Issue #25   •   Quarter 3/4 Edition   •   December 2018

 

healthwatch-001Brighten the holidays by making your health and safety a priority. Take steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy—and ready to enjoy the holidays.

  1. Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. It's flu season. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep.
  3. Don't drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same.
  4. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots. At home, work, and on the road, be prepared and prevent injuries too. Cold temperatures can cause health problems. Remember to protect you and your family this season by dressing in layers of light, warm clothing.
  5. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but nonsmokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke.
  6. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.
  7. Get exams and screenings. Ask your health care provider what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history. Get insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace if you are not insured.
  8. Get your vaccinations, which help prevent various diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. Besides the flu vaccine, adults should get other vaccines too.
  9. Monitor children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of children's reach. Protect them from drowning, burns, falls, and other potential accidents.
  10. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don't leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.
  11. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, and cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate them promptly.
  12. Eat healthy, stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables, which pack nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

Source
www.webmd.com
www.howstuffworks.com
www.allaboutvision.com




Why is Exercise Important?

Have you ever heard the expression "use it or lose it"? It's true! If you don't use your body, you will surely lose it. Your muscles will become flabby and weak. Your heart and lungs won't function efficiently. And your joints will be stiff and easily injured. Inactivity is as much of a health risk as smoking!

There are many benefits of regular exercise and maintaining fitness and these include:

 

Exercise increases energy levels

Exercise improves both the strength and the efficiency of your cardiovascular system (is an organ system that includes the heart and blood vessels of the body) to get the oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. When your cardiovascular system works better everything seems easier and you have more energy for the fun stuff in life.

 

Meningitis is defined as an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It's caused when the protective membranes around the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges become infected. There are actually several types of meningitis but bacterial and viral meningitis are the 2 most common.

Types of Meningitis

Bacterial and viral are the 2 most common forms of meningitis. There are actually 5 different types of meningitis namely;

  • Bacterial
  • Fungal
  • Non-infectious
  • Viral
  • Parasitic

But for the purpose of this discuss we shall be examining the most common forms.

Bacterial Meningitis

Bacterial meningitis is usually severe and can even be deadly.  For example, though rare, meningococcal meningitis is a type of bacterial meningitis that can cause

  • Serious complications, such as amputations, scarring, and brain damage in about 1 in 5 people
  • Death in 10%-15% of cases even when appropriate antibiotic therapy is used
  • Fortunately, most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as the viruses that cause the common cold or the flu Meningitis-causing bacteria aren't usually spread through casual contact with someone who is infected. Rather, the bacteria that cause meningococcal meningitis are spread through the exchange of respiratory secretions (e.g., kissing, sharing drinks, or sharing eating utensils) with someone who is infected.
  • Most importantly, unlike the most common forms of viral meningitis, the most common forms of bacterial meningitis are vaccine-preventable.

Viral Meningitis

Though it can be fatal, viral meningitis is often less severe than bacterial meningitis. Most people with viral meningitis usually recover in 7 to 10 days without specific treatment. The most common forms of viral meningitis are not preventable with a vaccine.

The viruses that commonly cause meningitis can spread the same way that bacterial meningitis does (e.g., through kissing, sharing drinks, or sharing eating utensils). Also, viral meningitis, which is more prevalent during the summer and fall months, has symptoms that are similar to those of bacterial meningitis, including

  • Sudden fever
  • Stiff neck
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Light sensitivity

Viral meningitis can affect anyone though it occurs mostly in children younger than 5 years of age.

As the saying goes, 'prevention is better than a cure'. It is important to know the red flags for meningitis. Meningococcal disease can be difficult to recognize. A person with meningococcal disease may have some or all of the following symptoms, which may not be present at the same time;

  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • High fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity of eyes to light
  • Rash

 

What Are the Complications from Meningitis?

These complications are typically associated with meningitis:

  • Seizures
  • Hearing loss
  • Brain damage
  • Hydrocephalus
  • A subdural effusion, or a buildup of fluid between the brain and the skull

 

What Are the Risk Factors for Meningitis?

The following are some of the risk factors for meningitis:

Compromised Immunity

People with an immune deficiency are more vulnerable to infections. This includes the infections that cause meningitis. Certain disorders and treatments can weaken your immune system. These include:

  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Chemotherapy
  • Organ or bone marrow transplants

 Cryptococcal meningitis, which is caused by a fungus, is the most common form of meningitis in people with HIV or AIDS.

Community Living

Meningitis is easily spread when people live in close quarters. Being in small spaces increase the chance of exposure. Examples of these locations include:

  • College Dormitories
  • Barracks
  • Boarding Schools
  • Day Care Centers

Pregnancy

Pregnant women have an increased risk of listeriosis, which is an infection caused by the Listeria bacteria. Infection can spread to the unborn child.

Age

All ages are at risk for meningitis. However, certain age groups have a higher risk. Children under the age of 5 are at increased risk of viral meningitis. Infants are at higher risk of bacterial meningitis.

Working with Animals

Farm workers and others who work with animals have an increased risk of infection with Listeria.

 

Diagnosis

How Is Meningitis Diagnosed?

Diagnosing meningitis starts with a health history and physical exam. Age, dorm residence, and day care center attendance can be important clues. During the physical exam, your doctor will look for:

  • A fever
  • An increased heart rate
  • Neck stiffness
  • Reduced consciousness

Your doctor will also order a lumbar puncture. This test is also called a spinal tap. It allows your doctor to look for increased pressure in the central nervous system. It can also find inflammation or bacteria in the spinal fluid. This test can also help determine the best antibiotic for treatment.

