of the spinal cord, included the five vertebrae below the thoracic section. The lumbar spine carries larger vertebrae than the cervical and thoracic sections.

These types of injuries usually lead to loss of function in the legs and hips, but do not affect the functionality of the upper body.

Lumbar spinal cord injuries often lead to a loss of control over the bowel and/or bladder, but can be managed with special equipment.

 

Sacral Spinal Injuries

Sacral spinal injuries affect the hips, back of thighs, buttocks, and pelvic organs. The sacral spine is located at the base of the spine and above the tailbone.

There is no spinal cord in the sacrum region, but sacral nerve damage may have very similar symptoms to other forms of spinal cord injuries. For example, there may be:

  • A loss of function in the hips and legs.
  • Little to no control over the bowel and/or bladder.

Are You Concerned About an Employee Making a Compensation Claim?

In this post, we’ve discussed the types of spinal cord injuries an employee may be able to make a claim for. We’ve also discussed some of the most common ways spinal cord injuries can happen in the workplace.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Top Tips for Solving Healthcare Staffing Challenges

Becky Graebe, senior strategy director at Firstup looks at five healthcare staffing challenges, tips for improving them, and the role technology can play.

Working in Healthcare has never been harder. Staffing is a significant concern for the majority of hospitals, with many struggling to find enough candidates to fill open positions. The problem of finding qualified personnel in this sector is across the board. Hospitals of all sizes, with varying numbers of beds, are feeling the effects of staff shortages.

Beyond recruiting during a tough job market, retention is even more difficult with the increase in turnover and employee burnout. Furthermore, the turnover of staff costs healthcare facilities money and affects treatment outcomes, and, unsurprisingly, overall morale drops. There is less time available for patient care, which leads to health complications, increased infection rates, and medication errors. The loss of a healthcare employee is expensive as the costs of finding, selecting, recruiting, and training new employees quickly begin to accumulate.

Even more critical is the level to which healthcare workers are grappling with high levels of fear, fatigue and stress amid the pandemic, with widespread burnout fueling turnover as employees seek positions with fewer stressors. Burnout symptoms such as poor decision-making, poor job performance and a lack of empathy must be addressed to retain valuable staff.

So, with the challenges coming from all directions, what are some of the ways that hospitals can improve the employee experience? And how can technology help to create a culture that not only improves the experience and well-being of existing employees, but gets it a reputation for employee wellbeing that attracts the best talent?

Take the pulse of the workforce

Employees are on the front line of every process that makes the day-to-day operations of your healthcare organization run smoothly. Therefore, they know best what can improve their jobs. For example, they may know how to automate some standard procedures, can offer scheduling suggestions for serving patients better, or have creative ways to improve morale.

Placing value on employee input highlights their importance in the workplace and shows them your appreciation. Furthermore, it gives them the chance to speak up about concerns they may have about their working environment so you can take action to improve the situation as needed. Reducing stress or conflict in the workplace can ease the burden on employees and ultimately creates a better patient experience.

Employee polls and surveys are a great way to take the pulse of your entire organization. Many employee engagement platforms allow you to create polls, target the right workers, and send follow-ups to improve response rates. Then, track and measure your results and use the data to drive improvements.

Create communications that matter

In a healthcare setting, it’s important to ensure that every employee is connected, whether they sit behind a desk, in a clinic, or on the front lines.  One of our own recent studies found a significant disconnect between how companies believe they’re connecting with workers and what is actually happening. Among the findings:

  • 85% of employees said they lose at least one to two hours of productivity a week searching for information
  • 80% of employees said they feel stressed because of ineffective company communication
  • 78% of employees said communication should be a higher priority for their company
  • 36% of employees said they don’t know where to find the information they need to do their work
  • 36% of employees said they have been in an unsafe situation because of poor communication.

Having one platform or app—where employees can access vital information, but also help connect them with other employees—can help build a bridge. It can also allow for targeted messaging to the channels that need it most, whether that’s by specific regions or locations or so leaders can speak to their staff more directly.

Building a culture and community

For a workplace to be healthy, community building must be at the core. As Kenzie Academy says, “the ever-changing work world and culture at large are ready for a more human-centered approach to the way we live, work, and relate to one another.” When an organization puts people first, it reinforces the belief that the work each person is doing is worthwhile and respected.

To build a better community, it takes focusing on a few key areas. First, establishing a positive, healthy workplace through acts of kindness, increased positive social interactions, and showing gratitude by celebrating work wins as well as life wins. From personal or company-wide emails recognizing individuals for their efforts to simple gifts as a sign of appreciation.

Having clear and consistent communication, showing empathy, being transparent, and setting boundaries are all key to a healthy working environment. Shared decision-making, collaboration, and buy-in are critical to a healthy, positive work environment.

Diversity and acceptance also need to be a top priority. Workplaces with a strong sense of community will not tolerate hate speech, discrimination, or bias. They’ll make people feel welcome no matter their differences, with systems in place for diversity and inclusion training as well as safe ways to report instances of discrimination without repercussion.

Boosting morale and employee satisfaction

Morale is a leading indicator of employee retention. That’s because, when your staff is happier, they are less likely to leave. They’re also more likely to recommend your organization to their peers who might be looking for employment, and they become your greatest advocates when they discuss their job with friends and family.

To increase morale and workforce satisfaction, take a look at the pulse survey suggested earlier, and start changing the areas of highest concern. Even small improvements that help make the team more efficient or reduce administrative tasks can go a long way to show your employees that you are listening to them.

Another area that should not go unnoticed is sharing and recognition. Don’t be afraid to utilize your employee engagement platform or social media networks to recognize your employees. People want to know that what they’re doing matters and is having an impact, so don’t be afraid to create content that highlights their excellent work.

Address burnout and support wellness

Burnout and fatigue were on the rise among healthcare workers even before the pandemic. It may seem insurmountable, but there are specific actions healthcare systems and leaders can take to support workers’ mental health in such difficult times. It comes down to listening, empathy, striving to understand, and taking real action on what’s needed.

Frequent, transparent communication and authentic recognition, as mentioned earlier, also go a long way in helping staff feel valued, which can help protect them from anxiety and burnout.

The real action, however, should be to provide immediate access to mental healthcare services, designated rest periods, and social opportunities through support groups or team activities to reduce feelings of isolation. Even in a dispersed workforce, the use of comms platforms or shared spaces can be beneficial to sending out shared messages and allowing staff a place to collaborate or get the support they need.

Keep the passion alive

Many healthcare workers entered the field because they were passionate about helping others. To recruit and retain staff, you need to help employees understand their role relative to the organization’s overall success, and how their efforts impact patient care. Organizations that can clearly communicate their mission through ongoing employee conversations are better able to prevent burnout and reduce turnover. By communicating their shared culture, cultivating empathetic leaders, and working to build a community, they are able to support their workforce where and when they need it most.

CBD for People vs Dogs: Key Differences

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a chemical family variant that acts as a remedy to different human and animal complications such as anxiety, chronic pains, headaches, seizures, loss of appetite, stress, nausea, joint pains, cancer, and gastrointestinal problems.

The benefits it has on humans can be attributed to the interaction between cannabinoids in the CBD and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in humans. The ECS is very essential in humans, especially for the role it plays in maintaining our general health.

The body has cannabinoid receptors almost everywhere that connect the mind to the rest of the body. On the other hand, animals have an ECS system as well, meaning that CBD oil has a similar effect on them as it has on humans.

This explains the reason why people who use CBD have always wanted to use the same on their animals, especially pets such as dogs. However, there are a few changes that one has to make when using CBD on dogs.

CBD Dosage for Humans and Dogs

The maximum dosage recommended for humans is about 20mg every day. This means that you will often be asked to even take less than that in a single day.

However, knowing how much CBD is OK for your dog is very important. This is because apart from dogs being smaller than humans, the dosage recommended for them varies depending on several things such as the size and breed of the dog as well as the condition you might be trying to treat.

Even though you will not find any recommended standard for your dog, you need to consult your veterinarian and follow their guidelines. You can roughly use 1mg for every half a kilogram of their body weight if you cannot access a veterinarian.

Can Dogs Take the Same CBD as Humans?

The CBD oil used for pets or your dog comes with the same quantity of CBD oil as that made for humans. This means that the only difference between the two is in their concentration.

You, therefore, need to put some things into consideration if you decide to give your dog the same CBD that you take.

This is because the CBD made for human consumption has a higher concentration of CBD oil compared to that made for dogs, especially the small breeds. Dog owners need to, therefore, keep the dosage in mind when giving human CBD to dogs.

Can Humans Take the Same CBD as Dogs?

On the other hand, humans can take CBD oil made for dogs and other animal consumption. However, you have to make sure that the CBD is human-grade and pure without any issues. This is important for your health.

The most important thing is to ensure that the manufacturer of the CBD is reputable. If not, the dog CBD cannot be used for human consumption.

CBD Flavors for Dogs and Humans

CBD oil comes in different flavors, for both humans and dogs. However, are the flavors similar, or what works better for humans and dogs?

Both dogs and humans use CBD to treat different ailments, but their interests and expectations are very different. Humans will get different flavors to choose the one that suits their taste buds.

On the other hand, dogs prefer consuming CBD oils that come in meaty flavors such as meat and bacon among others. Such a flavor might not be good for humans, as some have reported nauseous symptoms after taking CBD in meaty flavors.

The best CBD oils for human consumption come in fruity flavors. This might include blueberry, pineapple, and lemon among others. You, therefore, need to be considerate when taking CBD oil made for dogs or when giving dogs CBD oil made for humans.

In conclusion, CBD oils play an important role when it comes to the health of our dogs. They are known to help dogs get rid of multiple health complications such as the common skin conditions for dogs and gastrointestinal problems among others. You, however, need to consult your veterinarian before using CBD to ensure that you are using the right dosage.

What Is Multilevel Spondylosis and How Does it Affect Your Body?

Most of us will experience back problems at some point in our lives, and one of the most widespread issues that impacts people as they age is spondylosis.

This is effectively a type of arthritis, but the name is used by medical professionals specifically to indicate that the spine is the affected area.

Within this context, there is also the diagnosis of multilevel spondylosis to contend with. So what is it, and what does it mean for your body and your quality of life in general?

The basics

As you might have guessed already, multilevel spondylosis is a condition which describes the arthritic degradation of two or more segments of the spine.
Typically the spine is divided into three parts, and each has its own form of spondylosis to contend with. The lower back can experience lumbar spondylosis, the mid region can suffer from thoracic spondylosis, and the neck can undergo cervical spondylosis.
Multilevel spondylosis is therefore a catch-all term for cases where these regions are suffering simultaneously with one another.

The fallout

There are several symptoms and side effects which are part and parcel of being a multilevel spondylosis patient, most of which relate to the fact that the spin is a crucial conduit for nerves connecting your body to your brain.
As areas of your spine degenerate, this can apply unwanted pressure onto the nerves within, which in turn can result in everything from numbness and paresthesias to weakness of the muscles, coordination issues and even loss of control of your bowels and bladder.
Even if the nerves are not subjected to such severe pressures, there is still the likelihood that multilevel spondylosis will cause sufferers significant pain, in addition to limitations to mobility which will have a knock-on impact in everyday life.

The causes

The reason that this type of condition is so prevalent across the population is that it is all down to wear and tear experienced by the spin over the decades.
The older you get, the more the natural assets you possess will be ground down and thus be less able to fulfill their intended function.
It is also an issue which is partly self-perpetuating. Your spinal discs lose their elasticity, which means your vertebrae experience more abuse, and the nerves within can be compressed and compromised, and on and on.
Because everyone’s body is different, and the aging process is not consistent for all of us, the point at which you suffer from some kind of spondylosis is tricky to predict. However, there are some lifestyle choices which can either reduce the likelihood of contracting this condition, or conversely speed up its onset.
In general, making healthy choices is wisest, as the less weight you carry, the less wear and tear your spine will be subjected to over the years. Of course if you push yourself too far, and exert yourself too frequently, then this could accelerate the degeneration of your spin as well, so it is a fine line to tread.

The treatments

There are a number of treatment options for spondylosis, and for multilevel cases it may be necessary to undergo surgery to alleviate the effects.
For example, laser surgery can be used to remove tissue from inflamed discs, relieving pressure from your nerves and softening the side effects mentioned earlier.
It is always advisable to speak to a doctor if you think you are suffering from spondylosis, multilevel or otherwise. The sooner you can get a diagnosis, the sooner you can receive the right guidance, and the right treatment.

Avoiding the Dentist? Why You Should Visit Regularly

Whether you like dentists or fear them, they are just as helpful to our oral health as a mechanic is to your car.

Every year your car needs an inspection to check if it is working, and when your car breaks down, you go to your mechanic to get it fixed.

The same applies to your teeth. Every year you need to get your teeth inspected to check if they’re in good health, and when your teeth and gums hurt, you go to the dentist to fix them.

Avoiding the dentist isn’t an option as an adult if you want a beautiful white smile and good oral hygiene. Here are some common reasons why people avoid dentists.

The cost

Like anything in life, if the price is higher than what we want to pay, 90% of the time, we’ll not pay for it, and to some extent that is fair.

Nobody should have to pay for something they don’t want, but when it comes to health – there is no price above your health!

A quick check-up and hygiene clean twice a year costs less than £200 with the NHS card, and even if you go to private dentists where the cost is a little more, keeping your white smile and having healthy teeth and gums is worth paying.

A reason to schedule a dentist appointment – Think of your smile and oral health as an investment for the future.

If you keep your dental health in top condition, you will have a strong chance of having most of your teeth when you get to retirement age.

You don’t have oral health problems

This reason is more common among busy adults when they don’t experience any day-to-day issues and assume their oral health is good.

Even if your teeth and gums are in good condition, you should still see your dentist for a hygiene clean and to prevent/foresee any oral health problems.

No toothbrush, mouthwash, or flossing can match the dental tools used for treating dental health. It is through regular visits to Smile Chic that dentists examine oral hygiene to locate and treat potential fractures, tooth decay, and early signs of gingivitis

A reason to schedule a dentist appointment – It’s always better to get feedback from the professionals in any given profession, from mechanics to accounting, to determine if everything is good or not.

With dental health, you want that good feedback every 6 months to be certain your teeth and gums are healthy.

Fear

One of the most common reasons adults and kids hate going to their local dentist is because they fear dental practices.

Just being laid down on the reclining patient chair with a bright light in your face while they look into your mouth causes anxiety for some people.

In fairness, it is understandable for people to never see a dentist because of the pain or feeling of having someone touch and look inside your mouth.

Although, this fear comes with a risk if and when dental issues arise, like cavities, tooth decay, cracked teeth, toothache, abscess, gingivitis, or gum disease.

A reason to schedule a dentist appointment – The pain of having toothache is much worse than the fear of going to see a dentist.

If you talk to your dentist about your fears, they can create a personalized plan for you to ease the anxiety and create a comforting way to enjoy or at least put up with the dental procedures to maximize your oral health.

Time

A quick check-up and clean takes roughly an hour to do by a dentist, and this is just the standard practice twice a year that every adult needs to do to prevent dental issues.

On the other hand, when teeth need repairing, it can take even longer in the dentist chair, and with more scheduled appointments required to restore the damage, that will take up more of your precious time.

A reason to schedule a dentist appointment – If time is money, then choosing to visit your dentist twice a year is a time well spent in avoiding unnecessary dental problems.

5 Tips and Advice to Enhance Your Athletic Performance the Safe Way

Athletes are proficient in sports, and being one takes a lot of discipline and commitment. They need to be fully prepared and fit all the time. A lot is expected from them in terms of performance. Thus, athletes need to train hard to be physically fit and mentally capable.   

There are many ways in which you can enhance your athletic performance. Lifestyle modifications should be made if you want to perform well in sports. Having the right mindset would also allow you to be better at it. Hence, the right combination of both would surely help you attain your goals in life.   

Here are five tips and advice to enhance athletic performance:   

1. Have An Effective Routine   

Discipline is crucial to being a successful athlete. Thus, you must have a routine that works well for you. Have a daily schedule to follow throughout the day. It would help you manage your time well and balance your activities.   

Keeping track of your time also avoids slacking and overworking. You can make a schedule that fits you. And it doesn’t have to be so strict and regimented. You can always set wake-up and training time that suits your body clock. In that way, you can start your day in a good mood and have better results.   

2. Be Physically Fit   

As an athlete, being physically fit is very important. Your body needs to be strong enough to perform sports. Thus, perform exercises suitable for your field.   

People think that every athlete has the same workout routine. However, this is not the case because some sports require specific workouts. So, make sure your physical training is suitable for your sport.   

You can also try supplements and enhancers such as steroids. Performance enhancers are not dangerous when used in moderation. They can help you achieve fitness goals and improve your strength. Visit this link if you want to learn more about it. But don’t forget to consult your doctor first before trying them.   

3. Watch What You Eat   

Diet is important for everyone. But it’s especially crucial for athletes who use their bodies all the time. As an athlete, your diet directly affects your performance. So, eat what’s proper for your body and what it needs.   

High protein foods are best for athletes who use a lot of muscles. These sports are boxing, weightlifting, or wrestling. A high-calorie diet is also ideal for sports like marathons, swimming, and cycling. A low-calorie diet is usually for sports with many movements such as gymnastics, figure skating, and long jump.   

It’s also important to check with your nutritionist, dietician, or doctor before trying different diets. They may not be suitable for your body type. It’s also safer to consult with experts before making hasty changes in what you eat.   

4. Hydration Is Key   

Athletes sweat a lot because of exercising. They also lose so much water and are prone to dehydration all the time. Thus, they should hydrate more frequently.   

When gone out of hand, dehydration can also cause serious health problems. It can make your organs malfunction, and it may cause fatigue. This can be prevented by monitoring your water intake throughout the day. High-performance athletes need about two to three liters of water. So, make sure to have a water jug with measurements to see how much fluid you’ve consumed.   

5. Take Care of Your Mental Health   

Having the right mindset is vital for one to perform well. Make sure to get yourself motivated so you can power through your training. However, keep in mind that rest is also needed. Because no matter how good you are, there will still be days when you may feel tired or burned out.   

Athletes face intense pressure from their coaches, family, peers, and themselves. Thus, as an athlete, you need to take care of your mental health. Don’t forget to take breaks and take things slow. Consulting a psychiatrist is also recommended for athletes. That is so they can turn pressures and burnouts into positive feelings.   

Give Your Best   

As an athlete, you always need to do your best. Meeting high expectations from others and yourself can be challenging. Thus, it’s essential for you to remain in shape.   

The tips above would help you enhance your performance as an athlete. It would also help you push yourself to the limit without risking your health. But always remember to consult experts and do proper research before changing something in your routine. So, you can do things safely and properly.

Cycling in the UK’s Wet Weather: How to Prepare for the Mud and Puddles this Spring

One of the challenges that cyclists face when they set off to tackle their usual commute to work or local trail, is mud and puddles, especially during the wet spring months. As the rain waters the soil and prepares it for its spring renaissance, it lays a muddy tapestry upon the beloved cycling routes.

While this creates tricky travel conditions and a mess for commuters on their bikes, it can also bring about a thrill for adventure bikers. Nevertheless, those on their bikes need to be prepared for the UK’s wet weather, so that they can protect their bikes, their clothing and avoid winding up with mud splatters everywhere!

Together with Ben Mercer from the electric bike division at Leisure Lakes Bikes, we explore which is the wettest region in the UK and how to prepare for wet weather conditions before getting on your bike.

Rainy season in the UK?

Talking about the weather in the UK never goes out of fashion. There is probably no other region in the world with such temperamental weather that can spark a conversation at any given time. When it comes to biking, weather plays a massive role in mapping out the routes and challenges for cyclists.

While there are certain patterns in terms of the weather forecast throughout the years, as shown in this chart running from January 2014 through April 2021, the United Kingdom has predominantly wet weather. In 2020 alone, there were 170.5 rain days, and the year with the most rain days on record was 20 years earlier in 2000, marking 178.6 rain days.

In late October 2021, we saw exceptional rainfall totals, exceeding 400mm over some parts of Cumbria.

But what really took the British islands by surprise was the exceptionally wet May: “the fourth wettest on record for the UK and wettest on record for Wales”, according to Carbon Brief.

It seems that cyclists and other vehicle riders in Wales have taken stock of the May rainfalls, because Wales had the highest search interest for “mudguards” of all the UK sub-regions over the past year, according to Google Trends.

Muddy trails: what’s the challenge?

No rain, hail, or snow can stop avid mountain bikers from tacking the biking routes. Muddy trails mean fewer people on the trails but can also create a significant challenge for both bikers and trail maintainers.

Biking in the rain can be dangerous as the trails become slippery when wet. Riding in really wet conditions can also damage your brake pads; drivetrain; and shock, fork, and bearing seals.

It also has a great impact on the cycling trails and can cause severe trail damage and erosion. Mountain bikers can widen singletrack paths when they start riding around wet spots and cutting corners. To foster trail sustainability, make sure you don’t expand singletrack trails by riding around them.

Keeping track of trail conditions can also help you avoid damaging trails and your bike. The biking community on social media has a lot of up-to-date information you can check easily before setting off. There are also a number of apps that can help you keep track of the tracks!

Getting prepared for the mud

While cycling in the rain isn’t fully off-limits, you need to be properly prepared for such conditions. It’s okay to get your bike wet but you need to take extra care of it before and during rides to maintain its components and longevity. Here are seven things to consider.

1. Install mudguards

Currently, searches for “mudguards for mountain bikes” are rising by +200% and for good reason. Ben Mercer of the UK mountain bike retailer Leisure Lakes Bikes commented: “Every mountain biker, whether experienced or an enthusiast, has their personal biking style, and mudguards are either a part of it or not. Mudguards provide bikers with extra efficiency and protect both the rider and the bike from getting muddy and dirty. Some mountain bikes come with in-built mudguards while others need installing at a later stage. While they’re a personal choice, mudguards are extremely useful in wet weather.”

Mountain bike mudguards were introduced in the 1970s and have since become a staple in the sport. They provide riders with better visibility and can take the biking experience to the next level in wet conditions. However, some bikers don’t favour the look of their bikes with mudguards and prefer not to install them.

2. Protect your head

When riding on a rainy day, it’s highly advisable to wear a bike helmet, which will not only protect you from the rain but also from injuries.

While a helmet with lots of vents will keep you cool in the summer, it won’t keep the rain out. In that case, you can add a cap under the helmet or get one with an in-built peak. Both will deflect the rain going into your eyes and will keep your head warm.

Additionally, you can get a waterproof helmet cover, which will also do a great job.

3. Protect your eyes

Your visibility when mountain biking in the rain is impaired. Dirt can easily reach your eyes, so goggles can help you see better and navigate in the environment. There are many different types of rain eyewear you can choose from. It’s advisable to look for goggles that have a high level of UV protection and a good anti-mist coating.

4. Dress for wet and cold

A waterproof jacket is your best bet for the wet weather. Look for a high collar and a long tail to protect you from road dirt spray, and extra-long sleeves to eliminate the gap between your cuffs and gloves.

Your feet also need looking after. There is nothing more unpleasant than riding with wet feet. That’s why overshoes made from neoprene will keep your feet mostly dry and help you avoid trench foot. They also provide high visibility for other riders.

Similarly, you need a good pair of gloves to keep your hands warm and dry, and provide you with good flexibility. Usually, mountain bikers wear gloves with bonded seams, which are completely waterproof but can lack breathability. You can also opt for palm cushions for comfort, reflective detailing for visibility, and touchscreen compatibility to help you work with your GPS.

5. Lubricate your bike chain

Your bike chain is one of the most vulnerable bike components in wet conditions. The rain can wash away most of the lubricant, leaving the chain prone to getting rusty in the long run.

Ideally, use a lubricant that’s specifically manufactured for wet conditions for optimal bike performance.

6. Get extra puncture protection

When it rains, road debris is more likely to be exposed, causing punctures. It’s best to look for tyres with extra puncture protection for the wet months to avoid that.

Also, make sure you check your tyre pressure before setting off using a track pump with an accurate pressure gauge, and inspect your tires for any unusual bulges or foreign bodies.

Alternatively, you can use liquid sealants go inside the tyre, inner tube, or tubular, or use puncture resistant tape and strips that go between the tyre and the inner tube. That way, you are adding an additional layer of protection.

7. Bike aftercare

Riding in the rain can lead to extra wear and tear for your bike. That’s why it’s important to clean your bike thoroughly after your journey. Pay special attention when cleaning the brakes, the wheels, and the chain. After cleaning, dry your bike as thoroughly as possible and lubricate the chain and other components, such as the brake pivots and pedals. This will get you ready for your next ride.

The UK is famous for its wet weather, but even the most challenging conditions won’t put a stop to cyclists’ endeavours. Setting off in the rain can still be enjoyable as long as you’re properly prepared. So, make sure you take the right precautions and have a blast in the dirt!

You Don’t Need Meat to Compete: 4 of the World’s Most Successful Vegan Athletes

What has paved the way to success for some of the most iconic athletes? Continuous training and dedication play a vital part in the process but there is one more secret ingredient – diet.

While it’s not a one size fits all situation, one specific diet has become increasingly popular among athletes – veganism. Eating a plant-based diet has a host of benefits, including improvements to physical and mental health, reducing your environmental impact, and fuelling animal conservation.

With some help from Tina Manahai, director and co-owner at Healthy Supplies, one of the UK’s biggest independent online health food specialist retailers, we take a look at four of the world’s most successful vegan athletes who prove that you don’t need meat to compete.

1. Lewis Hamilton – let’s do it for the animals

Alongside reaping the health benefits of a nutrient-rich diet, veganism helps you give back to the planet and stop animal cruelty and species extinction. This is a subject that’s very close to the heart of seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.

He’s always been an avid supporter of animal rights, but it was after seeing “What the Health” at the cinema in 2017 that he decided to ditch meat and animal products for good.

“As the human race, what we are doing to the world… the pollution [in terms of emissions of global-warming gases] coming from the amount of cows that are being produced is incredible,” he shared with the BBC.

Health is also a concern for the British racing driver given his family’s medical history of heart disease and diabetes. “When you watch this documentary and you see meat clogging up your arteries, you see all the stuff they put in the meat, stuff we are all eating, there is no way I am going to disregard that”, commented Hamilton.

His favourite vegan meal is vegan pancakes. If you think you can’t have indulgent pancakes without eggs and milk, think twice. Made with plant milk, oats, and banana, they are a true mouth-watering breakfast for champions!

2. Tia Blanco – love for marine wildlife

Professional surfer Tia Blanco has been born and bred into a vegetarian diet.

“I grew up eating vegetarian with my whole family. My mom turned vegetarian when she was 12 years old purely because she loved animals. When I was 15 or 16, we all went vegan—for the animals and our health. The diet also benefits the environment immensely. The vegan lifestyle aligns with all of my core values, and I truly feel better physically and mentally as a vegan,” she told Forks Over Knives.

As a surfer, Tia Blanco has developed an immense love for marine wildlife, and that fed into her decision to give up meat and dairy, choosing to advocate for animal welfare. The plant-based diet also aids her athletic performance and improves her mental and physical health. She has two gold medals under her belt in the Open Women’s World Surfing Championship, gaining one in 2015 and another in 2016.

Food-wise, her favourite vegan meal is lentil soup. During competitions, she indulges in red lentils “because, when you cook them, they taste similar to mashed potatoes”.

3. David Haye – the vegan road to recovery

Former British boxing world champion David Haye has had an adverse journey into veganism. After an injury in 2017, he was looking for the best recovery diet for his muscles. “All roads kept leading back to a plant-based diet – and when you look at the horrible way animals are treated, that made it easier to switch,” shared the athlete.

He is supported by a full-time chef and a nutritionist who provide him with expert advice and delicious vegan meals that are packed full of nutrients and minerals to fuel his exercise regime.

His taste for plant-based food is rich in sirtuin – a type of protein involved in the regulation of cellular processes. Apples, celery, turmeric, and walnuts are all a part of Haye’s cooking repertoire. Apples boost the immune system, celery promotes healthy blood flow, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, and walnuts and other healthy nuts are rich in omega-3 fats.

4. Venus Williams – reconnecting with nature

Venus Williams’ dedication to the world of tennis is beyond astonishing. In 2011, the iconic tennis player was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. The doctors recommended a vegan diet to help with joint pain and fatigue.

“Once I started, I fell in love with the concept of fuelling your body in the best way possible [through raw, vegan food]. Not only does it help me on the court, but I feel like I’m doing the right thing for me,” she shared with Health magazine.

Venus Williams is a big supporter of reconnecting with the natural world and cleansing your system with a plant-based diet. She started out as a raw vegan but has lately introduced cooked foods into her diet too. Venus likes to call herself a ‘chegan’, as she sometimes likes to stray from vegan food habits.

The tennis player starts her day with a light breakfast, such as a fruit or a protein shake; eats a mobile lunch in the likes of sweet potatoes and rice or a green smoothie; and loves to go for a vegan Caesar salad for dinner. Snacks-wise, she indulges in nut bars and green juices.

These four athletes have not only made sports history but are also great role models. They promote veganism on the world stage and educate people about the endless benefits of a plant-based diet. Are you ready to try it?

Going the Extra Mile: A Beginner’s Guide to Long Distance Biking

“I want to ride my bicycle” Freddie Mercury used to sing, backed by his renowned rock band. It’s a sentiment that many can relate to. Our routines have changed drastically in the past 18 months or so, forcing us to spend most of our time indoors. But it is still fundamental for us all to inhale some fresh air from time to time. What better way to enjoy some outdoor exercise than a bike ride?

With the breeze blowing in your face and beautiful greenery unfolding before your very eyes, riding a bike is always a cleansing and freeing experience. Why not go the extra mile? Whizzing around your neighbourhood is fun, however, you may want to challenge yourself a little more. To do this, give long distance biking a go! If you love to pedal, long distance biking has all it takes to become one of your favourite hobbies.

As with everything, long distance biking requires a lot of practice and exercise too. This is particularly true if you are trying it out for the very first time. With this in mind, we have put together a succinct beginner’s guide to long distance biking. From training and gear tips to recommended British races you can sign up for, this article will provide you with some introductory advice to slowly help you get on track.

Training

Let’s not beat around the bush: long distance biking is a challenging and physically demanding sport. It can fill your days with spectacular landscapes and incomparable full body exercise, but it’s certainly not a walk in the park.

Don’t let this intimidate you though. With some simple training suggestions at hand, you will soon be riding your bike for miles on end. Here are a few tips:

  • Pace yourself and listen to your body – As you approach long distance biking for the first time, take it easy on your initial sessions. Despite your ambitions to hit specific targets from the outset, it’s very important to make sure you are not overdoing it. If you start experiencing saddle sores, knee pains, and other feelings of discomfort, don’t carry on pedalling. Stop, have a rest, and recharge to avoid unpleasant injuries. Moreover, try to be as strategic as possible. As the name of the sport suggests, you will be cycling a long way and for a very long time. Do not fall into the trap of speeding through the first miles. In fact, going too fast will burn you out quickly, so you won’t be able to travel so far.
  • Prepare mentally – Not only is long distance biking a physical challenge, but it makes for a mental workout too. Indeed, it is crucial that you stay focused along the way, deciding how to handle the tough and difficult moments of your ride. One way to prepare yourself mentally is to study the map and learn the hurdles of your route. This will give you a good idea about what awaits you – whether that is challenging terrain or stunning scenery!
  • Cycle with fellow riders – Many cyclists dream of going on a solo adventure. You can explore the paths you wish and you can take as long (or as little) as you like. However, if you are a beginner, it may be better to find a group of fellow riders to take on the challenge together. Not only will they be able to help you in the event of unforeseen problems, but you can also motivate each other as you pedal along. Hop on your electric bikes and build up your stamina as a team!
  • Eat and fuel up – It goes without saying that long distance biking requires a lot of energy. If you ‘live to eat’, you will appreciate this tip. Make sure to have a good breakfast before adventuring on your bike all day. Empty stomachs will certainly not go a long way, so indulge in a hearty breakfast!

 

Gear

With some training and preparation tips under your belt, it is now time to take a quick look at what equipment you should have on you when you jump on your bike. We want to ensure that you have all the gear… as well as all the tips! Here are some essentials:

  • Snacks for the journey – In line with our last training suggestion, it is vital to stay energised along the way. Bringing snacks with you on your challenging adventure will keep you going. Before beginning your journey, work out what food suits your body when it’s exercising – some snacks may actually end up being counter-productive. That said, some good cycling food ideas include flapjacks, energy bars, bananas, and caffeine gels. Also, don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated with water and energy drinks!
  • Suitable clothing – When it comes to clothing, the most important thing to do is to plan what you are going to wear in advance. Check the weather forecast so you know what to expect. On the whole, however, opt for tight clothes – baggy tops and outfits will act as a flag and slow you down significantly, while also making an already tough physical activity even harder. Moreover, to increase comfort, you may want to consider throwing on some padded shorts. After all, you will be pedalling for a long time!
  • Beware of the sun – Sunny weather and warm temperatures are your friends when it comes to long distance biking. Nevertheless, it is always worth taking some sun cream on your ride too. As you climb up hills and mountain roads, sun rays can become particularly strong. Protect your skin to avoid sores and aching burns – long distance biking is challenging as it is!

 

Routes and tours

If you are a complete beginner, you should spend around 12 to 16 weeks training and strengthening your aerobic system. Once you feel ready to take on another challenge, there are some fascinating tours you can sign up to in which to put your new skills to the test. Let’s browse some of the exciting British events taking place in 2022:

  • Winchester, Hampshire (March) – With two routes to choose from (101 miles or 44 miles), you can opt for the hilly tours that best suit your long distance biking abilities.
  • Tour of Wessex (early June) – Split into three stages, this quintessential countryside ride in the heart of Wessex will take you three days to complete. Cycle through byways and quiet lanes while taking in the region’s history and tackling its curvy paths.
  • Dorset 300 (mid-June) – Fancy a 300km trip around Dorset? Both starting and finishing in the town of Sherborne, you can start your tour as soon as the sun rises around 5 am.
  • Welsh 500 (mid-August) – Two days of pedalling through the Brecon Beacons and Cambrian Mountains: what better way to enjoy your new hobby? Take a 500km ride and cycle through mesmerising valleys.

What are you waiting for? Mount your electric bike, strap on your helmet, and get riding! We hope this beginner’s guide will provide you with the essential tips you need to take on the rewarding challenges of long distance biking.

10 Do’s and Don’ts of Family Counselling and Therapy

Family members share a special bond. However, certain factors may negatively affect family relationships, such as finances, careers, and childrearing. Because of conflicts, the special bond you share with loved ones is threatened. 

Though it’s difficult and painful to see your family being torn apart, you can find effective ways to stand together again. One way to do that is to seek a professional who can assist and guide your family to overcome problems and improve relationships with each other.

You can consider counseling or therapy. Though these options seem similar, they’re actually different. Counseling is usually a more short-term process with an informal approach, focusing on supporting the family through issues. On the other hand, therapy may become a long-term undertaking, where more in-depth treatment techniques are used. 

Before you decide to undergo counseling or therapy, learn about their do’s and don’ts:

1. DO find a professional to assist. Many people advertise their services, but choosing a knowledgeable person to help with the necessary qualifications would be best for the family.

DON’T go to the closest person out of convenience. Instead, explore the best options, like the services Well Beings Counselling offers.

2. DO ask for references from the family physician or other professionals working with the family.

DON’T rely on advice from family or friends who aren’t aware of the family’s needs.

3. DO ask questions about the process before making an appointment. Knowing how the process will affect the family is crucial.

DON’T dive headfirst without knowing whether the process will be the most beneficial option for the entire family.

4. DO give it time. Not everything can be sorted out overnight; some things need to be worked on through a couple of sessions before a breakthrough is made.

DON’T rush the counselor or therapist. They would have a specific way of going through the different steps to get the family to resolve issues.

5. DO check your medical insurance to see if it can cover the costs of the sessions. Some may cover only a certain number of sessions; others might only cover only a certain amount of fee per session.

DON’T let the costs stop the family from getting the well-deserved help they need. Speak with the counselor or therapists about payment options available.

6. DO give full cooperation during the sessions. The counselor or therapist is there to help. Failing to give them all the information or refusing to do some of the activities they assign may hamper the process.

DON’T interrupt the sessions frequently with opinions before allowing the counselor or therapist to explain the layout of the session.

7. DO show up for the scheduled sessions and keep the entire family’s schedules in mind when booking appointments. The professional will know whether there have been enough sessions. Terminating the sessions too early in the process could nullify all the progress made so far. Besides, with the latest technological advances, you won’t have to miss a session.

DON’T get discouraged if the process takes longer than anticipated. It’s always best to continue until needed to find closure. 

8. DO have realistic goals for each session. With the help of the counselor or therapist, the best possible plan for each session will be established. The session will usually continue until those objectives are met.

DON’T be unrealistic. The longer the problem persists, the more time may be needed to uncover the root cause. Finding the origin of the issue will aid in diffusing the conflict.

