Poor care and stigma are barriers to SA’s treatment of children with TB

Stigma, and an unequipped private sector are barriers to fighting South Africa’s top killer disease, tuberculosis – especially in children.


Stigma, and an unequipped private sector are barriers to fighting South Africa’s top killer disease, tuberculosis (TB) – especially in children.

When Angelina Grab was two-years-old she had a fever, started sweating at night and losing weight. Her mother, Johannesburg-based Janet Grab, immediately took her to her paediatrician.

“She didn’t look well so we kept going back to the paediatrician, we’re fortunate to have medical aid. But we kept on looking for an answer. We were sent to a cardiologist and the tests came back clear.

“Our paediatrician sent Angie for a chest x-ray and blood work and it was then we discovered she had TB,” said Janet.

It took about two months for Angelina to be diagnosed with TB – which does not seem long but could have been much faster if South Africa’s private sector was more clued-up about the disease.

But getting diagnosed was only the first hurdle. South Africa’s private sector does not supply anti-TB drugs so Janet had to register her daughter for treatment at the local government clinic.

After a three-hour wait, Janet received Angelina’s first batch of medication – which the toddler needed to take for six months.

Janet said that giving her the foul-tasting medicine was a daily challenge.

“I don’t remember much but I do remember the medicine,” said Angelina, who is now nine. “It wasn’t nice. It was very, very bitter. I always used to ask my mom for a sweet so I could get that taste out of my throat.”

Janet was also unprepared for the reaction she received when she told the principal at the creche Angelina attended that she had TB, even though she had been declared non-infectious by her doctor.

“The principal begged me not to tell any of other parents about the diagnosis because she was scared they would take their children out of the school. I said I am going to tell them and I’m happy for them to call me to explain the situation,” she said.

After experiencing this discrimination, Janet made a point to tell as many people as possible about TB in an effort to “dispel the stigma” surrounding the illness.

The mother and daughter duo feature in a new book launched at the 49th Union World Conference on Lung …

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Elderly women who start exercising may break fewer bones

Women over the age of 70 who start exercising, significantly lower their risk of injuries from falling.

Elderly women who start exercising regularly may be able to reduce their risk of falls that result in broken bones or other serious injuries, a small study suggests.

Researchers offered a group of women in their 70′ s supervised workouts combining balance and strength training three times a week for one year and found they were 62 percent less likely to be injured in falls over the next five years than peers who didn’t exercise.

While previous research has proven exercises to improve balance and muscle strength can protect against falls and injuries while the workouts are ongoing, the current study suggests the benefit may last even after intensive physical activity stops, said lead study author Saija Karinkanta, a scientist at the UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research in Tampere, Finland.

“It is useful to train a little bit harder and intensively so that your physical functioning really improves,” Karinkanta said by email. “After that, you can maintain the benefits with lighter, less intensive exercise.”

Falling is the leading cause of injuries in the elderly

Each year, one in three adults over age 65 experience a fall, the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among the elderly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For older women, this risk of fall-related injuries is compounded by a condition known as osteoporosis, or thinning bones, which occurs when production of the hormone oestrogen declines after menopause.

To see if exercise could reduce the injury risk for women, Karinkanta and colleagues randomly assigned 149 study participants to do resistance training, balance exercises, workouts combining both elements, or no exercise at all.

At the start of the study, the women were 70 to 78 years old and living at home. Most of them were sedentary or did moderate exercise no more than twice a week, but had no signs of osteoporosis or medical conditions that would make more intense workouts dangerous.

Women assigned to the three exercise groups did six weeks of moderate activity before scaling up to more intense supervised workouts. Balance exercises included jumping, while strength training was designed to bolster muscle and bone.

After five years of follow up, 61 women had a total of 81 fall-related injuries. Half of the women assigned no exercise at all experienced at …

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What are the different types of allergies?

A. Respiratory allergies

Allergic rhinitis (nasal allergy, allergy of the nose or hay fever)

Breathing air that contains an allergen can cause allergic rhinitis, the most common respiratory allergy. Allergic rhinitis often begins around the age of two years, but commonly only surfaces in a person’s late teens or early 20s.

Other respiratory allergies include those that affect the sinuses (allergic sinusitis), the bronchial tubes (asthma), and the lungs (hypersensitivity pneumonitis).

Allergic rhinitis is usually seasonal and referred to as intermittent allergic rhinitis. Persistent allergic rhinitis occurs all year round and is sometimes referred to as “sinus”.

Rhinitis of pregnancy

Pregnant women sometimes experience some of the above-mentioned symptoms without suffering from allergic rhinitis. This is called rhinitis of pregnancy.

The cause is unknown, although hormones released during pregnancy may be the cause of swelling in the mucous lining of the nose. The higher circulating blood volume during pregnancy (40% above the levels of non-pregnant women) may also congest the nasal passages.


Asthma is an abnormal reaction in the lower airways. The main causes are environmental exposure and allergies to allergens such as pollen, mould spores, animal dander and dust mites. Other allergies, e.g. eczema and allergic rhinitis, are also linked to asthma, especially in children.