Other tests may also be ordered to diagnose meningitis. Common tests include the following:

  • Blood cultures identify bacteria in the blood. Bacteria can travel from the blood to the brain. N. meningitidis and S. pneumoniae can cause both sepsis and meningitis.
  • A complete blood count with differential is a general index of health. It checks the number of red and white blood cells in your blood. White blood cells fight infection. The count is usually elevated in meningitis.
  • Chest X-rays can reveal the presence of pneumonia, tuberculosis, or fungal infections. Meningitis can occur after pneumonia.
  • A CT scan of the head may show problems like a brain abscess or sinusitis. Bacteria can spread from the sinuses to the meninges.

 

How Is Meningitis Treated?

Treatment is determined by the cause of the meningitis.Bacterial meningitis requires immediate hospitalization. Early diagnosis and treatment will prevent brain damage and death. Bacterial meningitis is treated with intravenous antibiotics. There's no specific antibiotic for bacterial meningitis. It depends on the bacteria involved.

Fungal meningitis is treated with antifungal agents.

Viral meningitis isn't treated. It usually resolves on its own. Symptoms should go away within two weeks. There are no serious long-term problems associated with viral meningitis.

Prevention

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially if you're at increased risk, is important in preventing meningitis. This includes things like:

  • Getting adequate amounts of rest
  • Not smoking
  • Avoiding contact with sick people

If you've been in close contact with one or more people who have a bacterial meningococcal infection, your doctor can give you preventive antibiotics. This will decrease the chances of developing the disease.

Vaccinations can also protect against certain types of meningitis. Vaccines that can prevent meningitis include the following:

  • Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) Vaccine
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
  • Meningococcal Vaccine

EbolaThe unfortunate circumstance of the spread of the Ebola Virus to Nigeria is now a well known reality. The virus was transported to Lagos, Nigeria in Mr. Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian – American. He was until his death a high level ECOWAS official who reportedly had a meeting in Calabar before the disease claimed his life in a private hospital in Lagos. Even more unfortunate are the daily reports of confirmed cases of infected persons in Lagos state. I am appealing to all of us to be calm in the wake of this situation. However being calm is not to be complacent or to treat the issue with kid gloves. In a fit of mass hysteria educated, enlightened, exposed and celebrated persons in Nigeria raided their kitchen cupboards for the supposed ‘effective’ barrier or protection from the disease. You know what I am talking about. A pinch of it makes our soups that much tastier, and I dare say after that national fiasco a lot of Nigerians were tasting like a meat dish. Bitter kola, salt, pepper… the list can be endless if we follow uneducated social media broadcasts.

How Do You Know If Someone Has Ebola
The symptoms generally take 2 - 21 days to become apparent. The symptoms are deceptively general, tending to look like malaria or a flu. People are not contagious until they display symptoms.

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Joint and muscle ache
  • Lack of appetite

Drug Treatment of Ebola - Remedy or Rhetoric
On a more serious note, there seems to be a light at the end of this dark global tunnel as an experimental drug has been brought to the fore. The drug is called ZMAP, created by Mapp Biopharmaceutical; a San- Diego based company. The drug took center stage when two American volunteers were repatriated to the United States after contracting the virus in West Africa. They are currently being treated at an isolation unit of Emory Universal Hospital in Atlanta and are showing very positive signs of improvement. This experimental drug was developed based on years of American and Canadian research. It is not a vaccine against ebola but can be used to treat people who are already infected with the virus. Until recently the drug had never been tried on human beings. The lead investigator who worked to develop ZMapp, Dr Gene Olinger, said in 2012 the antibodies in the treatments were the safest for animals and most successful in protecting against Ebola.The World Health organization approved the use of the experimental drug in the wake of the worst case of ebola outbreak in history. He also said "Until recently, attempts to utilize antibodies to provide protection against Ebola virus have been met with failure.

There are other schools of thought that say that there is no way to prove that ZMAP is effective against the disease. Infectious disease expert Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake from Australian National University says it is difficult to test Ebola treatments for human use. Associate Professor Senanayake says drugs to treat infectious diseases are hard to test due to the ethical issues of giving placebos to patients suffering from a disease with a high mortality rate. He said while the two US aid workers who have received the medication are showing signs of improvement it could be impossible to prove the link between the treatment and recovery. "The question is: is it because of the drug, because of ZMapp or in spite of ZMapp?" he said. "After all, despite its high fatality rate, around 40 per cent of people survive Ebola infection by themselves”.

How Can You Protect Yourself
While the world especially, Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and lately Nigeria wait for the drug to travel across the globe to aid in the battle against EVD, we should take precautionary steps to defend ourselves and our loved ones. As I advised earlier, WASH your hands with soap and water regularly. After eating, bathroom breaks, and handling objects. Personal hygiene must now be more than ‘Shakara’. It is now a way of protecting your life. The reason for constant hand washing is that bacteria can get to our eyes or into our mouths that have an ample blood supply to them. That blood supply will happily carry any ‘visiting’ bacteria into the body system and we don’t want that to happen. Avoid unnecessary contact with others. This might sound anti social and is bound to offend some people but wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry? Politely explain that you are not shaking hands or hugging for a while. In the light of the present situation it should be completely understandable. Carry a small bottle of sanitizer around with you for those times when a tap and soap are far away. Use it after the necessary handshake. A note of caution, sanitizers kill BACTERIA and not viruses. Soap and water and the act of rubbing hands during the washing process kill viruses. Do not share clothes!! Be content with what you have for now o ladies. Let’s drive this scourge out of our land and then we can borrow that nice top we saw our friend wear that is just your size. This writer encourages us all to pray for this situation in earnest and provide information where we can. Should we suspect someone with contamination of the virus please alert a health worker or the Ministry of Health Do not be afraid of being quarantined or isolated. A person is only contagious when they are really sick and show the following signs, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and sweating among other things. On a positive note Ebola is not here to stay, call it wishful thinking but this is my genuine belief.