9. DO make your feelings known but remain respectful. Everyone else in the room deserves to be heard respectfully without comments and interruptions. The counselor or therapist also deserve the same respect.

DON’T let emotions rule the sessions or get out of hand. The best way to resolve issues will be to work through them calmly with the proper guidance. Disrespecting the other family members or the professional will not provide the outcome that the family needs.

10. DO enjoy the process. Spending time with family in any setting should be treasured, and attending sessions together will bring everyone closer together.

DON’T see the sessions from a negative perspective. Trust that the process will work.

Conclusion

Outsiders may not know the value of these sessions for the family. Powerful connections, better communication, and effective techniques to assist rather than to harm are all part of a counseling or a therapy session. Make the most of the process by embracing each activity fully. Taking steps in the right direction can be daunting, but receiving support from a professional will lead your family to great progress. 

Four Things to Know About Perineal Tears

There are many fears pregnant women have about labor and childbirth, and one of the most common ones is sustaining tears and bruises down there during delivery. 

A perineal tear, also called a vaginal tear, is a cut or laceration to the perineum – the area between the vagina and the anus – that occurs when the baby descends through the vagina. During pregnancy, the vagina stretches out wide enough to accommodate the descent of the baby; but sometimes, there may still not be enough room for the baby to pass through. This inevitably leaves some cuts and bruises in the vagina that may extend up to the area around the anus. Admittedly, this causes so much pain and discomfort in the days or weeks following delivery. 

But there are certain things about perineal tears many women do not know about, or about which they have many misconceptions. Below are some facts about perineal tears.

There are different degrees of perineal tears

The degree of perineal tears will differ and depend on the degree of trauma sustained during childbirth. Perineal tears could be as mild as just affecting the vaginal lining or could be so severe, it cuts from the vagina through the anus. Each degree of tear comes with an increasing level of discomfort and requires somewhat different treatment and care. 

There are four degrees of perineal tears: first to fourth degrees. First-degree perineal tear only involves the skin and lining of the vagina and some parts of the perineum. This type of tear is mild and often heals up spontaneously within days. 

Second-degree tear, which is the most common type, extends beyond the skin of the vagina and perineum to the muscle beneath the skin and fat tissue. This type of tear usually requires stitches. 

The third-degree tear is more severe than the other two; here, the tear extends to the muscle around the anus, while in fourth-degree tears, the tear extends through the muscle and cuts open into the anus, creating a big communication between the vagina and the anus.

First-time moms are at greater risk

While not all first-time moms experience vaginal tears during childbirth, as high as 95 percent of first-time moms sustain some degree of vaginal tears. Women who are having their first vaginal deliveries are more likely to sustain vaginal tears because their lady parts are still a bit inflexible and, thus, less able to stretch wide enough.

Although in subsequent pregnancies, women are less likely to have vaginal tears, there are some risk factors that could recur. For example, having assisted deliveries with forceps or vacuums, or having to push for a long time could result in perineal tears – even in subsequent deliveries. 

Other risk factors for perineal tears include having a big baby (weighing more than 9 pounds or 4kg) or a baby with a large head or delivering your baby in the face-up position. Having an episiotomy (a cut made by the midwife or doctor during delivery to widen the vaginal outlet for the baby to descend) also increases the risk of vaginal tears. 

The vagina can be restored after sustaining tears

Severe perineal tears can badly distort the appearance, shape, and even the size of the vagina. Sometimes, even the stitching done to repair the tears leave the vagina with a distorted look. This could also affect your sexual life as perineal tears loosen the vagina, causes severe discomfort, and reduce sexual sensation down there.

Vaginal rejuvenation surgeries, including labiaplasty and vaginoplasty, help to restore the appearance, shape, symmetry, and tone of the vagina after sustaining traumatic injuries. These procedures involve vaginal reconstruction, where excess or loose vaginal tissues are cut or trimmed and the vaginal walls are tightened. 

The procedure also involves reconstruction of other parts of the genitals, including the labia, vulva, cervix, clitoris, and other areas of the perineum that have been distorted by the injuries. 

You can lower your risk of perineal tears

Yes, while perineal tears are not completely preventable, you can indeed lower your risk of sustaining them during childbirth. 

One helpful way to lower your risk is to try perineal massages. Perineal massage is a technique aimed at making the vaginal area and perineum more flexible and so they can stretch easily during delivery. We know that one of the risk factors for perineal tears are the rigid vaginal area and perineum seen in first-time moms. Perineal massages lower your risk of vaginal tears and also of sustaining severe tears in cases where they are inevitable. 

You can commence these exercises four to six weeks before your due date and it involves frequently massaging the base of your vagina with oil or a water-based lubricant to make it softer and more supple. Perineal massage could also be done during labor; here, your doctor or midwife places two fingers of a gloved, lubricated hand inside your vagina, moving them gently from side to side. 

Other ways to reduce your risk or the severity of perineal tears include choosing a birth position that makes vaginal tears less likely, such as kneeling, or all-fours position, or lying on your side. Placing a warm compress over your perineum during labor may also lessen the risk or severity of tearing. 

Final Thoughts

Vaginal tears are one of pregnant mothers’ worst nightmares because it causes great discomfort and pain in their sensitive parts in the days or weeks following delivery. While the risk is higher in first-time moms, there are several other risk factors for perineal tears, which could occur in varying degrees. However, women can get help with vaginal tears; from simple solutions such as sitz baths to vaginal reconstruction, women can get past this phase and have their most sensitive parts restored. 

GHP Announces the Winners of the 2021 Commercial Cannabis Awards

United Kingdom, 2022– GHP Magazine has announced the winners of the 2021 Commercial Cannabis programme.

The Commercial Cannabis Awards programme has been running for three years now and with each year, we have taken this awards programme one notch above by catering to a larger and more diverse range of businesses and professionals that operate within this industry.

The aim of the Commercial Cannabis Awards programme is to recognise and award businesses and individual professionals who have demonstrated innovation and capitalised on using modern technology to develop and expand the uses of cannabis in a medical environment.

GHP Magazine, as always, endeavours to recognise those that are going above and beyond, or indeed, the businesses that are making meaningful steps forward, no matter how small they might seem on the greater landscape. That’s why we launched our awards programme, and why we continue to spotlight the work of exceptional companies and individuals.

Our Awards Coordinator, Dean Taylor has commented on the success of the programme: “I would like to congratulate all the businesses and professionals who have won this year as they have been brilliant in providing high-quality products and services to people when they have needed it the most. It was a pleasure hosting the awards programme this year and I would like to wish all the winner’s good luck for all of their future endeavours!”

To find out more about these leading lights and discover what has led them to becoming who they are today, please visit https://www.ghp-news.com/awards/commercial-cannabis-awards/ to access our winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About GHP Magazine, a publication under AI Global Media

Global Health and Pharma magazine (https://www.ghp-news.com/) is a global information sharing platform & a multi-disciplinary member’s community. The publication was established to enhance communication networks & collaboration across all themes and disciplines within three main categories: Human, Animal & Environmental Health.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/) has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 12 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

The Value of Non-Traditional Practitioners in Nursing

Non-traditional practitioners are people who have been traditionally not allowed to work as nurses in health care settings yet disregard the norms and find creative ways of being applicable.

Many non-traditional practitioners do come from nursing backgrounds, which is a common misconception.

Other non-traditional practitioners come from backgrounds such as social work or psychology and find that serving as a nurse is often fulfilling to their careers due to the teamwork involved and many unique opportunities presented.

Non-traditional practitioners find ways to practice in the nursing field, despite sometimes being looked down upon by many of the “traditional” nurses.

As non-traditional practitioners gain more acceptance in the field of nursing, they prove their worth by using their unique skill sets to aid patients and improve the health care system as a whole.

 

How Non-Traditional Practitioners Contribute to the Nursing Profession

The nursing profession and healthcare, in general, is an ever-changing field, with new roles and responsibilities being added regularly.

Due to the advancement of technology and the knowledge that comes with increased technological capacities, nurses have to stay on top of knowledge and education as opposed to solely focusing on direct patient care.

Many nurses are required to take on leadership roles in healthcare organizations, carry out duties in research or education, or other non-traditional duties. The role of non-traditional practitioners is becoming more accepted and important within the nursing field.

Non-Traditional practitioners provide alternative healing techniques to traditional care techniques; alternative techniques such as massage therapy and acupuncture are often used for complex pain management and stress reduction alone or in combination with other therapies, helping patients feel better overall.

 

Traditional Training Is Embracing Non-Traditional Techniques

When it comes to nursing education, it’s still worth students taking on the correct studies, degrees, examinations, and licensure to become qualified nurses.

Courses like an accelerated BSN program will give all nurse students a solid education background, which will be a great base to start off with.

However, it’s also a great idea and benefit to students to take on non-traditional courses as well to supplement and add to the education they are going through. These courses can allow students to gain skills needed in the nursing field, but also give them an edge and competitive advantage over other applicants when applying for jobs.

 

Career Opportunities for Non-Traditional Practitioners in the Nursing Field

Being a nurse is more than just knowing how to do tasks; it’s about caring for patients and making sure they are receiving quality care that is safe, effective, and efficient.

Having knowledge in both medical and non-medical areas is always beneficial to a nurse and their practice by preparing them for the different situations that may arise in the course of their career.

Even though nursing is traditionally a female-dominated field, it’s important for schools to provide equal opportunity and career paths to male nurses as well.

 

Practitioners in the Current Nursing Profession

The nursing profession as a whole has a great impact on the nation’s health and economy, so it’s important to keep up with the changing times and be able to adapt to a rapidly growing healthcare field.

Nursing is an ever-changing profession that has been growing by leaps and bounds over the years, but there are huge changes taking place on the horizon.

With the need for healthcare being so great in many countries all over the world, nurses need to be versatile and flexible in order to be successful in this fast-paced field.

 

Nursing is an Extremely Diverse Profession

The nursing profession is currently facing a shortage of qualified nurses and healthcare workers across the board.

There are many entry points that individuals can take in order to get into the field, but it’s up to them as to how far they want to go and what their specialization will be.

If a person decides to pursue a career in nursing, there are many careers and duties that they can do within this large field; there are many opportunities for non-traditional practitioners as well.

The key is whether or not an individual wants to be diverse in their area of expertise or have a more focused position.

 

It’s Time to Embrace All Forms of Nursing

The nurse profession is facing a great deal of change and changing for the better. A growing need for nurses is evident all over the world, including areas where the need is still being fulfilled by nurses that are not being trained to fill this demand.

Nurses are simply people who can help others and create a healthier society because of their knowledge and their ability to practice healthcare procedures and treatments.

It’s important that nursing schools and professionals embrace the diversity of practices such as massage therapy, acupressure, massage therapy integrated with acupuncture, nutritional counseling, motivational interviewing, holistic health care treatments etc.

Due to the fact that the nursing profession is growing so much and becoming more specialized, there is a great deal of opportunity for people with different skill sets to render great service.

 

How to Support the Role of Non-Traditional Nurses

It’s important to learn and become aware of the many different types of nurses that exist in society and integrate non-traditional practices into the field.

Having non-traditional practitioners can encourage patients to have faith in the field and know that there are skilled professionals out there offering them care and treatments that can help them regain their health.

There is an ever-growing number of people around the world who are suffering from chronic pain, stress, anxiety, depression, physical injuries, diabetes, heart disease, etc. – all of which can be treated by a qualified professional with a background in non-traditional methods.

 

Is the Future of Nursing More Diverse?

The nursing profession is becoming more diverse. The role of non-traditional practitioners is becoming more accepted and important within the nursing field. It’s time to embrace these new ideas in order to have a better understanding of how the healthcare field is changing.

There are many systems in place currently to train nurses and it’s becoming more difficult to find qualified nurses who possess certain skills that are needed for an organization but maybe not suited for another.

CBT: A key to breaking the cycle of Insomnia 

By Lee Grant, Clinical Director and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy specialist at Onebright 

Everyone in their life has found it hard to sleep at night, but insomnia is a very common disorder that can affect mental wellbeing in many ways. Approximately 10-15% of UK adults suffer from chronic insomnia which is often caused by long-term feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Insomnia can even have long-lasting impacts at work, affecting your overall productivity while carrying out important tasks.

Fortunately, it has been found that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (primarily referred to as CBT) is proving successful in helping those who suffer from chronic insomnia to improve their sleep pattern. Research conducted by Queen’s University in Canada found that participants were able to go to sleep roughly nine to 30 minutes sooner after receiving Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

How to discuss Insomnia with your employer 

  • More and more, employers understand how mental wellbeing affects productivity in the workplace, so you shouldn’t feel pressured to not talk about Insomnia with your employer if it is affecting your output at work.
  • The use of a Mental Health First Aider at work can also be a bridge of communication between you and your employer if you are unsure about how to address Insomnia in the workplace. With a peer-to-peer network of support within your organisation, you can rest assured and feel more comfortable to discuss any issues you may have, including the impact of Insomnia on your overall performance at work.
  • It’s also important to remember that organisations and employers have a duty of care to protect their workforce – and Insomnia could be a cause for concern if it affects employee performance.

Here are some simple steps to help cope with Insomnia at home

  • Keep tabs on when you go to sleep – choose a time where your body feels most tired at night and try to wake up at the same time every day.
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable for you to sleep in, and that your sleeping environment is as clean and quiet as possible.
  • Exercise regularly – having a moderate routine for exercising (can be as little as a daily walk) can help you sleep easy for the night.
  • Cut down on caffeine drinks and alcohol consumption at night – both beverages can affect sleeping patterns.

How CBT can help with Insomnia

CBT is a talking therapy and is a proven way of helping people to cope with stress and emotional problems. It helps individuals look at the connections between how they think, feel, and behave and particularly concentrates on ideas that are unrealistic. 

These feelings often undermine one’s self-confidence and can lead to anxiety and depression. However, looking at these unrealistic ideas can help people work out different ways of thinking and behaving that in turn will help them manage their feelings and thoughts. 

In the case of insomnia, CBT will help address sleeping patterns and habits that can form before and after sleep, as well as the causes of chronic insomnia. Traditional face to face therapy is fast and effective but can be difficult for some to take the time out to arrange and then attend, especially with increased demands on the NHS. 

Online and remote options are accessible and cost-effective, with online CBT for sleep designed with specific modules, providing tools and techniques that are tailored for sleep that businesses and workforces can access at any time with support from a CBT therapist. 

Organisations and employers across the country should be able to recognise that they have a duty of care to protect their workforce, and that Insomnia can be a contributing factor to anxiety and depression in the workplace.

The Critical Role of Work-Life Balance for Healthcare Professionals

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words “doctor” or “nurse”? If you picture long hours, tired faces, exhaustion and working overtime – that’s pretty much what most of the healthcare department really feels like too. Though people take pride in how hard the healthcare departments have been working, especially in the middle of an ongoing pandemic, there’s also a dark side to working too much.

That’s why most Millennials who are in the healthcare field are beginning to prioritize their own health, mental wellness, and happiness—because at the end of the day, a job isn’t going to give you happiness if your personal life is falling apart.

If you’ve been struggling to manage work and life as a healthcare worker, or if you often find yourself forgetting to focus on your own health, then this article will open your eyes to how important it is to build a better balance in life, before it’s too late.

Early Burnout and Fatigue

Many youngsters who start out as fresh and bright minds in the healthcare field often move to a different career path by the time they reach thirty. The reason for this is mainly because they don’t have the option of building a career and having a personal life at the same time.

In other words, if they want to make it to the top, they need to dedicate their entire lives to their jobs. While this may not be a problem for some people, most people begin to struggle after the first couple of years. After a while of being in the field, they’re left feeling tired, washed out, exhausted, and very often – lonely and depressed.

To make matters worse, not getting the promotions or pay hikes that they may have expected due to unforeseen circumstances can often have a huge impact on their mental health. The feeling of giving your job everything you’ve got, while still not feeling appreciated for it can be a cause for mental and physical anxiety.

That’s why many nurses today are opting to become travel nurses. On the whole, this gives them more freedom and flexibility, and also allows them to pursue other interests apart from work. There are many different types of travel nurses, but Operating Room travel nursing is one of the most in-demand jobs at the moment. This is because many hospitals are running short on skilled OR nurses, and are looking to hire travel nurses who can help them when they’re in need.

Not only do nurses get to have a more flexible work schedule, but they also get to travel to new places and meet new people. This can be a huge uplifter for people who enjoy traveling and would like to have jobs that would support their passion.

Dissatisfaction with Work and Life

Not only do people feel burned out when they over-work themselves, but they also end up being dissatisfied with both their work and personal life. The reason for them losing interest in their work is that it lacks moderation — this in turn makes them feel trapped and disconnected from the rest of the world.

On the other hand, they aren’t able to do anything outside of work either—this leads to them feeling lonely and depressed, even if they have family and friends. They aren’t able to work on any of their hobbies since they use their free time (which is hardly enough) to rest, and so they have no life outside of work.

The only way to fix all these issues is by building a good work ethic and having the strength to draw a firm line between your work and personal life. Though making these boundaries may seem hard at first, they’ll improve your overall lifestyle in the long run – where you won\’t feel burned out or bored no matter what.

How is Our Water Supply Monitored and Assessed?

City-wide water treatment is necessary for providing safe drinking water to our communities. Utility companies and local authorities monitor and test our water supply with various filtration techniques to ensure what we drink is purified of toxins before it reaches the tap.

Why is the Water Treatment Process Important?

Surface water and groundwater are free and open to the public, making it more likely they’ll become contaminated and polluted. 68% of Americans rely on surface water from lakes, streams, and rivers as their primary water source, which is often repopulated with rainwater.

Rainwater from farms can seep pesticides, nitrates, and animal excrement into waterways and groundwater sources, like aquifers or underground lakes. Utility companies will take from groundwater sources to serve the community if there isn’t enough surface water supply.

Heavy metals, like arsenic, are widely found in groundwater. Unless all water sources are filtered and treated, the community may become sick from 90 separate contaminants.

That’s why It’s important to staff trained employees who can assess the local water supply. The Legionella Risk Assessment Course in Glasgow can ensure that your installers learn all that there is to know about working on water supply systems within residential properties.

What Happens During the Treatment Process?

The US water supply goes through a rigorous treatment process to remove contaminants and compounds that could affect our health. To make water clean enough to drink, your city will:

-Coagulate and Flocculate: In the first process, chemicals are placed in the water that binds the waterborne compounds. This creates a mass (“floc”) that’s easy to detect.

-Sedimentation: The floc will become dense and sink to the bottom of the water. The treatment facility will wait until the sediment becomes a removable layer.

-Filtrate: The treatment facility will filter any compound that wasn’t turned into floc through charcoal, gravel, and sand to remove bacteria, parasites, and other chemicals.

-Disinfect: The last stage of the filtration process includes chlorine disinfection. This ensures the water supply stays clean enough to drink after filtration.

Chlorine is successful at removing most of the pathogens that could begin to grow again. Cities make sure to keep the chlorine level low, so it doesn’t create adverse health complications. It’s a good idea to use water filters in your home as an extra precaution against chlorine.

What Happens During the Monitoring and Testing Process?

Although the United States has one of the safest water supplies in the world, there’s still a possibility for the filtration system to be ineffective. That’s why water facilities will monitor and test the water supply frequently to ensure they comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

US authorities will test the presence and levels of over 90 contaminants in public drinking water and do everything they can to disinfect the water supply before it reaches the tap.

The US authorities are specifically looking for sewage releases, naturally occurring minerals, and chemicals, land-use practices, manufacturing processes, and on-site treatment system malfunctions. Their automated systems test the water supply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Are Water Treatments Typically Successful?

For the most part, US water treatments are typically successful, but they’re more regulated in densely populated cities. Mistakes may be made when a city switches its primary water source to a different location, as seen with the Flint, Michigan water crisis.

While heavy metals are visible in our drinking water, E.Coli, Salmonella, and Hepatitis aren’t. If you’re worried about contaminants in your water supply, you can install a carbon filtration system and/or a microbiological UV light filtration system to eliminate 99.9% of germs.

Alternatively, you could opt for bottled water. In the US, bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which has additional testing and monitoring rules.

What Can You Do with a Human Services Degree

Human services is the practice of helping people meet their physical and mental needs through a variety of different approaches. The field includes both non-profit organizations and for-profit companies that provide health care, social and emotional support, child care, education, or other services.

As a human services professional, you might work in the community or in an organization as a counsellor, psychologist, case manager, social worker, family counsellor, or work in many other positions.

These are just some of the many careers you can explore with a human service degree.

Career Paths for Human Service Degree

There are many careers you can pursue through a human services degree. We’ve looked at a variety of careers you can explore with a health and human services program. These include but are not limited to these.

Substance Abuse Counsellor

A substance abuse counsellor is specialized in helping people with chemical dependency issues and assisting with recovery from substance abuse. The counsellor provides services to help people identify and overcome their substance abuse issues. They work with individuals and their families to provide counselling and treatment options and provide treatment for relapse prevention.

Note that there is a difference between a substance abuse counsellor and a drug and alcohol counsellor. A drug and alcohol counsellor works with addicts and drug users with a focus on substance abuse. They are trained to provide counselling and assistance to help individuals achieve long-term recovery.

Substance abuse counsellors work in both public and private settings to help people battling addiction. They can work in a mental health facility, a hospital, a treatment centre, or any other group or solo practice.

Home Health Aide

A home health aide is a professional worker who helps people with physical, mental, and chronic disabilities with a variety of tasks. A home health aide can help with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, feeding, and maintaining the patient’s medical needs and needs for care.

They may also help with administrative tasks such as making medical appointments, submitting and documenting reports, and maintaining a patient’s records and medical charts.

They’re trained to provide assistance with activities of daily living and keep a patient’s home safe.

Marriage and Family Therapist

A marriage and family therapist is a licensed therapist who specializes in the treatment and counselling of individuals, couples, and families for emotional, mental, and behavioural difficulties. They may work in solo practice or in a small group setting to provide therapy.

They also specialize in techniques for addressing relationship difficulties and helping them in numerous ways by increasing their ability to communicate and find a middle ground in their conflicts.

Marriage and family therapists typically work in private practice, hospitals and outpatient clinics, psychiatric centres, child care centres, and schools. They are also a good choice for private practice nurses, social workers, and school teachers, as they can help address various aspects of a patient’s emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Domestic Violence Counsellor

A domestic violence counsellor is a licensed therapist who focuses on domestic violence. They provide counselling, therapy, and assistance to partners, spouses, and children of domestic violence survivors.

They also help the survivors to navigate the criminal justice system and other services to receive appropriate support and get back on their feet. Domestic violence counsellors also work to provide additional support for survivors who have left abusive relationships and are experiencing problems like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse.

They can also be part of a social work department, a department of psychology, or other mental health services departments.

Social Worker

Social workers are professionally trained people who work in mental health, social welfare, and the community. They provide a wide range of services to individuals, families, and communities. They’re best known for providing assistance and therapy to children, families, and youth in need.

They focus on the ways social inequalities and problems create barriers to healthy social, emotional, and behavioural development in the children and families they serve.

Social workers also work to assist individuals who are affected by mental health problems, disabilities, violence, substance abuse, or mental health-related addictions. They can also help low-income families struggling with basic living and monetary problems.

Social workers work in outpatient clinics, community mental health centres, day-care centres, and schools. In some areas, they may also provide social and vocational services to adults.

The Other NHS Audits: What Are the Efficacy and External Audits?

The National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness introduced three auditing systems for NHS Trusts, but we’ve heard enough about the technical audit and its 50-point check; so what are the other two? Dan Teare, Sector Director at mpro5, explains all…

What is the efficacy Audit?

In short, the efficacy audit is designed to measure how you clean, as opposed to what you clean and how frequently. Efficaciousness is determined using evidence-based, scientific methods. This will include:

  • Checking that the cleaner is using the right colour coding, following all correct cleaning procedures
  • Wearing appropriate uniform and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Using gloves and chemicals safely and adhering to safe ways of working
  • Safely moving furniture and equipment in order to clean
  • Rectifying actions are being taken in a timely manner

There are many more metrics to be measured on, and all these questions are rated on a simple scale, it’s either a 1 or a 0.

When should I do an efficacy audit?

While trusts have the freedom to determine audit frequency, patient and visitor-facing areas must be audited for cleaning effectiveness at least once a year. But I’d say once a year is a low bar: your operations will benefit from doing these audits more often, possibly even on a monthly basis.

Unfortunately, you can’t only audit your shiniest areas. With one exception, you will need to select areas at random.

That exception is areas specifically targeted for performance review as they have not achieved safe standards consistently, or because they have high rates of infection. For areas that score 80% or less the audit findings should be used to create an improvement plan with support such as further training, investment in new equipment and materials, increased supervision, more resources and changing cleaning times.

The external audit

Then there’s the External Audit that involves collaborating with neighbouring facilities (also known as “auditing your mates”). Teaming up is a quick and easy way to find suitably qualified staff to act as auditors, often on a reciprocal basis.

This third-party audit performs a vital role. There are no scores involved: it’s all about the systems you have in place. Are your functional risk areas divided sensibly? Have you got a system to identify low-performing areas and how effective is your remediation process?

Admittedly, this audit is entirely subjective but it’s no less valuable for that. It’s a way of learning from others’ experiences and sharing best practice.

Like the Efficacy Audit, this check is purely advisory but, recognising how powerful a fresh pair of eyes can be, switched-on trusts will perform this independent assessment anyway for the often-eye-opening insights it can reveal.

How can a digital solution help?

I’d be remiss not to point out that all three of these audits are enhanced drastically with a digital solution. You can turn your audit from a fixed event to a continuous process: cleaners can gather data as they work via a works management app, and send this data straight to the cloud.

Such systems enable managers to see which areas of the healthcare facility are cleaned well and which not so well by viewing dashboard reports – and these comparisons can provide valuable insight.

For example, if you’re getting a low score for your Technical Audit but a high score for your Efficacy Audit, the mismatch tells you your cleaners are doing their jobs properly but they’re simply stretched too thin. Conversely, if you score highly on your Technical Audit but poorly on the Efficacy Audit, this could mean the cleaners are not doing their jobs well and you’re overstaffed in that space: they’re all doing half a job.

All audits are created equal

I’ll end by pointing out the obvious. The Standards’ three-audit system has been expressly designed to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts: to give a comprehensive view of all aspects of cleaning performance, from what areas are cleaned to how well they’re cleaned and, lastly, ideas for improvement. If your trust focuses on the Technical Audit to the exclusion of everything else, you really are missing a trick.

Does Asking About Vaccination Status Violate Health Privacy?

A person’s vaccination status is generally a sensitive topic since it directly affects public health and safety. Contributing to the gravity of the matter are the numerous reports of healthcare workers working themselves down to the bone to alleviate the constant flow of cases, such as in the case of a pandemic. Depending on the situation, institutions outside the medical field will most likely be affected to lower the transmission of viruses and diseases. 

This gives rise to the question: Will the disclosure of one’s vaccination status, when asked, violate health privacy? Read on to find out. 

HIPAA’s Roles In Data Privacy

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, handles any information related to one’s health. To be specific, HIPAA’s primary objective is to safeguard entities as follows: 

  • Healthcare providers
  • Health plans
  • Healthcare clearinghouses

HIPAA has a prominent role in securing valuable health records, which is why it has a Privacy Rule in the first place. And according to this rule, third-party entities are also covered. However, HIPAA is stricter in regulating these entities compared to its leniency with the user. 

While health information is always protected among various entities, there are certain situations when others may request details beyond what’s allowed by law. If that’s the case, you’re well within your rights to make a case against them in accordance with the HIPAA privacy rule. In line with this, know that being health literate would greatly help you as a healthcare user in preventing this from happening.

 

Importance of HIPAA Compliance 

As technology advances more into the future, it will be easier to solicit information from various individuals and entities electronically. However, digitizing sensitive information, such as health-related data, can be a double-edged sword. Access becomes more effortless, making users more susceptible to invasion of privacy and data theft

Healthcare providers utilize technology for their users to access their services easily. But this convenience can get taken advantage of by cyber attackers as well. That’s why, as mentioned earlier, third-party entities are under tighter surveillance compared to the person covered by HIPAA. Moreover, because of that potential risk, HIPAA compliance becomes more crucial.

Since HIPAA is considered a point of reference in handling and protecting vital health records, it sets the same expectations for companies who regulate this information. And because every record is being stored digitally, HIPAA compliance ensures their current security measures are kept up to date to withstand any attacks. Aside from the HIPAA Privacy Rule, the Security Rule also exists to protect users from the said potential threats.

Rules On the Disclosure of Vaccination Status

Now that you know the coverage and extent of HIPAA in ensuring data security, the question remains: will your health privacy be violated if someone asks about your vaccination status? The answer depends entirely on the circumstances of its disclosure. Therefore, some regulations are set to ensure your health privacy is protected.

The following are some of the essential things one needs to know about HIPAA in determining whether certain rights are being violated:

1. HIPAA Only Applies to Covered Entities and Their Associates

As mentioned earlier, HIPAA only enforces the Privacy Rule on covered entities, ergo protecting health privacy since these entities are under HIPAA compliance. Thus, you’re not prohibited from sharing details about your vaccination status. 

As for these covered entities, although they’re supposed to be held back by HIPAA compliance, remember that the kind of information they disclose is regulated, not prohibited. Therefore, whenever your employer or other entities require your vaccination status, they’re not breaching your health privacy.

2. HIPAA Only Acts As Moderator

HIPAA rarely restricts entities and users when it comes to vaccination status. This is because the former only acts as a moderator. As long as the covered entities carefully consider how and when they disclose the information above, they are not violating protocols as outlined in the HIPAA. 

3. Federal and State Laws Are Still Above HIPAA

Despite HIPAA’s provisions on health privacy, some laws can still overrule it. However, this is not to say that the HIPAA privacy rule can be rendered futile. An example of a pertinent statute is when employers are prohibited from using the employee’s vaccination status as a reason to alter their work status.

Is Your Health Privacy Being Violated?

The short answer is no. The privacy rule only covers particular entities, and they are not restricted nor prohibited from soliciting a person’s vaccination status—only moderated. Thus, your health privacy isn’t violated as far as disclosing vaccination status is concerned.

Pursuing a Rewarding Career in Healthcare

Through growing economies, and as a result of life expectancy creeping up, the demand for healthcare professionals has never been more real or tangible. Current healthcare professionals are retiring, replacements are not being found quickly enough, and there is also a skills shortage. If the healthcare industry does not have the suitable trained, and qualified professionals that it needs then there is a perfect storm on the horizon. So, how can you help the healthcare industry while building a strong and stable career for yourself? Why should you focus on a healthcare career, now more than ever?

 

Why Pursue a Healthcare Career?

Gaps within the healthcare industry are plain for most people to see. Skills shortages and staff shortages often mean that healthcare centers and services are running below capacity. Of course, in the short term this might not have a huge impact directly on peoples’ lives; however, over time it will impact economies, right down to families and individuals. When you choose to pursue a career in healthcare you make a choice to help others, and you make a choice to have an impact on the care and treatment that patients receive. You also should pursue a healthcare career for yourself, your ambitions and your goals. If your heart and passion are not in a career you will struggle. You will not be able to find a balance, and you will not be able to find career satisfaction.

 

Choosing the Right Path

Before leaping into a healthcare career, it is vital that you establish what path you want to follow and why. Taking time out you truly establish which direction you want to move in, will prove beneficial further down the line. So, would you like to push to be a social worker – perhaps helping young families? Or would you like to be part of new life entering the world – perhaps training to become a midwife? What is the right path for you and why? What role could you see yourself in, and what role you would end up loving, cherishing and enjoying each and every day. The right path for you to follow may be one that allows you to be more hands-on or it may be one that focuses on administrative duties.

 

A Rewarding Choice

There are of course lots of careers that are rewarding. However, a career in healthcare is probably one of the most rewarding ones around. Being about to really make a difference to the lives and care of patients (and even their families) is an important part of any healthcare position. When you get a rewarding career, alongside one that you thoroughly enjoy doing, you get a lot of satisfaction, and this can then spill over into your personal life. Even though a rewarding career may not feel like a top priority at the moment, it should be something that you begin to focus your attention on. Because, after all, who wants to have that stomach-churning sensation you feel when you have to go to a job you don’t enjoy? When you choose to pursue a rewarding career, you can be sure that you get out of your role just as much as you put in.

 

Focusing on Self-Development

To get the rewarding career in healthcare that you know you want (and deserve) you have to focus on self-development. Of course, you do not have to change everything about yourself – or what you do. However, bringing out the best in you and what you do, and even brushing up on your skills and attributes will help you to land that fulfilling and rewarding position. When you are focusing on self-development, it is important to look at the whole package of what you have got to offer. From your previous work experience (paid or voluntary) to your people skills and communication skills. When you focus on self-development, you become aware of your flaws and you also become aware of your positive traits. To really get to the bottom of your self-development you need to establish where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Look at situations you have handled recently (professionally and personally) and see what you have learnt from them. What could you have done differently, and what should you be doing differently moving forwards?

 

Advancing Your Education

As well as focusing on self-development, it is also important that you focus on advancing your education. You want to get started in your new career as soon as possible, and to make this happen you need the right education behind you. If your education is not as advanced, or specialist as it needs to be, then you need to make improvements as soon as possible. For example, if you want to launch a career in Social Care or Social Work then you will need to start looking at Placement services for clinical MSW because without this you will simply not get the position that you want. As your education is so important to your healthcare career it is essential that you take your time to research which option is right for you. For example, are you going to study close to your home or base, or are you going to combine online studies with work to pay the bills?

 

Transferable Skills and Attributes

You already have a lot of attributes and transferable skills that can be put to use within a new career, and you probably have more than you realize. To establish just what skills and attributes you have to offer, you need to think about what you could personally, and professionally bring to a new role. For example, are you great at leading others? Are you empathetic, and are you an effective communicator? A lot of the transferable skills and attributes that you hold will put you in good stead with your new career, so take some time out to establish just where these lie.

 

Finding the Right Position

When you have your skillset in situ, and you have improved and enhanced your education, it is then time to find the right position. You know now what career path you want to follow, and now it is all about the waiting game. Your dream career might be just around the corner, or it may be available in a few months’ time. What you need to do now is establish what you want to do. For instance, do you want to take a stopgap job in healthcare (if a suitable position is currently not available) or would you rather hold out and wait for the right position? What is your gut telling you, and what are your career plans looking like?

 

Career Planning

Planning your healthcare career doesn’t sound awfully exciting, but it can be – you just don’t realize it yet. When you start planning out your career you actually take control of your choices and of your future. When you take control of your future, you can ensure that your hard work and dedication up to this point gets rewarded. If you fail to put into place a plan for your career, then you may struggle to get the position that you want. When you set out a career plan, you also make career goals and aims. Having these in place will ensure that you always maintain your direction, focus and aim. Once you have written a career plan, it is important to keep it current (don’t just put it in a drawer and forget about it). Regularly review your career plan every few months to ensure that you are staying true to the path you want to follow, and to the goals you want to achieve.

 

Building Experience

As you move forwards with your career, it is important to build and gain as much experience as you can. The experiences you have within your career will help you to shape who you are as a healthcare professional. They will also help you offer better patient care and treatment. When you are building experience within your new role, it is important to find support networks you can lean on and turn to in times of need. Having people there for you to help you deal with new situations and scenarios is crucial. As you build up your bank of experience, you may well notice that there are things that you want to change. When you take these on board and you become impassioned with your role, you can then start to push forwards.

 

Having an Impact on Patient Care

Caring for patients and quality of care are the main things you will want to improve as a healthcare professional. Getting to know patients and building relationships will mean that you will want to provide the best quality of help and assistance that you can. As you develop your career, it is important to set personal and professional standards. When you set out standards early on in your new role, you can then ensure that they are always met and perhaps even surpassed.

Why Wearable Technology Can Assist the Healthcare Sector Expect the Unexpected

How the pandemic highlighted a need for change

The first thing worth noting is the sheer volume of individuals now using digital healthcare technology to assist them with their regular healthcare needs. By the end of 2021 there were, for instance, more than 22 million active users of the NHS App.

In July 2021, the NHS reported that more than 50,000 people had registered organ donor preferences on the app during June while more than 600,000 prescriptions and 50,000 GP appointments were requested. While patients were actively prompted to use the digital platform, it could be said that the British public have actually become more accepting of technology’s place in their healthcare, and so now is the time to implement more.

In one scheme in Northwest London cited in the BMJ ‘wearables’ were used during the pandemic to analyse the condition of people who were quarantining before or after travelling abroad alongside healthcare workers who weren’t able to isolate at home. The scheme “collected the vital signs of people quarantining and round-the-clock data was monitored by a trained team.”

The technology involved varied. “Medical grade wearables can be as simple as a sensor that measures a single variable, such as a photoplethysmography. Others are more complex pieces of hardware worn around the arm or as a patch on the chest, that gather a selection of vital signs, with information typically relayed to clinicians for monitoring or analysis.”