I have been reading the newspapers and watching reports on social media platforms and this saddening and frightful occurrence has given me cause for concern. The last outbreaks of the Ebola Virus and the sad loss of lives left in its wake has set me on a collision course with knowledge in this area. After all to be fore warned is hopefully in this case is to be fore armed and I did a little research and here is what I have learned

Key facts
  • The Ebola virus causes Ebola virus disease (EVD; formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) in humans.
  • EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.
  • No specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.
  • EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests….

Until now. In the recent past there have been recorded cases of death by this deadly disease in West Africa. The original Zaire species of ebolavirus was the first recognized back in 1976, when it emerged at a place called Yambuku in the northern boondocks of what then was Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of the 318 people infected, 280 (88 percent) died. A later outbreak in northeastern Gabon, in 1996, began with a chimpanzee carcass, scavenged from the forest by a group of boys on a hunting foray and devoured communally back at their village. (Chimps cannot be the reservoir host of Ebola because they too die from it, as this one evidently had.) Thirty-one human cases, 21 deaths. The Zaire virus has also struck three times in the Republic of Congo just across the river, killing dozens of people each time.

Scientists have identified a total of five species of ebolavirus, four native to Africa and one to the Philippines. They are all zoonoses, meaning animal infections transmissible to humans. They reside quietly in some species of wildlife, from which they spill over occasionally to cause mayhem and death in people. Ebola virus can only pass from person to person by direct contact with bodily fluids. and

therefore an outbreak is stoppable by simple isolation and “barrier nursing,” or the careful handling of patients and corpses.

In all, since 1976, more than two dozen outbreaks of the various ebola viruses have accounted for just over 1,640 reported deaths. So it’s a terrible thing but relatively rare. That being said, we cannot sit down on our haunches and wish away this threat that is hovering around our borders.

Nigerians are very sociable people. To shake vigorously or hug someone is not strange social etiquette to people who have an international reputation for being the “happiest people on earth”.

This is a call to arms, and if we all stand and take these simple precautions we can help keep this ‘unfriendly’ visitor out of our homes and our country.

WASH your hands, I cannot overemphasis this … and not just running water over it. Make sure to soap up and rub your hands together for at least 30 seconds before rinsing thoroughly. Do this after every ceremony, going to the bathroom (that goes without saying… I hope) and shaking people. When you come home after work, show practical love by washing your hands and possibly your body and leave all the things that came from outside the home.. outside the home.

Protect yourself from exchange of body fluids, don’t share sharp objects at home or outside

If you observe someone with a high fever, flu or malaria type symptoms don’t wait three days, that might be three days too late get them to a hospital as soon as possible.

Use Barrier nursing with patients who have been diagnosed with the disease. Use gloves and other protective equipment when providing care.

Again ... WASH everything you eat, especially fresh produce. Vinegar is a good additive to water used to wash vegetables and fruits.

For all bush meat lovers… abstain from eating bush meat until this threat has passed or at the very least know what kind of meat you are eating. The host carrier for this disease is a bat and it is large enough to be attractive for food so please be careful.

This writer wants to make sure that you are still here to read more health tips for a long time to come. Knowledge is power … use it. Till the next time we meet on the screens of the Communicator Source: http://www.nytimes.com

You might be thinking this sounds good in theory… but how do you translate your seated computer job into a standing one? It’s easier than you might think. For starters, check out these essential tips for computer workers

Stand Up

If you’re lucky, your office may be one that has already implemented sit-stand workstations or even treadmill desks. Those who used such workstations easily replaced 25 percent of their sitting time with standing and boosted their well-being (while decreasing fatigue and appetite).
But if you don’t have a specially designed desk, don’t let that stop you. Prop your computer up on a stack of books, a printer, or even an overturned trash can and get on your feet.
When I travel in hotels, I frequently use the mini fridge or simply turn the wastebasket upside down and put it on top of the desk, and it works just fine.

Get Moving

Why simply stand up when you can move too? The treadmill desk, which was invented by Dr. Levine, is ideal for this, but again it’s not the only option. You can walk while you’re on the phone, walk to communicate with others in your office (instead of e-mailing), and even conduct walking meetings.

 

by Ada Egbule (Public Affairs Department)

  • 2013q4-healthwatch caduceusAlcohol intake can affect calcium status by reducing its absorption.
  • All produce should be thoroughly washed before eating. This includes produce grown conventionally or organically at home.
  • SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor
  • Symptoms of depression can include: depressed or irritable mood, poor concentration, insomnia, changes in appetite, and loss of interest.
  • Skin is the largest organ of the human body, in terms of both weight, between 6 and 9 pounds, and surface area, about 2 square yards.
  • Skin is composed of 3 primary layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis.
  • Humans usually have 20 primary teeth (Also called deciduous, baby or milk teeth) and 32 permanent teeth.
  • Childbirth usually occurs about 38 weeks after conception, i.e., approximately 40 weeks from the last normal menstrual period (LNMP) in humans.
  • The National Health Service recommends that overall weight gain during the 9 month period of pregnancy be 22-26 pounds.
  • Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, is an effective cheap treatment for erectile dysfunction.
  • Short- term memory allows recall for a period of several seconds to a minute without rehearsal.
  • Memory may be improved via simple lifestyle changes such memory exercise, healthy eating, physical activity, and stress reduction.
  • Most memorable dreaming occurs in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
  • Tobacco use leads to diseases affecting the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, emphysema, and cancer.
  • There are over 600 types of bacteria found in the average human mouth.
  • The most common location for mouth related halitosis, or bad breath, is the tongue
  • Sugar-free chewing gum stimulates saliva production, and helps to clean the surface of the teeth
  • Risk factors for stroke include: high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, cigarette smoking, and heavy alcohol consumption
  • Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack and is often described as a sensation of tightness, pressure, or squeezing
  • The classical symptoms of diabetes are polyuria (frequent urination) and polydipsia (increased thirst and consequent increased fluid intake)

by Ada Egbule (Public Affairs Department)