The scheme was able to reduce the strain on the healthcare sector by limiting otherwise unavoidable transmission of COVID-19 and reducing contact between health staff and potentially infectious patients, thereby also reducing the use of PPE, which reached dangerously low levels in the early months of the pandemic due to ongoing issues with supply chain and manufacturing.

In many respects, the scheme was a roaring success and emphasised just how much wearable technology has to offer an incredibly stretched healthcare provider.

Pritesh Mistry, Policy Team at The King’s Find, added: “Wearable devices can give a level of reassurance when people are being treated remotely that they’re not in danger.”

Perhaps the biggest stand-out feature of these devices is their ability to measure, record, and analyse round the clock and alert medical professionals when signs of concern or danger are reached.

NHS plans for wearable devices

Back in 2019 the NHS released the “Long Term Plan” which highlighted the healthcare service’s vision to implement digital devices across the board in a bid to limit hospital admissions and protect and reassure those who are being cared for remotely.

It also gave a view to the different types of NHS contracts suppliers can go on to win.

At present, the use of wearable devices remains minimal and is limited to certain areas of the country, perhaps because introducing such rapid developments during a period of such catastrophic turbulence as the pandemic would have been almost impossible. However, as we navigate the period ahead when it is clear that there will be continuing strain on the NHS, particularly hospitals, as they try to catch up with the backlog of procedures delayed by the pandemic whilst also dealing with intermittent COVID surges and exhausted staff, perhaps now is the best time to invest in options that will limit the strain on personnel and services.

A January 2019 report by the National Audit Office on NHS financial sustainability concluded that:

“The growth in waiting lists, the slippage in waiting times and the existence of substantial deficits in some parts of the system, offset by surpluses elsewhere, do not add up to a picture that we could describe as sustainable.”

The rapid introduction of wearable devices could reduce the need for routine and follow-up appointments while providing patients with reassurance that their condition is both stable and monitored, thereby enabling NHS resources to be focused on reducing waiting lists and providing urgent services.

It remains to be seen when and how the major introduction of wearable tech to the British healthcare system will occur. However, we are fairly confident its arrival will be in the not-too-distant future. With this arrival comes a rise in opportunity for a host of tech and software providers who are able to fulfil what are likely soon to be important NHS contracts.

Written for GHP

The Prevalence of Meniscus Tears and How it Affects a Person’s Life

Meniscus tears are common injuries especially to people who engage in sporty activities. This is because of the collisions, turns, or even twists associated with most sports. However, older people can also get meniscus tears.

When a person grows old, their menisci also grow weak and are prone to tearing especially when someone falls. Meniscus tears have been described as one of the health complications a person is likely to go through when they grow old.

Most people prefer surgery when they suffer from a meniscus tear. This is because the chances of their knees becoming unstable due to the injured cartilage are very high. It also causes a lot of swelling, pain, and can lock or get the knee stuck, making it difficult for a person to move.

Treatment of Meniscus Tears

One of the most successful treatments for a bucket handle meniscus tear is through circumferential stitches. This has proven to be successful in recent times and plays a very important role in ensuring that patients do not have to go through the risk factors associated with knee arthroscopy.

Some of these risks include the development of knee osteoarthritis, altering of gait mechanics, and muscle weaknesses.

As discussed above, another commonly used method of repairing a meniscus tear is through surgery. This is done through a procedure known as knee arthroscopy.

However, your surgeons will discuss this with you before surgery and will be dictated by things such as your age, health, and the activities you engage in.

The Prevalence of Meniscus Tears

The most common types of knee injury are meniscus tears. In the United States of America, for instance, there are a reported sixty-one people in every one hundred thousand people who have suffered a torn meniscus.

This injury affects more men compared to women, partly because of the nature of physical activities and sports that most men engage themselves in.

Men are at a higher risk of tearing their meniscus when they are between the ages of thirty and forty years while women mostly tear theirs between the ages of ten and twenty years.

However, older and aging people are also at risk of tearing their meniscus. This is especially prevalent in people above the age of sixty-five years old, where more than sixty percent of them suffer from degenerative meniscal tears.

There are an estimated seven hundred and fifty thousand surgical procedures of the meniscus in the United States of America every year.

What is the Likely Outcome of a Meniscus Tear?

A meniscus tear will most definitely affect the activities of people who suffer from it. For instance, if you are an athlete, you will not be able to engage in your sport especially because of the pain it brings as well as the discomfort.

This is what prompts most people to have their meniscus repaired.

You can repair a torn meniscus through the treatment options discussed above. Even though surgery is the most common form of treatment, getting a meniscus tear does not always mean that you are going to be operated on.

Surgery will be dictated by things such as;

-Your lifestyle and activity level.
-How old you are.
-Location, size, and type of the tear.
-Any other injuries suffered.
-Your Health.

Apart from surgery, you might be advised to consider other treatment options such as circumferential stitches, physical therapy, injections on the knee, and the use of NSAIDs.

Why Should You Choose Circumferential Stitches Over Other Forms of Treatment?

Even though surgery is the most common form of repairing a torn meniscus, circumferential stitching is growing in popularity and proving to be a better form of repair compared to surgery.

First of all, there are many risk factors associated with surgery such as the development of knee osteoarthritis, which might even occur later in life.

On the other hand, circumferential stitching does not lead to these risk factors. It is well known for its ability to ensure that the meniscus torn edges are sewed together without any problems. It also resolves all the pain, unlike surgery where you will experience pain even after surgery.

In addition, circumferential stitching maintains the health of the affected knee by ensuring that all contact pressures are restored. No matter the mode of treatment or repair you choose, ensure that you follow the right tips when sailing through rehabilitation

Logistics Skills – The Panacea the Pharma Sector Needs

By Leigh Anderson, Managing Director at Bis Henderson Recruitment

The pharmaceutical retail, wholesale and distribution sector is ‘in play’, as they say on the markets. The group around Lloyds Pharmacy (retail) and AAH Pharmaceuticals (wholesale) has been acquired by Aurelius; Walden have bought Movianto, joining Eurotranspharma and Ciblex and so bolstering their claim to be ‘the European leader in transport and logistics for pharma’; and takeover rumors swirl around Walgreen-owned Boots/Alliance, along with other companies in the UK and Europe.

In parallel with this market activity, we are seeing a marked upswing in recruitment for senior and middle-ranking logistics and supply chain posts in the sector. And it’s hardly surprising, as wider skill sets from pertinent related sectors will be needed.

Changes in ownership invariably trigger reviews of business strategies and consequent reassessment of whether the right skills and expertise are in place to achieve the new goals. But this comes on top of more fundamental changes that have been triggered or accelerated by the Covid pandemic.

Restructuring, and pharmacy involvement in vaccine rollouts, has prompted significant and ongoing investment in new distribution centres, final mile delivery and automation – including robotic dispensing solutions. In addition, the pandemic has revealed critical dependencies, especially for packaging and drug delivery supplies, which has pushed supply chain resilience higher up on corporate agendas.

More fundamentally, the pandemic has accelerated the digitalisation of medicine, including pharmacology. Pressure on general practice has been met by ramping up the NHS Direct platform, and by a boom in private sector on-line medicine, through firms such as Babylon, PushDoctor and Lloyds Pharmacy Clinical Homecare. And this is extending to the on-line ordering of drugs and therapies, particularly repeat prescriptions, for delivery Direct-to-Patient.

The processes are analogous to, but with significant differences from, consumer eCommerce. Direct-to-Patient promises to be more convenient, to reduce waste, to encourage better course adherence by patients, as well as helping to control the problem of parallel imports. Better visibility of demand can be fed into predictive analytics for further improvement. But exactly what this might mean for the role of wholesalers is still in question.

The vaccine development and roll-out process has also highlighted the importance of accurate logistics to clinical trials, where any supply failure risks negating months or years of development work and delaying the deployment of valuable therapies.

Healthcare is a data-rich environment and there is now a real emphasis on using sophisticated data analytics, to quote Walden, “to optimise logistics processes and streamline flows both within health entities (pharmacies, hospitals), and also directly to patients”. Digitalisation is rapidly being applied to a host of regulatory requirements, from real-time traceability to quality control, market authorisation, pharmaceutical release, Customs brokerage, and more.

Forward-looking companies are also beginning to plan for an era of individually tailored therapies, especially around cell and gene therapies. So-called ‘vein to vein’ supply chains will require needle-sharp logistics to move blood or tissue samples from the patient to the laboratory as well as delivering the resultant therapy back to the patient – all under critical time pressure. The trend, already evident, is forever wider product ranges, in smaller volumes and with high demand volatility, with very short shelf lives, requiring differing temperature regimes, dealt with in part by increasing use of postponement strategies. And, needless to say, all this has to be conducted with the highest ethical and customer-centric focus.

So, what are the skills companies are looking for to meet this complex agenda? Clearly, experience of significant change management will be valuable. There are specific technical skills in demand also – in robotics and automation, in the application of big data analytics to supply chain and distribution activities, and in building effective direct to user distribution channels taking appropriate learnings from consumer eCommerce. Experience in time-critical sectors (short life products and stringent delivery time requirements), and in reducing fulfilment times is in demand, as is experience in using procurement and supplier relations processes to improve supply chain resilience.

Managers at all levels will also need an understanding of how heavily regulated industries have to operate – especially as some innovations in, for example, Direct-to-Patient supply may, in some countries, require legal or regulatory change.

Partly because of this, there has been an unspoken assumption in parts of the sector that senior staff really need a medical, pharmacological or life science background. But it is now appreciated that this isn’t necessarily the case, and that there are lessons to be learned and knowledge to be transferred from other sectors – consumer eCommerce, temperature-controlled food distribution chains, even the data analytics used in high volume, but high variance, industries such as fashion.

Bis Henderson has extensive experience of helping managers with these high value skills transition into different industrial and commercial sectors, enhancing their careers and facilitating knowledge transfer to new employers. As a natural port of call for logistics and supply chain professionals seeking to develop, we have access to a deep pool of the skills and talent that the pharmaceutical distribution sector will need to meet the coming challenges.

5 Simple Tricks to Relieve Body Aches

Body aches can happen to you at any time and hinder your daily tasks. If you don’t address them immediately, you may have difficulty moving and feel uncomfortable even when not doing any activities.   

Fortunately, there are tricks you can try to relieve body pain. Here are a few:   

1. Soft Tissue Therapy  

The cause of your pain may be other existing health conditions like nerve problems, carpal tunnel, or muscle tears. If you hastily try to ease the discomfort in the affected area using pressure, you may only make your condition worse. Hence, it’s better to find a safe and effective method to lessen your discomfort. For instance, you can try soft tissue therapy if you experience body aches or sore muscles for a while.  

Although soft tissue therapy seems like a standard massage style, it uses various techniques to target the affected area. For instance, your therapist may perform an instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization or myofascial release to relieve your body aches. You can read more about this treatment through this informative post.   

2. Hot or Cold Compress 

Experiencing body aches like sore muscles may be unavoidable due to your lifestyle. For instance, if you work out often, it’s not unusual for you to feel sores after your gym session. In some cases, the discomfort you feel is temporary and will eventually disappear. However, it can still affect your daily tasks and prevent you from moving comfortably.   

If you want a quick and easy remedy, you can try applying a cold or hot compress on the painful part. A hot compress can increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, so it’s best for tight or strained muscles. On the other hand, a cold compress may help lessen swelling by numbing the affected area. You can use it on your joints, like your wrists or ankle, whenever they feel sore.   

3. Acupressure  

When searching for something different to ease your body aches, acupressure may be a new method to try. It’s a treatment that targets meridian points in your body to release tension and encourage energy flow. It’s similar to acupuncture, but it uses hand pressure to target specific areas in your body instead of needles.   

The therapist will find the pressure points in your body and apply weight on them using their fingers or hands. For example, if you have tight shoulders, they may focus on massaging and releasing tension in your upper body. The treatment may help relieve pressure in your muscles and encourage blood flow so that you’ll feel less sore.   

Overall, if you want to see whether alternative treatments suit you better but are scared of needles, acupressure is your best option.   

4. Stretching   

When your body is in pain, your mobility and range of motion are affected. Alternately, your lack of movement may also cause your body aches as your muscles don’t get stimulated. Fortunately, there are effective ways you can address this problem. For one, you can stretch to warm up your body and ease muscle tension.  

Stretching may help loosen up your body and enable you to feel less sore. It can also increase your blood flow and aid in minimizing inflammation in your body. If you feel discomfort every time you move, stretching for a few minutes may make it easier to do your tasks.   

5. Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever 

If you want instant relief for your body pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Some common pain medications like ibuprofen or paracetamol are available in pharmacies or stores. So, it’s easy to get your hands on them. Furthermore, their dosage instructions are easy to understand, making it manageable to identify how much and how often you need to take the drug.  

However, if you wish to address a serious health condition, it’s advisable to consult your physician before taking any drugs. For one, it may interfere with your current medications if you’re taking any. Additionally, your body may not react well if you’re allergic or sensitive to the drug. Hence, it’s better to get a prescription medication for your body aches. This way, you can ensure you won’t react badly to the drug.  

Final Thoughts  

Dealing with body aches can be troublesome as it can affect your day and even your well-being. Fortunately, remedies like over-the-counter medicines or soft tissue therapy are accessible and practical. In conclusion, if you’re looking for a way to get rid of your pain, find an effective and easy solution that suits your needs and preferences.  

Can You Sue for Wrong Test Results?

Typically, doctor visits in the hospital are crucial for keeping people healthy and happy at all times. However, they’re not immune to committing medical mistakes. One of these errors could include using the wrong test results to diagnose and treat your medical condition. When such incorrect test results result in an injury, you may wonder what to do next. You may even ask yourself whether you can sue the erring doctor for the incorrect test results to receive compensation. The answer to the question depends on certain circumstances.  

So, if you’ve suffered an injury due to wrong test results, read more to learn how you can sue the responsible healthcare professional on that ground.  

What Is Misdiagnosis? 

Misdiagnosis happens when the doctor has failed to run the proper diagnostic tests on the patient, resulting in erroneous results for diagnosing or treating an illness. It’s a type of medical malpractice that could also be a ground for filing a lawsuit against the at-fault health professional.  

In most cases, misdiagnosis can be considered a serious legal matter. If the doctor uses wrong test results that medical error can cause a more severe health problem that requires extensive treatment. Consequently, it can cost more money in the long run, making the patient’s life more financially challenging.  

Can You File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit For Misdiagnosis? 

When a doctor has misdiagnosed your illness based on the wrong test results, you may be entitled to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to sue the erring medical professional. However, you need to prove the elements of negligence with the help of a lawyer from https://www.hastingsfirm.com/locations/ and other reliable law websites to have a successful claim. Without establishing them, you may be unable to do so.  

Thus, if you’re making a malpractice claim, you need to do the following: 

  • Doctor-Patient Relationship: You should show that the doctor-patient relationship existed between you and your health professional. For example, when a doctor starts asking questions about your health condition and requests specific diagnostic tests, it means the relationship has already existed.  
  • Breach of Doctor-Patient Relationship: You should also prove the relationship has been breached by committing certain negligent acts. In the case of misdiagnosis, you can establish the breach by showing that a reasonably competent doctor would have diagnosed your illness correctly using correct test results.  
  • Causation: You need to demonstrate that the misdiagnosis directly caused your injury. For example, your doctor has misdiagnosed you, and the next day, you’ve sustained an injury because of it.  
  • Damages: You should show that the injury caused by misdiagnosis has resulted in certain damages or losses. These can also include medical costs, lost income and earning ability, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other similar losses.   

In most cases, instituting a medical malpractice claim on the ground of misdiagnosis is never easy. Aside from establishing the at-fault doctor’s negligence, you need to procure a sufficient amount of evidence to improve your chances of winning. These pieces of evidence can include:  

  • Medical reports, including diagnostic results and prescriptions, 
  • Photo of the injury you’ve suffered, 
  • Witness testimonies, if there’s any,
  • Statements of expert witnesses,
  • Record of damages, including payroll records and medical bills,
  • Video evidence and other forms of documentation.   

 

Do You Need a Lawyer?  

If you’re serious about suing the responsible doctor for misdiagnosis, then you need the assistance of a dedicated lawyer to navigate the situation more appropriately. Unless you know the ins and outs of medical malpractice laws, having a legal professional by your side is crucial for the success of your case. They can help you in the following ways:   

  • They can offer valuable advice regarding the legal options available to your situation. 
  • They can prepare and submit the paperwork required to file a claim in court. 
  • They can ensure that all the court processes are complied with. For example, they make sure your case is filed within the time limits required by your state law. Otherwise, you lose your right to sue the erring health professional for wrong test results forever.  
  • They can provide solid legal representation in case the lawsuit proceeds to trial.  

 

Takeaway  

Getting injured due to misdiagnosis arising from wrong test results can be distressing. Therefore, if you’ve suffered an injury due to your doctor’s misdiagnosis, keep the information mentioned above to know you can sue the responsible party for negligence. By doing so, you can protect your rights by holding the at-fault doctor liable to recover compensation.  

Professional Pain Points: Is Your Career Giving You Chronic Pain?

Living with chronic pain can be a right pain in the neck, especially when it stops you from doing the things you love. Following almost two years of makeshift desk setups and COVID-19 restrictions limiting treatment, the number of people living with pain has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

As companies start to welcome employees back to the office in line with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest easing of restrictions, many say they are planning to embrace a hybrid model of home and office working – meaning more attention will have to be paid to implementing at-home workstations to avoid the worsening of any associated neck and back troubles. With 40% of people currently not spending any money on pain treatments, there is potential for the situation to become a national issue.

Over one-third of the UK population is already struggling with chronic pain. To explore the potential causes in more detail, we looked at the professions that are most likely to result in problems and in which areas of the body are affected.

Neck

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, people had to adapt to remote working conditions, and some of the ‘temporary’ setups and workarounds have most definitely led to poor ergonomics. Working at a desk is one of the most common causes of neck pain, as office workers and administration staff often accommodate their workstation rather than the other way around. Straining to see a computer monitor that is too far away, too low, too high or too dim can compromise good posture.

While remote working can be considered ‘the dream’ for some, the majority of people won’t have the luxury of space or a posture-friendly desk and office chair readily available – especially younger generations. Although it can be very tempting to curl up on the sofa in your pyjamas while you work, those that have adopted this more ‘comfortable’ working position could have caused themselves more issues than they realise!

As working from home becomes much more common, it is important to remember that it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure their employees’ working environment is up to scratch and that they are healthy and safe.

Back

Unsurprisingly, the most common professions that result in chronic back pain are those that involve a lot of repeated movement and heavy lifting, such as construction and warehouse workers. However, what you may not realise is that nurses and healthcare workers also have an increasingly high risk of developing back problems. Think of all the lifting, bending, and transporting nursing home workers do in order to tend to patients.

Nurses also spend long hours of the day on their feet. Standing for long periods can lead to postural issues, as the muscles become too tired to keep you upright. When you stop to think about how much heavier that workload has been for our healthcare professions during the past year, it’s less surprising to hear that 70 per cent of nurses will have at least one episode of back pain per year.

Feet and ankles

Professions that also require a lot of time on your feet are hairdressers, cabin crew, retail, and food service workers. While a job that keeps you on your feet may sound healthier than sitting at a desk all day, standing and walking for too long can be just as detrimental to your physical health. Even with the most comfortable pair of shoes, being on your feet all day will still cause problems in the long run.

Many of these workers are prone to leaning on one dominant side, putting even more pressure on the ankle and foot, and rarely do they get a chance to sit down. While many professions can be hard on your feet, taking the right steps to treat pain can prevent bigger issues.

Jaw and face

In a surprising twist of fate, working in dentistry actually poses a higher risk of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and bruxism, along with those who work in the high-tech sectors. TMD and bruxism are caused by the constant grinding or clenching of the teeth and are most commonly associated with stress and anxiety. This can cause a tightening of the facial muscles, meaning those roles that require high levels of concentration or are stress-inducing can often result in severe and long-lasting pain in the face.

Constant movement of the jaw can also often result in TMD, meaning those that work in roles that require a lot of speaking – for example, call centre workers – are also prone to suffering pain.

Knees and hips

The two joints most commonly operated on in the UK are the knees and hips, with an average of over 150,000 operations combined every year. Professions that require a lot of kneeling and squatting are where you’re most likely to find damage to the knees, including carpenters, bricklayers and farm workers – and, more surprisingly, unpaid houseworkers! Those who are dedicated housewives or househusbands face up to 93% increased odds for knee osteoarthritis.

Those that are incredibly active, such as athletes or dancers, are most at risk of developing hip pain due to overuse and stressing joints beyond their limits. Trauma can often be caused by heavy impact, affecting those who play a lot of high-impact sports.

Tennis elbow

As the name suggests, injuries to the elbow are often associated with playing tennis. However, any profession that involves repetitive motions of the arm is likely to develop tennis elbow. One of the more obvious roles would be a painter and decorator, who is repeatedly shifting the arm backwards and forwards.

Butchers, chefs and cooks also need to be cautious, as cutting up ingredients (particularly meat) can cause strain on the arm muscles.

Hand and wrist

Repetitive movement is one of the biggest contributors to any kind of pain, but those who need to continually grip something, move their wrists awkwardly, or work with vibration are extremely likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. The occupations associated with CTS tend to be musicians, due to complex twisting movements, and textile workers, who deal with heavy vibrations from machinery and pressure on the hands for long periods of time.

It’s clear from the various ailments mentioned that there is no right or wrong industry to work in, but whichever career path you choose to follow, you should be aware of the potential risks and strains. Complete prevention is not always possible but treating and managing any chronic pain issues is vital to being able to continue day-to-day life without interference or discomfort, as well as restricting any development into bigger issues such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.

Could You Be the Next Olympic Champion?

If you’re a sports enthusiast, then making it to the Olympics might well be a dream come true for you. Standing on the winning podium and holding a medal doesn’t only bring personal satisfaction but also the whole nation’s ovations.

Of course, the road to the Olympics isn’t an easy one. It takes a lot of grit, hard work, and most importantly, perseverance. With Team GB sending the largest group of athletes to compete in Tokyo 2020, joining the ranks of Olympic competitors may not be too far-fetched.

Today, we look at the journey of ex-Olympians, from the training room to the Olympic stadium. Sometimes, you just need a little inspiration.

Billy Morgan – world-class snowboarder

During the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Great Britain took home one gold and four bronze medals. One of the bronze medals went to Billy Morgan, who aced the Big Air competition – quite an emotional moment for Team Great Britain, which caused a few tears to be shed.

In contrast with his big success, Billy Morgan is a relative latecomer to the sport. This proves that it’s never too late to excel in a discipline and overtake the Olympics as long as you have the dedication for it.

Before taking on snowboarding at the age of 14, he had the aspiration to become a professional acrobatic gymnast. But as soon as he went to a dry slope for the first time at his hometown, Southampton, Morgan fell in love with snowboarding.

His excellence in acrobatic gymnastics only helped him to become one of the best performers of world-class tricks. There are only a few snowboarders in the world to ace a triple rodeo, and Billy Morgan is one of them. The trick was even captured on film in 2011 and has gained millions of views on YouTube.

Four years later, Morgan became the first snowboarder to land an extremely challenging trick: a backside 1800° quadruple cork. This involves a whopping four off-axis flips and five full rotations. What a legend!

Snowboarding is the type of sport where there are no limits in terms of how much you can progress. Just like the 2018 Olympic champion says: “And when it comes to fruition, it is unbelievable”.

The journey starts with the motivation to learn new skills. Enrolling on a snowboard instructor course, for example, can help take your abilities to the next level. The course is comprehensive and teaches you a number of tricks you need to be able to perform for the final exam. Who knows, after practising and teaching professionally for a while, you might strive to reach Olympic level.

 

Jason Kenny – Britain’s most successful Olympian

Jason Kenny harnessed his love for track cycling at the early age of 15 and specialised in individual and team sprints and keirin as a youngster.

After showing astute sportsmanship during several European and world championships, Kenny was selected to compete for Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He won the gold medal in the team sprint alongside Chris Hoy and Jamie Staff, and finished second after Hoy in the individual sprint, taking home the silver.

It was during the 2016 Rio Olympics that he levelled his medals with Chris Hoy, who had been bearing the title of ‘Britain’s most successful Olympian’ for quite a while. The following 2020 Tokyo Olympics saw the heyday of Kenny’s career. He overtook Sir Chris Hoy by winning seven gold medals and becoming the new holder of the prestigious title and making Olympic history.

On the last day, he rode astonishing 0.763 seconds ahead of Malaysia’s Azizulhasni Awang at the Izu Velodrome. “It is easy to forget the hard work that goes into it. I have been disappointed this week, I haven’t been as competitive as I wanted to be. But in the keirins, you can race hard and ride your luck a little bit”, commented Jason Kenny.

But the Olympic titan hasn’t been on this journey on his own. His wife, Laura Kenny, who also holds the title of Britain’s most successful female Olympian, has been beside him the whole time.

If you want to follow in the footsteps of an Olympic track cyclist, then pick your trails and start learning the ins and outs of the sport.

Following the legacies of some of the most astute Olympians isn’t easy. But the pathway to success starts from the heart. As long as you truly want it, you can achieve it! For now, why not take inspiration in watching the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing?

GHP Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2021 Technology Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – GHP has announced the winners of the Technology Awards.

In today’s digital age, technology plays a vital role in improving healthcare and helping health services to improve the quality of life and treatments that they are able to provide. Throughout the years, technology has evolved in the medical field from being able to provide 3D printing, to telehealth, robotic surgery and artificial organs, these advances have allowed the healthcare industry to excel in ways it could not before.

Our Awards Coordinator, Jazmin Collins has spoken about the success of the Awards programme: “Technology has evolved and has found a place in every single industry, healthcare being the most prominent as it has helped to save lives. This year’s winners have had a hand in the innovation and have provided exceptional services and solutions for their clients, as well as the industry. I would like to offer my heartiest congratulations and would like to wish them all the best for the future.”

GHP Magazine, as always, endeavours to recognise those that are going above and beyond, or indeed, the businesses that are making meaningful steps forward, no matter how small they might seem on the greater landscape. That’s why we launched our awards programme, and why we continue to spotlight the work of exceptional companies and individuals.

To find out more about these leading lights and discover what has led them to becoming who they are today, please visit https://www.ghp-news.com/awards/technology-awards/ to access our winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About GHP Magazine, a publication under AI Global Media

Global Health and Pharma magazine (https://www.ghp-news.com/) is a global information sharing platform & a multi-disciplinary member’s community. The publication was established to enhance communication networks & collaboration across all themes and disciplines within three main categories: Human, Animal & Environmental Health.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/)  has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 12 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Health Care vs. Health Insurance: 3 Things You Need To Know

Healthcare and health insurance are often talked about in the same breath or seen as essentially interchangeable, part of the same system which ensures that as many people as possible receive the treatments and support they need.

Of course, there are some significant differences between these two aspects which become apparent as soon as you do a little digging.

Understanding them is helpful for everyone, so let’s unpick a few core facts about healthcare and health insurance so that you aren’t in the dark any longer.

Insurance requirements vary globally

The way that healthcare is paid for differs from country to country, and while health insurance is available virtually everywhere, the extent to which it is required varies a lot.

For example, while nations like the UK offer free healthcare at the point of need without any insurance involved, others like the US have a greater focus on private healthcare, with services like PolicyScout allowing patients to pick and choose from coverage that fits their needs and budget.

Of course, there are private health insurance firms and private healthcare facilities in the UK, which operate alongside and often in cooperation with publicly funded hospitals.

Likewise, some types of treatment are not covered by public health services, with cosmetic surgeries and dentistry sometimes falling outside of the remit of taxpayer-funded care.

All of this adds up to a state of affairs that can seem very complicated and convoluted from an international perspective. However, so long as you focus on a local level and look at the insurance requirements and services that are relevant to you, it should be much more straightforward.

Cover for travel is essential

One thing that can be unambiguously stated in relation to health insurance is that you should get cover if you are planning to travel overseas.

Having a travel insurance package covering medical costs you might incur will protect you from potentially ruinous bills that could mount up if you need treatment on foreign soil.

Even countries where universal healthcare is available may still charge international visitors for treatment, so it is not a risk worth taking. Likewise, your domestic health insurance policy will probably not include overseas travel as standard, so an additional cover is almost always a requirement.

Costs of healthcare are inconsistent

Another point to make about healthcare in this context is that it is not only how it is paid for, which varies from place to place, but also how much particular treatments, surgeries, and medicines cost, which can be starkly different.

This explains the trend of health tourism, which sees people willing to travel great distances to find more affordable solutions to their healthcare woes in a different part of the planet than on their doorstep.

Sometimes price differences are to do with government subsidies, sometimes to do with market pressures and economic factors, and sometimes as a result of how regulations and standards change in different regions.

This leads to the unavoidable fact that healthcare quality is not the same, both domestically and internationally. If you have the privilege of traveling for treatment and deep enough pockets to cover the costs, this is not an issue, but there are limitations to consider and a degree of luck involved for everyone else.

Healthcare and health insurance are constantly evolving and are intrinsically linked. Public and private systems each have their benefits and downsides, but progress is undeniably being made, and care quality is creeping up year on year.

Careers in Sports: Which Jobs Can You Pursue With a Sports Science Degree?

Whether they’re sprinting across a racetrack or scoring a commendable goal, many people idolise sports stars. Considering their esteemed position within popular culture and the exuberant wages that come with it, it’s no wonder so many children consider athletes their role models.

But what about the sports careers that don’t feature in the news?

This article will explore some of the behind-the-scenes jobs you can aim for with a sports science degree, from a sports physician to a nutritionist and a physiotherapist. We will explore the daily responsibilities and average wages of these roles so that you can find your dream career.

 

Sports physician

One of the most exciting careers in sports which you can pursue with a sports science degree is a sports physician. This is a doctor who specialises in sports and exercise medicine (SEM). As well as working with the general public in both the private and public sector, sports physicians are trained to treat athletes for soft-tissue injuries, fractures, and much more.

If you’re interested in becoming a sports physician, completing a degree in sports science could be the first step in your journey. After your undergraduate degree, you can continue your education and study an MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine.

The journey to get this job will be challenging, but it will be worth it! As well as enjoying your career as a sports physician, you will be able to earn up to £200,000 per year.

 

Nutritionist

In comparison to sports physicians, nutritionists explore the benefits of food in relation to physical and mental well-being. Nutritionists work alongside nurses and dietitians to establish the best food and healthcare plans in a number of settings, from the private sports teams to private practices and the NHS.

A sports nutritionist works alongside a sports team to provide expert advice on diet and exercise. As sports stars rely on their physical health to exceed in their chosen area of expertise, this is an invaluable position within the sporting world.

There are many ways you can become a nutritionist, and a sports science degree will fortify your skills and knowledge to excel as a professional nutritionist. If you have an interest in food and how this affects human (or animal) anatomy, this career could be right for you.

The average wage of a qualified nutritionist varies depending on the sector they work in, the location they operate in, and the experience a professional has. After graduating and gaining enough experience, you could earn up to £55,000. Not bad for a job you know you’ll enjoy!

 

Physiotherapist

You could also pursue a career as a physiotherapist. Working with patients to help them retain or regain their mobility, daily tasks vary from sports therapy, sports massage, podiatry, and acupuncture. Similar to sports physicians and nutritionists, this is an integral role within the sporting industry.

An undergraduate degree in sports science will provide you with the knowledge to pursue a career in physiotherapy. To complete your training as a sports physiotherapist, you will continue with education to a postgraduate level and becomes a Master in Physiology.

If you qualify as a physiotherapist, you earn an average of £37, 512 per year. As well as touring the country – or the world – with your sports team, you’ll be given many opportunities to thrive in a sporting environment.

The benefits of a sports science degree transcend the boundaries explored in this article. As well as learning the skills to exceed in these fields, you could go on to work as a choreographer, personal trainer, or clinical scientist. Whether you’re in to help patients with their health or work in a profession you enjoy, careers within sports are full of excitement and will keep you on your toes every day.

From Budding Innovation to Real Transformation: What 2022 Has in Store for Pharma

2021 was a difficult year for pharma, with the pandemic continuing to create new challenges and further highlight existing strains in the healthcare sector.

But that’s not to say that this disruption has been entirely without positives. The past year has seen significant transformation, with learnings from the first twelve months of the pandemic sparking wide-ranging changes across healthcare: think of the evolving relationship between patients and clinicians, the rise in the importance of data, and how health problems are monitored and treated more generally.

This third year of the pandemic is likely to bring further uncertainty, but the innovation we’ve seen so far is set to continue. Here are four key digital health trends I believe will be key for pharma in 2022.

1. Real-world-evidence-based digital health solutions will thrive in 2022

This year will see pharma companies relying more on evidence-based solutions that are better integrated into clinical care pathways; using data, such as patient outcomes, to prove value will be essential.

TrackSMA is an example of this type of solution, where real world evidence is collected with a digital tool that allows the clinical team to complete validated disease assessments in spinal muscular atrophy across multiple countries.

New reimbursement pathways have been created over the past couple of years, helping to build a stronger business case for the development of more innovative, evidence-based solutions. Meanwhile, recent studies show the population is extremely receptive to digital solutions. According to our 2020 study, 71% are willing to use such solutions to support or supplement in-clinic care if offered by their HCP, while 42% saw digital health as more convenient than conventional care.

Two years on, however, we can’t rely on mere hypotheticals. If the uptake in digital triggered by the pandemic is to continue, we need to show the impact on patient outcomes and benefits for healthcare as a direct result of digital health. Pharma must consider how digital health can be used as a strategic tool, and how it can be integrated into their plans  to support not just patients and HCPs but also internal pharma stakeholders; including market access, R&D, medical affairs, and others.

2. Digital solutions will enable new care pathways

Remote care models became widespread in 2021, with telehealth and virtual consultations, in particular, serving as a gateway to digital health.

This trend is set to progress as the familiarity with and desire for digital and virtual healthcare increase. The separation of digital and traditional healthcare will continue to narrow in 2022.

A key driver here is the surge in digital endpoints, which are already driving the expansion of decentralized trials enabled by technology. These digital endpoints have the advantage of being more objective and accurate than those based on patient-reported assessments, and are opening up new care pathways.

This shift towards remote care models will be gradual. Patients have a clear desire to embrace this type of healthcare, but adoption still depends on better integration into established care pathways.

3. Pharma will focus more on digital health platforms as they grow their digital offerings

While many companies will still create point digital health solutions in 2022, there is a clear trend towards adopting a platform approach.; indeed, the 2021 EY Pulse of the Industry Report for healthcare points to multiple examples of large businesses acquiring platforms to expand their digital offerings.

The reason is simple: by making use of digital health platforms, rather than standalone tools, digital health solutions can be deployed across a wide range of therapies and devices. Platforms form a solid base on which digital health solutions can be created, incorporating digital health enterprise software, connected medical devices that utilize an evidence-based, behavioral science approach. The combination leads to data-driven feedback loops that ultimately unlock more hyper-personalized care for patients.

4. Digital companions will be a key part of pharma portfolios going forward

Standalone DTx have received a lot of focus in recent years. 2022 is likely to see the emergence of more digital companion solutions as pharma increases its focus in this area in particular.

While regulatory and reimbursement pathways for standalone DTx are becoming clearer thanks to legislative developments like DiGa in Germany, adoption levels remain relatively low. Pharma can realize a clearer return on investment for digital companion solutions, as they can drive patient engagement and compliance within their existing product portfolio.

Turning predictions into reality

The evolution triggered by the pandemic has unlocked significant opportunities for pharma companies and patients alike. Looking forward into 2022, however, one thing is certain: innovation is of little value unless it’s supported by evidence and followed by uptake. If patients are to benefit from digital health, solutions will need to deliver value not only to them but also meet the needs and goals of all stakeholders including clinicians, healthcare providers, and pharma. Meeting the business goals of pharma can’t be ignored if they are expected to sponsor the development of solutions.

Pharma can develop the necessary tools. Whether it’s digital health platforms, increased use of DTx, or generating real world evidence, the technology and expertise to make these benefits a reality is available. Increasing the momentum and focusing on our shared objective of better healthcare should be the key goal for 2022.

The Most Commonly Searched Running Woes Resolved

According to research, we’re understandably running more than ever for our mental health over the last year. This study researched 14,000 runners in 12 different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Running became a lifeline for some, providing solitude from the strange and stressful year we’ve had as well as allowing us to connect with nature and get our hearts pumping when we’ve been cooped up all day.

The UK’s newfound love of running has helped our mental health by reducing levels of anxiety and stress and increasing mood and sleep quality. Whether you’re a seasoned runner, are relatively new, or are planning on getting started, here we look at the most commonly searched running woes so you can perform at your best.

We gathered Google search data to find out which searches have grown the most regarding running woes over the last year from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.

 

How soon after eating can I run?

Searches for “How soon after eating can I run?” increased by 1,100%.