  1. 2014Q1-healthwatch caduceusWater. We will start with the glaringly obvious; but it’s so important to keep hydrated at work for an active brain and replenished skin. It is often easy to think that you are hungry when you are in fact thirsty. Try to drink 4-6 glasses a day at work. This will also ensure mobility when topping up your glass.
  2. Make a ‘health’ draw. While the Diet Coke commercial was glamorised by advertisers and sparsely clad men back in the day, it’s not going to help you out in the long term. Natural sugars in fruit and good carbohydrates will keep you full for longer and your brain alert. Try bags of dried fruit, Marmite rice cakes and non-salted peanuts.
  3. Keep your blood flowing! Arms and legs act as pumps to push blood around the body so when you are sat at your desk blood from the body can flow to the feet. About every hour try to have a brief walk around the office or do some gentle stretching; this pumps blood back to the heart and brain to keep your mind alert and awake.
  4. Fresh air. Lights, computers, servers and stereos, as well as people, all add to the overall temperature in an office; making it hot and stifling. If possible keep a window open near by, have plenty of green leafy plants around the office to recycle the carbon in the air and ensure that you leave your desk at lunch time, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.  With Facebook calling it’s easy to eat your lunch at your desk, while you watch what the rest of the   online world is doing. Go out side! Breathe in the air, look at the sky and you will come back ready to attack the afternoon’s schedule.
  5. Chair. Your chair at work is a piece of furniture that you spend most of your day in and is massively important to ensure that it’s ergonomically placed in relation to your desk, height, weight and various other factors relating to your work. Ergonomic office chairs support you in a tailored way which is one solution. Ask your HR manager for a work space assessment also, this can reveal simple quick wins such as raising the height of your computer or a block for your feet to make your workspace comfortable.
  6. Exercise. The internet is peppered with tips and routines that you can do from your chair. But we have unearthed a couple or yoga moves for you to try out from the Yoga Journal. Take five minutes out for a forward bend and back twist that you can do on and behind your chair to leave you energised.
  7. Laugh! It’s nothing new but has again featured in the press recently. Laughing is stress busting, releases serotonin and it’s great to see your colleagues smiling. While we are not in a position to suggest you spam the office, occasionally there is a ‘funny’ email worth sharing. Lighten the mood and spread a giggle.
  8. Eyes. Tension headaches and eye strain are a common complaint for anyone working in an office. Bad lighting, screen glare and being too close or too far from the screen can all contribute to sore eyes. Ask your HR manager for a work space assessment (a DSE assessment) and you should also be entitled to an eye test.
  9. There’s an app for that! Pomodoro is a new app (we imagine there will be plenty of these around) that helps your productivity. Set a task list and you have 25 minutes of work, no emails, twitter, phone, breaks etc; when the task is complete you have a five minute break for catching up. It’s tried and tested and is a good mindset to be in to achieve deadlines.
  10. Switch off. When it’s time to go home, remember to switch off! With iPhones common place, it’s easy to never stop, with access to twitter and email continuing the activity that you’ve been doing throughout the day. Read a book, look out of the window at the countryside, talk, cook, have a bath – anything that keeps you away from a flickering screen.

Sources
Team Base (UK)

Brighten the holidays by making your health and safety a priority. Take steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy—and ready to enjoy the holidays.

  1. Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. It's flu season. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep.
  3. Don't drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same.

healthwatch-001The Commission’s HR policy is enriched with a vacation package that will ensure that members of staff take enough time away from work to relax and be reinvigorated. Unfortunately, some staff view vacation as a waste of time and money. It is noteworthy that recently, management has reviewed the policy process and have put in measures to ensure that staff do not forfeit their leave period. There are numerous benefits of vacation and most importantly the health benefits cannot be over emphasized.

  1. Help you bust the stress rut (and maybe your stress gut): Even just a day playing golf or a weekend getaway can help reduce stress hormones and even lower your blood pressure, studies show. So, imagine what a week or more could do for you?! From making you look and feel younger to being able to relax, eliminating stress can work wonders. (Plus: we know stress is a contributor to packing on the pounds, so vacay away that stress and who knows how the scale may react?)
  2. Give your heart a break: Studies show that your ticker needs a vacay, too. In fact, maybe it needs two vacations a year. The Framingham Heart Study showed that women who take at least two vacations a year are eight times less likely to have coronary heart disease. A study done with men who had an elevated risk for coronary disease, showed that those who didn’t take an annual vacation were 32% more likely to die from a heart attack than the vacationers.
  3. Help you get closer to your family: Xinran Lehto, an associate professor of hospitality and tourism management at Purdue University, and other Purdue researchers have reported on the positive impact that getaways have on families. Getting away from day-to-day stresses (even if they’re replaced with new stresses, i.e. starting the dock on fire with 12 boxes of sparklers) helps families connect, Purdue research shows. Those new, shared experiences promote a closeness and positive ties that last far after the vacation ends.
  4. Make you smarter at work: A vacation really can be the pause that refreshes—especially if you spend it disconnected from electronic devices and catching up on sleep. You may even be better at your job. That’s because stress can have an impact on decision making, according to research done by the National Institutes of Health. After some days free of the daily stresses, you may be able to make more thoughtful decisions at work (instead of those reactive snap decisions).
  5. Make you happier: A Wisconsin study showed lower levels of tension and depression among women who took vacations more frequently (once or twice a year) versus those who vacationed less often. In fact, it turns out that even simply anticipating a vacation is a mood booster, according to a Dutch study. So excuse me while I go back to daydreaming about my next vacation. This time I’m going to Prague (and no sparklers will be involved). Ah…I feel better already!

Mini Vacation

For some of us who sincerely cannot take a long vacation or use their vacation for other important but stressful tasks, here are some tips for a more beneficial mini vac or weekend.

If you could re-energize, ease stress, and boost your willpower in just 10 minutes, would you do it? Who wouldn’t? By simply taking a break, you can reap all those benefits and more. For instance, did you know a rested mind is more likely to stick with healthy habits?