Exercising in any way immediately after eating is never a good idea. Running right after food can interrupt your digestion and lead to stomach pain as well as interfering with your performance, leaving you feeling sluggish and less alert. A general rule of thumb suggests that you should wait 30 minutes to an hour after a snack, and three to four hours after a big meal before you get on your men’s or women’s trainers and head out.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that there is no “one size fits all” approach to eating before exercise, as everyone metabolises food differently. You might feel energised eating before working out. Find out what works for you.

Is a 9-minute mile good?

“Is a 9-minute mile good?” was the question on everyone’s fingertips – searches increased by 700%.

Each person’s level of fitness is multi-factorial. This can depend on your age, genetics, and how much you exercise. A non-competitive runner would typically run one mile in around 9 to 10 minutes. If you’ve just started, you can look at a figure closer to 12 or 15.

How to pace yourself when running

 “How to pace yourself when running” saw a 367% increase between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021.

There are several key steps you can follow to pace yourself when you are running:

  • Warm up your cardiovascular system first. You may feel after a short time of running that your lungs are on fire and you are out of breath. Breathing heavily doesn’t allow you to regulate your breathing. Warm up activities such as light jogging or some form of slow exercise can help prepare your body.
  • Slow down. It might sound obvious but running at a slower pace can help you last longer. Try running at a pace you can have a conversation at so you’re not exhausting yourself early on.
  • Regulate your breathing. Take controlled breaths in and out every few steps.
  • The run-walk method can help build your mileage, making it easier for you to run longer and longer each time.

 

How to run in the heat

Searches for “How to run in the heat” grew by 367%.

Running in spring or autumn is ideal as it isn’t too hot or too cold. Running when it is too hot can be dangerous, so making a few changes to your routine can make it much safer and more bearable:

  • When it is hotter, you will be sweating more and therefore become more dehydrated. Make sure you carry fluids with you so you can rehydrate.
  • Wear light, breathable clothing. Avoid cotton, as this will trap heat and hold onto your sweat, which in turn will raise your temperature.
  • Don’t run on an empty stomach – make sure you ate a substantial meal a few hours before you exercise so that you are energised.
  • Run a route that is shaded and will protect you from direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.
  • Take walking breaks when needed and don’t push yourself. Don’t compare your performance to how you’d run on a cooler day.

 

Is jogging on the spot good exercise?

“Is jogging on the spot good exercise?” saw searches increase by 367%.

Yes – running and jogging in any capacity is an aerobic exercise which is moving your muscles, strengthening your core, raising your heartbeat, enhancing lung capacity, and improving circulation. If the weather is bad, you can just stay indoors, and exercise comfortably.

With your woes now addressed, you’re ready to get out there and exercise to the best of your ability!

Medical Lab Tech: 5 Interesting Facts You Did Not Know About

Every medical lab needs technicians to run tests, record data, and perform a number of other essential duties using their skills, experience, and training to guide them.

While over 335,000 people work in this profession, it’s not a job that’s well understood by people who aren’t healthcare workers themselves.

To help you understand more about what medical lab techs (MLTs) get up to, here are just a few facts and figures that should pique your interest.

Lab Techs Are Life-Savers

We all know that lab techs test samples sent in by physicians to help diagnose ailments and assess overall patient health. What you might not realize is that this is more than just a passive process, since through the analysis of blood samples, in particular, medical technicians can save lives.

Crucially, it is the role of a lab tech to determine the blood type of each patient and make recommendations about which type of transfusion will be most reliably compatible.
If this is not handled by qualified professionals, fatal mistakes might be made, and doctors cannot glean such insights on their own. So while lab techs may work behind the scenes most of the time, without them modern healthcare would not deliver such successful outcomes.
Management skills are needed to progress

While lab techs do spend a lot of time looking through microscopes and using scientific machinery to diagnose medical issues, there is very much a hierarchy within this workplace as there is in any other.

In order to step up and build a career, technicians have to embrace management skills, and initiatives like Colabra’s lab management course help to codify this.

From project management to people management and beyond, a medical lab technician is much more than a Petri dish-pusher. And of course, these skills can be transferred to other industries if a tech wants a change of career.

Opportunities Are Available Almost Everywhere

As well as being one of the higher growth sectors of the employment market, medical lab tech roles are required in all sorts of healthcare facilities in every part of the country and indeed the world.

As an MLT you can pick and choose from jobs in busy big city hospitals, rural clinics, or even overseas locations where this type of profession is very much in-demand as well.
This brings with it both the flexibility of working where you want, as well as the opportunity to apply for positions domestically or on foreign soil. So whatever you need to suit your lifestyle, technician’s jobs can offer it.

Stress is Minimal

We often think of work as being a source of stress, yet for MLTs, this is rarely the case. A study from CareerCast ranked lab technician as being one of the most stress-free jobs that are available today, which is good news for anyone who doesn’t want to subject themselves to a career in a high-pressure environment.

While we mentioned earlier that the work done by medical techs is important, and requires training and expertise, it is also the behind-the-scenes nature of this job that avoids excess stress from becoming a burden.

Salaries Are Promising

Finally, no examination of a potential career path is complete without considering the earnings potential of the role in question.

When it comes to MLTs, median pay according to the BLS was just over $54,000 for 2020, and lab managers can earn significantly more than this.

When looking for a stable, rewarding, and meaningful career, it is tough to find anything that fits these requirements better than a medical lab tech.

3 Ways Medical Technology in the UK is Improving

The medical technology sector in the UK generates an annual turnover of around $30 billion annually. It has a strong foundation mainly consisting of small to medium-sized businesses, with clusters of activities concentrated in Southeast England and the Midlands. 

Having a significant contribution to domestically produced products for export, it receives funding and support from the central government, which is evident in the many improvements happening in the industry.

Here are some ways medical technology in the UK is improving.

1. How COVID Help Medical Device Development 

If there’s one thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us, it is that we need to be more efficient when producing products, especially in the medical field. In addition, gone are the days of person-to-person collaboration. Organisations now have capabilities to create a hybrid environment that consists of both in-person and remote teams.

Now that we are trying to move forward into a post-pandemic world, companies must be explicit with the lessons they learned from the past year. The complexities involved in medical product development are not surprising. But what is more alarming is that these complexities have further increased, and many engineering teams are still using decades-old technology in managing requirements, assessing risks, and testing. It’s about time businesses will innovate in medical device development while collaborating with teams involved in software, hardware, and quality, leading to more medical device jobs with the UK. More importantly, businesses should recognise the need to hire engineers who can maintain these medical devices.

It has not been easy for engineering teams to adjust to a fully remote workplace. Even organisations offering a hybrid working model have struggled to ensure that their teams are aligned in meeting delivery dates and project deadlines. The organisations that have distinct advantages over others are those focused on collaborating within their teams. These are organisations capable of building high-quality medical products and ensuring better outcomes.

In general, medical technology companies that have been adaptable to changes were able to handle the peaks of the pandemic better than those that are a bit rigid in their approach. Looking into the future, it is more important than ever that these businesses will evaluate their process and assess how resilient they are to changes.

2. The Great NHS Digitisation 

The NHS is moving towards digitisation, increasing the range of digital health services and tools that it can offer. With digitisation, people can seek health information and support online. They can choose to speak with a doctor in person or over the phone. Moreover, the NHS will implement a wide range of apps to help people get ongoing support and help them better manage their health and wellbeing, backed by in-person care when needed.

The NHS is investing in improving its IT systems and developing new technology as well, which helps ensure that the staff will have access to the technology and tools they need to get their jobs done quicker and easier. Over the next two years, the NHS will take every significant step towards improving how its services can be made available online. They will also make sure that healthcare is accessible to everyone while keeping in mind that many patients still want and need the reassurance of a real doctor through face-to-face consultation.

One of the products of NHS digitisation is the maternity records app, where expectant mothers can benefit from real-time access to their maternity records and blood test results. The app will also serve as appointment reminders and information about antenatal classes. Moreover, the app will allow them to add their desired birth plan and record any allergies and other significant health information before coming in for an appointment. It also serves as a valuable tool for healthcare staff who need to have all the necessary information to make the best decisions for the mothers in their care. This app will cut down the amount of paperwork involved and save more than 400 working hours for staff each year.

As the medical industry transforms in the next 20 years, the cutting-edge technology of the NHS presents unique conditions to create new companies, industries, and jobs based in the UK and transform how innovation is delivered to patients.

3. The Growth of Medical Apps 

One survey shows that a third of UK patients would prefer to use mobile healthcare apps instead of face-to-face consultations. The survey was conducted on a hundred doctors and thousands of patients in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic to understand their experiences when using digital healthcare technology and how it could affect patient care. The study found that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 33% of patients would prefer to use a mobile app instead of seeing a doctor. In addition, over a third of doctors have said that using mobile health apps have made it easier for them to prescribe the proper treatment for their remote patients.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the importance of digital health solutions and the need to increase the adoption of medical apps in the future. As the public gets used to everyday services seamlessly flowing digitally, they will expect more from healthcare services. However, some challenges can come out of this, such as how to solve frictions in delivering mobile healthcare apps and other types of digital health. Moreover, they must address technical issues and privacy concerns by aligning stakeholder concerns before these digital health products are made available to the public.

Digital health services are available in telehealthcare, mHealth, and health analytics. Telehealthcare offers services that monitor the activities of patients daily. Meanwhile, mHealth devices and apps provide helpful information and data regarding patient health. Health analytics allow for a deeper understanding of processes and digitized health systems to build infrastructures for medical services. The NHS recommends 72 apps to the public, which both patients and healthcare provides can benefit from.

By aligning the process of digital innovation, the NHS can scale digital health products and services across hospitals and a wide range of disease areas, ensuring that patients will receive quality and personalised care.

5 Important Things You Should Know About Health Insurance in Australia

Australia’s health system primarily consists of the public Medicare program, but health insurance is available to cover certain hospital expenses, like psychiatric services and rehabilitation. Certain providers will offer extras like dental, optical, and physiotherapy.

If you want to add private health insurance coverage to your included Medicare benefits, there are a few essential things you should know about how Australia handles this service.

What Australians Should Know About Health Insurance

The Australian healthcare system can feel tricky to navigate if you’ve never purchased insurance yourself. The following points should clear up common insurance misconceptions.

1. What’s Covered Depends on the Insurer and Their Policy

Australian insurers will separate their inclusions between general treatment and medical services in hospitals. The most common inclusions are dental, optical, anaesthesia, consultant physicians, and psychiatrists. You also get the option to stay in a private hospital.

It’s essential to assess your healthcare needs and tailor your level of coverage for what you require now and in the future. Your family doctor can help you choose the right plan based on your pre-existing health conditions, out-of-pocket spending, medications, and lifestyle.

2. The Average Cost of Health Insurance Premiums is Rising

In Australia, health care premiums are rising at an alarming rate. The Australian Medical Association (AMA) found that the variation range across insurers can vary from 8% to 46%. The AMA is attempting to solve this problem, but Australians are unlikely to see a change soon.

The best way to save money on your health insurance is by comparing from a list of health funds. Australians can save hundreds per year by picking the right insurance provider and only paying for services they absolutely need. Be sure to reassess your policy yearly to save money.

3. You May be Subject to Surcharges and Incentives

The Medicare levy helps fund services provided through Medicare. For this reason, all citizens must pay a 2.0% levy on their taxable income, but if you make above a certain amount, you’ll receive an additional levy between 1.0%-1.5%, depending on your taxable income.

If you’re a wealthy Australian and purchase health insurance, you’ll waive the additional levy. Australia will also receive a rebate, either as a tax offset or through reduced premiums and Lifetime Health Cover (LHC), which helps young people avoid paying the LHC loading.

4. Health Insurance Doesn’t Cover the Whole Cost of Services

One big misconception about health insurance is that they’ll pay for the total cost of each medical service, but that’s hardly, if ever, the case. That doesn’t mean that health insurance doesn’t help cover most of your costs. In fact, most insurers will cover 80% of your services.

Most Australians have to extract four wisdom teeth in their lifetime, costing upwards of $2,322. With insurance that pays 80% of the cost, you’ll only pay $464.40 plus your premium. Buying health insurance can save you big time if you’re unable to build up a good amount for savings.

5. Private Hospitals Are Worth the Extra Monthly Fee

In Australia, there isn’t a big divide between the level of care you receive in a public or private hospital. However, private health insurance does give Australia\’s access to shorter wait times, a private room, cheap and/or free anaesthesia, and the ability to choose their own doctor/surgeon.

If you’re due for a routine surgery at a public hospital, you may stay on a waiting list for more than a year. However, most patients will only wait 48-57 days, but you can move yourself closer to the top of the waitlist by going to a private hospital and choosing an available surgeon.

What the Pandemic Has Taught Us About Pulmonary Care

The COVID-19 crisis continues to have a significant impact worldwide more than two years after it began. And while there are undoubtedly evolving challenges associated with the pandemic, there are also examples of positive developments spurred on by the necessities of this situation.

Pulmonary care, in particular, has been reshaped and revised in order to accommodate coronavirus treatment and empower both medical practitioners and patients alike. Here’s a look at how the field of pulmonology in particular has grown and changed during the pandemic.

Increased patient engagement allows for better outcomes

Part of the problem in providing care to patients is that a certain level of education and understanding is required on their part to deliver the best outcomes.

Thankfully, the pulmonology PROMs (patient-reported outcome measures) in the wake of the respiratory-focused pandemic have been enhanced significantly.

People are simply more aware of the risks they face, and the signs and symptoms of diseases like COVID-19, which in turn means that physicians and researchers can rely on them to take the reins of their own health, working with them more efficiently.

The process of battling the virus has involved a lot of data collection, and patients have played a vital role in this.

From taking tests and tracking their movements to participating in vaccine trials, people are simply more at home with being proactive about public health. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the outbreaks of other maladies in the future.

Infection mitigation strategies have been overhauled

One of the major barriers to battling the pandemic in the early days, weeks, and months was working out how it was being spread.

Previously it was assumed that the kinds of diseases which affect the respiratory system tend to be limited in their scope of infectiousness due to being confined to larger droplets emitted when we breathe.

With COVID-19, it became apparent that smaller droplets were also prone to provide a mechanism of transference. Thus the need for a combination of mask-wearing and the use of ventilation arose as the main strategy for reducing risks of infection, especially in public places.

Furthermore, because people have been taking precautions to stop the spread of the coronavirus, this has led to a dramatic drop in the instances of other respiratory issues.

Even people with pre-existing conditions have been reporting fewer flare-ups since the spaces we share with others have never been more free from potentially problematic particles.

This feeds back into the idea of public health awareness being good for everyone, and the sense of shared responsibility for protecting one another assisting the most vulnerable members of society.

Social norms have shifted

Following on from the discussion of how experts are getting a better understanding of how respiratory diseases spread, and how this research has impacted public policy and societal behaviours, it is also worth thinking about the broader implications of the pandemic in the long term.

While in the past lots of regions of the world had little to no understanding or acceptance of mask-wearing, this is not the case any longer.

So people who have either respiratory issues or a compromised immune system will both understand the need to wear masks in public in the future even after the threat of COVID-19 has receded, as well as feeling comfortable doing so because the sight of a masked person is not an unusual one.

The horrors and fallout of the pandemic look set to continue for some time yet, but hopefully, you now understand that we are all learning lessons from it, and will be better protected in the future as a result.

Oral Health Tips for Cold Weather

Whether you’re hitting the slopes or taking a quick stroll to stay warm, the colder weather shouldn’t keep you indoors. Cold weather and brisk winds, on the other hand, can be detrimental to the health of your teeth, mouth, and lips.

Temperature changes can significantly affect all aspects of your appearance, including your skin, face, and body. The freezing temperatures, along with severe winds and dry air, cause unpleasant dry skin that can swiftly deteriorate into painful blisters. Exposure to chilly weather can also result in various dental health problems. Read on to discover some dental health tips for the cold weather and how to deal with certain dental issues.

 

Some Dental Health Tips for Winter Season

Keep your mouth and lips safe from these unpleasant conditions this winter by following these essential oral health tips!

  • Winter is a time of year when many of us will inevitably get a cold or the flu at some point. What you haven’t considered is the influence of your throat lozenges, cough medication, lemon drinks, and fruit juices; they can be detrimental to your oral health. Hence, only take medications prescribed by your physician.
  • These cold and flu medicines often have sugar or acids, which cause cavities and tooth rot in the mouth. Choosing sugar-free alternatives and avoiding cleaning your teeth shortly after eating or drinking something acidic will help protect your teeth from wear and tear. Before brushing your teeth, wait at least 30-60 minutes before doing so. Instead, rinse your mouth with water and chew on gum to encourage saliva production while you wait.
  • Maintaining your usual oral hygiene practice, which includes brushing and flossing twice a day, to help remove germs that can cause a sore throat or a stuffy nose, as well as avoid decay from forming on your teeth. Make sure to replace your toothbrush once you have recovered from your illness since it might still contain bacteria from while you were unwell.
  • Also, ensure that you visit a qualified dentist for regular checkups and dental cleanings. If you are experiencing tooth discomfort due to the cold weather, you can schedule an appointment with one of the best orthodontist in US to help diagnose and treat your dental issues effectively.

Tooth Sensitivity

Teeth sensitivity is a prevalent complaint amongst the general public. It is possible to experience discomfort while drinking hot or cold drinks or inhaling cold air in the winter. Purchase a toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth to alleviate the discomfort associated with tooth sensitivity. In addition, you should use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush gently, avoiding placing too much pressure on your teeth and gums while doing so.

Cold Sores

Cold sores are tiny blisters that appear on the lips and are frequently painful. Their symptoms are very infectious and can flare up for various causes, including stress and exhaustion and exposure to cold temperatures. Cold sores can be prevented by frequently washing your hands and avoiding skin-to-skin contact with others when you’re out and about. Keep your lips moisturized with a lip balm to prevent sores from forming on them.

Cracked or chipped teeth

A crack in your teeth might get worse if you’re chilly since you’re more likely to clench or chatter your teeth. Please schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible if your teeth are sore.

Chapped or Dry Lips

When you’re outside, your mouth is exposed to the elements, which can be very cold. Cracking, reddening, and itching can occur on your lips as a result of the cold weather drying up the sensitive skin on them. Dry lips can be both annoying and painful, depending on the severity of the condition. Applying a high-quality lip balm frequently throughout the day will help to prevent dry lips from developing. Drinking enough water can also help to keep your skin moisturized and your lips from becoming chapped.

Canker Sores

Because of the exposure to a harsh environment during the dry winter months, you are more likely to encounter canker sores. Acidic or spicy meals have the potential to intensify these symptoms. Canker sores are small, white sores that occur inside the mouth. Fortunately, they are not typically contagious. If you have canker sores, rinse your mouth thoroughly with a mixture of warm water and salt several times a day to help ease the discomfort.

Prevent Gum Disease

Nobody wants to acquire a cold sore, yet exposure to the harsh winter sunshine and biting winds can result in the dreaded cold sore or canker sore outbreaks that we’d all want to avoid. Because a weakened immune system can make gums more susceptible to inflammation and infection, it’s vital to keep up with your dental hygiene routines during the winter to keep your teeth and gums in good condition.

Keep in mind to replace your toothbrush regularly, especially if you’ve been sick with a cold or the flu. Vitamin C pills can also be advantageous since, in addition to boosting your immune system, they aid in the production of collagen, which is essential for maintaining good gum health and preventing tooth decay.

Remain Hydrated

Keeping hydrated by drinking enough water is essential for maintaining excellent oral health and preventing tooth decay. It aids in the removal of sugar and acid from the teeth, the preservation of moisture in the mouth and lips, and the prevention of germs from growing in the mouth. When the temperature begins to drop, though, many of us are more prone to go for soothing beverages such as tea, coffee, and hot chocolate rather than our usual water consumption. Drink at least two liters of water every day, even in the cooler months, to ensure that you remain hydrated and in good health.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let the chilly weather deter you from visiting your local dentist clinic for a check-up and cleaning! These suggestions can assist you in navigating the cooler months while maintaining yourself and your teeth in the best possible health. If you’re having dental problems this winter, you should see a dentist.

3 Ways the Food Hygiene in the UK is Changing

Protecting consumers from food safety hazards is a primary concern of the UK government, which is why they introduced appropriate legislation requiring establishments to establish minimum standards. 

Despite leaving the EU, the UK government assures the public that their food safety standard and consumer protection remains unchanged. They will remain committed to implementing a robust and effective regulatory regime, which means businesses in the food industry can continue to operate as usual. For most businesses, there will be no changes in how they are regulated and operate. Still, a few changes have been observed lately. 

Here are some ways food hygiene in the UK is changing.

1. The Brexit Effect 

Leaving the EU has significant disruptive potential in the UK’s food industry due to labour shortages and increased ingredient sourcing costs that could impact the food supply chain and, eventually, food hygiene. However, the Food Standards Agency has assured the public that the high food and animal welfare standards will not be affected post-Brexit. But food campaigners warned that consumers might be subjected to lower standards and unsafe food products that would promote intensive farming, damage animal welfare, and trigger diseases like superbugs due to antibiotics overuse in farming.

Under the post-Brexit regime, ministers can exercise wide-ranging powers to change the standards on food and agriculture at the stroke of a pen. These will include altering rules on the type of medication allowed on livestock or adjusting the level of pesticides to use. Under the EU, these rules were strictly regulated.

A survey centred on the trade deal with the US revealed that British consumers would not be willing to sacrifice their food standards for the mere purpose of free trade deals. 79% of the respondents stated that they would find lower-quality important from the US, such as those vegetables grown with pesticide and were banned in the EU, unacceptable. Meanwhile, about 80% of the respondents objected to hormone-fed chicken imported to the UK.

2. COVID Mean Tougher Cleaning Standards 

Now that we’re in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for the food sector to continue prioritizing the safety of their customers and staff and ensure that all employees adhere to the government guidance on the prevention and control of Covid-19 infection. 

Currently, there’s not yet any evidence that food or food packaging can become a source or vehicle of transmission for the Covid-19 virus. However, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 within the workplace, food businesses must continue implementing effective health and safety procedures and the Covid-19 prevention and control measures. Companies are also urged to apply Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS), which includes proper hygiene practices and the application of HACCP or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point.

Physical distancing, regular hand washing, and wearing face coverings are some of the basic measures that companies must implement to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the food production and handling industry. Company managers and staff must ensure that these measures are adhered to at all times to minimise the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

In line with the government advice, food businesses must make sure that the risk assessment of their business should address the risks of the spread of the Covid-19 virus. They must apply the government social distancing guidance at all times. Food businesses that are restarting or have made any changes to their business operations must review and update their HACCP where necessary. 

When restarting your food business operations, you must review your usual start-up procedures after temporarily shutting down, including employee’s undertaking uptodate food hygiene training. It would be best to consider whether any additional procedures will be required. Your assessment should consider the length of time your business has been out of operation. While reviewing the procedures, consider the cleaning requirements for your business and include an assessment of any pest control.

3. Natasha’s Allergy Law 

Another change in UK food hygiene has something to do with the “Natasha’s Law“, which requires businesses to label all pre-packaged foods for direct sale, including a complete list of the ingredients. The 14 major allergens must be highlighted on the list.

This Law was named after Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, a teenager who died after eating a pre-packaged baguette, which did not come with ingredients labelling at that time. All pre-packaged food products are now required to be labelled, including pre-wrapped sandwiches. Fast foods that have already been packed before the customer places the order and supermarket items like meat and cheeses from the deli counter must also be labelled.

Natasha’s Law applies to foods packaged in the same place where they were sold before being ordered. Foods that are pre-packaged somewhere else will now require food ingredients labelling and emphasize the 14 allergens. The Law offers more consistency in the labelling of pre-packed products while giving more protection for people with food intolerances and allergies whenever they purchase “grab and go” foods. 

Except in situations that require immediate action, local authorities responsible for enforcing the Law are advised to take an appropriate risk-based approach for any breaches. Furthermore, the FSA advises that authorities handle minor errors with extra guidance and support according to these changes, especially during the early months of implementation.

The Food Standards Agency has long been assisting businesses in preparing for the changes for well over a year, providing them with tools to help them fully understand which products will be covered by this new law. Furthermore, the FSA encourages customers to make their allergies known to food businesses and their staff when ordering food. This has been highlighted in the #speakupforallergies campaign earlier in the year, encouraging young people to be vocal about their allergies when ordering food.

The chief executive of Food Standards Agency has welcomed the change, stating that Natasha’s Law could help to drive down the number of hospital admissions resulting from food allergies, which have seen a significant increase in the east two decades, and to further prevent tragic deaths such as the case of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse.

3 Ways the Veterinary in the UK is Changing

The Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association has revealed that the population of pets in the UK has significantly increased since the start of the pandemic, especially among young people looking for a companion pet during the lockdown. And this is good news for the UK’s veterinary industry. 

But over the past few years, the industry has undergone mixed conditions. Revenue was expected to increase at a rapid rate. However, it has shown high volatility in the past year since the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many vet clinics to shut down temporarily. Thankfully, the industry has rebounded strongly, all thanks to the significant increase in the pet population in the UK and some other factors. 

Below are some ways the veterinary in the UK is changing.

1. Acceleration of Telemedicine 

Telemedicine refers to the act of practising medicine from a distance. Whenever a vet diagnoses a pet’s condition, recommends a specific treatment, or provide a prescription without ever seeing the pet in person, that practice is considered “telemedicine”. In the same way that most health services for humans have gone digital due to the Covid-19 pandemic, telemedicine has also accelerated in the vet industry. Instead of taking their pets to a vet clinic, pet owners have turned to emailing, texting, and video calling veterinarians.

Research shows a 20% increase in the number of vets offering digital or remote consultation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and almost half of these vets have been offering online services. The surge in interest in the demand for online vet services has significantly changed how the vet industry works. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years, even when the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

One company in the UK that offers online vet services has revealed a 900% increase in the demand for their services since the lockdown started. Last November 2020, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe published a paper assessing the use of telemedicine in veterinary care. The paper highlighted how digital health tools could increase access to vet services even in remote locations and across geographies, offering convenience to pet owners and providing them better access to veterinary services.

However, the paper also recognized that the widespread uptake post-pandemic could come with challenges unless regulatory bodies implement clear guidance regarding remote consultation, remote prescription, remote diagnoses, and the use of data.

2. More Vets Going Locum 

Currently, one in four vets in the UK works as independents, either as an independent service provider or a locum vet. A locum is a person who temporarily fills in a permanent staff position. Therefore, being a veterinary locum means temporarily working as a vet, which is a short-term option to gain experience around vet practices while having the freedom to work at any time convenient for you. It’s also an excellent opportunity to travel, as some locum work requires taking up jobs in different places worldwide.

Locuming is a process where the vet locum works in short-term practices for vet clinics requiring extra staff to manage the increased workload or cover staff shortage due to sickness, holidays, etc. Working as a vet locum can be enjoyable and exciting in your veterinary career. It offers excellent flexibility and balance to your life.

Perhaps you wanted to learn and experience other clinical practices, or you may be frustrated in your current position and seek change. Others would take up locuming to earn extra bucks since they are saving up for something, while some would just want to take things a bit easier for a while. So instead of working full time, they only want to take up locum work in the meantime. Whatever the reasons are, working as a locum vet does come with many advantages. You can work on your own terms, take up work at any time convenient to you, and increase your earnings at the same time.

Take note that you are not limited to locum vet jobs within the UK, when working independently. You can take up jobs anywhere you want, from Europe to Australia and New Zealand, which is also an excellent opportunity to travel. If you do not fancy travelling far, there will surely be plenty of locum opportunities within a few miles from where you live. Given all the benefits that come with working as a locum vet, it’s not surprising why so many vets have taken up locuming jobs.

3. More Females Enter the Sector 

It’s been found that around three-quarters of new vets are female. Experts predict that this trend has been this way for a long time now. There are many reasons behind these, although all of these are merely speculative. Some say that this could partly be due to the popularity of veterinary TV programmes, which attracts a broader demographic. It could also be due to the improvement in sedatives as restraints for larger animals, making it easier and more manageable for females. The increasing pet population in the UK could be a factor, too.

Another reason behind the rise of female vets is that corporate practices have now been found to have much more transparent and standardised salaries. While this is a good thing in itself, corporatisation brings a perceived ceiling to wages that have been seen as one of the reasons why there’s an increasing number of females entering the vet industry. Most men would prefer to receive higher salaries and would therefore gravitate towards STEM careers that tend to pay more. As a result, high corporatisation rates may have, in part, encouraged men to stay away from a veterinary career, but not the case for women.

Finally, the veterinary industry seems to include another data point to the theory that if an industry starts to become more female-oriented, the salary level could drop. This can also work the other way around, where computing has become something that’s performed mainly by men instead of being a menial job carried out by women. As a result, the salary level in this field could start to shoot up.

When to Take a Lateral Flow Test and How Accurate Is It?

More and more of us take lateral flow tests regularly, so read on for all the info you need about taking lateral flow tests and how accurate they are.

When to Take a Lateral Flow Test and How Accurate Is It?
Regular lateral flow testing has become part of day-to-day life for many of us, but with rules often changing, there is still some confusion as to when to take these tests. There have been many reports of a lateral flow rapid test lacking in accuracy.

So, in this guide, we’ll attempt to tell you everything you need to know about these tests. From when you should take one to the data surrounding their accuracy under different circumstances, we have all the information you need.

When Should I Take a Lateral Flow Test?
Lateral flow tests should be taken by those who don’t currently have COVID-19 symptoms. As many people who are infected with the virus aren’t showing symptoms, these tests can be ideal for regularly checking yourself to avoid spreading the virus to those who may be more vulnerable.

It’s a good idea to take a lateral flow test if you have been in contact with someone who has recently tested positive for coronavirus. They are also a requirement when you are travelling between many countries – you may have to show proof of a negative test before you are allowed to fly.

Regular lateral flow testing is a requirement for many workers, too. Those who are around others who are more susceptible to the virus are being encouraged to test daily to avoid outbreaks among vulnerable groups.

Even if you aren’t required to test yourself, it can be a good idea to take a test every few days to help keep friends and family safe. COVID-19 can spread rapidly, even if you don’t have symptoms, so regular testing can help prevent large outbreaks in your area.

How Accurate are Lateral Flow Tests?
There have been reports of lateral flow tests lacking in accuracy; however, their accuracy depends on whether or not you have symptoms of COVID-19. They are thought to be more accurate when you have recently become infectious but haven’t yet developed symptoms.

A false-positive result is highly unlikely – it’s thought that fewer than three false positives will be produced for every 10,000 tests taken. On the other hand, unfortunately, a false negative result is a more common, and more dangerous, occurrence. The tests’ accuracy increases the more infectious you become – over 90% when you are at your most infectious.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, it’s best to get a PCR test as soon as possible. Lateral flow tests are not as accurate at detecting the virus in those who have symptoms, so it’s best to get a PCR test to confirm whether or not you have the virus so you can take the appropriate measures.

Should I Get a PCR Test After Taking a Lateral Flow Test?
Again, this depends on the result of your test and whether or not you have symptoms. Since a false positive lateral flow test is so rare, there is no longer a need to take a PCR test to confirm a positive result.

However, if you have symptoms of the virus and have tested negative on a lateral flow test, you should take a PCR test to confirm. Of course, it’s possible that another illness is causing similar symptoms, but we’ve seen above how lateral flow tests aren’t always accurate at diagnosing those with symptoms.

Do Lateral Flow Tests Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19?
In a word, yes. Lateral flow tests have been highly effective in reducing the spread of the virus. Regular testing and reporting your test results can help scientists track the spread of the virus and monitor local outbreaks.

They are effective at controlling the spread of COVID-19 mainly thanks to their ability to diagnose those without symptoms. It’s thought that around 1 in 3 people who are infected with coronavirus won’t develop any symptoms, so by testing regularly, even when you feel well, you can self-isolate if necessary to avoid spreading the virus to others.

In many areas, those who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus no longer have to self-isolate. Instead, they should take a lateral flow test daily for a short period to confirm that they remain uninfected. This means fewer people have to self-isolate while still reducing the spread of the virus.

Direct Data Capture and Its Future in Clinical Trials

Learn more about Direct Data Capture and what its future holds in clinical trials.

The Future of DDC in data collection for clinical trials
As technology advances, it’s meant to improve our lives simultaneously. With that said, Direct Data Capture, DDC for short, is currently improving at a rapid rate in clinical trials – which only means good things for patients and medical practices alike. And what’s more, both patients and clinicians will have peace of mind as Clinical Ink leads the charge in decentralized clinical trial conduct. We know that data collection and following the correct procedures in data collection is crucial the world over, especially when it comes to medical information. But what if data collection can be made easier? Let’s dive into the future of direct data capture in data collection for clinical trials.

What is direct data capture?
Direct Data Capture forms part of the four types of eSource. What is eSource? In simple terms, eSource means that electronic data is source data. It is essentially a way of collecting data by directly putting this data into an electronic record. Sounds confusing? Think of it as filling out a digital form. Right, back to DDC. With DDC, it is the process of inputting data into an eCRF (a paper or digital questionnaire) contemporaneously. Essentially, you are filling in a form digitally instead of on paper. The patient\’s data is captured immediately into a DDC tool during a visit.

What is data collection?
According to the United States National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health, data collection for clinical research is the act of gathering variables relevant to research. Further, these variables include patient parameters, data items, data elements, or questions, which are aggregated into data collection forms for study implementation.

What are clinical trials?
When medical teams want to evaluate a medical, surgical, or behavioural intervention, they perform clinical trials on people, also referred to as research studies or cases. Clinical trials are the primary tool to determine if a new treatment or surgery (think a new prescription drug, a life-saving medical device like a dialysis machine, or a ground breaking spinal surgery that takes one hour) is safe AND effective in people. In many cases, clinical trials are also used to determine whether a new treatment will have no, fewer, or more side effects than the current treatment. But that’s not all clinical trials are used for. In other cases, it’s used as a tool to detect diseases early to prevent health problems. Another way clinical trials are used is to ease suffering for people living with deadly diseases or chronic health problems like asthma.

The Future of DDC
There have been many positive views on the future of direct data capture, such as improved patient experience, fewer errors, and saving time. Yet the paper solution consistently wins this race. But will DDC win the marathon? The simple answer is yes. Will it be tough to convince clinicians to switch over to DDC? Absolutely. Dan Vahdat, CEO and founder of Huma, noted that the digitalization of clinical trials enables researchers to “collect a lot more data, a lot more easily and from a lot more people.” Now, this is the future, and it cannot be denied. What organizations should consider is that eventually digitizing processes will catch up with them, and offering an easy-to-use system will benefit everyone – the point is to look toward the future, and however scary it is, it includes digitization. Something to consider for the future is to also look at a hybrid approach. The future can also work this way. Part of this could be that DDC is used as the main way to capture data, and the paper-based solution is used as a backup in case of power failures or systems being down – these issues can arise. Another benefit of a hybrid approach is that if the clinical trial includes multiple sites, you should be using a system that works specifically for each site, whether digital or paper.

But we also must look at this from a patient perspective. DDC allows patients to capture data directly into an electronic tool, meaning patients can participate in a clinical trial from anywhere AND track any side-effects and success digitally. And from a monitoring perspective, it allows organizations to review data in real-time.

The Secret Solution to Curing Your Mature Pains

As we get older, it’s only natural that we encounter the odd ache or niggle every now and then. You wouldn’t be alone in experiencing these little maladies either, in fact, over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief treatments in Great Britain, in 2020 alone, amounted to £658.5 million in sales.

People aren’t only using over-the-counter treatments either. The global market for non-opioid pain relief devices is expected to balloon over the next decade. It is predicted to increase from a £1.7 billion market in 2018 to a £3.8 billion market by 2029. Clearly, people are seeking out alternative and at-home remedies for treatments, and that will only increase in future.

With winter at its peak, and the days slowly getting longer once again, now is the perfect time to start taking charge and find some ways to help combat your aches and pains. While OTC treatment is important, having a few tips on managing your aches can be a helpful addition to your routine. So, in this article, we’ll discuss a few of the common problems you might have in your senior years and how to deal with them at home.

Combat the cold weather

The UK is no stranger to cold weather. But, as we leave the festive season behind us, it may surprise you to learn that January and February are often the coldest months of the year for the nation. When the cold weather sets in, it’s not uncommon to experience some discomfort, chalking up the aches and pains as simple side-effects of the season.

Many will rush to spend the winter tucked under their duvets to avoid the drop in temperature, neglecting daily exercise routines in the process. However, this isn’t the best way to combat the cold. If you’re experiencing some discomfort over winter, rather than hunkering down under a blanket for the day, doing some light exercise can help to keep your body in tip-top condition.

There’s no denying that slipping into bed or upping the thermostat are both tempting options, but daily exercise will ensure that you maintain your strength and mobility right through to springtime. Take up some indoor activities, such as yoga, Pilates, or simply walking on the spot. If you’re living with a partner, why not get them involved and try some dancing together?  You don’t have to do anything too strenuous but staying active will do wonders for your joint pain during the winter. Then, once you’ve stretched yourself out a bit, you can get tucked back under your duvet!