Here are five ways to make it happen.

  1. Go ahead, try it. Taking breaks is useful, not wasteful. When you return to what you were doing, you’ll be more refreshed and ready to dig in. Better focus and attention will lead to better results, too.
  2. Estimate your own battery life. When you schedule your day, consider when your body and brain will need a reboot. Say you're working on a big project. Schedule a break for every 2 hours of focused attention. More frequent mini-breaks may be even better.
  3. Take a hike. Head outdoors for a walk. Movement isn’t only good for your waistline. It also helps shed stress. Hush your cell phone. Let nature be your soundtrack.
  4. Cut the cord. Constantly checking email after you leave the office? How about when you’re on vacation? Letting work interrupt your personal time isn’t good for your mental health or your personal relationships. Take time to separate from the office and relax. After all, is the email really that important?
  5. Get away, often. It’s a fact: People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals.

It doesn’t have to be 2 weeks in Europe, either. Just 24 hours away, and you’ll reap the benefits.

Even better, the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation. You can feel the effects up to 8 weeks before your trip. And when you’re done with that retreat, start planning the next one. Simply having something to look forward to can be rewarding.

Source
www.news.health.com

Are you seeing straight?

healthwatch-001William Blake described the eyes as the "windows of the soul." Practically speaking, our eyes are the windows through which we view the world around us. Either way, there's no question that we place great value on our eyes and the ability to ‘see’. Protecting your eyesight is one of the most important things you can do to help maintain a good quality of life. Some types of sight-threatening eye problems affects one in six adults age 45 and older. And the risk for vision loss only increases with age. Given the important function our eyes perform for us, it would seem to follow that we'd give them the best care possible, but sometimes in this fast paced world we find ourselves in we get too busy or we forget to do a few simple things that can keep our eyes healthy and sometimes, the truth is we don’t know what to do to keep our eyes healthy. I want to ‘open your eyes’ (pun intended) to the things to so to keep our vision in tip, top condition.

Protect your eyes:

Your eyes are the first things on your face that does not mean you can be careless with them. Over exposing your eyes to intense sources of light can damage them over time. Over stimulating your eyes by continuous rubbing can introduce germs from your hands and cause irritation to them. We need to eat right to protect our eyesight, plus it keeps us looking attractive and allows you to wear whatever you want) Click here to see more ways to protect your eyes.

Regular Checkups:

True to human nature, most of us wait until our eyes are bothering us before we get a checkup. The problem with that approach is that we could have an eye disease without knowing it. By the time we get to an eye-care specialist, we might have lost some valuable time for treatment -- and some vision capability. Catching an eye problem early boosts the chance of successfully treating it.

So your best bet is to get a checkup every two to four years between the ages of 40 and 65 and every one or two years after age 65. If you have diabetes or a family history of conditions such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, get a checkup once a year. Blacks and people with severe shortsightedness are also at increased risk of glaucoma and should consider regular screenings.

What sort of eye specialist should you visit? Both ophthalmologists and optometrists are trained to evaluate eye problems. In most places, only ophthalmologists -- who are medical doctors -- can prescribe medications to treat eye diseases. And they are the only ones who can do eye surgery. A third kind of eye specialist, an optician, is trained only to make and fit prescription eyewear.

Eat for Good Vision

We need to eat right to protect our eyesight, plus it keeps us looking attractive and allows you to wear whatever you want). Seriously though, protecting your eyes starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts, studies show. Regularly eating these foods can help lead to good eye health. .

  • Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
  • Eggs, nuts, beans, and other non-meat protein sources
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices.

Eating a well-balanced diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which makes you less likely to get obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults. Click here to see more ways to protect your eyes.

Quit Smoking

Smoking makes you more likely to get cataracts, optic nerve damage, and macular degeneration. If you've tried to quit smoking before and started smoking again, keep trying. The more times you try to quit smoking, the more likely you are to succeed.

Wear Sunglasses

The right kind of sunglasses will help protect your eyes from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure makes you more likely to get cataracts and macular degeneration. Choose sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Wraparound lenses help protect your eyes from the side. Polarized lenses reduce glare when driving. If you wear contact lenses, some offer UV protection. It's still a good idea to wear sunglasses for more protection, though.

Look Away From the Computer Screen

Staring at a computer screen for too long can cause:

  • Eyestrain
  • Blurry vision
  • Trouble focusing at a distance
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Neck, back, and shoulder pain

Taking the following steps to protect your eyes:

  • Make sure your glasses or contact lens prescription is up-to-date and adequate for computer use.
  • Some people may need glasses to help with contrast, glare, and eye strain when using a computer.
  • Position your computer so that your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. This allows you to look slightly down at the screen.
  • Try to avoid glare on your computer from windows and lights. Use an anti-glare screen if needed.
  • Choose a comfortable, supportive chair. Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor.
  • If your eyes are dry, blink more.
  • Every 20 minutes, rest your eyes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds. At least every 2 hours, get up and take a 15-minute break.

Source
www.webmd.com
www.howstuffworks.com
www.allaboutvision.com



What is Lassa fever?
Lassa fever is an acute viral illness that occurs in West Africa. The illness was discovered in 1969 when two missionary nurses died in Lassa Village in Borno State. The cause of the illness was found to be Lassa virus, named after the town in Nigeria where the first cases originated. The virus, a member of the virus family Arenaviridae, is a single-stranded RNA virus and is animal-borne (zoonotic).
 
Lassa fever is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. While Lassa fever is mild or has no observable symptoms in about 80% of people infected with the virus, the remaining 20% have a severe multisystem disease. Lassa fever is also associated with occasional epidemics, during which the case-fatality rate can reach 50%.

Where is Lassa fever found?
It is recognized in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, as well as Nigeria. However, because the rodent species which carry the virus are found throughout West Africa, the actual geographic range of the disease may extend to other countries in the region.