Alternative treatment

Discomfort in our joints is one of the most common types of pain that we experience, especially in the latter half of our lives, and it can occur any many places on the body. For example, 80 per cent of adults aged over 45 suffer from knee pain. Joint pain can be more difficult to manage in later life, especially with the onset of conditions such as osteoarthritis and inflammation.

Given the prevalence of joint pain in the population, it’s no surprise that many people are seeking simple yet effective methods of dealing with joint pain. You should always check with your GP before using alternative treatments for pain, but once you have, laser therapy can be a useful supplement to OTC pain relief. Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) works to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, encourage healthy cell growth, and more.

What’s more, at-home laser therapy devices means that you don’t even need to leave your home to alleviate some of your symptoms. This way, you can stay comfortable when targeting those painful areas.

Eat well

Along with joint pain, arthritis is a condition that affects many – senior citizens in particular. There are OTC methods to help symptoms, but it can be beneficial to make some changes at home to combat arthritic pain. In particular, dietary changes can make a difference in your symptoms.

To fight joint inflammation, fish oil has been found to be effective for easing cases of rheumatoid arthritis. So, if you’re looking for a dietary fix to ease some of that stubborn joint pain, fish and other seafood might come in very handy. Turmeric is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties, so it may come in useful to incorporate into your meals. Why not try adding it to a soup?

Knowing what foods to avoid is just as important as knowing what to go for. If you’re suffering from arthritic pain, it might be worth cutting down on your added sugars and processed meats. Also, keeping your alcohol intake low will help. Ensuring that you’re putting the right foods into your body and keeping the wrong things out is a simple way that you can keep your body ticking along with as few niggles as possible.

Aches and pains can be incredibly frustrating, and managing them can sometimes feel like a chore. However, dealing with those pains needn’t be such a hassle, and there are plenty of at-home remedies to ease the pain. We hope this article helps you settle those lingering niggles, whether that’s joint pain or winter discomfort, so you can spend the year pain-free!

How Many Years Has the Pandemic Set Back Environmental Sustainability?

Just a week prior to the World Health Organization labelling covid-19 a “public health emergency of international concern” a panel had sat down to discuss the ways in which the NHS could carve out a greener future in line with global attempts to net zero carbon emissions.

Regardless of the global pandemic, being able to put a time frame on such a feat for an organisation with such sheer magnitude as the NHS was always going to be particularly difficult.

In How to achieve a net zero carbon NHS during a pandemic (2021) scholar Emma Wilkinson details how despite the rapidly developing virus that so heavily impacted the healthcare service, they still committed to net zero by 2040 in a decision made in October 2021, referencing the inextricable link between the climate crisis and ill health.

A united approach against climate change

During the events of COP26 in Glasgow, it was agreed that all UK health services would commit to becoming net zero. They were joined by 47 countries globally who agreed similar ambitions and considering that 4.6% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from health systems, these commitments were considerable.

When announcing the NHS’ decision to partner with the worldwide scheme supported by the COP 26 Health Programme, further reference was made to the association between driving down emissions and improving public health: “The impacts of climate change represent the biggest public health challenge of this century, which could be felt around the world through greater water and food insecurity, extreme weather events and increased infectious diseases.”

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid went on to add: “As a health community, we cannot simply sit on the sidelines – we must respond to climate change through urgent action, with global collaboration at its core.”

The UK Government have pledged considerable support so far. More than £330 million was invested in climate-smart healthcare and low carbon hospitals for NHS England, NHS Scotland is due to have all small and medium vehicles operating at net zero by 2025, low carbon heating to be used across all NHS new builds in Wales, while health and social care in Northern Ireland will emphasis their influence on supporting the supply chain to reduce their carbon emissions. These are just some of many announcements that have been made.

That said, however, how much of this is going to be playing catch up thanks to the events of the pandemic?

In this article, we take a look at the impacts of the pandemic on the NHS’ ability to reach net zero.

Pandemic pollution galore

NHS Scotland figures released in May 2021, some 14 months into the pandemic, revealed that 1 billion items of PPE had been used. The figures, which account for items used between 1st March 2020 and 5th May 2021 detail 664.8m gloves, 190.9m Type IIR masks, and 187.1m aprons. The velocity of the items being used were so large that an additional £7m in NHS contracts were awarded to deal with the waste.

Findings collated by a group of researches in the US and China published in December 2021 detailed how the world has created approximately 8 million tonnes of pandemic plastic waste since of which a significant amount has now made it to the sea – what the report by Peng, Wu, Schartup et al (2021) did reveal however, was that despite European and North American nations, such as the UK & the US, who were hit hardest by the pandemic in terms of number of cases, relatively little pandemic plastic waste was created.

On the other hand, despite having had had 30% of total global cases as of August 2021, were responsible for 72% of global plastic discharge.

Rizan, Reed, & Bhutta (2021) wrote in Environmental impact of personal protective equipment“the carbon footprint of PPE distributed during the study period totalled 106,478 tonnes CO2e. The estimated damage to human health was 239 DALYs (disability-adjusted life years) and impact on ecosystems was 0.47 loss of local species per year.

Disposing of waste

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of the pandemic and the ensuing sustainability impacts was the fact we hadn’t negotiated such an event before, particularly during a time when were so conscious about our environmental impacts.

One study reported that if each individual were to wear a single-use face mask every day for an entire year, more than 66,000 tonnes of unrecyclable plastic waste would be produced. Tragically, there is no system in place as of yet for the environmentally friendly disposal of single use face masks that are potentially contaminated – the vast majority going to landfill.

The NHS labels waste as either infectious, offensive, or municipal – used PPE usually falls under the category of infectious or offensive and must be disposed of in a way that prevents infection. This usually involves burning at an offsite incineration plant.

There exists controversy surrounding the burning of waste – while on one hand, it is used to heat local buildings and provide electricity (municipal waste contributed 2% of UK energy in 2018), incineration has also been criticised for releasing harmful gases and calling upon the use of materials for burning that could otherwise have been recycled.

The true impact of the pandemic on sustainability

Unsurprisingly, it’ll be a number of years before we can put an accurate number on how the pandemic has impacted global, domestic, and the NHS’ quest for net zero. That said, there have been a number of learnings and of course, failings.

More sustainable mask options, including reusable, washable alternatives are certainly something we expect to receive considerable investment over the coming years. Predictions, similarly, suggest that UK manufacturing would have reduced the carbon footprint of PPE by more than 12% while reusing gowns and gloves could have contributed a further 10% reduction.

That said, however, we successfully managed to adopt digitalisation during the pandemic reducing considerable travel requirements within primary care – balancing in some respects the downfalls.

There is a number of different takeaways from the impact the last two years has had on the environment but, for now, the healthcare sector can reflect, learn, and issue new healthcare contracts to suppliers who believe they can help the system reach net zero successfully.

Written for GHP

Instagram Influencers Are Driving the Trend for Luxury Fake Teeth

Instagram influencers have a close relationship with their followers, and the greater their success, the more close-up pictures and videos they will face. They are obliged to perform traditional beauty roles, and as such, the pressure to have perfect smiles and beautiful teeth is intense. This has driven huge demand for luxury dental veneers, some of which cost between $1,000 and $4,000 per tooth. Fans have caught onto the trend and demand for veneers has never been greater.

Hollywood Veneers

Dental veneers have always had a close relationship with celebrity. They were first developed in 1928 by Charles Pincus, as “Hollywood veneers” to help improve the smiles of actors. At that time, many actors had decayed, missing, or broken teeth, and he helped transform the smiles of such legends as James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Alice Faye, Robert Taylor, Fanny Brice, Mae West, Joan Crawford, Edith Head, Barbara Stanwyck, Walt Disney, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and even Shirley Temple. Hollywood veneers were temporary, and easily removable. Today’s veneers are largely permanent.

They consist of thin porcelain or composite resin coverings that are bonded to the front surface of teeth with dental cement. The teeth are sanded down before the dental veneers are bonded on, and have a lifespan of some 10 years.

For most people, dental veneers were used to fix functional problems with their teeth, but for the very rich, and those who needed to look good for their work, they were used for purely aesthetic reasons. Around the 1990s, traditional celebrities began to embrace dental veneers, but for the general public, they remained something that was only used to correct functional issues. Instagram changed all that.

Instagram Transforms Dentistry

Technological improvements democratized access to prosthodontist services, so that by the time Instagram was launched in 2012, the conditions already existed for widespread use of dental veneers for aesthetic purposes. With costs lower than at any point in history, and the quality and naturalness better than ever, the public was ready to embrace the aesthetic use of dental veneers.

Instagram matched creators with fans who loved their content and were attracted by their preternatural beauty. These mostly female creators played an almost mythic role within the platform and fans expected perfection from them. Instagram influencers have to have the same or even higher standards than more famous, and wealthier Hollywood celebrities. Like the early Hollywood actors who sought out Dr. Pincus to help them with their teeth, these influencers sought out aesthetic dentists to help them perfect their smiles.

Dentists such as Dr. Michael Apa have gained a legendary status. Apa has half a million Instagram followers, and famously documented Instagram influencer and cosmetics entrepreneur Huda Kattan’s procedure, which, thanks to porcelain veneers, gave her the perfect smile she had always desired.

What Makes Instagram Special

Instagram has brought celebrities and influencers into a more intimate relationship with their fans than was ever possible. Fans feel as if they are part of the lives of influencers, and that they have a right to certain expectations. And with many influencers commercializing their appearance, they need to live up to these expectations.

Not only are influencers under immense pressure to live up to ideals, but their fans look to them for inspiration and guidance. Influencers are called influencers for a reason. Fans see what they do to their bodies and are inspired to follow suit.

As Instagram influencers have normalized the use of dental veneers, their followers have come to aspire for the same standard of smile as influencers, and that means getting dental veneers.

Porcelain Veneers and the Authentically Pretty Smile

Instagram influencers have to have the perfect smile, but it also has to appear natural. Looking fake is the worst thing that can happen to an influencer. Porcelain veneers achieve this. You can have a smile that is prettier than everyone else, without looking fake. The naturalness of today’s veneers is startling. To the untrained eye, it is impossible to distinguish veneers from naturally, perfectly white teeth.

Influencers who can achieve this state of natural-looking perfection drive higher rates of engagement with their fans, which grows their followers, allowing influencers to earn more revenue through sponsorship deals and other income streams.

Many influencers such as Kattan, have simply commercialized their own journey to perfection. Kattan’s cosmetics empire is worth a billion dollars, and was built on selling the kinds of fake eyelashes that she has used for years. To make a success of such a strategy requires endorsement deals which often come with free products and services, including getting the kind of porcelain veneers that make the worst teeth look divine.

Today, it’s unthinkable that a person can be an Instagram influencer without dental veneers. Dental veneers have raised the bar on what constitutes a perfect smile. The intimate relationship that Instagram influencers have with their fans has democratized the use of dental veneers and allowed a new generation of social media users to get perfect sets of teeth.

GHP Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2021 Oral Health & Dentistry Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 – GHP has announced the winners of the annual Oral Health & Dentistry Awards.

GHP Magazine is proud to announce another successful year of hosting the Oral Health & Dentistry Awards programme. The aim of the programme is to recognise and award all types of businesses within the dental industry, this includes dental clinics and practices, manufacturers, cosmetic dentistry, dental insurance, and other industry professionals who offer dental advice and services.

Our Awards Coordinator, Harwinder Pawar, has spoken about the success of the awards programme: “After living through two years of a global pandemic, the healthcare industries have had to introduce major changes into to continue to serve the public. I am proud of all the hard work and resilience that these businesses have demonstrated and would like to wish all the winners a huge congratulations. I wish them all the best in their future endeavours!”

GHP Magazine, as always, endeavours to recognise those that are going above and beyond, or indeed, the businesses that are making meaningful steps forward, no matter how small they might seem on the greater landscape. That’s why we launched our awards programme, and why we continue to spotlight the work of exceptional companies and individuals.

To find out more about these leading lights and discover what has led them to becoming who they are today, please visit https://www.ghp-news.com/awards/oral-health-dentistry-awards/ to access our winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About GHP Magazine, a publication under AI Global Media

Global Health and Pharma magazine (https://www.ghp-news.com/) is a global information sharing platform & a multi-disciplinary member’s community. The publication was established to enhance communication networks & collaboration across all themes and disciplines within three main categories: Human, Animal & Environmental Health.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media (https://www.aiglobalmedialtd.com/)  has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 12 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Top Tips to Relieve a Sore Back

If you suffer from back pain it’s often hard to concentrate on anything else or enjoy the things you used to. Exercise, socializing, and even relaxing are affected by the pain, which can take an emotional toll on the sufferer.

There are plenty of over-the-counter drugs that can help to relieve a sore back, as well as surgeries and other medical treatments. However, there are also small actions that you can take at home.

If you are at all worried or if your back pain is severe, or has been causing you pain for more than a few weeks you should go and see your doctor. However, if the pain is mild then there are several tips and tricks to help relieve the pain and encourage good back health.

From gentle exercises to better sleep to a change in your office equipment, read on to find out our top tips to relieve your back pain.

One of the top tips to relieving a sore back is to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. To do this, it’s essential that you have a supportive mattress, and there are even mattresses out there that can help to reduce back pain and ease pressure points.

There are also various home remedies that you can try if your back is acting up. Ice packs and heat pads are good for minor back injuries and gentle stretches and exercise can help alleviate back pain. Even changing the way you sit and stand can do wonders for back pain. Let’s take a look at these hints and tips in more detail.

1. Pick the right mattress

A restful night’s sleep will do wonders for your mental and physical health. A broken night of sleep can make an already bad back feel even worse. To get the best night’s rest you can, it’s important to invest in a good-quality mattress that will support your back and allow your muscles to recover. There are even mattresses out there that can specifically help people with back pain.

You can also try experimenting with different sleep positions to help relieve back pain. For example, if you suffer from a herniated disc, you could try sleeping on your side in the fetal position.

2. Apply a heat pad or ice pack

If you’ve injured your back then you could apply a soothing heat pad or an ice pack. Both heat and ice have been shown to provide relief for back pain. If you’ve recently injured your back, then something ice-cold wrapped in a towel can help reduce inflammation in the area and relieve the pain. If your back muscles are aching, then a heat pad is a common go-to remedy, and can even help with painful muscle spasms.

3. Check your posture

As a child, you were probably told to stand up straight, and that lesson is just as important now you’re an adult. Poor posture is a common reason behind back pain as it means that the loads are distributed over your spine incorrectly, causing changes in your spine and pressure in the muscles.

To fix poor posture, stand up tall when you walk and look straight ahead. Pull your shoulders back and allow your arms to hang loosely at your sides. When sitting, keep your back straight and your shoulders back. Don’t hunch over your computer and try not to cross your legs.

4. Stretch out

A quick yoga or pilates session can include some easy back stretches to suit even the least agile person. Some top stretches for back health include cat to cow which can help improve the circulation in the discs in your back. Another easy one is the child’s pose or the downward dog.

If you don’t have time for a full yoga workout, then a few stretches as soon as you wake up can be beneficial. Try lying flat on the floor, then bring your knees to your chest and give them a hug. Or the classic, gently lean over and try to touch your toes.

5. Take care when lifting

We’ve all heard the expression “lift with your knees” and with good reason. If you lift something heavy the wrong way, you could damage your back. If your back is already painful, then you’ll need to take extra care when lifting. Stretch before doing any lifting exercise. When you do pick up something heavy, bend your knees, keep the object close to your body, and steadily stand up straight.

6. Gentle exercise

If you’re in pain you will likely gravitate towards to couch to rest. However, staying still could actually make the pain worse. Gentle exercise can help reduce back pain, so try and move around as much as you can. If jogging is too painful, try walking. Or swimming which can help relieve lower back pain.

7. Change your shoes

A healthy back needs supportive footwear. Unfortunately, there are many studies that show that high heels can contribute to back pain. Wearing heels changes your posture and puts extra stress on your back which can cause pain. You don’t have to throw your heels away, but it is sensible to wear them as little as possible and invest in a pair of comfy sneakers.

8. Maintain a healthy weight

If you carry around extra weight it will put extra strain on your back. Maintain a healthy weight with regular exercise that you enjoy doing. You should also stick to a realistic diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoid foods that are processed or high in fat or sugar.

9. Get a standing desk

If you find yourself sitting hunched over a computer at work, then investing in a standing desk might help. It can help stretch out tight muscles and encourage you to move around more. However, if standing makes you feel worse, then you should look at other methods to alleviate back pain.

If you can’t get a standing desk, then make sure your office has a chair that allows you to sit with your feet firmly planted on the floor as this will help your back and posture.

10. Book a massage

Massage therapy can be very helpful for sore, achy backs. Some people also find that acupuncture helps.

If your back pain doesn’t clear up in a couple of weeks, then it’s important to consult your doctor. You may have just pulled a muscle, but it could be symptomatic of something more serious. Either way, if you suffer from chronic back pain it’s sensible to consult a professional.

The Importance Of Protecting Your Ears

Some people are born with hearing problems, while others slowly lose their hearing over time. There are many causes of hearing damage and loss. Hearing is an essential sensory skill, along with your eyesight, taste, touch and smell.

Around 17,000 people suffer from hearing damage caused by excessive noise at work in the UK. Some have deafness, while others experience ringing in the ears and various other hearing conditions. Many people work in loud environments day in and day out – from music venues to construction sites. High-quality ear defenders can protect your ears and prevent long-term hearing damage.

Let’s take a closer look at how some professions carry auditory risks.

Construction Workers and Factory Engineers

It’s no secret that construction sites are loud. Between machinery and heavy materials, there is always a drilling or banging noise somewhere. Construction workers are often in close proximity to these machines or even inside the vehicle. They are exposed to constant noise and vibration that can exceed the recommended decibel levels of 85dB.

Musicians

When you leave a concert, everyone is shouting, and their ears are ringing. Music artists experience that level of noise all the time – especially when they’re on tour. The noise will usually be off the charts if they play to a large venue. There may be an orchestra or live band behind them and thousands of screaming fans. They are usually stood next to huge speakers blasting out their music. It’s a fantastic experience that can also cause permanent hearing damage for musicians. In fact, many famous artists are known to suffer from tinnitus – including Chris Martin, Bono, Will.I.Am, Bob Dylan and many more.

Airport Staff and Motorsports

Airport staff are often exposed to excessive noise from loud vehicles with powerful engines. Airport ground control staff and maintenance crews experience high levels of noise on a daily basis. They should be provided with hearing protection on the job. Ground control staff often wear high visibility jackets and a large pair of ear defenders. They are protecting their ears, not listening to the latest Adele album.

Ear Protection
Your ear protection needs to fit well so it will stay in position the entire time. A banded fit is more adaptable and can go behind the neck or below the chin with a helmet. You are far more likely to wear ear protection if it’s comfortable and well-fitting.

Make sure your ear protection is fully certified with CE markings or EN, ISO and BS codes. Your equipment should be the necessary safety and performance standards.

If you work in a profession that may put you at risk it is crucial to remain vigilant of the early signs of hearing loss, and see a doctor if you’re worried about your ears

4 Types of Spinal Injuries and How They Affect Your Brain

If your brain is the control room of your body, then your spine is the main communications pipeline that ensures the orders issued up to get distributed to the extremities.

As you might expect, injuries to your spine can have a raft of side-effects and associated issues. In turn, understanding the impact to your brain after suffering a spinal injury is a way of coping with the fallout.

To bring you up to speed, here is a look at the most common spinal injuries and what they usually entail for your brain and the rest of your body as a result.

Cervical spinal cord injuries

In terms of severity, this is inarguably the highest on the list, since it will lead to disruption to the functions of everything below the shoulders, in addition to your neck and of course your head.
Cervical spinal cord injuries can lead to partial or total paralysis of your limbs and lower body, up to and including the issue of being incapable of breathing without the assistance of apparatus, and of losing control of normal functions.

In essence, your brain could become entirely incapable of orchestrating your body as it would prior to the injury.

That is not to say that intervention and rehabilitation is impossible. Specialists like those at IGEA Brain, Spin & Orthopedics in Paramus, NJ have the skills, expertise and facilities to assist patients in even the most severe conditions.

Thoracic spinal cord injuries

Moving further down the body, we come to the spine that sits within the upper portion of your torso, and is predominantly responsible for sending signals to the muscles in your chest, abdomen and back.

Depending on which nerves are damaged, patients could struggle with breathing, or with maintaining their balance. However, the good news is that in many cases the movement of your arms and hands will be unimpeded.

Bowel and bladder control can also be hampered by injuries to this area of the spine. Wheelchair use is also often a necessity, although things like driving a car and even walking with assistance are an option, as your brain will retain access to the nerves controlling the limbs and resources needed for these activities.

Lumbar spinal cord injuries

Lots of people will be familiar with their lumbar, or lower back, because of the support that all sorts of seating is designed to offer for this sensitive area.
Injuries to your spine in this region will likely leave you struggling to walk, since both your hips and your legs are managed by your brain via the nerves contained within it.
As with all spinal injuries, the severity of the damage done to your lumbar will hold sway over the procedures needed for recovery and support, as well as the length of time it takes to return to a semblance of normality. Rehabilitation leading to total independence is usual in this case.

Sacral spinal cord injuries

Sitting at the base of your spine, the nerves in this region are in charge of things like your hips and thighs, as well as the organs in and around your pelvis and also your buttocks.
Sitting at the least severe end of the spectrum, sacral spinal cord injuries should allow sufferers to make a decent recovery, with walking and other movements eventually being completely uninhibited.

There is also the factor of the mental health issues which can arise after a spinal injury, brought about by the life-altering fallout of this dilemma.

Be sure to seek the help and support you need for your body and your mind alike, whether you experience spinal injuries or any other ailment.

Surprising Things That Can Affect your Sleep

Sleep. It’s something we all need to function effectively, but it’s elusive for many of us.

We know that caffeine close to bedtime, a noisy environment, and light can affect our sleep. But what about the things you might not have known about?

Here, private health cover provider Westfield Health covers some of the most surprising things that affect your sleep and how you can prevent them from keeping you awake at night.

Too much exercise…or not enough

Exercise is one of those strange paradoxes when it comes to sleep. Exercise helps us to sleep in many ways, from tiring out our body and mind to relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. Many people find that exercising in the morning pumps them up for the day and helps them fall asleep later at night, while others find that a post-office workout kicks off their process of winding down for the evening.

While there’s nothing wrong with exercising after work, there is a cut-off time where you should stop. Working out too close to bedtime can disturb your sleep because it energises your brain and body in the short-term. Alasdair Henry PhD recommends finishing exercise at least two hours before you go to bed, in order for your body to begin the drop in body temperature that can aid sleep.

Subconscious stresses

Some of us are regularly kept up by our racing minds and things we’re stressing over. It’s one of the most common causes of insomnia. So, why are we including this in our list of surprising things that affect our sleep?

Because many of us are kept awake at night by stresses that we might not even be aware of. If you’ve spent a night tossing and turning and having strange dreams, it could be subconscious stress keeping you awake.

This kind of stress can be hard to tackle if you’re not aware that you’re stressed out. Journaling before bed can help, because you can alleviate your mind of anything that’s on it. Writing about the events of your day can help you identify any underlying stressors. Making notes on whether it’s a problem you can solve or not can help take it off your mind. If you subconsciously worry about your day at work ahead, one study found that writing tomorrow’s to-do list can be effective for helping you get a good night’s sleep.

Not having the right environment

Most of us know by now that a dark, quiet room is essential for getting a good night’s sleep because light and noise can easily disturb you. But there are other bedroom factors that could be affecting how well you sleep.

Temperature is an important factor. While it might seem sensible to have a warm and snuggly room in the colder months, this could be impacting your sleep. It’s recommended that you keep your bedroom temperature around 16-18oC because warmer temperatures could make you restless through the night. A pair of breathable pyjamas and a warm duvet will help you strike the right balance between keeping warm in the winter without overheating through the night.

What you eat and drink

We know caffeine before bed isn’t a good idea for a restful night’s sleep. More of us are also aware that a pre-bedtime alcoholic tipple isn’t a good idea, because while it might make us sleepy, it impacts the deep sleep we get. Beyond that, there are other foods and drinks that can affect how we sleep.

If you’ve ever had a craving for a late-night snack, or you’ve had a late meal, this could negatively impact your sleep. Eating food that’s high in fat close to bedtime can disturb your sleep. It’s harder to digest high-fat foods, so your body will be working around the clock to process it. Spicy foods before bed also aren’t a good idea, because they can cause a rise in temperature.

It’s also important to not go to bed feeling hungry because this can keep us awake. Snacks that can help you sleep include bananas, oats, and almonds. Alternatively, if you are having a meal later than usual, including some tryptophan-rich turkey can help by increasing your melatonin production. As for drinks, the old adage of a warm, milky drink rings true, since milk contains high levels of tryptophan. Other warm drinks can also help you relax and drift off, including chamomile tea and valerian tea, for their calming properties.

Sleep is essential for our bodies and minds, and it can be frustrating when we find that we can’t sleep well. Some triggers, like a noisy room or an uncomfortable bed, can be easy to identify. But there are also many other factors that can affect how we sleep at night. By making sure you’re exercising at the right times, clearing your mind of any stresses, and optimising your bedroom, you can help yourself get a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep.

How and Why NHS Trusts Must Take a Longer-term View Over Software Procurement

AUTHOR: Dan Teare, Healthcare Sector Director, mpro5

Getting software right is no easy task – especially in healthcare. It must be applicable to a near-endless list of users, applications, and contexts – and these are constantly evolving. These inevitabilities, paired with the inherent difficulties of managing such a huge organisation, unfortunately means that software is often not as effective as it can be – and costs the NHS far more than it needs to.

The reasons for this are, of course, many, but the fix is remarkably simple; NHS Trusts must stop looking at the micro and the short-term, and instead think about how to procure software that is both flexible and delivers long-term value.

Easier said than done, I know, but it is not impossible. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing software.

Don’t get lost in the details

When you approach a software vendor with a big list of problems, there are several issues that can arise with any product created. Firstly, it hampers the creativity of solution providers. Procurement should be a problem and solution led process in which you explain your pain points to service providers and then assess the strength of their proposed solution; don’t be afraid to let experts come up with what they think is a suitable product – for individual problems, but also the wider context these problems sit within.

Secondly, because it focusses on solving a long list of issues specific to today, it can’t easily solve tomorrow’s problems; and you can be sure there will be several you couldn’t have predicted. This issue is compounded when you factor in the new rules, regulations, and technological innovations that the future will surely bring. Ultimately, the more precisely your software is suited to today’s exact problems, the less flexible it may be to solving tomorrow’s. In turn, this means that a Trust would have to buy a new, off-the-shelf software product to deal with any new issues or contexts – costing good money which is being thrown after bad, and not fixing the inherent issue in the first place: inflexibility.

Top-down solutions never work

However, the other side of the coin is that you think too big, and too top-down. A software product that is built to be used in every Trust in the UK is simply unfeasible. Although on paper it is ideal, as it would avoid the problems that appear when each Trust has its own discreet software in place, it would be too costly and time-consuming to implement nation-wide. Furthermore, just as when focussing on the microscopic problems of a single Trust, software built for a long list of Trusts would be too inflexible – lacking adaptability and the integration capabilities required for it to be adopted and used effectively at the local level.

It is worth remembering just how often the rules and regulations change. For example, the new National Standards of Healthcare Cleanliness have only been recently released, but these are meant to be reviewed and updated every 5 years. Furthermore, they were late being released. Therefore, your software must be prepared for unpredictable and regular change.

Choose a partner, not just a product

Turning a problem-solving exercise into a scoping one turns any potential partner into a yes-(wo)man. When selecting a software provider to work with, it is an important time to test their problem-solving capabilities, their creativity, and most importantly, how well you work together (rather than how well they solve your list of problems). When comparing several vendors, you get to compare them on the above factors – leaving you with the best partner for your Trust, not just the best solution for your immediate problem.

Go configure

Often, Trusts are backed into a corner: they have to follow the approved process for procurement and they have little choice but to buy another discrete piece of software in order to solve the problem in front of them. This means a Trust can easily end up going out and buying a cleaning auditing piece of software, as well as security auditing software, time management software, a space utilisation piece of software, and so on. They then end up with a whole tech stack that, by virtue, becomes so complicated that nobody understands it. Not to mention the cost and time implications involved in managing multiple different systems, and training the relevant people on them.

It’s vital that you use software that is fully configurable andbuilt to adapt – not just to tomorrow’s world, but also to all the different teams and operations in your Trust. When you move beyond that ‘fix problem X’ mentality and engage with a platform that is configurable, you can gradually unify your tech stack without ripping out the floorboards. By doing this, each problem then becomes nothing more than another process within a single solution, rather than having a solution for each problem.

It’s about changing the mindset around what a piece of software is. Instead of thinking about a piece of software as a standalone fix, solving that one problem, Trusts need to think about software as a flexible tool that will help them solve multiple problems, known and unknown, both now and in the future.

Naturally Increase Thermogenesis: Is It Helpful for Burning Fat?

If you have been researching the various weight loss tips, tricks and techniques available everywhere online, you may have stumbled upon the term thermogenesis. This article will describe briefly what it means and how it can be utilized to good effect to help burn surplus body fat and lose weight naturally.

What is Thermogenenis?

Thermogenesis is the process by which the body creates heat. This natural bodily function can be stimulated in two ways: shivering and nonshivering thermogenesis.

Non-shivering thermogenesis, also known as brown fat thermogenesis, occurs when mitochondria generate heat through metabolic processes that do not require a change in muscle contractions.

Brown fat tissue is found mostly in infants and hibernating animals but has been discovered to exist among adults as well! Read on for more information on how to naturally increase thermogenic activity!

How Can Increasing Thermogenesis Naturally Help You Lose Weight?

Non-shivering thermogenesis is the most beneficial type of thermogenesis when it comes to weight loss. This is because brown fat tissue consumes more calories than any other kind of body tissue! In fact, research has shown that just a few ounces of brown fat can burn up to 200 calories per day!

Thermogeneis can also be increased by adding certain known fat burning foods and ingredients to your diet. Some of the most beneficial thermogenic agents can be found in male fat burning supplements – morso than female equivalent products.

So how do you increase your body’s natural ability to produce heat and promote weight loss? Here are some tips:

Thermogenic Foods That Can Burn Fat

  • Eat spicy foods – Spicy foods like chili peppers contain capsaicin, which stimulates the release of catecholamines (hormones such as adrenaline) from the adrenal glands. These hormones trigger non-shivering thermogenesis in the body.
  • Drink coffee or tea – Both coffee and tea contain caffeine, which is a natural stimulant that speeds up the metabolism and increases nonshivering thermogenesis.
  • Eat more protein – Protein stimulates the release of glucagon from your pancreas. Glucagon leads to greater insulin sensitivity in cells and helps promote brown fat tissue growth! This effect can be enhanced by eating eggs or fish with high levels of omega-three fatty acids such as salmon every day.
  • Eat more green vegetables – Green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach have a high nutrient density, which triggers the growth of brown fat tissue.
  • Drink ice cold water – Drinking at least 16 ounces of ice-cold water every day can trigger non-shivering thermogenesis without needing to eat spicy foods or caffeine!

 

Other Tips to Increase Thermogenesis Naturally

  • Turn on the heat – Try taking an invigorating shower before you go for a run outside (if it’s cold where you live). The warm water will stimulate non-shivering thermogenesis while exercising and help keep your body temperature elevated even after returning indoors! If possible, try spending some time outdoors on cold days to take advantage of this natural fat-burning process.
  • Dress warmly – Wearing layers of clothing can help trap heat and increase thermogenesis.
  • Use a heating pad – Place a heating pad on your abdomen or chest to stimulate the production of heat in your core.

 

What About Thermogenic Fat Burning Supplements?

There are a number of thermogenic supplements on the market that can help you boost your body’s natural ability to produce heat and promote weight loss.

More often than not supplement manufacturers target men and produce fat burners for men that can increase thermogenesis naturally and accelerate your metabolic rate. There are effective female fat burners but women targeted fat loss products are more low stimulant or even completely stimulant free.

If you do choose to use a thermogenic fat burning supplement then do your due diligence and research carefully as there are arguably more ineffective fat burners than effective ones. Here are some thermogenic and complimenting ingredients that should be present in the formula.

  1. Green Tea:  Green tea contains a thermogenic compound called epigallocatechin gallate, which is very effective in boosting the body’s metabolism and can help you burn fat naturally.
  2. Caffeine: This popular stimulant found in coffee, green tea and even chocolate helps increase your metabolic rate to ensure that more calories are burned throughout the day. It also assists with focus and concentration so you stay on track when it comes to dieting!
  3. Cayenne Pepper Extract: Cayenne pepper extract acts as an appetite suppressant while increasing non-shivering thermogenesis at the same time which can lead to significant weight loss over time.
  4. Yohimbine:  Extracts from the yohimbe tree are often used in thermogenic supplements as they help to break down fat cells and increase energy expenditure.

Here are some complimentary ingredients often found in fat burning supplements for both women and men.

  1. L-Tyrosine:  L-tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid that acts as a precursor to neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which play an important role in the regulation of mood. It can also be used by the body to produce thyroid hormones, which serve to increase resting metabolic rate.
  2. Alpha Lipoic Acid: Alpha lipoic acid functions as both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent while promoting healthy blood sugar levels already within normal range! This allows you to burn fat more effectively throughout the day without suffering from low energy or food cravings.
  3. Acetyl L Carnitine: Acetyl l Carnitine serves multiple purposes when it comes to weight loss including acting as a potent appetite suppressant and increasing the rate of lipolysis, which is a process that breaks down fat cells to release fatty acids into your bloodstream.
  4. Guarana: Guarana is very similar in structure and function to caffeine as they are both xanthine alkaloids derived from plants. However it also contains other compounds such as theophylline and theobromine that work together with caffeine to create an even greater stimulant effect on metabolism!
  5. Glucomannan:  Glucomannan is a dietary fiber that swells up in the stomach to create a feeling of fullness and suppress appetite. This can help you eat fewer calories overall and lose weight in the process!

The above list covers some of the most effective thermogenic natural fat burners along with their suggested complimentary ingredients so you can start looking for supplements containing these ingredients.

 

Increasing Thermogenesis Naturally Conclusion

In conclusion, thermogenesis is a natural process that your body goes through in order to produce heat. This can help you burn more calories and promote weight loss over time.

There are a number of thermogenic supplements on the market with ingredients that can help increase this process, such as caffeine, green tea extract, cayenne pepper extract and yohimbine.

You should also look for complimentary ingredients like L-tyrosine, alpha lipoic acid and acetyl l carnitine when searching for a quality supplement. Increasing thermogenesis naturally is definitely an efficient way to lose weight!

Above all else, don’t rely solely on thermogenic fat burning supplements. You should concentrate on a wider range of techniques for increasing thermogenesis naturally.

7 Reasons Adults Prefer Aligners over Braces

Aligners have helped many adults get the smile they are looking for. Aligners have allowed more adults to straighten their teeth without the hassle of braces. Many adults prefer aligners over braces for a multitude of reasons. Here are seven top reasons why adults prefer aligners over braces.

1. Less Appointments

The biggest downside with braces are the endless orthodontist appointments. Treatments with braces can take years depending on the severity of your teeth. An orthodontist is required to adjust brackets and arch-wires at regular intervals. As an adult, attending multiple orthodontist appointments can be hard to schedule around work and family.

Most dentists and orthodontists require less office visits with aligners. Even better, there are many that have a direct to customer option. Companies such as Byte and AlignerCo make it possible for you to have aligners without any office visits.

With direct to customer options the company will send an impressions kit and instructions for you to use at home. You then send in your impressions and the company will make your aligners based off of those impressions. You will still have access to professional help, these companies have remote dentists appointments available. You won’t have to worry about months of going to the orthodontist and having all those adjustments made.

2. More discreet

If you choose to straighten your teeth with braces, there is no way to hide the fact that you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. On the other hand, aligners are practically invisible. Aligners are clear and you can go about your normal life without anyone noticing that you are undergoing any treatment. If you have a big event or party to go to, aligners are removable, so you can remove them without the worry of food getting stuck in your braces.

3. You don’t have to restrict your food

If you choose to use braces you can’t eat certain food. Things such as hard candies, corn on the cob, and gum are forbidden when wearing braces. This can be an issue when going out to eat with others you have to make sure you go somewhere that has something you can eat. Since aligners are removable there are no foods that are off limits. You always just take your aligners out when you eat.

4. Can straighten your teeth around your schedule

Unlike braces that you have to wear 24 hours every day, aligners come with multiple options. Some aligner companies let you choose between the standard “all day treatment”, which involves wearing your aligners for 22 hours a day, and “night time” treatment, which involves just 10-12 hours of daily wear. The night time option will extend the overall length of your treatment, but you won’t have to worry about your aligners while you are out during the day.. Aligners give you ultimate flexibility and you can treat your smile around your schedule.

5. Whiten your teeth as your straighten them

With braces many struggle to keep their teeth as white as they were prior to getting braces put on. With aligners, you can choose an option to whiten your teeth as you straighten them. Aligner companies have additives you can add to your aligners that will whiten your teeth as you treat your smile. You can also choose other professional whitening services since the aligners are removable. With braces you cannot whiten your teeth while you straighten them, you have to wait until the treatment is over before you can begin to whiten your teeth.

6. Better oral hygiene

When wearing braces, it is hard to properly floss, brush your teeth and maintain overall dental health. Food tends to get stuck in your braces and can sometimes be hard to get out. Braces can harbor bacteria around the brackets and wires. Since you may not be able to keep up with your normal oral hygiene routine, it can lead to other problems down the road.

However, aligners can be removed while you clean your teeth, you don’t have to worry about flossing around braces. You won’t have food particles sitting on your teeth for long hours and can know that bacteria isn’t sitting on your teeth and causing potential damage. Aligners are the best option when it comes to ultimate flexibility and proper oral hygiene.

7. Aligners provide faster results

The average course of treatment with braces lasts between 16 to 18 months. Some can even take up to 24 months, all depending on your individual condition. On the other hand, the average treatment time for aligners is around 6 months, while some may last up to 12 months. Overall, aligners take significantly less time to straighten your teeth.

The reason comes down to how the process works. Braces work to move each individual tooth by applying a small amount of pressure. Aligners apply pressure on all your teeth simultaneously. Since aligners work to shift your teeth all at once, the time it takes to straighten your teeth is reduced significantly.

Best Marketing Strategies for the Healthcare Industry

As medical aid becomes more available globally, patients have more options now more than ever when it comes to receiving healthcare. Today, patients can travel to any part of the country or world to seek the best healthcare services, making the healthcare industry one of the most competitive industries today. To keep the hospital doors open and running, medical professionals have to keep up with the latest marketing trends in the healthcare industry. 

Healthcare marketing can be tricky. Unlike other industries, there are many regulations governing marketing in the healthcare sector. Healthcare involves a lot of sensitive information, which calls for caution when using it to attract patients to a facility.

To maintain large patient volumes, you need to have a well-planned healthcare marketing strategy in line with industry regulations. These regulations include:

  • HIPPA mandates standards to be adhered to when sharing healthcare info and electronic billing in protecting patient privacy
  • GDPR regulation that governs how a hospital, marketer, or doctor can use patient data
  • The CAN-SPAM Act regulates the information deliverable by emails from doctors

A healthcare marketing strategy can be used to build better relations between medical practitioners and patients while drawing potential new patients to a facility.

Here is everything you need to know about building the best healthcare marketing to ensure your facility comes first to mind whenever a patient needs medical aid.

Planning Your up to Date Healthcare Marketing Strategies

Healthcare marketing can be used by hospitals, doctors, healthcare practitioners and networks, caregivers, and marketing executives in the healthcare industry. It is a strategy that ensures your patient care CRM database never runs empty.

The healthcare industry undergoes rapid changes, often, which calls for agility and focus to be able to keep up with the trends. While it requires time and sometimes a larger budget, doing it right will see your patient volume numbers grow. To make the process easier, here are ideal marketing steps you can take to promote your healthcare facility.

Have a Responsive Healthcare Website

The world has become a digital village where at least 85% of users seek information online. Having a website is an easy way of ensuring your healthcare facility is visible to the billions of people using the internet every day. It is not enough to have a website. You need to ensure that it is responsive.

A responsive website is one that can be accessed through multiple internet devices without compromising on the user experience. Your website should have the ability to adjust to different device screen sizes, offering the same responsiveness on a computer, mobile phone, or tablet.

As of March 2018, Google gives priority to websites that are highly mobile responsive. This means that Google now ranks healthcare websites based on their mobile responsiveness. Therefore, having a web-friendly only website excludes your healthcare service from search results online, which makes it invisible to online users.

Part of working on local SEO for your website is ensuring it is highly responsive on different devices. This means that your website should load on any device screen without compromising on loading time or site speed.

With a highly responsive website, you will give your patients and potential patients a good mobile digital healthcare experience. This will reduce the site abandonment rate and increase conversions.

When designing a responsive website, you need to include a call-to-action button on your web pages and ensure it is easy to find for the visitors.

Use Email Marketing

Email marketing still remains one of the most effective marketing methods for any business, including a healthcare facility. Ensure you encourage your patients to sign up for your email list to receive helpful health tips and information.

With a good email marketing strategy, you can show your patients that you are interested in their wellbeing long after they have left your facility. You can use email segmenting to9 customize your email messaging for different patients based on their health needs.

Maintaining communication with your patient base is important in building your hospital’s brand reputation as an authority in your field. This makes you the go-to facility whenever your email recipients need healthcare services.

Some of the ideas you can use to grow your emailing list include hosting webinars, paid advertising funnels such as assessments and quizzes, subscribing to access eBooks and downloadable content, and subscribing to exclusive health-related content.

Use Social Media for Engaging Patients

At least two-thirds of internet users use social media every day for an average of 12 minutes. Based on studies, at least 41% of internet users are likely to pick a healthcare provider based on their reputation on social media platforms. This makes it imperative for your healthcare facility to have an active social media presence.

One of the ways to build an excellent social media reputation is by taking time to engage with your followers, answering questions, and participating in online discussions related to your niche. The most common social media platform for the healthcare industry include Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook. These platforms allow you to connect with patients outside of their normal appointment schedules.

It is also advisable to constantly keep your social media pages active and up to date with relevant information. Create viral content on social media to improve organic traffic from advertising. You can also leverage humor-based content on a platform like TikTok to reach millions of potential patients. 

This will keep your pages front and center of your followers’ minds whenever they need services related to your healthcare facility.

Build Your Healthcare Business Online

Today, almost everyone with access to the internet uses the web to find relevant information related to doctors, illness, symptoms, and more. If your healthcare facility is to keep up with the competition, it needs to have an online presence. You need to become better at identifying your strengths and capitalizing on them to build a strong brand image online.

Whenever prospective patients come to your website, you need to ensure they see your strengths, including your special talents and skills. Ensure you use high-quality images of your facilities like the patient rooms, OR facilities, and laboratories. Also, include any industrial awards and accreditations on your website to help foster visitors’ trust in your services.

Ensure the benefits you offer are properly highlighted, focusing on what you offer and what isn’t available by your competitors. Always focus on highlighting your commitment to providing a fantastic client experience in and out of your facility.

Before visiting your physical institution, the majority of your prospective patients will visit your online facility. Hiring an online admissions counseling specialist can help you to grow your business. MBA admissions and advisors assist applicants throughout the whole process. Admissions consulting includes everything starting from understanding the steps and standards to producing applications materials (such as essays and resumes).

Use PR to Get Your Name Out There

One thing you cannot overlook when looking to attract patients to a healthcare facility is the need for a PR strategy. Having an ideal public relations team and strategy is the best way to get your facility’s name out to the public while focusing on educating them on your services.

Consider using:                          

  • Press releases to inform the public on the good your facility is doing for the community
  • Interviews by relevant local press where you address the latest healthcare issues facing the community. This helps to build a sense of trust and familiarity
  • Publishing an article that highlights your services and products, plus their benefits. This will pique the interest of potential patients and other healthcare professionals

 

Do Not Forget About Video Marketing  

The healthcare industry is one of the industries that underutilize video content in marketing. Video content is one of the few marketing strategies that guarantee to capture the audience’s attention. According to research, at least 90% of leading companies use video content to impact the decisions of their target audience.

In the healthcare industry, video marketing can be used to create information packs and guides, show behind the scenes of your healthcare facility, and even share patient testimonials and stories.

Some of the ways you can incorporate video content in your marketing strategy include using YouTube, the second largest search engine, offering a great way of reaching millions of people through video content. You can also include video content on your social media pages like Facebook, which prioritizes video content than any other type of static content.

You can also incorporate video content in blog posts to illustrate the content you provide in words. This is a great way of boosting your SEO. Video content can also be used on website landing pages, giving the visitor a glimpse of what your organization or facility has to offer. Using the word ‘video’ in your email subject can increase your open rate by up to 19%, making it essential to use video content in your email marketing.

Track Your Strategy

After implementing your healthcare marketing strategy, you need to test it to ensure you are getting the most out of it. You can use different analytics solutions such as Google Analytics to track the performance of your strategy and know areas that need improvement.

You can measure performance using hard metrics such as cost per lead, conversion rates on landing pages, and web traffic to know whether you are on the right track with your strategy.

Conclusion

The healthcare industry becomes competitive every day. It is the job of the healthcare marketing team and practitioners to stay on top of the latest trends if they are to maximize lead conversion and ROI.

As technology advances, digital healthcare marketing also evolves to create new marketing opportunities. You can combine the techniques highlighted in this article to make your healthcare business stand out from the competition.

New Eye Scan for Diabetes?

Occuity seals £2.85million investment to develop revolutionary medical technology with multiple clinical uses

A Berkshire based business has received investment funding to forge ahead with its development of the Occuity Indigo, an extremely innovative non-contact, optical glucose meter. The device will allow the 4.7million people in the UK with diabetes to monitor their blood-sugar levels through a simple scan of the eye.

Occuity, the medical technology start-up, which is developing the Indigo, has raised the largest MedTech financing deal (£2.85m) on leading crowdfunding platform, Seedrs. The original £1.8m target was reached within 24 hours of launch. The team, comprised of experts in optics, mechanical engineering, and industrial design, are also collaborating with the medical and academic world including partnerships with the Royal Berkshire Hospital and the University of Bristol.

The deal is ground-breaking for people with diabetes but caught the attention of investors because of the broad potential usage of the company’s patented optical technology for a range of conditions including glaucoma, myopia, diabetes management, pre-diabetes screening and eventually, it is hoped, the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

Occuity CEO and Co-founder Dr. Dan Daly comments: “We’re delighted to have become the largest ever MedTech raise on Seedrs with over 850 investors from 37 countries, sharing our vision. Diabetes is a growing, global problem and we believe our technology will enable health services throughout the world to monitor and screen for diabetes, improving the clinical outcomes for the hundreds of millions of people who are unaware they have pre-diabetes or diabetes. The Occuity Indigo will then make regular glucose testing easier, faster and pain-free, improving the daily lives of many millions more people worldwide.”

Design Director, Daniele De Iuliis, who – having spent 27 years as part of Apple’s Industrial Design Group – is now leading on the design of the Occuity Indigo, comments: “For too long now, the way in which we discover and monitor chronic diseases like diabetes has been routed in repetitive finger stick blood testing with all the pain, discomfort and inconvenience that brings. In contrast, the Occuity Indigo will be a discrete handheld product that will simply scan the eye to take a glucose measurement providing a pain-free 21st century solution that is long overdue.”

How will the technology work?

Diabetes Screening

  • Optical confocal scanning technology allows very precise measurements of structures within the eye, to be made down to micron level.
  • The scanning technology will detect the concentration of Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs) which build up in the eye over time. 
  • Invisible ‘Blue’ light illuminates the eye and the returning scattered blue light alongside green fluorescent light from the AGEs is detected.
  • Coupled with machine learning techniques, the readings from this device will give an indication of whether the subject is non-diabetic, pre-diabetic or diabetic
  • Taking just a few seconds, the test is completely non-contacting, so can be performed in a non-clinical setting in a pharmacy, an optician’s practice, or even in a domiciliary setting such as a care home.

Glucose monitoring (Occuity Indigo)

  • The Occuity Indigo will be based on the company’s core optical confocal scanning technology
  • The personal use device will scan the eye’s aqueous humour within the anterior chamber of the eye
  • It is non-contact, rapid and completely painless
  • The aqueous humour is effectively an ultra-filtrate of blood i.e. blood with the red and white cells filtered out. This means that the levels of glucose found within it correlates very well with that in the blood stream
  • As the concentration of glucose in the eye changes, the way in which light travels through the eye – the refractive index – also changes.
  • With its ability to make very precise measurements, the Occuity Indigo will be able to detect this change and in turn determine the concentration of glucose in the blood.

The State of the Healthcare Supply Chain

Concerns surrounding supply chains have been impossible to ignore during recent months.

The pandemic, and the issues that it has brought with it, has undeniably slowed both national and international trade.

It should come as no surprise that the healthcare supply chain has been at the very centre of the difficulties encountered here in the UK over the course of the past two years, with NHS Trusts scrambling to fulfil demand for PPE, vaccinations, ventilators and more.

Now, more than ever before, the importance of supply chain management is in the public spotlight.

The PPE crisis

At the start of the pandemic, concerns were mostly around personal protective equipment, with the World Health Organization calling on industry and government to increase the manufacture of PPE by at least 40% to meet rising global demands.

There is no denying that the National Health Service struggled. A stark contrast existed between the preparedness of the NHS and the healthcare systems operating in Hong Kong and Singapore.

In 2013, the value of the Department of Health and Social Care’s emergency stockpile sat at £831 million; fast forward to March 2019, one year out from the pandemic, and that same stockpile was £325 million down in value, at £506 million. Subsequently, a report produced in May 2020, a mere two months after the initial lockdown, highlighted that the UK’s healthcare stockpile did not contain gowns, while 75 per cent of the respirators had passed their use-by date, as had half of the surgical masks.

NHS procurement fast became a talking point for many, with the magnitude of spending and the overall approach to healthcare contracting in particular raising eyebrows. The result was widespread criticism aimed at those responsible for healthcare procurement.

The aftermath

Despite a host of criticisms and difficulties encountered by NHS procurement over the course of the pandemic, lessons have been learned and changes have been made.

Investment in the capabilities of domestic manufacturing has undoubtedly been one of the biggest achievements to date. Prior to the pandemic, the UK relied heavily on overseas production – a mere one per cent of PPE, for example, was produced by British manufacturers. By December 2020, that figure had risen to 70 per cent, with then Health and Care Secretary Matt Hancock noting “we have built robust and resilient supply chains from scratch”.

Similarly, a more centralised approach to procurement was secured, with the UK Government and the devolved administrations putting in place a PPE strategy to guarantee at least four months’ reserves of face masks, visors and gowns.

Finally, a robust online healthcare procurement pipeline was developed, having initially been launched back in August 2019. The successful development of this pipeline has helped establish a wider supply chain network featuring more small to medium sized local suppliers.

Beyond PPE

While much of the attention, for good reason, has been focused on issues surrounding PPE, other weak links in the NHS supply chain have been identified. Lately, a global shortage of bottles for blood testing, ligature scissor shortages, a lack of lorry drivers and rising fuel costs have all made the news.

From 26 August to 27 September 2021, NHS England told GPs not to perform blood tests unless critically urgent, as the NHS was suffering from an acute shortage of sample bottles.

With regard to fuel shortages, a British Medical Association survey revealed that seven in ten doctors feared the fuel crisis would impact their ability to work. The BMA warned in early September 2021 that “priority access was crucial to ensure NHS services could continue”.

Solutions required

Regardless of the problem, healthcare procurement needs the confidence of a more stable supply chain. The question is, how best to get one?

Business.org suggests that the first port of call for those looking to improve their supply chain should be a re-evaluation of suppliers.

A healthy supplier relationship cannot be achieved without good lines of communication, reliability and guaranteed speed of response. Good suppliers, according to business.org, are responsive, consistently able to deliver on promises, and capable of rapidly responding to client demands.

Similarly, monitoring the supply chain is essential in ensuring that it remains resilient – if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that anticipating what is around the corner, particularly in healthcare, is well-nigh impossible. Keep tabs on inventory levels on a regular basis, implement inventory management solutions, identify any emerging trends, and report on changes as soon as they occur.

As healthcare procurement and the health sector as a whole negotiates another crucial winter period, and with billions of pounds worth of healthcare contracts currently out to tender, it will certainly be interesting to see what happens next. One thing is certain, however; buyers and suppliers alike still face a considerable challenge.

Three Innovative Ways to Embed Wellbeing Into Your Workplace

Wellbeing at work means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. There’s a renewed focus on supporting your people’s health at work after nearly two years of pandemic mayhem.

Your initiatives can range from the large to the small, and an employee wellbeing strategy should have many strands. Half of businesses have a standalone wellbeing strategy according to a CIPD survey, while over 80% have updated it to support employees’ mental health and their personal needs during the pandemic. It’s positive to see that many businesses’ strategies are evolving with employee needs.

There are some fun and interesting ways you can keep your wellbeing strategy fluid. Here are some innovative ways you can embed wellbeing deeper into your workplace.

Offer care packages to staff

The last two years have been challenging for your people in varying ways. Some have had to juggle childcare while working from home. Others may have caught the virus and been very ill. Many people have lost loved ones. A lot of us have struggled with loneliness.

You can show not only your appreciation for your employees but also how much you care about them by gifting them personalised care packages. If winding down after a stressful day is difficult for some of the team, consider providing a care package with relaxing bath salts and soothing teas. Equally, if sleep has been a problem, include a lavender-scented spray and an eye mask.

If physical health is also part of your wellbeing strategy, you could include a range of healthy snacks and drinks to keep your people satisfied and motivated at their work. Because, let’s face it, it’s all too easy to reach for the chocolate and crisps snack box when you hit the 3pm slump.

Create wellbeing areas

Your wellbeing strategy should include initiatives to reduce employee stress, whether that’s through workload management or remote working days. But sometimes, your employees can still experience stress in the workplace. Having dedicated areas for them to take a moment away from their desk and the bustling office can help.

We’ve all seen images of the likes of Google’s offices, which have ample spaces for beanbag chairs, crazy golf, classic arcade games, and designated personal pods for privacy. But what if your office doesn’t have that kind of space?

Turning one of your meeting rooms into a dedicated wellbeing zone could be an option for businesses in smaller offices. Even if all you have in there are some comfy seats, it’s a much more relaxing environment than the busy office floor. Adding things like arcade games, pool tables, or TVs will add an extra layer of fun for your people, but ultimately a safe, quiet space is the biggest priority. Pepper in some oxygen-releasing plants for extra stress-busting properties.

Offer a range of wellbeing activities

A lot of people want to improve their wellbeing but may feel like they don’t have time to dedicate to it between busy work and home lives. So why not offer them the opportunity to do this during the workday?

Firstly, identify what type of activities your employees would like to see. If they’ve struggled with their mental health during the pandemic, virtual mental health seminars could help. Equally, you could provide confidential telephone counselling services so they can seek one-to-one help.

You could also offer classes before, during, or after work on a range of activities. Yoga is a great one for office-based employees who may be tense after a long day of sitting at a desk. Dance classes can encourage physical activity in a fun, no-pressure environment. Only a quarter of businesses offer onsite exercise or relaxation classes according to a CIPD survey, so this is an area where many organisations can improve.

Your business’ approach to employee wellbeing should be multi-faceted. Alongside a high-level business strategy that takes into account workloads and employee stress, there are fun and innovative ways you can embed wellbeing into your organisation. Although businesses prioritised wellbeing in 2021, 66% of employees still want more wellbeing support. Whether you set up some dance classes to let your people blow off steam in a healthy way or you provide regular care packages, there are so many ways to show your people that you care.

How AI Can Improve Patient Flow in Healthcare

AI can help healthcare facilities to considerably improve patient flow. Read this article to get to know how hospital managers can make the most of AI and ML in this aspect.

The term “patient flow” denotes the movement of patients through the hospital from entry to discharge. This is a complex and dynamic process. When humans manage patient flow, it might take them too much time and effort. Plus, errors caused by the human factor are inevitable. Read this article to understand how AI can improve patient flow in hospitals and what medical professionals should do to make the most of this technology.

How Can AI Improve Patient Flow

Here are a few examples of how exactly AI can improve patient flow:

-Emergency departments will be less crowded and patients will receive help faster.
-The need for regular surge plans will decrease.
-Fewer surgeries will be canceled or delayed.
-Patients will stay overnight in post-operative recovery rooms only when absolutely necessary.
-Patients will be timely discharged or transferred to appropriate units based on their clinical conditions.
-Bed capacity management planning will be enhanced.
-Physicians, nurses, and staff won’t suffer from overload and burnout as much as they do now.

AI- and ML-powered solutions help human professionals by offering predictive models. Plus, they provide real-time data that humans can use to make decisions.

How to Make the Most of AI-Powered Solutions to Improve Patient Flow

It’s not enough to install AI-powered equipment or software in a hospital and explain to the staff how to use it. The managers of the establishment also need to carry out the following three steps.

Build a Data Science Team

First, they should secure support at the highest level. All the executive leaders of the healthcare facility should realize the value of data science. The dedicated data science team should collaborate with other departments and turn data into intelligence that allows better decision-making.

Create an ML Pipeline to Aggregate All Data Sources

The pipeline should contain the following elements:
-All data sources
-Storage
-Transformation
-Modeling
-Visualization components

The pipeline should feature all data sources because otherwise, the predictive models would fail to identify the right areas for opportunity.

Put Together a Leadership Team to Govern Data

The team that governs data should include not only the members of the data science team but also leaders from other departments. Such an approach will enable the team to achieve two goals:

-Get various viewpoints when discussing the data science strategy
-Ensure support for data science from multiple departments

When leaders from other departments return to their teams, they should explain the significance of data science to their colleagues. All the staff of the medical facility should understand how they can benefit from the new technology.

The Necessity of Backtesting Models

Members of those teams that work with data science should regularly compare two sets of data:

-What the AI predicted
-What happened in fact

This method is known as backtesting models. It enhances transparency and allows team members to better estimate the reliability of predictive models. These models are not perfect yet, so human contribution is essential for decision-making.

When discussing the accuracy of applied models, teams might have brainstorm sessions. They can find the reasons for the inaccuracy of the previous models and come up with ideas for new ones. It’s essential to compare various models to detect the most accurate ones. All the participants of the meetings should be able to share their opinions on predictive models and voice suggestions.

The Most Efficient Way of Disseminating Information

AI-powered solutions can deliver real-time or nearly real-time data. They can generate daily reports that teams in charge of data science can examine. Yet that would be irrational. In most cases, the difference between today’s and yesterday’s data won’t be too drastic. Human professionals might be prone to so-called data fatigue: it will be hard for them to focus on the profound meaning of these numbers simply because they see them too often.

To maximize the efficiency of the reports, it would be wise to replace them with alerts. The system can notify the members of the data science team each time a certain indicator reaches an alert level. The leaders of the team can flexibly modify the alert level for each parameter. Each time the team receives an alert, they should be ready to take measures.

Humans Need to Combine ML with Their Own Expertise

Hospital patient flow is not limited to the work of one separate department. All decision-makers should have access to the data gathered and generated by AI. Different professionals might interpret the same dataset differently. To make the most of the technology, human experts should compare all the conclusions that they make from the data provided by AI.

At the initial stage of integrating AI into a hospital’s workflows, data science specialists need to guide medical professionals. The former should offer the latter the simplest models and teach them to interpret the data. Once the medical staff gets used to the process, data scientists can switch to more complicated models.

Healthcare facilities might want to integrate the Agile principles into their workflows to process the data more efficiently. This approach suggests splitting the full scope of work into short iterations. Once an iteration is over, team members analyze its results and discuss the achievements with the leaders that might not be directly involved in data science. The leaders should leverage the data to make decisions. Then, human professionals should suggest new variables for the predictive models and start the next iteration.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article came in handy and now you better understand the importance and advantages of machine learning health care. AI- and ML-powered solutions can improve patient flow so that the quality of medical services rises, the staff of healthcare facilities avoid burnout, and patients report greater satisfaction. To make the most of the new technologies, hospital managers should build data science teams, create ML pipelines to aggregate all data sources, and form leadership teams to govern data. To process data with maximum efficiency, healthcare facilities might want to integrate the Agile principles into their workflows.

Overweight and Undernourished

New report shows Brits urgently need a nutrition reset to get immune health back on track.

Three quarters of Brits recognise that immune health is compromised by bad diets, according to a new report commissioned by the Health and Food Supplements Information Service (www.hsis.org), yet there are worrying signs that our diets are way off track, putting immune health under strain as autumn gets underway.

The report – IMMUNE HEALTH: MICRONUTRIENTS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE – brings together a new poll and data on the healthiness of our diets to delve into our immune readiness. The results reveal that many Brits badly need a nutrition reset with food portions out of control, comfort eating rife and immunity nutrients, such as vitamin D and iron, in decline.

One of the report’s authors, GP Dr Gill Jenkins, says: “Good nutrition is essential for optimal immunity but, as far as our diets are concerned, key pieces of the puzzle are missing. Vitamins A and C – from fruit and vegetables – and iron from red meat, beans and green veg, are lower than ideal for some age groups, while most adults don’t take a vitamin D supplement as recommended.

“Fish intakes are also too low, leading to a massive shortfall in omega-3 fats, which help the body to calm down potentially dangerous levels of inflammation produced during an immune response.

“These nutrients all play a role in supporting two aspects of our immune function – innate immunity, which creates a barrier against invading pathogens, and adaptive immunity, which helps our bodies to target viruses and create antibodies.

“Given that diets in the UK are far from ideal, it’s a good idea to take a daily vitamin and mineral supplement, as well as an omega-3 supplement if you rarely eat oily fish. Supplementation has been shown to improve several specific aspects of immune health, particularly where deficiencies exist.”

Key findings from the HSIS report show:
• A third of survey respondents (34%) ate more comfort foods and snacks during lockdown.
• More than a fifth (21%) have been advised by a healthcare professional to change their diet to lose weight.
• Intakes of vital immune-supporting nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin D, B vitamins and iron, have declined over the last decade.
• Almost half (48%) say they have no idea what the Government’s Eatwell Guide advises – that’s the ‘bible’ on what a healthy diet looks like.
• Around two thirds (64%) of adults don’t take a vitamin D supplement.
• Only half are actively following advice to eat more fruit and vegetables.
• Three in five (60%) don’t pay attention to recommended portion sizes or portion control.

The UK immune health micronutrient emergency

With immune-supporting nutrients more important than ever, the HSIS report highlights the woeful gap between recommended intakes of key vitamins and minerals and the harsh reality of our current diets. The risks to optimal immunity are evident.

Vitamin A

What it does: Essential for the production and growth of immune cells
Immunity alert: Low intakes increase the risk that pathogens will invade the eye and the respiratory tract.
Who’s at risk: One in ten toddlers and primary schoolchildren don’t get the recommended amount of vitamin A. All children under 5 should be given vitamins A, C and D according to the government.

B vitamins

What they do: B vitamins are needed to make the enzymes that extract fuel from our foods. This feeds the immune cells.
Immunity alert: A lack of vitamin B6 reduces the production of immune cells whilst promoting inflammation. Folate deficiency depresses antibody responses.
Who’s at risk: Nine in ten women of childbearing age have low blood levels of folate. Vegans are particularly vulnerable to low vitamin B12 intakes as they consume no animal foods.

Vitamin C:

What it does: Protects immune cells from inflammatory damage caused by free radicals
Immunity alert: Low vitamin C levels increase the severity and duration of respiratory tract infections.
Who’s at risk: In studies of older people, deficiency levels ranged from 14-26%, with men at greater risk. New research suggests we may need four times the current vitamin C recommendation to fight respiratory viruses .

Vitamin D:

What it does: Most immune cells, especially T and B lymphocytes, have vitamin D receptors which suggests they need vitamin D to function well.
Immunity alert: Deficiency is associated with increased risk of COVID-19.
Who’s at risk: People from ethnic minority groups are at very high risk of deficiency, with figures ranging from 43% deficiency to 66% . In the general population, around 17% are vitamin D deficient.

Iron:

What it does: Promotes the growth of immune cells and helps to regulate the inflammatory response.
Immunity alert: Low blood levels linked to lower T lymphocyte numbers, a reduced antibody response, and impaired killing of pathogens
Who’s at risk: Almost half of teenage girls lack iron, and dietary levels have fallen in the past decade, probably as a consequence of red meat being shunned.

Zinc:

What it does: Helps to maintain the structure and function of the skin and the gut barrier, and vital for the growth and function of several types of immune cells.
Immunity alert: Being low in zinc impairs T cell function and increases susceptibility to infections of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.
Who’s at risk: Despite a small improvement in recent years, more than one in six teenagers (16%) still fail to achieve the minimum recommendation for zinc.

Omega 3 fatty acids:

What they do: Regulate the protective membrane around cells, which helps to curb inflammation after a major immune response.
Immunity alert: Low intakes prolong inflammation which then impairs long term immunity.
Who’s at risk: Anyone who doesn’t eat oily fish (salmon, mackerel) – which is by far the best source.

Dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton, who co-authored the HSIS report, says: “A recent study from King’s College London confirms that dietary supplementation can give your immune system a helping hand. Amongst almost half a million people subscribing to a COVID-19 app, the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was cut by 14% in those who took probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, multivitamins, or vitamin D.

“As winter approaches, it’s clear our diets will need to deliver more nutritional value to give us optimal immunity support. So, we need to urgently dump our comfort eating habits, watch portion sizes, up our vegetable intake, and choose healthier options for snacks. Tackling low levels of immune-support nutrients with a daily vitamin and mineral supplement is also a useful health hack.”

How to Support a Friend That is Going into Rehab

Overcoming addiction is a difficult trial in anyone’s life, whether you experience it firsthand or by watching a loved one go through it. However, it’s important to understand that there is help out there and that one can go through it with the appropriate medical attention and care.

It’s also important to know that addiction is a chronic brain disease, so you can’t cure it with willpower. It’s also not something regular people can deal with, so trying to cut someone off without medical supervision and guidance is never a good idea.

The best thing you can do for a friend or a loved one who has addiction troubles is to support them and guide them towards medical help. Rehabilitation centers, if recommended by a physician, are a great help because they provide specialized guidance and supervision.

However, depending on your location, it may be a bit difficult to find a rehab center that fits your friend’s needs. Luckily, if you live near Temecula, there is plenty of help.

Still, before you contact the first Temecula rehabilitation center you can find, make sure you are prepared for the journey. Here are some of the steps you can take:

Research the Best Rehab Centers in the Area

If you live in an area with easy access to rehab centers, the best way to help your friend is to thoroughly research each offer. Depending on your friend’s budget and needs, some of these centers will not be a good fit and they are not in the right state of mind to do the research themselves.

Quick tip: If you’re looking for a Temecula rehabilitation center, Ranch Creek Recovery should be on your list. They offer a wide range of services and the treatment facilities are very well-designed!

Educate Yourself on Addiction & Recovery

Addiction is difficult to understand if you haven’t experienced it firsthand. That’s why many people need support groups (such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous) where they meet other people with similar problems.

So, if you want to be of help, the best thing you can do is learn about addiction and recovery. Try to understand the science and learn about triggers and how to offer appropriate support to someone who wants to overcome their addiction.

Support, Don’t Enable

When caring for a loved one who suffers from addiction, it’s rather easy to go from supporter to enabler. When this happens, your help is no longer useful and it doesn’t contribute to the person’s long-term recovery journey.

That’s why education is important. Based on the things you learn, you can check yourself and make sure you are:

-offering help, but also take care of your own needs
-honest with your friend and don’t find excuses for unacceptable behavior
-providing them with love and balance without attempting to shoulder your friend’s responsibilities

Help Them Stay Active

Fitness activity, especially if practiced with a partner, has been found to help people who suffer from various brain diseases such as depression and anxiety. Someone who is into rehab can also benefit from fitness activity, as it provides an outlet for their energy and keeps their body active.

If the program allows it, you can help your friend by going cycling with them in the nearby area of the center. If not, you can try yoga or other forms of physical activity.

Key Takeaway

Addiction sufferers need time, patience, and support but they also need to be seen as individuals with the right to make decisions for themselves. Addiction is a disease, but this doesn’t give you the right to intrude on your friend’s or loved one’s freedom of choice. That’s why it’s important to offer support and understanding.

What State Has The Best Smile? Dental Health Ranked by State

ExpressDentist.com has ranked all 50 states based on the quality of their dental health. The study looked at 25 factors, including number of dental visits and other similar criteria.

Connecticut has the best dental health. This is followed by the District of Colombia, Massachusetts, Hawaii and New Jersey. Arkansas, West Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas have the worst dental health.

There are many factors impacting dental health, which the study aimed to quantity. For example, some parts of the United States have more dental professionals. Another factor that affects the health of your teeth is the availability of fluoridated water. Some states have a better approach to preventative dental care, which reduces the need for major work later down the line.

\”Some parts of the United States have a higher density of dental professionals, which makes not only access to dental care easier but also more affordable. Another locational factor that affects the health of your teeth is the availability of fluoridated water which is important to prevent tooth decay,\” said ExpressDentist.com. \”While some states provide fluoridated water to nearly all residents, others lag behind. Coverage for dental care also varies from state to state with some states providing no coverage under Medicaid and others providing limited, emergency, or extensive coverage.\”

The study methodology was fairly simple. There were 25 criteria that each provided the opportunity to score up to 4 points, meaning each state could score up to a maximum of 100. 6 indicators are based on the availability of dental health (\”Reason for not visiting a dentist among those without a visit in the last 12 months – Trouble finding a dentist\”), 6 indicators are based on dental habits (\”Percentage of young adults who visited a dentist in the past year\”) and 13 habits relate to oral health status (\”Percentage of adults aged 65 or older who reported having all teeth removed due to decay or gum disease\”).

Menopause for Thought – What Do Employers Need to Know

By Katie Ash, head of employment law at Banner Jones

Women make up a significant portion of the workforce, so it is hardly surprising that gender equality in the workplace has become an important topic in recent decades.

Indeed, sex is one the many characteristics protected under the Equality Act 2010, which helps to ensure that no one faces discrimination or is treated differently because of their gender.

Maternity leave – which protects the employment rights of women while they are taking time off to care for a new baby – was introduced in the UK in 1975, as part of the Employment Protection Act, and was further extended in 1993 to include all working women

Furthermore, as of 2017 any business with 250 or more employees also must publish its gender pay gap – the difference in average earnings between women and men – with a view to further driving equality.

These legislative changes demonstrate that much has changed over the years, but it is widely accepted that there is still more that needs to be done to level the playing field between male and female employees.

Most recently the subject of menopause, the impact that associated symptoms, and what employers should do to support their workers, has become a key area of focus.

Here Katie Ash, head of employment law at Banner Jones, which has signed the Wellbeing Of Women’s Menopause Workplace Pledge, talks about what employers need to know if they have a member of staff who is experiencing menopause symptoms that are affecting their work.

According to the charity Wellbeing of Women, women make up nearly half of the UK workforce, but around 900,000 have quit their job because of the menopause. That’s a truly eye-opening statistic, and so it is hardly surprising that we have seen an increase in enquiries on this matter of late.

After all, it is a natural stage of life that is going to affect around 50% of us at some point, including women, trans people and intersex people.

While the symptoms of menopause do vary from person to person, for many it can be a difficult and stressful time, with some people experiencing both physical as well as emotional changes that can have a significant impact on their ability to continue working as normal.

It is therefore really important that employers are aware of the issues that affect people experiencing the menopause matter and that it is dealt with in a sensitive way – not only because that is the right thing to do, but also in line with the Equality Act 2010 which protects workers against discrimination.

While menopause itself is not a protected characteristic, sex is, and so any employee or worker who is treated less favourably as a result of any associated symptoms could bring a claim against their employer if they feel they have been treated less favourably as a result.

That means menopause symptoms should not factor into any decision made relating to, for example, promotions or redundancies.

Equally, as with any ongoing mental or physical illness, employers should look at any reasonable adjustments that can be made – either to the working pattern, location or role related tasks – to remove any disadvantage that the employee might experience because of it.

For example, something as simple as a more relaxed dress code, more flexible work times or more regular breaks, or even simply moving a workspace so that it is closer to better ventilation, might make a real difference.

One of the most effective ways to both prepare for any such situation, or to manage the matter once it arises, is to keep the lines of communication open. Providing training to managers to ensure they are equipped to offer support will also provide reassurance and ensure that any conversation is dealt with appropriately.

If an employee feels that they have the support of the team around them, they are far more likely to open up about the challenges they are experiencing and, as a result, to discuss potential ways to manage or mitigate those issues – including mental health conditions linked to increased stress, such as anxiety or depression.

Of course, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 also plays an important role here, as it states that an employer must do what it can to ensure the health, safety and welfare of everyone at work. A failure to comply can have very serious consequences for businesses, including fines.

If someone is struggling as a result of their symptoms, and that is compromising their safety or wellbeing, or the safety of others, an employer needs to take steps to address it.

Again, an open dialogue with employees which allows them to raise concerns about their physical or mental health will help, especially if you can demonstrate that procedures are in place to help them continue to do their job.

Employment law is constantly changing and dealing with HR and employment law issues can be one of the most difficult factors in running a business or organisation.

Office Job Woes: 5 Tips to Prevent Lower Back Pain

If you’re among the many people working on an office job, you can probably relate to how it feels like after being seated on that same office chair for eight to nine hours every day. The nature of your job may sound convenient, considering that you’re only sitting and not doing any hard labor, but you’re still prone to experience health issues. And the most prominent health issue among office workers is lower back pains.    