How many people become infected?
The number of Lassa virus infections per year in West Africa is estimated at 100,000 to 300,000, with approximately 5,000 deaths. Unfortunately, such estimates are crude, because surveillance for cases of the disease are not uniformly performed. In some areas of Sierra Leone and Liberia, it is known that 10%-16% of people admitted to hospitals have Lassa fever, which indicates the serious impact of the disease on the population of this region.

In what animal host is Lassa virus maintained?
The reservoir, or host, of Lassa virus is a rodent known as the "multimammate rat" of the genus Mastomys. It is not certain which species of Mastomys are associated with Lassa; however, at least two species carry the virus in Sierra Leone. Mastomys rodents breed

very frequently, produce large numbers of offspring, and are numerous in the savannas and forests of West, Central, and East Africa. In addition, Mastomys generally readily colonize human homes. All these factors together contribute to the relatively efficient spread of Lassa virus from infected rodents to humans.

How do humans get Lassa fever?
There are a number of ways in which the virus may be transmitted, or spread, to humans. The Mastomys rodents shed the virus in urine and droppings. Therefore, the virus can be transmitted through direct contact with these materials, through touching objects or eating food contaminated with these materials, or through cuts or sores.

Because Mastomys rodents often live in and around homes and scavenge on human food remains or poorly stored food, transmission of this sort is common. Contact with the virus also may occur when a person inhales tiny particles in the air contaminated with rodent excretions. This is called aerosol or airborne transmission. Finally, because Mastomys rodents are sometimes consumed as a food source, infection may occur via direct contact when they are caught and prepared for food.

Lassa fever may also spread through person-to-person contact. This type of transmission occurs when a person comes into contact with virus in the blood, tissue, secretions, or excretions of an individual infected with the Lassa virus. The virus cannot be spread through casual contact (including skin-to-skin contact without exchange of body fluids). Person-to-person transmission is common in both village and health care settings, where, along with the above-mentioned modes of transmission, the virus also may be spread in contaminated medical equipment, such as
reused needles (this is called nosocomial transmission).

What are the symptoms of Lassa fever?
Signs and symptoms of Lassa fever typically occur 1-3 weeks after the patient comes into contact with the virus. These include fever, retrosternal pain (pain behind the chest wall), sore throat, back pain, cough, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, facial swelling, proteinuria (protein in the urine), and mucosal bleeding. Neurological problems have also been described, including hearing loss, tremors, and encephalitis. Because the symptoms of Lassa fever are so varied and nonspecific, clinical diagnosis is often difficult.

How is the disease diagnosed in the laboratory?
Lassa fever is most often diagnosed by using enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assays (ELISA), which detect IgM and IgG antibodies as well as Lassa antigen. The virus itself may be cultured in 7 to 10 days. Immunohistochemistry performed on tissue specimens can be used to make a post-mortem diagnosis. The virus can also be detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR); however, this method is primarily a research tool.

Are there complications after recovery?
The most common complication of Lassa fever is deafness. Various degrees of deafness occur in approximately one-third of cases, and in many cases hearing loss is permanent. As far as is known, severity of the disease does not affect this complication: deafness may develop in mild as well as in severe cases. Spontaneous abortion is another serious complication.

What proportion of people die from the illness?
Approximately 15%-20% of patients hospitalized for Lassa fever die from the illness. However, overall only about 1% of infections with Lassa virus result in death. The death rates are particularly high for women in the third trimester of pregnancy, and for fetuses, about 95% of which die in the uterus of infected pregnant mothers.
How is Lassa fever treated?
Ribavirin, an antiviral drug, has been used with success in Lassa fever patients. It has been shown to be most effective when given early in the course of the illness. Patients should also receive supportive care consisting of maintenance of appropriate fluid and electrolyte balance, oxygenation and blood pressure, as well as treatment of any other complicating infections.

What groups are at risk for getting the illness?
Individuals at risk are those who live or visit areas with a high population of Mastomys rodents infected with Lassa virus or are exposed to infected humans. Hospital staff are not at great risk for infection as long as protective measures are taken.

How is Lassa fever prevented?
Primary transmission of the Lassa virus from its host to humans can be prevented by avoiding contact with Mastomys rodents, especially in the geographic regions where outbreaks occur. Putting food away in rodent-proof containers and keeping the home clean help to discourage rodents from entering homes. Using these rodents as a food source is not recommended. Trapping in and around homes can help reduce rodent populations. However, the wide distribution of Mastomys in Africa makes complete control of this rodent reservoir impractical.

When caring for patients with Lassa fever, further transmission of the disease through person-to-person contact or nosocomial routes can be avoided by taking preventive precautions against contact with patient secretions (together called VHF isolation precautions or barrier nursing methods, similar to ebola management techniques). Such precautions include wearing protective clothing, such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles; using infection control measures, such as complete equipment sterilization; and isolating infected patients from contact with unprotected persons until the disease has run its course.

What needs to be done to address the threat of Lassa fever?
Further educating people in high-risk areas about ways to decrease rodent populations in their homes will aid in the control and prevention of Lassa fever. Other challenges include developing more rapid diagnostic tests and increasing the availability of the only known drug treatment, ribavirin. Research is presently under way to develop a vaccine for Lassa fever.

Sources:
Viralzone.org
planet-mammiferes.org
www.CDC.gov

 

An outbreak of H5N1 bird flu in Nigeria has spread to 21 commercial farms in seven different states, with more than 140,000 birds having been exposed to the virus.

News Report (Reuters)

2015Q1-healthwatch-001

Authorities said the deadly virus had arrived in Lagos, in the southwest, and Kano, in the north, last week. Agriculture Minister Akinwumi Adesina said it had now spread to five other states across the country: Ogun, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Plateau.”

This is an excerpt from a news bulletin on the discovery of Avian Influenza popularly known as Bird Flu in Nigeria this year. Going back to history, Nigeria was the first country in Africa to detect this virus in 2006 when chicken farms were found to have the H5H1 strain. Sadly the country also reported its first human death from the disease in 2007 when a 22 year old woman died from this disease in Lagos after handling infected chicken.

With this in mind the country is working to contain the spread within in its boarders by quarantining affected poultry farms and other identified areas. That being said it is not advisable for us to sit back, relax and continue to eat chicken like nothing is wrong!! A stich in time saves nine right?? There are a few things we can do to protect ourselves and our households from being infected.

  1. Know if you are at risk. If you come into contact with any of the following, you may be at risk of becoming infected with the virus:
    • Infected domesticated birds, such as chickens, turkeys, or ducks.
    • Cages and food or water containers used by infected birds.
    • Dirt or bedding used by infected birds.
    • The carcass of a bird that has died from the virus.
  2. Know that properly handled and cooked poultry and eggs cannot spread the virus.
  3. Be safe. Take the following steps to safeguard against possible infection:
    • Before and after handling raw poultry and eggs - wash your hands with warm water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.
    • Cook your eggs till whites and yolks are firm.
    • Clean cutting boards, tableware and all surfaces with soap and hot water to prevent contamination from raw poultry.
    • Cook poultry to a temperature of at least 165 degrees.
    • When warm water and soap are unavailable, use a waterless alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizer.
  4. Be aware that if you are a traveler and plan on visiting an area known to be affected by avian flu virus, you should take the following precautions:
    • Avoid all direct contact with poultry, both domesticated and wild.
    • Do not visit poultry farms or markets where birds are sold or displayed.
    • Shun any poultry or eggs that have not been thoroughly cooked.
    • Never eat any poultry that is served raw or undercooked.
    • Avoid touching surfaces that have bird droppings or fluids on them.
    • Obey all local health recommendations.

Chita in Hausa and Atale in Yoruba, ginger is no stranger to the Nigerian household. It is used for soups, sauces, stews and drinks. If you want the heat ginger is the root to beat! Did you know that apart from fabulous flavor that ginger has other benefits?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose rhizomeginger root or simply ginger, is widely used as a spice or a folk medicine. This ‘super food’ likely originated as ground flora of tropical lowland forests in regions from the Indian subcontinent to southern Asia, where its cultivation remains among the world's largest producers, including India, China, and other countries of southern Asia.

The rhizome (underground part of the stem) is the part commonly used as a spice. It is often called ginger root, or simply ginger. Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional/alternative medicine. It has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few.

Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice, and is sometimes added to processed foods and cosmetics. It is a very common ingredient in recipes. The unique fragrance and flavor of ginger come from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol.

Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

  1. Ginger Can Treat Many Forms of Nausea, especially Morning Sickness

Ginger appears to be highly effective against nausea . For example, it has a long history of use as a sea sickness remedy, and there is some evidence that it may be as effective as prescription medication. Ginger may also relieve nausea and vomiting after surgery, and in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. But it may be the most effective when it comes to pregnancy-related nausea, such as morning sickness.

According to a review of 12 studies that included a total of 1,278 pregnant women, 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger can significantly reduce symptoms of nausea. Although ginger is considered safe, talk to your doctor before taking large amounts if you are pregnant. Some believe that large amounts can raise the risk of miscarriage, but there are currently no studies to support this.

  1. The Anti-Inflammatory Effects Can Help Muscle Soreness

Ginger has been shown to be effective against exercise-induced muscle pain. In one study, consuming 2 grams of ginger per day, for 11 days, significantly reduced muscle pain in people performing elbow exercises. Ginger does not have an immediate impact, but may be effective at reducing the day-to-day progression of muscle pain. These effects are believed to be mediated by the anti-inflammatory properties.

  1. Ginger May Drastically Lower Blood Sugars and Improve Heart Disease Risk Factors

This area of research is relatively new, but ginger may have powerful anti-diabetic properties. In a recent 2015 study of 41 participants with type 2 diabetes, 2 grams of ginger powder per day lowered fasting blood sugar by 12%.

It also dramatically improved HbA1c (a marker for long-term blood sugar levels), leading to a 10% reduction over a period of 12 weeks. There was also a 28% reduction in the ApoB/ApoA-I ratio, and a 23% reduction in markers for oxidized lipoproteins. These are both major risk factors for heart disease.

  1. Ginger Can Help Treat Chronic Indigestion

Chronic indigestion (dyspepsia) is characterized by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach. It is believed that delayed emptying of the stomach is a major driver of indigestion.

Interestingly, ginger has been shown to speed up emptying of the stomach in people with this condition. After eating soup, ginger reduced the time it took for the stomach to empty from 16 to 12 minutes. In a study of 24 healthy individuals, 1.2 grams of ginger powder before a meal accelerated emptying of the stomach by 50%.

  1. Ginger Powder May Significantly Reduce Menstrual Pain

Menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea) refers to pain felt during a woman's menstrual cycle. One of the traditional uses of ginger is for pain relief, including menstrual pain.

In one study, 150 women were instructed to take 1 gram of ginger powder per day, for the first 3 days of the menstrual period. Ginger managed to reduce pain as effectively as the drugs mefenamic acid and ibuprofen.

  1. Ginger May Lower Cholesterol Levels

High levels of LDL lipoproteins (the "bad" cholesterol) are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. The foods you eat can have a strong influence on LDL levels.

In a 45-day study of 85 individuals with high cholesterol, 3 grams of ginger powder caused significant reductions in most cholesterol markers. This is supported by a study in hypothyroid rats, where ginger extract lowered LDL cholesterol to a similar extent as the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin.

Both studies also showed reductions in total cholesterol and blood triglycerides.

  1. Ginger Contains a Substance That May Help Prevent Cancer

Cancer is a very serious disease that is characterized by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Ginger extract has been studied as an alternative treatment for several forms of cancer. The anti-cancer properties are attributed to 6-gingerol, a substance that is found in large amounts in raw ginger.