Thankfully, lower back pains are treatable and preventable through habit changes and improvements in your workplace. For your guide, here are five tips to prevent lower back pains when you’re at work.    

1. Practice Good Posture  

Maintaining proper posture is very important in preventing lower back pains. Poor posture can lead to back pains and chronic back problems in the future if you don’t correct it as early as possible. Thus, whenever you’re seated in your office chair, be mindful of your posture at all times. Here are some tips on how to maintain proper posture:  

  • Place your back against the chair’s backrest.  
  • Make sure your neck and head are directly aligned just above your shoulders.  
  • Your feet should be flat on the ground and never cross your legs, no matter how tempting it is.  
  • Your shoulders should be back and square from the monitor.  
  • You can use a footrest to maintain your knees at a 90-degree angle.  
  • Push your chair closer to your desk to keep your arms parallel to your spine.  

Most importantly, keep your body relaxed while you’re sitting in a proper posture. If back pains persist, see a professional physiotherapist in Brisbane or any physiotherapy clinics within Australia to help alleviate and manage the pain.  

2. Create An Ergonomic Workspace  

You may not notice how poor your sitting posture is when working eight hours a day since you’re preoccupied with what you’re doing. Thus, to keep your proper posture steady and prevent lower back pains, you need to change your work environment by using chairs, desks, and monitors that are adjustable according to your height.   

For instance, place the frequently-used office tools within your arm’s reach. Save yourself from straining or stretching your back just to reach the telephone or grab your pens. Also, keep the computer mouse and keyboard close to you. As for your computer monitor, adjust its height to your eye level to keep you from unconsciously tilting your head which might cause back and neck pains. 

3. Invest In the Right Office Chair 

Your office chair also plays a vital role in maintaining a proper sitting posture. If you often experience lower back pains, that may be a sign to upgrade your office chair. Select an office chair with an adjustable backrest, height, and armrests. This way, it’ll be easier for you to adjust it according to your sitting height.  

It’s also crucial that you get a chair with lumbar support. This feature will encourage the proper curvature of your lower back to minimize pressure and tension. If you can’t find a chair with lumbar support, you can use a small pillow and place it behind your back to maintain proper posture.   

4. Execute Movements Properly 

Besides poor sitting posture, back pains at work can also happen due to improper or incorrect movements you do at work. For instance, you may be lifting your printer using your back instead of your knees, or you could be walking while slouching. Thus, if you’re about to lift something heavy, bend your knees to pick it up instead of twisting your back. When walking around the office (or anywhere for that matter), keep your chin, back, and shoulders up. But before you walk, do some stretches first, especially if you’re from a sitting position for a long time.  

5. Take Short Breaks 

Taking short breaks can also help reduce lower back pains. If possible, set the alarm every hour to remind yourself to stand up and do stretches for 1-2 minutes before sitting down again and getting back to work. You can also use 5-10 minutes of your lunch break to walk around the park before going back to the office to give your body a quick exercise.  

Conclusion 

Besides attending corrective therapies, these tips will also help prevent lower back pains. Remember that prevention is always better than cure. Take the extra effort to take care of your body. Start making the necessary changes in your habits and your workspace to avoid experiencing back pains in the future.

The Future Minds of Psychology: How Overcoming Stigma Improves Access to Mental Health Care

The UK is more concerned with mental health than ever before. Charities and government programmes, such as Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, are addressing the stigma surrounding mental well-being. This, in turn, has encouraged an open conversation in the media, education, and healthcare.

This article will explore the possibility that overcoming stigma has also encouraged the future minds of psychology, thus strengthening the NHS and improving nationwide access to mental health care.

Addressing the mental health crisis

The UK government has taken steps to address the mental health crisis. In 2008, parliament introduced the Improve Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, which offers talking therapies to adults with anxiety and depression. IAPT has been extremely successful and is predicted to reach a staggering 1.9 million patients by 2023 and 2024.

There are many charities around the UK that have taken steps to combat discrimination surrounding mental health. Mind, along with Rethink Mental Illness, created a campaign to encourage honest conversations regarding mental health problems. It offers digital advice on how to support someone who is struggling and how to start difficult conversations. Since the launch of Time For Change, public attitudes towards mental health improved by 8.3%  between 2008–15.

Overcoming stigma in the media

Moreover, fictional television shows often serve to critique public perceptions of mental health. Girls (2012–17) introduced viewers to the devastating effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). BoJack Horseman (2014–20) masterfully blends comedy and depression through the internal monologue of the protagonist. And My Mad Fat Diaries (2013–15) portrays the relationship between teenagers and eating disorders. From American sitcoms to British teen dramas and cartoon horses, the media is more concerned with mental health than ever before.

Encouraging the future minds of psychology

Through public organisations and the media, more and more people have been introduced to the mental health crisis and are exploring ways they can help. With this in mind, could the rising support and public awareness of mental health be encouraging more students to study a psychology degree at university?

According to Google Trends data, the average number of monthly searches for psychology degrees was 69,540 as of October 2017. The average then surged to 99,020 monthly searches as of September 2021. This data depicts a rising interest in psychology degrees and suggests more students are choosing to embark on the course at university.

But why could this be?

There are endless benefits to studying psychology, including harnessing the skills to improve the lives of countless people. According to an undergraduate student at Heriot-Watt University, psychology enables students to make patients “understand that it’s ok sometimes to feel the way they are feeling. Just talk it through.”

Furthermore, as more and more students graduate with psychology degrees, the professional field has evolved. In fact, the average number of working psychologists in the UK has increased by 24% since 2014. To discover how this surge has affected the workforce, we contacted Samantha Byram, a qualified well-being practitioner with a first-class BA in Psychology:

“Psychology is continuously evolving to fit the current workforce. There are so many more opportunities to become a psychologist since I graduated in 2017. Now, we’re able to see patients with less severe symptoms, treating mental health at earlier stages of development with low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This allows me to equip more people with the skills to overcome depression and anxiety.”

Will the surge in psychology graduates solve the mental health crisis?

As the interest in psychology degrees grows and the professional field continues to evolve, the UK stands a better chance of tackling the current mental health crisis. Since the dawn of COVID-19, treatments for under 18s surged by 20% in 2020 compared to 2019, and the NHS is struggling to keep up with the growing demand for therapies. At present, there are 8 million people who cannot get access to mental health services and almost 50% of adults in England have suffered from mental health issues since the pandemic. However, with the increasing interest in psychology, it is likely that more students will graduate, and the NHS will continue to evolve. As a result, more people will be given access to life-changing mental health services.

The relationship between the UK and mental health is constantly evolving. Government programmes and public campaigns have encouraged an open discussion throughout the nation. This, along with wide coverage in the media, has begun to combat the stigma surrounding mental health. In turn, interest in psychology degrees has surged, and the professional field continues to grow. Therefore, the future minds of psychology are the shining hope for solving the growing mental health crisis in the UK.

How to Avoid Yoga-related Physical Injuries

Yoga is typically that kind of thing people might suggest to you if you’re having issues with anxiety, depression, and more. However, yoga has helped many people find inner peace through a specific art of exercise, where the most crucial part is to go at your own pace.

However, like any other exercise, yoga can make you prone to injuries if you do not understand the necessary preparations and poses. Exercise can be fun — especially yoga — but there are plenty of things to consider. Here are a few ways to ensure that you avoid yoga-related physical injuries.

 

Stretch, stretch, and stretch

When you see people getting ready for a jog, you’ll usually see them spend the first part of their routine stretching. Typically, anyone getting ready for intense exercise will do some stretching before the act, and the same thing goes for yoga. The exercises you’ll find in yoga might look tame in comparison, but they can be challenging for those who aren’t prepared for the different poses.

To help prepare you for the yoga routine, it’s always best to focus on proper stretching exercises, and the same thing goes for yoga instructors looking to avoid injuries. You can keep injuries to a minimum by focusing on stretching before the actual exercises.

 

The subtle impact of easing into a pose

There’s no need to push yourself into a pose if you’re uncomfortable, even if it might be considered easy by yoga standards. The fact of the matter is that it’s all about your personal growth, which means there’s no need to compete with anyone but yourself. That means not going too far and trying an advanced pose without the necessary preparation.

One thing that separates those who eventually succeed in their exercise goals and those who give up too early is that the latter typically don’t know how to pace themselves. They immediately go for a challenging pose and try to mimic it as accurately as possible — at the cost of their physical well-being. When it comes to yoga, it’s best to leave the ego at the door. Treat yourself right by taking things slowly.

 

How to avoid yoga-related injuries as an instructor

While instructors likely already know the ins and outs of keeping their students safe, it doesn’t mean that there’s no room for improvement. Keep in mind that everyone is different, and not everyone can handle the poses right away. It’s crucial to be patient while at the same time taking steps to help your business, such as having yoga insurance coverage to help avoid potential legal trouble. As stated above, taking things slowly is for the best, and yoga instructors who know how to pace their clients reap all the rewards.

 

Trying to avoid yoga-related physical injuries is much like trying to prevent injuries with exercise, in general. It’s all about learning to pace yourself while at the same time understanding that you don’t have to push yourself so hard to achieve your goals. Consistency is what’s important.

Do What This Neuroscientist Does Every Day for Good Brain Health in 2022

The brain is the command centre of the nervous system and is responsible for our thoughts, emotions, memory, movement and more, and is vital in preserving and activating every aspect of the body, both mental and physical.

There are several different ways to keep your brain healthy starting with a bottom-up approach (factors that change our biology) such as your immune system and hormones. A top-down approach (how you think) focuses on your belief systems, thought patterns, mind set and feelings. Thirdly environment and external factors (your environment) are important such as stress and life events, as well as factors that influence who we are today such as education, work, upbringing and relationships. Each of these three factors also influence each other and we can influence how our brain is wired and our brain’s health in a multitude of ways.

Neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw explains what influences our brain and reveals what she does every day to make sure she maintains good brain health.

  1. Sleep is food for the brain. I prioritise sleep and try to wake up and go to sleep at roughly the same time every day and avoid screens at least one hour before bed to allow my brain to produce melatonin so I naturally fall asleep. As our bodies are resting, our brains stay highly active, doing necessary work processing emotions, memories and replenishing our minds for the next day. If you sleep poorly it affects every aspect of your life from what you eat to your mood and your physical and mental health.
  1. Exercise in all sorts of different ways. I try to do different types of exercise to work on different aspects of my physical and mental health including strength, balance, aerobic and flexibility through different exercises, classes and sports. By mixing it all up I hope to get a range of health benefits and improve my neuroplasticity which is my ability to learn, change and adapt.
  1. Check in with myself about how I am feeling. When I feel stressed, I consciously check in with myself about why I am feeling that way, can it be reframed in a different way, am I ruminating (having the same thought over and over), and I can break any unhelpful patterns. I check for limiting beliefs and try not to suppress my feelings even if that just means being conscious of them and letting them be with me for a few minutes. I also acknowledge that not all stress is bad and sometimes it helps us learn. I try to be kind to myself.
  1. Spend time with loved ones. My family means everything to me. Not only does spending time with loved ones help to reinforce valuable relationships, it maintains social bonds, boosts confidence and self-esteem and creates a sense of security. It even helps to improve communication and social skills. I have four young grandchildren (yes, I am an extraordinarily young Grandmother!) who I love to spend time with, though they do keep me on my toes! Being pack animals, humans rely on a strong social infrastructure for support during tough times, which is needed now more than ever, even if seeing them on a screen is the only option. Family, a loving partner or fabulous friends are all important and are my top priority every day.
  1. Fresh air maintains brain function. 20% of the oxygen we breath is used solely by our brain. Of course, we are breathing all of the time whether we are outside or in, but I make it my mission to spend at least 30 minutes a day outside and try to keep a window open at all times to allow a healthy flow of air through the room. Being in the fresh air improves my mood, concentration and helps me sleep better and often gives me thinking time.

How to Keep Your Business or Service COVID Secure In the Colder Months

We have been living in the COVID-19 pandemic for almost two years now. And although the situation has changed in the country as we understand more about the illness and introduce measures to reduce the spread of the disease, we are still needing to adapt the ways that we are living and working to reduce its spread.

With the advancement of the new Omicron variant, we are already seeing government rules being ramped up.

Ensuring that our businesses and services continue to function and be successful through the colder months is essential to making sure that the economy survives and prospers. Businesses need to adapt to be COVID secure to ensure that the virus does not spread easily.

During the warmer months, windows can be opened, helping to reduce the spread of the virus, but this is a lot more difficult in the British winter. With this in mind, businesses need to be able to make themselves COVID secure in other ways.

Well-Being First

It is important that you put your staff’s well-being at the front of every decision that you make about your business. You should consider their physical and mental health when you are making decisions and try to make sure that they are comfortable with any choices that you make.

Some businesses can offer working from home options if possible so that employees can avoid being around a lot of people both whilst they are at work, but also during their commute to and from work. Technology such as Zoom and Teams can be useful for this.

If you can encourage your employees to work from home, you could consider supporting them to buy office equipment for their home or by giving them financial support to pay for internet or electricity bills.

Social Distancing

We are all aware that COVID most successfully spreads through airborne particles. This is why social distancing is useful, giving a larger amount of space between people. If possible, try to place employees a minimum of two metres apart to help to facilitate social distancing. You could also consider creating more space by adding temporary extra office space – perhaps by customising a shipping container to enable your employees to spread out or sit separately.

Hand Hygiene and Masks

Practising good hand hygiene and wearing masks have always been an important weapon against the disease. It is recommended that you try to encourage these measures as much as you can in the workplace, especially during the winter. You could ask staff members to wear masks when not at their desks or provide hand sanitizer for them to use to help to reduce the risk of infection, for example. Some businesses have also installed extra sinks for handwashing in their premises and ruled for their staff to carry out regular COVID lateral flow tests as extra measures.

Ventilation

Ensuring that there is adequate ventilation is essential for good COVID safety. During the winter, however, it is much more difficult to have windows open. Although for some businesses, this might be possible, others need to consider other means of ventilation. Unfortunately, a regular air conditioning system does normally not provide adequate ventilation as it just circulates existing air, and a specific system that introduces fresh clean air is necessary.

It is difficult to know whether the space is adequately ventilated but you can get a good idea by using a Carbon Monoxide monitor to check where there is good and less good ventilation.

It is important to note that air quality and good ventilation can also be very beneficial in terms of productivity. The Harvard Business Review looked into the effect of air quality on workers and found that “breathing better air led to significantly better decision-making performance among our participants. We saw higher test scores across nine cognitive function domains when workers were exposed to increased ventilation rates, lower levels of chemicals, and lower carbon dioxide. The results showed the biggest improvements in areas that tested how workers used information to make strategic decisions and how they plan, stay prepared, and strategize during crises.”

Cleaning

Ensuring that your building is properly and regularly cleaned is also another important factor in making it COVID secure. You should consider ensuring that you regularly clean the surfaces that are often touched by employees (at a minimum of twice a day).

When it comes to protecting your employees from COVID-19, especially during the winter months, carrying out a risk assessment can be very useful. From this, it is possible to ascertain how well you are protecting them now and what you can do to improve this.

Regardless of the rules that are imposed on us by the government, it is important that businesses take some responsibility for their employees not only for their good but also to reduce staff absence. By implementing these measures where possible, you can begin to do this.

Colon Cancer: Startling Facts and Figures

Cancer is a global killer, and one of the major challenges we face in fighting it is that it can take many forms and thus be tricky to detect.
One of the more common and potentially challenging of these forms is colon cancer. Your best defence against it is knowledge of what to look for and an understanding of how dangerous it can be, so here are some facts and figures to bring you up to speed.

Lots of people are diagnosed each year

In the US alone over 100,000 people receive the news that they have colon cancer, which puts it at number 3 on the list of the most widespread cancers around.
Thankfully this figure has actually fallen over the past quarter-century, with improved screening processes and lifestyle changes helping to lessen the number of Americans who contract this disease.
One of the methods for detecting colon cancer sooner is a colonoscopy. And as this ultimate guide to colonoscopy procedures explains, this process is crucial in both diagnosing and preventing colon cancer cases.

Men and women face an almost equal risk

While certain forms of cancer are more common in men than women and vice versa, colon cancer is not picky about your gender.
Men have a marginally higher likelihood of contracting it over the course of a lifetime, with a 4.3% rate of occurrence compared with the 4% rate seen in women. This means that everyone who is eligible for screening should take advantage of this.

Deaths are increasing among younger patients

Thanks to the early detection and treatment of colon cancer discussed above, around 1.5 million people in the US are survivors of this disease.
Even so, over 50,000 people still die from its effects annually, and an increase in fatalities has been recorded among the under-55s, in spite of a downward trend overall when every age group is factored in.

Risk factors are varied

As well as making use of screening services, it is sensible to be savvy when it comes to the factors which put you at greater risk of contracting colon cancer.
As with many forms of cancer, a lack of physical exercise in addition to being overweight or obese will place you in a higher risk group.
Diet is also relevant in this case, as if you eat a lot of pork, beef and lamb, as well as meats that have been heavily processed during manufacturing, your digestive system will be exposed to more carcinogens over the years.
Smoking and drinking alcohol should also be taken into account when calculating how likely it is that colon cancer will arise in a person. Minimizing your intake or completely quitting either of these activities will prolong your life for all sorts of reasons, not least of which is preventing colon cancer.
Pre-existing conditions are associated with colon cancer as well, with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), type 2 diabetes and a host of other issues included in this list. Speaking with a physician to get a better idea of your risk rates based on your own medical history, as well as that of your family members, is sensible.

Wrapping up

Colon cancer can be a destructive force, and the figures mentioned above might startle you if you were unaware of how widespread and fatal it is in the US.
However, there is also plenty of positive news to take away with you. So long as you get screened and do not procrastinate on seeking treatment if you experience abdominal pain or rectal bleeding, then you will have less to fear from this disease.

Ways to Curb Period Pain

By Harman Bhamra at Express Pharmacy

As many as 90% of women experience symptoms during their period, with some reporting mild discomfort and others experience severe and debilitating pain. As period pain is common and an expected part of the monthly cycle, it can be difficult to know when our symptoms are something to worry about.

Below, Harman Bhamra from Express Pharmacy outlines the most common period symptoms and explain when they could suggest an underlying health condition.

Cramps

Cramps are a frequent symptom of period pain, with stomach cramps being the most common, as during your period your uterus contracts to help get rid of its lining. While a common and expected symptom of a period, stomach cramps can be at best uncomfortable but at worst debilitating. For milder cramps, try taking anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen. Ibuprofen helps reduce the production of prostaglandins and can ever help reduce heavier bleeding.

Another way to curb period cramps is to apply heat onto the source. “Whether it’s a hot water bottle on your stomach, or soaking in a warm bath, heat has been scientifically proven to act as a natural method of pain relief,” Bhamra explains. “Heat works in a similar way to ibuprofen as it reduces inflammation and helps the muscles relax.”

While cramps are common, they should not stop you from living your normal life. If your cramps require days off work, spent in bed or even leave you unable to move or concentrate on anything else, then this could be a sign of something more sinister. Endometriosis is the second most common gynecological condition in the UK and is estimated to affect 1 in 10 women, yet it takes on average 7.5 years to get a diagnosis. “The reason for this long time is because the symptoms are very similar to typical period symptoms, especially tummy and lower back cramps, however endometriosis sufferers experience this much more intensely,” Bhamra explains.

Headaches

Headaches in women, especially migraines are exceptionally common during PMS. “Headaches and migraines are caused by hormone changes within the body as natural estrogen levels drop as the menstruation starts and are commonly known as ‘menstrual migraines,’” Bhamra notes. “The symptoms of menstrual migraines include headache pain and include light sensitivity and dizziness.”

Similarly with cramps, taking anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen helps reduce the inflamed area and can alleviate migraine symptoms. If your headache reduces your quality of life then you must visit a GP who will be able to prescribe you anti-migraine medications, such as Triptan medicines which reverses the changes in the brain which causes migraines. 

Fatigue or trouble sleeping

Fatigue on your period is common as your progesterone levels drop as you begin to bleed. Although common, this can have a knock-on effect on various aspects of your life, especially with your mood. To help sleep at night and reduce fatigue during the day, try and avoid your caffeine consumption, as having caffeine in your system prevents deep sleep.

If you find you are extremely tired particularly during your period but perhaps during your entire menstrual cycle, then it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Anemia is an iron deficiency and common with menstruation as heavy periods cause a significant amount of blood loss. “Identify how you feel after sleeping, as many tend to still experience severe exhaustion even after having a full night’s rest,” Bhamra advises. “If you notice you are feeling tired all the time, regardless of what you have done, then try and increase the amount of iron in your diet. Vitamin C, seafood and beans can help boost the amount of iron in your system.”

Breast tenderness

Breasts tend to feel sore and uncomfortable during your period, caused by the significant drop of hormones in your system, in fact breast pain is usually linked to periods. Bhamra advises “to help ease symptoms around this time, take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help ease the breast ache and make sure you wear a properly fitted bra, as ill-fitting bras can worsen pain and encourage neck and shoulder pain with poor posture.”

While tenderness is a common problem, if you notice the skin on your breast has dimpled, or there is a hard lump which does not move around, then you must visit your GP urgently, as this could be a sign of something more serious.

Skin breakouts

As during the menstruation phase your estrogen and progesterone levels drop significantly, triggering your sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, or oil, which can cause more breakouts. “The level of oiliness which your skin experiences can differ as it depends on your skin type,” Bhamra explains. “Those with naturally dry skin may not notice their skin feeling oilier, whereas those with oily skin may feel overwhelmed with how oily their skin becomes.”

Oilier skin during menstruation shouldn’t be much of an issue, as it is causes by the hormonal drop. There are natural lifestyle changes which can help reduce the amount of oil your skin produces, for example limiting your sugar intake has been proven to help reduce acne. You should see a doctor if you experience oily and acne prone skin with other symptoms, such as irregular periods or excessive facial hair as this may be a sign of Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS.)

PCOS is a hormonal disorder which causes enlarged ovaries and small cysts to form on the ovaries. While a common disorder, affecting 1 in 10 women in the UK, PCOS can affect fertility if left untreated. If you suspect you may have PCOS, visit a GP who will treat the hormonal imbalance and prescribe you medications which will best suit your symptoms.

Experience the Life of a Medical Student with a Medicine Summer School

For many young people, attending medical school, studying medicine, and becoming a doctor are lifelong dreams. Medicine is an esteemed and highly rewarding career that comes with the added perks of being well paid and being a job in which you save lives for a living.

However, deciding to train as a doctor is a big decision that requires careful consideration given the amount of time and commitment demanded by the training. Medical school lasts five years at university level, followed by another two years of a foundation programme, and then many years of specialist training after that.

So when you apply to study medicine, medical schools want to see that you are dedicated and have the passion required for such a demanding role. So how can you know if medical school is definitely the right decision for you?

Thankfully, there are now medicine summer schools at some of the top universities and medical schools in the world. We are going to take a look at what these schools involve, who they are for, and where you can find them.

What is a medicine summer school?

A medicine summer school is a programme that provides introductory courses for prospective medical students who are deciding if they want to pursue medicine as a future career. The schools range from taster days to fortnightly residencies in university halls that offer the chance to fully experience life as a medical student.

Some medicine summer school courses give the students the opportunity to spend time living and studying at some of the most famous educational institutions in the world, including the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Attending a medicine summer school is also a great opportunity to boost a CV or university application with evidence of study and commitment to the subject. So the summer school will ultimately also help with the admissions process. Whether you ultimately choose to study medicine or not, a medicine summer school offers a life changing experience that you will remember forever.

So let’s take a look at some of the medicine summer schools on offer.

Medical School Council Summer Schools

The Medical Schools Council (MSC) runs both residential medicine summer schools and online medicine summer schools. Their medicine summer schools offer fully funded placements for students in year 11 and year 12 from backgrounds that are underrepresented in medicine. You can check their eligibility criteria and find out how to apply on their website.

The MSC residential programmes include practical sessions in laboratories and hospitals, workshops and discussions with current medical students, lectures and introductory courses led by medical academics and practising doctors, and online sessions as well as independent study projects. The students stay in university accommodation to get the full experience of what life is like as a medical student.

The MSC residential programmes
  • Leicester Medical School.
  • Imperial College London.
  • Three North West Medical Schools – Lancaster Medical School, Edge Hill University Medical School, and University of Liverpool Medical School.
  • Exeter medical school.
The MSC online medicine summer school

The MSC also run medical summer schools that are delivered online. These courses aim to offer students introductory content to studying medicine and demonstrate what is expected of medical students at university level.

The MSC online programmes include:

  • The London Medical School’s Online Summer Programme.
  • Hull York Medical School’s Online Year 11 Summer School.

 

Oxford Royale Academy Medicine Summer Schools

Oxford Royale Academy (ORA) run a variety of summer programmes in the UK and the US, including medicine summer schools at the world famous Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. As well as the study programme, the medicine summer schools also include full accommodation in the dormitories of the universities and three meals a day, which gives the students a window into university life.

Attendees are part of a diverse cohort of prospective medical students from all over the world. On the weekends, the students are taken on cultural excursions to many of the surrounding highlights of their destination.

There are different areas explored across the various courses such as experimental psychology, medical research, and the study of diseases. Class sizes are kept deliberately small to encourage engagement and learning retention. Classes are led by expert practitioners and academics with considerable experience and professional knowledge, and take place in the tutorial rooms of famous colleges, university labs, simulation centres, and research facilities.

The Oxford Royale Academy programmes provide students with opportunity to learn key clinical skills while truly experiencing the life of an Oxbridge medical student.

 

University of Bristol Medicine Summer School

The Sutton Trust runs a number of summer schools at the University of Bristol in many different academic disciplines, including medicine. The Bristol medicine summer school lasts one week and takes place on the campus, with students staying in the university halls.

The summer school is free for participants, though they must apply for a place, and comes with a guaranteed interview at the end should the student choose to apply to study medicine at Bristol once their experience is over.

Students attend a combination of lectures and practical sessions and are mentored both by current undergraduate students and by experienced medical professionals and academics.

In addition to a packed study schedule in which students learn key skills in basic medicine, students are also able to take part in a wide range of social activities that offer an insight into what life is like in the city and a chance to explore the surrounding area.

Medicine Summer Schools Abroad

Atlantis

Atlantis run a range of programmes across Europe that offer students the chance to shadow practising doctors. Students can shadow doctors for up to 20 hours a week in a number of different departments in Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal.

Breakfast and accommodation are included and a range of activities are set up for students to enjoy when they are not in the hospitals. Students are encouraged to practice the local language before they arrive, but speaking the language is not a definitive requirement.

Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

Georgetown University sits in northwest Washington D.C. The medical school runs summer programmes that range from one week to four weeks long.

The courses are for students aged 13 and above who are considering a future in STEM, medical research, pharmaceuticals or medical school.

The course is research based and teaches the processes that researchers use to formulate, conduct, and evaluate the evidence they gather. Students are tasked with developing their own study using professional methods.

The programmes are, for the time being, online and are offered at different stages throughout the year.

Keeping Your Elderly Loved Ones Safe Through the Winter

As the shorter and darker winter months slowly replace the brighter summer days, it is only normal to feel your mood dampening. This is particularly true for the elderly, who tend to stay indoors more than usual to avoid catching a cold and spending weeks in bed with a high temperature. Sadly, it is estimated that 20,000 more people aged over 65 pass away in the winter compared to any other time of the year.

That said, not only does the winter season negatively affect the physical well-being of our parents and grandparents, but it also has a significant impact on their mental health. With fewer people around to hug and chat to, they may find it challenging to keep their chin up.

From staying connected to being warm indoors, this article will outline a few tips about how you can keep an eye on the mental and physical health of your elderly relatives and friends this winter.

Keep them warm indoors

Elderly people generally take longer to warm up and tend to lose heat more rapidly. Indeed, blood circulation slows down as our bodies grow older. Therefore, wrapping up warm is fundamental for an older person.  

Apart from relying on their central heating, which may sometimes represent a costly solution, there are other alternative ways in which the elderly can keep warm.

A hot water bottle, for instance, is the perfect option for when they are ready to snuggle down under the covers. It is ideal for those who do not want to sleep with the heating on but fear they may end up feeling cold during the night.

Not only is it a great bed companion, but the hot water bottle can also be used throughout the day. It can rest on their stomach and keep them warm while they watch television or take on the challenge of a crossword.

When moving from the bedroom to the living room, or vice versa, it is easy to be caught out by the dip in temperature. To combat this, indoor heaters provide an ideal solution. Easy to wheel from room to room, indoor heaters come with an array of portable advantages. With a handy indoor heater that follows them around the house, your elderly loved ones will be safe from sudden cold snaps.

Make sure, however, that they are maintained properly. In order to do so, it is recommended to book an appointment with an engineer on a biannual basis to check up on the heater’s state.

Keep their spirits up

An Age UK research shows that every month, over one million elderly people do not get the chance to speak to a friend, neighbour, or even family. In the winter months, when older people have limited opportunities to get out and about, their feeling of loneliness can increase severely.

Therefore, a telephone call can do the world of good to their mental well-being. Indeed, the elderly are not always bothered about receiving help with their housework, but they truly cherish a nice chat with someone. Consider popping over for a cup of tea from time to time too.

Also, if your elderly friend or relative is feeling particularly lonesome, why not introduce them to Silver Line? This charity has a 24/7 phone line that helps people stay connected, with volunteers calling in once a week to have a good old heart-to-heart talk. Moreover, it can also help them get in contact with local services to meet other people and make new friends.

Keep them active

There is no hiding that a daily dose of exercise is crucial for us all – the elderly included. In truth, while some may still maintain a moderate physical ability, others may find it tricky to even manage the stairs. But certain types of exercise can accommodate pretty much anyone.

As outdoor strolls become more prohibitive due to the adverse winter conditions, it is important to find ways in which older people can keep active inside their homes. Encourage them to get up from their armchair every so often to put the kettle on. While not too strenuous, this ‘task’ will ensure that they spend some time on their feet.

If walking from room to room is a challenge in itself, simply shaking and moving their arms and legs can help. Moreover, there are plenty of exercise videos on YouTube for seniors to watch and have a go at. Some include simple sessions that they can try from the comfort of their sofas. This way, they will enjoy some all-important physical activity without tiring themselves out too much!

The winter months can be demoralising for a variety of reasons, and even more so for the elderly, as they may end up spending a lot of time without seeing or talking to anyone. We hope that this article will help you find ways to keep good care of your parents, grandparents, and ‘wiser’ friends, from ensuring that they are warm indoors to inciting them to stay as active as possible.

Improving Customer Service in Health and Human Services Through Technology

Customer service is one of the most important departments in the daily operations of every business today, especially in the health and human services industry. With poor customer service, health and human service providers would find it difficult to acquire new customers or even retain the ones that they currently have.

Most service providers fail to invest enough time and money in the enhancement of their customer service departments, forgetting that up to 78% of customers leave transactions due to poor customer service. This leads to loss of business and might have a negative impact on an entire organization.

Today, health and human service providers are trying as much as they can to stay up to date with technological innovations. These innovations are playing a major role in how they improve their customer service. The smart ones are offering modern and convenient services that their customers need and connect with.

There are different ways health and human service providers are connecting with customers through technology, key among them being;

Using the Right Human Services Software

Technology has made it possible for health and human service providers to build software applications that address the requirements of their customers. These applications can gather information from the customers and through machine learning and artificial intelligence, predict any changes in the demands of the customers.

However, health and human service providers need to make sure that they are using the right human services software. This can be achieved through companies such as Radicle Health that build functional, modern, and easy-to-use software applications. With such software, health and human service providers will be able to improve customer service and make sure that they acquire and retain all their customers.

Employing the Right Modes of Communication

Technology has made sure that there are multiple ways through which organizations can communicate with their customers. This leaves health and human service providers with no option but to ensure that they have employed the right modes of communication when it comes to their customers.

With this, health and human service providers should use different modes of communication depending on what their customers prefer. For instance, you will find that older people communicate through email and phone calls while the younger ones use social media applications and messaging. Others prefer having a live chat with a customer care agent.

Customer Service Availability

Today, the traditional customer service that operated during the day from 9 am to 5 pm is no longer effective. Organizations that are still working this way have been left behind and are losing customers every time a customer cannot access a customer care agent whenever they need to.

Technology has made sure that health and human service providers can be available anytime throughout the day and night. With different forms of communication, such as social media platforms, forms, emails, phone calls, chat boxes, and SMS messaging among others, health and human service providers have the capacity to be available across the world and at all times. This has helped improve customer service.

Social media platforms

Social media platforms are one of the most amazing technological innovations playing a major role in the customer service industry. Today, health and human service providers are able to connect with their customers anytime without any issue.

The providers can create webinars, blog posts, how-to guides, infographics, and social media posts addressing different things that their customers need and connecting with them through the platforms.

They can also address any concerns through comments on their posts, limiting one on one interaction between the customers and themselves.

Creating Customers Who are Self-Reliant

Finally, technology has made it possible for health and human service providers to create self-reliance among their customers. There are people who find it difficult to seek help. Such people like learning things on their own.

To improve customer service, health and human service providers should use technology to create avenues through which their customers can access all the information that they need. They can create mobile applications and functional websites with all the information that their customers might need when accessing their services.

With such innovations, health and human service providers are going to have exemplary customer service departments that will contribute a lot to the success of their business operations.

5 healthy ways to include cannabis into your diet

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Marijuana is a beautifully complex and full-spectrum plant, there’s no way around that. Over the past decade, while cannabis became a substance that’s no longer socially rejected and it grew into the hearts of even those who once were completely against its use, the doors were opened for this plant to prove the wide range of benefits it can provide. As many countries have made way for scientific studies and research on cannabis to be led, everyday new uses are found for these plants’ products.

In the beginning, cannabis was mostly associated with its benefits from the medical field, either for its anti-inflammatory or analgesic properties, but there’s so much more to marijuana use than that. And while smoking weed may not be the healthiest of them consumption methods, there are indeed other healthy ways of ingesting it and benefiting from its great qualities. Here are 5 different ways in which including cannabis to your diet can result in amazing health benefits that don’t involve smoking it.

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1. Vaping Cannabis
One of the best ways of consuming cannabis and feeling the effects almost immediately is by vaporizing it. When it comes to vaporizers, there are oil or concentrate vaporizers and dry herb vapes, so feel free to try out which option you like best.
Although you’re not necessarily eating it, this way you’ll be able to note CBD \’s great health effects, such as better skin health, lower stress levels and more.

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2. Adding Fresh Herbs and Seeds to Your Recipes
While eating skittles everyday may not be the best for a healthy diet, perhaps adding zkittlez seeds to your favorite recipes is a better choice. By doing so, you’ll definitely not feel the usual high associated with marijuana, but you’ll get the benefits that eating it provides. Marijuana seeds, just like many other seeds and nuts are a great source of fiber, vitamins and healthy fatty acids. Eat raw cannabis or seeds and you’ll also get amazing antioxidant benefits.

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3. Eating Edibles
Another great way of adding cannabis to your diet is eating edibles, of course!
Not only edibles taste great, and there are infinite options when it comes to recipes, but they also skip the negative effects of smoking. Besides, you can actually get high from consuming edibles, if that’s what you’re aiming for, or overall dodge that by consuming CBD-infused edibles. And furthermore, edibles provide a much longer effect than any of the other cannabis products, given that they’re absorbed through our digestive system.

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4. Adding cannabis oil to your daily routine
Cannabis oil is one of the most versatile cannabis consumption methods, and one of the healthiest too. Adding canna oil to your salads, tea, or even applying it directly onto your skin is already enough for it to start working its magic. Besides, making your own cannabis oil at home is extremely easy, and you can even experiment a little and add other complementary herbs such as lavender or chamomile to enhance its use.

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5. Making Marijuana Infused Smoothies
One last great way of adding cannabis to your diet is by making green smoothies with it!
If you’re searching for good detox recipes, why not sparkle some fresh weed buds to your favorite smoothie recipes. Besides, contrary to common belief, consuming marijuana could actually help you lose weight. How come, you wonder. Well, there’s a component in the weed family called THCv, which is, lets say, one of THC’s cousins. This dude is not as famous as its cousin but it definitely should be. Turns out, this component is found in raw cannabis, which is marijuana that hasn’t yet been curated, and again, which means that THC hasn’t yet been fully evolved. Shortly explained, THC comes after buds are stored for a short period of time, drying and curating. But, if you consume it raw, shortly after the plant is harvested, you’ll be ingesting the raw form of cannabis compounds, including among them, THCV. This component isn\’t; only great for aiding in weight loss but it also showed to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD patients, as well as ease panic attacks. Furthermore, this compound can help with tremors, improve motor control and slow brain damage associated with Alzheimer\’s disease.

And that’s it for now! Time to try out some of these alternative cannabis consumption methods and find out which one you enjoy the most!