There is some, albeit limited, evidence that ginger may be effective against pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. More research is needed.

  1. The Active Ingredient in Ginger Can Help Fight Infection

Gingerol, the bioactive substance in fresh ginger, can help lower the risk of infections. In fact, ginger extract can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria.

It is very effective against the oral bacteria linked to inflammatory diseases in the gums, such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Fresh ginger may also be effective against the RSV virus, a common cause of respiratory infections.

With this new found information, grate it, pulverize it, boil it, roast it, blend it, do anything you lie to the ginger, but find innovative ways of adding it to your diet. You won’t regret it.

  1. Do some “Deskercise.” Some days, there simply isn’t time for a workout. But that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise at all. Think about innovative ways to get some exercise in while sitting down. A few suggestions are ‘stapler curls’, (ignore the curious glances from your colleague in the work station).

  2. Try and walk it out. The average job requires sitting in front of a computer for a majority of the day. Add that to sitting down for dinner and driving and that means you’re on your butt for 70 percent of an average workday. Sneak in some exercise by running errands on foot, taking the stairs, parking farther away from your destination, all those extra steps add up!

2014Q4-healthwatch-befitDo you ever feel too tired to exercise after a long day at work? Do you end up craving sweets and junk food after a stressful day? Are you frustrated by feeling as though you simply can't stay healthy and fit because you sit at a desk too much? You're not alone. I'm a health coach, but my whole professional background is working in a corporate world, so I know the challenge of staying in shape in an office job all too well.

Just because you're at work all day doesn’t mean you can’t stay slim and fit. You just need to implement some simple lifestyle and work habit changes. So here's my personal recipe for staying in shape while working in an office:

  1. Eat breakfast.

    This is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. A wholesome breakfast can provide you with the energy you need to get through the first half of the day, and it will help prevent you from consuming junk food.

  2. Cut out sugary snacks and candies.

    They're everywhere in offices! Real villains. Yes, they can be tasty, but they don't satisfy your true hunger and are digested quickly, leading to a roller coaster of sugar highs and lows. Instead of visiting the vending machine, bring snacks from home, such as baby carrots, cheese sticks, nuts, hummus, cucumber slices, whole or sliced fresh fruit, small amounts of dried fruit, or savory crackers. If you really can't survive a sleepy afternoon in the office, a piece of dark chocolate is fine.

  3. Bring your own lunch.

    Restaurant meals often include large portions and high-calorie choices. You can eat healthier and spend much less money if you prepare your own lunch.

  4. Stay away from sodas and sugary drinks.

    They can help you stay awake while working and you may like their taste. But they really don't do anything for you and are full of empty calories in the form of sugar. If you need the caffeine, consider coffee (but don't go crazy) or green tea.

  5. Drink lots of water.

    It's good for you, and it will keep your mind off soda or coffee. It may help you fight off other cravings, too. Sleepiness is often caused by dehydration, so keep yourself well hydrated. If you want some flavor, put lime, lemon or cucumber slices into your water bottle.

  6. Move as much as you can.

    Walk around the office and stretch every now and then. Take breaks every hour or so and move your body. Use every possible opportunity to burn calories. Move while waiting for programs on the computer to load. If you need to discuss something with your colleague, go to his or her desk instead of making a phone call or sending an email. If you need to go to another floor in the building, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Consider teaming up with a friend at work to take regular breaks for exercise and to motivate each other.

  7. Stand as much as you can.

    This is healthier than sitting. It's better for your back, and burns more calories. Or switch your chair for an exercise ball. This will work your abs and balance.

  8. Try to be as active as possible outside of work.

    Join the gym, go for a walk. Try to spend some time in nature if possible to unload the stress of the workday and give your eyes and lungs a break. If you're stressed, try breathing exercises or meditation. Do something nice for yourself: spend some time with your family, read a book, call or visit your friend, listen to some music, cook something nice. Skip watching TV to give your eyes a break and limit exposure to unnecessary radiation. Besides, TV is another reason to sit instead of being active.

  9. Get enough sleep.

    Waking up refreshed and strong in the morning will help prevent binging and caffeine cravings later in the day.

  10. Put some inspirational quotes or photos in your workspace.

    Make your own bulletin board to remind yourself to concentrate on your health and wellness goals.

By Eyza Icha

It’s a sad testimony that Nigerians are now used to periodic disease epidemics, some deadly, some not so much. We are just coming out of the tail spin of Lassa fever in the country and now the latest scare is over the reported outbreak of Monkey Pox.

What started as a lone case of suspected Monkey pox disease in Bayelsa State spread within a few weeks to Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and Cross River, Nassarawa, Enugu and recently the FCT. This is a tongue in cheek statement because the Minister for Health Prof. Isaac Adewole has stated previously that the news of the spread was mere conjecture and yet to be proved with laboratory test results.

Finally! It’s 2017 and as usual we all make resolutions and research has shown that health related resolutions rank higher than any other category. Unfortunately, most of us stop at making the resolution and do not follow through with it.

Over the past few years, the rate of illness and sickness amongst office workers have increased to an alarming rate and thus drives home the urgent need for all of us at the Commission to ensure that we give our body the respect it deserves. It is after all, our major tool of work. While we spend a major part of our income tending to the exterior presentation of ourselves, sadly, we tend to grossly neglect the most important, which is the internal. A simple poll would reveal that the percentage of NCC staff who have done an annual health check in the last 4 years, is in fact shockingly low. I dare say that there may be some of us who are yet to do so, since the compulsory one done during their employment process in the Commission.

What is the largest organ in the human body? If you said the skin, you guessed right. The skin is a thin layer of tissue forming the natural outer covering of the body of a person or animal. The human skin consists of 2 layers namely the epidermis and the dermis layer. The Epidermis is the upper dead layer that contains cells that produce melanin, which gives our skin its color.