Everything You Need To Know About Head MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging is used as a first-line diagnostic method for injuries, diseases, and a variety of other conditions. Continue reading this article for what to expect in an MRI for the head and the brain

The brain is the most complex organ of the human body because of its connection to all of the body’s systems. That is why the examination of the brain is carried out using the most high-tech diagnostic devices. For example, magnetic resonance imaging is considered to be one of the best methods of brain diagnostics. It is characterized by painlessness and has a very short list of contraindications. Importantly, MRI does not involve radiation exposure, which is extremely important for such a delicate and sensitive organ as the brain.

What is an MRI and how is it done?

Magnetic resonance imaging is a method of research that allows you to get a detailed picture of the state of human organs without internal interference.

To know how to prepare for a head MRI, it is necessary to understand the intricacies of the procedure. During the examination, the magnetic field of the machine affects the hydrogen atoms present in the body. Tomograph sensors record pulses that are modeling images of the examined organ with the help of software.

MRI allows early detection of brain diseases, detection of neoplasms and inflammatory processes, visualization of vessels, etc. With the use of a contrast agent, it is possible to measure the tumor, determine the exact localization of the focus, and the presence of metastasis.

The most common application of an MRI is for examining the spine and central nervous system. The method allows you to accurately assess the structure of the organs, identify existing pathologies, tumors, traumatic changes, etc.

Magnetic resonance imaging is absolutely painless and safe, has no adverse effects on the body, so it can be performed repeatedly, even on pregnant women and children.

Head MRI indications

Magnetic resonance imaging is one of the highly effective diagnostic procedures often used to assess the condition of the brain and cerebral vessels. Major indications for MRIs include patient complaints such as:

  • Frequent and/or severe headaches
  • Fainting and/or dizziness
  • Tinnitus
  • Memory impairment
  • Numbness and weakness in the arms or legs
  • Seizures
  • Impaired coordination and spatial orientation.

You should also make an appointment for an MRI scan if:

  • There is a head injury with a suspected concussion
  • There are diseases of the inner ear or eyes
  • There is suspicion of multiple sclerosis, inflammatory processes in the brain, vascular pathologies.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and head vessels is recommended once a year for preventive purposes. MRI can detect malignant tumours, inflammatory and vascular pathologies at an early stage.

Contraindications to MRI: absolute and relative

The method of magnetic resonance imaging is based on the use of high-frequency radio waves and high-power magnetic fields. The presence of electronic or metal objects in the patient’s body leads to distortions in the images, and as a result, the procedure will be useless. In addition, there is a risk that the magnet will change the position of the metal object in the body, resulting in internal bleeding. Therefore, if there are pins, artificial joints, dental implants, pacemakers, and similar objects in the patient’s body, magnetic resonance imaging is not performed.

There are a number of relative contraindications under which the tomography is performed if the risk to the patient is less than the potential benefit of the examination:

  1. The first trimester of pregnancy
  2. A patient weighing more than 120 kg
  3. Any tattoos on the body with iron in the dye – usually 20 years old tattoos or older.
  4. Chronic kidney disease

Preparing for a head MRI

As noted above, magnetic resonance imaging is an effective and safe examination of the body. In addition, this type of diagnosis requires almost no preparation, which distinguishes it from other options.

  • First of all, you need to select the medical centre where you will be examined. Among the many options choose the most suitable – MRI near you, with a wide range of services and positive feedback from customers.
  • Next, you should make sure that there are no metal or electronic elements in the body. You should remember if you have had any surgeries in your life—laparoscopic or neurosurgical surgeries in which metal clips may have been used. If you know that there is an implant in the body, but you don’t remember what material it is made of, tell the doctor this information and he will refer you for an X-ray.
  • Dress appropriately for the procedure. Do not take any gadgets with you. Choose clothes that don’t have metal buttons, zippers, or inserts. Women should carefully review their underwear for metal closures or boning. Some MRI clinics offer hospital shirts to eliminate the slightest risk of metal in the MRI scanner.
  • There is no need for a special diet before a head MRI. You can have breakfast and go to the examination at ease. The exception is contrast tomography: in order to alleviate the condition during the introduction of contrast and fasten its clearance, you should avoid eating and drinking 4-6 hours before the procedure. And after MRI scanning you should drink water as often as possible, in small portions.

When an MRI with contrast is needed

Usually, the characteristics of the MRI signal from different tissues allow clear distinguishing between normal and abnormal. But sometimes affected tissues look almost the same as healthy ones. This is especially common in cases of inflammation and some tumors. In order to increase the ability of the method to distinguish such pathologies, contrast enhancement is used.

Main indications for head MRI with contrast:

  • Tumors of the brain and spinal cord
  • Follow-up study after brain surgery
  • Pituitary adenoma
  • Search for metastases to the brain
  • Determination of multiple sclerosis activity

How does the MRI procedure go?

The procedure itself is extremely simple: the patient is required to lie still during the entire examination. If this is not done, the images will show motion artifacts, which reduce the diagnostic value of the MRI scanning. The duration of the examination depends on the area and varies from 15 to 40 minutes. The use of contrast will add another 15 minutes to any procedure.

The MRI unit is quite noisy during the examination. For this reason, it is recommended to use special headphones – so the procedure will be more comfortable. In addition, music and the operator’s instructions are transmitted through them.

The patient may be asked to hold his/her breath or take a deep breath, tense his/her abdomen, etc.

Be sure to warn the medical staff if you have any contraindications to the examination. Inform them if you suffer from allergic reactions to medications, have had an injury or surgical intervention, or any chronic diseases.

It makes sense to take the images you received from past tests with you when you repeat the examination.

After completing the examination, you must wait 15-20 minutes until the interpretation of the images is completed.

Image Interpretation

The MRI examination allows obtaining a series of layer-by-layer images taken in steps of a couple of millimetres. In the course of decoding the images obtained, the radiologist examines the normal structure of the body, detects deviations from the norm, and identifies signs of a particular disease. Special attention is paid to the description of the pathology – location, size, nature, shape, and extent, connection with surrounding organs and tissues.

The images are analysed by a radiologist, who examines the obtained material and draws a conclusion. The results of the examination are sent to the attending physician. The patient can receive them in any form – printed or recorded on a disc, but many modern clinics offer a more convenient option – to receive the results in a personal online profile.

The high imaging speed of MRI combined with the absence of radiological burden on the body has made this method the most important one in brain research. In many cases, magnetic resonance imaging can serve as a first-line diagnostic method, i.e., it can be the only method that can answer all clinical questions.

5 Healthy Ways to Include Cannabis in Your Diet

Marijuana is a beautifully complex and full-spectrum plant, there’s no way around that. Over the past decade, while cannabis became a substance that’s no longer socially rejected and it grew into the hearts of even those who once were completely against its use, the doors were opened for this plant to prove the wide range of benefits it can provide. As many countries have made way for scientific studies and research on cannabis to be led, everyday new uses are found for these plants’ products.

In the beginning, cannabis was mostly associated with its benefits from the medical field, either for its anti-inflammatory or analgesic properties, but there’s so much more to marijuana use than that. And while smoking weed may not be the healthiest of them consumption methods, there are indeed other healthy ways of ingesting it and benefiting from its great qualities. Here are 5 different ways in which including cannabis to your diet can result in amazing health benefits that don’t involve smoking it.

1. Vaping Cannabis

One of the best ways of consuming cannabis and feeling the effects almost immediately is by vaporizing it. When it comes to vaporizers, there are oil or concentrate vaporizers and dry herb vapes, so feel free to try out which option you like best.
Although you’re not necessarily eating it, this way you’ll be able to note CBD’s great health effects, such as better skin health, lower stress levels and more.

 

2. Adding Fresh Herbs and Seeds to Your Recipes

While eating skittles every day may not be the best for a healthy diet, perhaps adding zkittlez seeds to your favorite recipes is a better choice. By doing so, you’ll definitely not feel the usual high associated with marijuana, but you’ll get the benefits that eating it provides. Marijuana seeds, just like many other seeds and nuts are a great source of fiber, vitamins and healthy fatty acids. Eat raw cannabis or seeds and you’ll also get amazing antioxidant benefits.

 

3. Eating Edibles

Another great way of adding cannabis to your diet is eating edibles, of course!
Not only do edibles taste great, and there are infinite options when it comes to recipes, but they also skip the negative effects of smoking. Besides, you can actually get high from consuming edibles, if that’s what you’re aiming for, or overall dodge that by consuming CBD-infused edibles. And furthermore, edibles provide a much longer effect than any of the other cannabis products, given that they’re absorbed through our digestive system.

 

4. Adding cannabis oil to your daily routine

Cannabis oil is one of the most versatile cannabis consumption methods and one of the healthiest too. Adding canna-oil to your salads, tea, or even applying it directly onto your skin is already enough for it to start working its magic. Besides, making your own cannabis oil at home is extremely easy, and you can even experiment a little and add other complementary herbs such as lavender or chamomile to enhance its use.

5. Making Marijuana-Infused Smoothies

One last great way of adding cannabis to your diet is by making green smoothies with it! If you’re searching for good detox recipes, why not sprinkle some fresh weed buds to your favorite smoothie recipes. Besides, contrary to common belief, consuming marijuana could actually help you lose weight. “How come?”, you wonder. Well, there’s a component in the weed family called THCv, which is, let’s say, one of THC’s cousins. This dude is not as famous as its cousin but it definitely should be. Turns out, this component is found in raw cannabis, which is marijuana that hasn’t yet been curated, and again, which means that THC hasn’t yet been fully evolved. Shortly explained, THC comes after buds are stored for a short period of time, drying and curating. But, if you consume it raw, shortly after the plant is harvested, you’ll be ingesting the raw form of cannabis compounds, including among them, THCV. This component isn’t; only great for aiding in weight loss but it also showed to alleviate the symptoms of PTSD patients, as well as ease panic attacks. Furthermore, this compound can help with tremors, improve motor control, and slow brain damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

And that’s it for now! Time to try out some of these alternative cannabis consumption methods and find out which one you enjoy the most!

The 2021/2022 Flu Season – All You Need to Know

By Qured’s Dr Kishan Vithlani

What is the flu and what are the main symptoms?

The flu is a common virus, typically in the population during the colder months. The flu is caused by the Influenza virus. It results in mainly upper respiratory symptoms, affecting the nose and throat, often causing a cough, sore throat, and a runny or blocked nose. It can sometimes cause lower respiratory symptoms which affects the lungs, causing shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. In addition to the above, it will also cause the symptoms which are common to nearly all viruses; fever, body aches and pains, tiredness and headaches.

Does the flu share symptoms with Covid?

It can be very difficult to distinguish between Flu and Covid based on symptoms alone. 

As they are both viruses, they both cause the common viral symptoms mentioned above in addition to symptoms that affect the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Although the viruses that cause both illnesses are highly contagious, Covid appears to spread more easily and can cause more serious illnesses. It has also been found that Covid appears to take longer before people show symptoms and they can be contagious for longer.

What was the impact of the flu last year?

In the 2020/21 season, there were extremely low levels of influenza across the UK, with an absence of the usual winter spike in rates. Compared to an average over the past 5 years, the most recent levels were at a record low throughout the flu season. This is due to the impact of national lockdowns, social distancing guidance, public health messaging regarding hand hygiene and infection control, and wearing of face coverings along with very little international travel. 

These measures were implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic but there was also a change in health behaviours that helped reduce the risk of getting the flu. One of the most effective changes in health behaviours to prevent flu was a record high uptake of flu vaccinations. However, due to this record low level of the flu, there is concern around the potential impact this may have on the 2021/22 flu season.  

What does this mean for the 2021/22 flu season?

Due to the very low flu infection rates over the past year, there has been very low virus-induced immunity from influenza strains. This means that we have not had a ‘top up’ of antibodies from natural infection and as a result, we may see more people become infected. In addition to this, we may also see more serious illness and hospitalisation rather than the usual mild illness that most of us have experienced in the past. This same concept applies to most of the other winter respiratory viruses but illness from flu can be reduced by early vaccination.

How does the flu vaccine work?

Flu vaccines work similarly to most other vaccines which is by causing the immune system to mount a response to it and subsequently produce antibodies. These antibodies will help to provide protection against the influenza viruses and therefore help reduce the risk of getting the infection or reduce the severity of the illness when infected. Once vaccinated it takes around two weeks for you to benefit from the vaccination. This is all very similar to that of the Covid vaccine. 

The flu vaccine is given annually as the influenza viruses constantly adapt by making small genetic changes and as a result, the new vaccines have to ensure protection is delivered for the most up to date strain. Vaccinations from previous years are unlikely to provide any protection against the new strains.  

Who should take the flu vaccine? Is it just older and vulnerable people who should take it, or this year should we all look to take the jab? 

Nearly everyone can benefit from having the flu vaccine. With the added risks from diminished immunity to flu from the lack of recent infection, it would be even more beneficial to be vaccinated.  This will provide a higher chance of keeping well in the presence of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses especially in the event of co-existing infections.  

There are however specific groups of people that are routinely encouraged to have a vaccine and are invited by their GP. This includes:

  • Children aged 2 to 11
  • Those aged 65 or over
  • Pregnant women
  • Those living in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Health and social care workers
  • Those aged 6 months to 65 years in at-risk groups which includes people with the below chronic illnesses:
    • Respiratory diseases
    • Heart disease, kidney disease or liver disease
    • Neurological disease including learning disability
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases causing immunosuppression
    • Splenectomy, sickle cell anaemia or coeliac disease
    • Obesity with a BMI of 40 and above

When should we take it to have maximum impact?

The flu vaccine should be taken before outbreaks of flu start. The peak of flu in the UK is usually in November and therefore vaccinations can be taken from September onwards. 

5 Dental Treatments to Reduce the Gap Between Teeth

A gap between two teeth is known as a diastema. It most commonly occurs between upper front teeth, but a gap can appear between any two teeth. There are various reasons why gaps can appear, such as having a mismatch in the size of your jawbone and teeth or regularly sucking your thumb. If you have a gap between your teeth, the good news is there are several dental treatments that can reduce it.

1. Retainers

While retainers are commonly used for aligning teeth, they can also be effective in reducing a gap between two teeth. If you have a gap because of shifting in your teeth, using retainers could be the best solution. Retainers are one of the least expensive options for reducing teeth gaps but it takes a lot longer to see results compared to other treatments.

2. Invisalign Braces

While adult braces can help to reduce the gap between your teeth, they can feel rather invasive, so a better option is invisible braces. Furthermore, these days, you can get invisible braces delivered directly to your door and there is no need for x-rays and dentist appointments. There are lots of different on the market, so be sure to compare different ones to find the right solution for you.

3. Dental Bonding

The fastest and easiest way of reducing the gap between your teeth is to proceed with dental bonding. The procedure involves a resin, which matches your teeth’s colour, being applied and shaped to give a natural look. The resin is then hardened with UV light so that it bonds with the teeth. Dental bonding can completely eliminate the gap between your teeth. The only drawback of dental bonding is it is not a permanent fix. The effects wear off over time due to eating and brushing, so you will need repeat treatment at some point.

4. Veneers

While applying veneers is also a quick way of closing the gap between your teeth, the procedure takes more planning and work than dental bonding. While using veneers is not a permanent solution, the results of the procedure can last for many years. A veneer is a thin piece of porcelain. It is shaped and coloured in a lab to match your teeth before being placed and bonded over your teeth to cover up the gap. Once the veneer is bonded, it is very sturdy. One thing you should know about the veneer procedure is it is impossible to reverse.

5. Implants

If you have a gap between your teeth due to a missing tooth, you could consider getting an implant. Implants are paired with dental crowns and bridges to fill the gap in your smile. Implants can be either permanent or removable, and they can easily be coloured to match the shade of your teeth. The implant procedure involves inserting an implant tooth into your gum or bone, so only highly skilled dentists can perform the task.

A Word of Caution

Some people try to correct the gaps in their teeth themselves by using dubious methods like wrapping elastic bands around two teeth. Never do that! Using such methods is incredibly dangerous and could lead to irreparable damage. And when there are affordable options like invisible braces available, there really is no need to take matters into your own hands. Carefully consider the above dental treatments for gap reduction to find the best solution for you. It could also be worthwhile talking to a dentist to explore the options in more detail.

The Historic Andes Food Storage Techniques Fuelling Modern Day Nutraceuticals

A food storage technique over 700 years old is at the heart of the way we continue to process world’s favourite foods, build safe medicines and prepare for emergencies. As the technology faces a resurgence due to global warming and changing diets, why don’t we know more about freeze drying? Diana Morris from European Freeze Dry explores its history and bright future.

Food processing techniques are generally thought of as new modern methods to ensure food lasts longer, producing higher yields and providing additional nutrients. For most food processors, including European Freeze Dry, these techniques take place using modern equipment with highly detailed monitoring and testing facilities.

However, for freeze drying, its roots go back hundreds of years, before the age of high-tech systems or climate-controlled logistics. The technique traces back to the Incan Empire in the foothills of the Andes, where the potatoes which grew in the harsh climate were too bitter to eat fresh and didn’t store well for the long journey back to settlements.

By learning to expose the potatoes to the freezing overnight temperatures and drying them out during sunlight hours, the result was a dehydrated, more palatable potato which the Incans could transport and store ready for consumption for years. The final product, called chuño, can still be found in traditional meals around Peru and Bolivia to this day.

Today, coffee is the most well-known freeze dried product but the list of consumables which benefit from the technique to seal in flavours and increase their longevity is almost endless.

Modern technology has allowed for much greater precision in applied temperatures, greatly increasing the variety of products which can benefit from the technique and extending the benefits to pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.

Technology retains structure, taste and nutritional value

In our freeze drying facilities in Preston, UK and Kirke Hyllinge, Denmark, we process hundreds of tonnes of freeze dried ingredients every year, from meat and fruit products, through to seasonings, ready meals and healthcare products.

Freeze dried products start with a frozen item, which is then loaded into a pressured chamber with a vacuum applied. Under the vacuumed conditions, neither ice or water can exist and when a gentle controlled heat is applied the water leaves each item in a vapour trail which is then captured on an ice condenser at the rear of the chamber.

The process takes approximately 24 hours, carried out in a set of ‘chambers’ which can be controlled at various temperatures and time schedules depending on specific product requirements. Using modern monitoring methods, we can track the variety of heat and time needed which varies from a structure heavy item such as chicken and beef to soft fruits such as strawberries.

The result is a freeze dried product with all the water content removed, whilst retaining the look, structure, taste and nutritional value of the original. The items can then simply be rehydrated with water, sauces or any wet ingredient. In addition, the final product can also be milled or compacted into powders and tablets.

With virtually zero water content in the final processed product, freeze dried ingredients benefit from greater longevity at ambient temperatures. For some products, that can mean a shelf life of up to 25 years and potentially longer, without the need to add any artificial preservatives or additives.

Freeze drying moves beyond food to pharma

Indeed, boundaries are continuing to be pushed when it comes to freeze drying and how the technology can be applied to pharma and nutraceutical products.

First used as a method to maintain the viability and life of vital drugs such as penicillin during the Second World War, freeze drying can also offer great benefits in stabilising pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.

Advantages of freeze drying also include the much-reduced potential for micro-organisms existing in such low amounts of water, ensuring that nutraceuticals can stay safe to consume over an extended time period.

We are constantly breaking new ground with our customers and bringing new ideas and products to market to support special dietary requirements and how the natural qualities of certain foods can provide health benefits, from adding a nutritional supplement to a diet, through to targeting more specific benefits such as aiding weight loss or cancer prevention.

Reliable food chains for an uncertain world

As our lives and diets change, the popularity of freeze dried products continues to grow with some investment analysts estimating a Compound Annual Growth Rate for the industry of up to eight per cent by 2026.

While freeze dried meals offer a nutritious meal which can be instantly rehydrated, the possibilities of the technology also allow for long-life products which can distributed and ready to eat in hostile environments, such as those threatened ever more so by climate change, disasters or famine.

As citizens prepare for a less certain food chain due to floods, fire and emergencies, more people are turning to a reliable food backup should the shelves run empty or in more drastic situations people find themselves isolated from food options.

Similarly, as we place an additional focus on the public health of our global society, a greater rise in natural medicines will rely on the rise of preventative and treatment healthcare products that have long life viability.

The Incas were undoubtedly ahead of their time, but not even they could have predicted the impact their potatoes would have on our modern world.

Healthy Eating on A Budget: Ingredients for an Affordable Diet

When you sit down at a Michelin-starred restaurant table, the fancy ambience hits you immediately. The waiter brings you an unpronounceable bottle of wine and hands you the first of a long series of miniature, sophisticated dishes that are rich in all sorts of nutritional properties. At the end of the pleasant experience, you are served with the saltiest of puddings: a hefty bill.  

Similarly, in the eyes of most people, healthy meals are often perceived as small portions of natural food that, while doing your body the world of good, will leave your piggy bank in tears. In truth, this is not necessarily the case.

We created a simple guide detailing how you can get on board with a diet without falling into financial despair, therefore debunking the myth for which healthy eating is an unaffordable practice.

 

‘Expensive’ is not synonymous with ‘better’

The temptation of buying a goji berry and spirulina smoothie or a fruit salad of exotic goods is real. Not only does it scream ‘naturalness’ from all sides, but it also provides the perfect shot to showcase your healthy lifestyle on social media.

However, there are many other alternatives that – although not very ‘Instragrammable’ – are cheaper and just as nutritious. A filling oatmeal breakfast or a glass of water, for instance, are inexpensive and serve the goal.

Of course, feel free to enjoy fancier health options from time to time. Make sure that they are seen as a treat rather than as the norm though.

 

Opt for local and seasonal products

While often overlooked and underestimated, this is possibly one of the best actions you can take to both spend less and eat healthier. In fact, by purchasing food that has grown and been picked close to your home, you are consuming more flavoursome products that have not been treated to survive the long journey to reach the supermarket. This means that it is more budget-friendly, as it does not need to travel several miles to be on your plate and is consequently a more sustainable option too.  

Moreover, consider buying seasonal products. In winter, for example, stock up on apples and beetroots, as they are cheaper and more nutritious this time of the year.   

 

Freeze or buy frozen

If you have overstocked your beetroot provisions, pop them in your freezer – they’ll be just as good when you start craving them all of a sudden on a sunny summer afternoon.

As a matter of fact, frozen fruit and vegetables are often underrated. Bags of frozen pre-chopped veggies tend to be cheaper in shops and are equally nutritious, as they have been picked at the peak of freshness and their nutritional properties remain intact.

 

Veg is cheaper than meat and fish

When at the checkout, you will realise that meat and fish are usually the most expensive food products on your shopping receipt. While still a fundamental part of your diet, to cut costs on your food shop, you may want to consider adding a few vegetarian dishes to your weekly menu.

 

Prepare smaller portions

We are not advising you to cook miniature meals in the fashion of Michelin-starred restaurants. On the contrary, it is important to always consume a decent-sized plate of food, but do not go over the top with proportions.   

By weighing your food and eating out of smaller bowls, you will be able to reduce your portions and store what is left for another day. If you are desperate for some extra nutrients, a succulent fruit salad or a handful of tasty nuts will end your balanced meal on a high.

Give cheaper brands a go

High-priced products, usually embellished by good-looking and eye-catching packaging, are not always the most nutritious options on a supermarket shelf. Indeed, store-brand alternatives may be just as good – but simply lack a fancy, attractive box.

Next time you go shopping, take a minute to read the label to both see what is inside and check the quality. If everything meets your standards, throw the cheaper store-brand product inside your basket and save some money.

Develop your green thumb and grow your own herbs

Don’t worry, you do not need hectares of land to grow your own herbs. Some seeds and a few pots, either on your balcony or in your backyard, will do the trick.

By planting your own seeds, you will end up with a long-lasting supply of herbs that will offer your room a fragrant smell and will also – in the long run – reduce your expenses.

By following these simple steps, you will finally be able to start your healthy diet with confidence and with no fear of breaking the bank. By all means, treat yourself from time to time to food that not only is good but ‘looks good’ too. However, this guide will hopefully prove that switching to a healthier menu is not a prohibitive choice and can, ultimately, be for all budgets.

3 Tips for Providing Home Care to a Loved One with Dementia

Caring for a loved one with dementia can often be as frustrating for you as it is for the person suffering from an impaired ability to think, make decisions or even remember small things. They get easily frustrated trying to communicate their needs and as their caregiver, you can get as easily worried over whether or not you are understanding them. This can lead to further complications and this is why it’s so important to learn a few tips on providing what they need.

 

1. Limit Frustrations

Quite often, when someone is suffering from dementia, they are unable to do the simple tasks they once handled routinely with ease. Even eating can become problematic and they are likely to dribble food down their face and onto their clothes. This is often the case when dementia is caused by Alzheimer’s disease where a person loses fine motor movements. Frustration can lead to agitation and that’s what you want to avoid at all costs. It helps to get washable clothing covers, commonly known as an adult bib, where you can easily tell them it’s no problem. They haven’t spotted their clothes, and all is well. Once you learn the things that cause them to become frustrated or agitated, you can take steps to avoid those situations.

 

 2. Stay Calm

This leads to the second most important thing you can do when caring for a loved one with dementia. When you see that they are not in control and are about to become agitated, stay calm. Reassure them that all is well and that it’s something easily fixed. If you get agitated, that will feed their frustration and it can soon get out of control. It is imperative that you maintain your composure at all times so that your loved one doesn’t feel less than normal. There is nothing quite as dehumanizing to a person suffering from dementia and still having enough of their faculties to know that they are unable to do the simple things they once did easily. Sometimes it’s worse asking for help than it is needing that help in the first place, so stay calm and reassure them that all is well.

 

3. Keep It Simple

Finally, it is important to give them simple structure in their life. Stick to a routine so that nothing comes as a surprise. Mealtimes will be at the same time every day and they will have activities planned routinely. For example, after breakfast every day they go out to the patio to watch the birds feeding at the feeders you’ve place around the lawn. Or maybe there’s a time when their favorite game show is on the television or perhaps you walk around the block with them. No matter what it is you do, keep it simple and make it a routine so that they know what to expect at any given moment. The easier and more structured you make their lives, the happier they will be.

One thing you may want to do is find relief for yourself. Get a sitter or perhaps in-home healthcare for a few hours a week so that you can get out as well. There may come a time when more help is needed, especially when a person is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, but for as long as your aging loved one is in your care, these tips should make life better for everyone involved.

The Surprising Benefits of Cycling

Cycling is a fun and exhilarating activity that’s been around for centuries. It’s something the whole family can enjoy, and it has a wide array of benefits. It also doesn’t discriminate; all kinds of people of all ages, all cultures, from all walks of life, can easily learn to ride a bike.

Cycling has become extremely popular over the last 50 years, for a multitude of reasons. More and more people are trading their non-environmentally friendly cars in for bicycles for their daily commute to work. In the wake of the pandemic, the UK predicted that 14 million people were ready to swap their driving for pedal power. There’s also been an increase in people taking up cycling as a sport and it’s a popular way to spend your leisure time too. You can explore all kinds of places, and it’s a far faster mode of transport than traveling by foot.

There are so many amazing benefits of cycling. But now, we’re going to look at a few of the benefits of cycling that are a little more unusual.

Before we dive in, here are some interesting and lesser-known facts about cycling:

  • According to the WHO, 30 minutes of cycling a day reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by 35%. 1 hour of cycling per day decreases your risk of death by 35%.
  • The aerobic exercise from cycling releases endorphins and other happy hormones, which helps to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Cycling improves your circulation, which in turn helps to reduce arthritis and speeds up the recovery time if you’ve gotten cut or bruised.

And finally, here are 7 surprising and unexpected benefits of cycling that will change the way you view this age-old activity.

1. Sleeping Better

Who would have thought that cycling every day could affect your sleep routine? A study conducted on healthy older women shows that just 1 hour of cycling in a day improved their quality and duration of sleep.

Cycling is a freeing and de-stressing activity. An evening ride to wind down your day could have some surprising benefits for your sleep health and quality.

2. Improves Awareness, Concentration, and Problem-Solving

Whether you are riding on the open road, a busy highway in peak hour traffic, or on a forest trail, cycling requires attention to detail and situational awareness. When a sport always requires that you’re in a state of full concentration and totally aware, it stretches your abilities to the maximum.

If you make a wrong turn or aren’t concentrating properly, you can put your life and possibly someone else’s in danger. Some of the unexpected and surprising benefits of cycling are the wonderful way in which it challenges you to become more aware, to concentrate harder on your surroundings, and to think outside the box when it comes to problem-solving.

You need to be quick on your feet (or in this case, on the pedals) and make fast decisions to ensure your safety and the safety of other vehicles or people around you.

3. Improves Your Balance and Strengthen Your Core

Keeping yourself upright on a two-wheel contraption whilst pedaling isn’t always easy, especially if you’re on rough terrain. But cycling every day helps you to improve your balance and build the core strength needed to keep yourself and the bike upright at all times.

When you’re staying balanced whilst looking behind you to change lanes or grabbing your water bottle for a quick drink, your core muscles and balance intuition are called to work in full force.

4. Give Your Bowels a Boost

Cycling provides a unique combination of adrenalin-fueled cardio and an extensive core workout. It’s an aerobic exercise that stimulates the heart rate and breathing and combining this with the core exercise that happens whilst balancing on a bike does wonders for the stomach and intestines.

Every time you contract your core muscles whilst cycling, you’re helping your bowels to avoid any sluggish behavior. If you struggle to stay regular, then perhaps cycling is just the sport for you.

5. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Cycling is an eco-friendly way to get around and get some fresh air and exercise. Not only are you working on your fitness and stamina levels while getting from one place to another, but you are not emitting anything harmful into our atmosphere whilst doing so.

Cycling as your chosen form of transport means you’ll emit less pollution, less noise, and less carbon emissions.

6. Cycling Can Improve Your Sex Life

Any exercise will go a long way to improving your sex life, but cycling is specifically great for this topic. It’s proven to boost sex drive in women and is associated with a lower risk of erectile issues in men.

Additionally, cycling activates, works, and strengthens a specific set of muscles that are all vital to a healthy sex life. The muscles that get worked and strengthened whilst riding a bike are the same muscles used during sex. The more developed and stronger these muscles are, the more athletic and longer-lasting intercourse will be.

7. Cycling is Eco-Friendly

Cycling is one of the few popular sports that have almost no negative impact on the environment. The only place where there’s any impact is the energy and materials used to construct bicycles and biking accessories, such as helmets and sportswear. Even in saying this, the materials and energy used for the biking industry have a significantly lower impact on the environment than most other popular sports and leisure activities.

Another way in which cycling is supportive of the environment is that cycling doesn’t require any electricity. It also requires no gasoline, no building or building maintenance, no outdoor maintenance or watering of fields, parks, or grounds. You can cycle anywhere, on just about any terrain, without any accommodations required.

Suffice to say, the benefits of cycling run far deeper than you may have initially thought. This type of exercise is hugely beneficial to you and the planet, and it’s affordable and enjoyable too.

Outsourcing the Pharmaceutical Product Lifecycle

By Timm Pauli, senior director and head of global regulatory informatics and operations at PharmaLex. Dr. Marie-Charlotte von Brevern, associate director of global program management at PharmaLex.

How to improve efficiency and drive innovation with limited resources

Ongoing lifecycle maintenance of medium or large portfolios puts a tremendous resource strain on pharmaceutical companies. These activities are crucial to keeping your products on the market but can stretch teams thin, making it harder for companies to focus on new product development, line extensions and further global roll-out activities.

At the same time, both product maintenance and product development are becoming more complex. Ever-changing regulations across global markets, specific CMC requirements for special product categories, a move toward innovative clinical approaches (such as decentralized clinical trials, adopting Bayesian models for trial designs, and applying digital tools for electronic patient reported outcomes), and increased digitization of many regulatory processes all require specific expertise that might be unavailable in-house.

Outsourcing can provide needed relief for management in numerous ways. In-house teams can regain time to focus on value-added tasks. Leadership can save on the budget by avoiding costly staffing and technical infrastructure upgrades. External expertise and perspectives can support teams in innovative ways, offering new, more efficient approaches and methods to support product lifecycle activities.

Taking a strategic approach

However, if such outsourcing projects are carried out piecemeal, most of your management and oversight activities will still fall to internal resources. Instead, outsourcing programs that adopt a strategic approach are more likely to give internal teams the support and flexibility they need to focus on new projects. Truly transformational outsourcing should combine operational activities for any product portfolio with state-of-the-art program management and coordination, KPI and reporting measures, as well as ad-hoc support for any additional one-off projects, and would also involve the outsourcing partner taking full responsibility, or ownership, of the program.

Typical reasons mid- to large-sized pharma companies choose to outsource:

  • Enable internal resources to focus on value-added, strategic activities
  • Reduce complexity for in-house teams
  • Foster scalable and flexible resource models
  • Quickly connect with a large pool of external expertise in flexible and cost-effective ways
  • Gain access to the latest technology solutions without having to make changes to existing on-site infrastructure, saving the company time and money
  • More seamlessly manage new technical requirements (based on new or changed technical requirements from health authorities)
  • Tap into operational excellence across different therapeutic and functional domains as well as process expertise and technology innovation

A primary consideration for companies is how to achieve cost-effective and flexible portfolio maintenance, while not jeopardizing quality and compliance. There are different ways in which a comprehensive portfolio maintenance outsourcing program can benefit pharmaceutical companies.

The first is that outsourcing allows companies to leverage strategic, expert-driven support to streamline maintenance operations across all regulated functions, both at a central and local affiliate level, all backed up with quality measures, KPIs and reporting tools.

Another reason companies seek outsourcing support is if they need more information about regulatory requirements in certain markets, but lack the in-house expertise on the topic or process. Alternatively, sometimes companies have a workload peak and need short-term support to supplement their internal resources.

Other increasingly important considerations today are that technology solutions are becoming ubiquitous throughout the business and must be regularly updated and improved to keep pace with new developments, requirements and specifications. This has become an even greater priority with the move to advanced technologies, such as automation and natural language processing as companies embrace the digital transformation. What makes the process more complex is that most pharmaceutical systems require appropriate quality management testing and validation, further increasing the administrative burden. Outsourcing the pre-configuration, testing and validation to experts helps companies to stay on top of the digital transformation.

Considered partnerships

Regardless of where you seek to leverage support, when choosing to outsource it’s important to select a partner that will take responsibility for your process or portfolio. After all, your marketed product portfolio is your most valuable intellectual property and the basis of your success. At its best, an outsourcing partnership can provide you with a new level of support and insight. This opens the door for a wide range of opportunities, including:

  • Switching your focus to innovation. By removing the burden of handling the regulatory maintenance of your company’s mature product portfolio, your internal team of experts can turn their attention to new products and processes.
  • Access to an expert pool of external resources, including specific knowledge around product types, technologies and processes that may not be available in-house. These might include:
    • Therapeutic areas
    • Technology capabilities, including expertise in implementing, validating and maintaining regulatory solutions such as regulatory information management systems; deep knowledge of new data standards such as Identification of Medicinal Products; as well as experience with leveraging innovative technologies to support operational excellence, such as robot process automation (RPA), natural language processing (NLP)  and machine learning.)
    • Market access and real-world evidence
    • Local or regional regulatory intelligence
    • Strategic advice during development, initial filing, and lifecycle maintenance
  • Having access to local regulatory support for global maintenance of a mature product portfolio to meet ongoing compliance requirements.
  • Expanding local presence by partnering with external staff based in markets where you do not have on-site operations.
  • Addressing resource gaps when your in-house team is working at maximum capacity.
  • Adopting a cost-effective solution rather than investing in additional full-time specialist staff.
  • Reducing technical and administrative burden and alleviating the pressure to keep up with the digital transformation pace by shifting system ownership to outside vendors.

Stay current, stay compliant

The pharmaceutical industry is faced with mounting pressures amid ever-changing requirements around pharmaceutical product development and lifecycle maintenance. As a result, companies must stay current to ensure compliance. This can best be achieved by looking to external partners for support, ensuring workload flexibility for your internal teams and the opportunity to focus on value-adding activities without compromising compliance. It’s important that your outsourcing partner is willing and able to take ownership of the programs or projects they manage. Furthermore, with innovation now intrinsically entwined with technology advancements, any outsourcing partner should have demonstrated expertise with supporting the digital transformation, for example, by helping to streamline processes through automation and by leveraging capabilities such as NLP and RPA to support innovation.

Gaining access to specialist expertise, flexible global work forces and innovative state-of-the-art technology solutions provides long-term value for pharma companies across multiple areas of the business.  Strategic, well-considered outsourcing ensures you focus on and build upon innovation; it gives you access to the type of dedicated and specific expertise that you are unlikely to have internally; it allows you to expand into new and emerging markets while ensuring you understand and meet local requirements; it allows you to leverage support during peaks; and it ensures you keep pace with the latest digital developments. Importantly, as the article explores, all these opportunities can be gained through outsourcing based on partnership, collaboration, trust and demonstrated expertise.