Asthma causes a recurrent tight chest, wheezing and/or coughing, which is usually prominent in the early hours of the morning. Symptoms are usually associated with colds or other upper respiratory tract infections, but may also be triggered by exercise, cold and dry weather, laughter, crying, and exposure to allergens and irritants.

B. Skin allergies

Contact dermatitis

This skin allergy is characterised by itchy rashes, and is more common in adults than in children. It’s caused by contact with a natural substance (e.g. cat fur) or a manufactured item (e.g. soap) that becomes an allergen.

Atopic dermatitis or eczema

Children who have a family history of allergies are prone to eczema, and children who suffer from eczema are more likely to develop other allergies later in life. This includes allergic rhinitis, asthma, and even food allergies (particularly to eggs and peanuts) – a syndrome called atopy.

Eczema is primarily caused by very dry skin. The rash has a typical appearance, comes and goes, is always itchy, and can be acute or chronic.

The acute rash is red and swollen, and may ooze; the chronic rash is thick and darker than normal skin. The rash …

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Saunas seem to do a heart good, research shows

New research suggests that for people aged 50 and older, saunas may lower their odds of risk of dying from heart disease – but the sauna experience might differ dependent on the area in the world you’re from.

Love your time in the local sauna? Your heart may love it, too.

New research from sauna-loving Finland suggests that for people aged 50 and older, saunas may lower their odds of risk of dying from heart disease.

Specifically, just 5% of Finns in the study who spent more than 45 minutes in a sauna each week died of heart disease over the 15-year study period, compared to 10% of those who spent less that 15 minutes a week in saunas, the researchers said.

Of course, the study couldn’t prove cause-and-effect – it’s possible that sauna-loving folk have other heart-healthy habits that might explain the findings.

Still, “there are several possible reasons why sauna use may decrease the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease,” said study co-author Dr Jari Laukkanen, head of cardiology at the University of Eastern Finland. His team published its findings November 28 in the journal BMC Medicine.

“Our research team has shown in previous studies that high sauna use is associated with lower blood pressure,” he noted in a journal news release. “Additionally, sauna use is known to trigger an increase in heart rate equal to that seen in low- to moderate-intensity physical exercise.”

Could be helpful

One US expert who looked over the findings agreed that heat can often be therapeutic to the human body, but the sauna experience might differ a bit in America.

“The greatest benefit [in the study] was observed in individuals who took 4-7 saunas per week, a frequency that Americans are unlikely to achieve,” noted Dr Cindy Grines, who directs cardiology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York.

“In addition, this study used dry heat, and whether the results are similar with steam baths or hot tubs is not known,” she said.

Laukkanen’s team agreed that because the data came from one area in Finland, the findings might not apply to other populations.

The study relied on data from nearly 1 700 Finnish men and women. Participants were asked about their use of saunas, and these data were compared with deaths from cardiovascular disease. Data for the study were collected between 1998 and 2015 and the …

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Rose Water And Its Beauty Benefits

Rose occupies a prominent place in the world of natural beauty. It is not just about the fragrance and beauty. It covers multi-faceted features that make the human skin glowing, fresh and appealing. Rose water is an essential part of various female beauty products for the purpose of immense beautification. Yes, it leaves a long lasting impact on human skin by making it soften and silky beyond imagination. No matter what kind of skin you have, it will benefit to all and sundry.

There are different types of rose water available in the market. But at the time of purchasing, huge caution exists. Following are some beauty benefits and uses of rose water:

1. Antioxidant Stuff

Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can badly damage skin cells, but the antioxidant property of rose water helps make stronger skin cells and rejuvenate all types of skin tissues.

2. Hair Quality

The conditioning properties of rose water also benefit a lot in augmenting the quality of hair along with bringing maximum decline in the level of dandruff.

3. Prevent Dark Circles

Rose water is so nourishing that it also cleans the eyes and its surroundings, especially the curves of dark circles that commonly exist around eyes.

4. Reduction in Skin Rashes

Human skin is very sensitive especially that of females. The proper use of this water tends to bring huge decline in the level of skin rashes that mainly occur due to sweltering heat and sun burns.

5. Quick Cleanser

Rose water is regarded as a rapid skin cleanser by getting rid from all the grime particles and dirt from the face. It freshens up the skin in no time.

6. Acne Control with Rose Water

Mix lemon juice and rose water in equal quantities, apply it and keep it on for half an hour before finally cleaning it with water helps reduce acne. Following this regime for two to three weeks creates visible effects in reducing scars and blemishes.

7. Relieves Abrasions

With the presence of all anti-bacterial properties, rose water helps cure blemishes and wounds to a higher extent.

8. Psychological Calmness

With the use of this aromatic water, the odor of roses leaves everlasting impact on the mind of any person on account of which the temperament of any individual reaches at an exceptional phase of tranquility.

9. Transformed Environment

The aroma of rose water whenever sprayed inside rooms …

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Phitkari (Alum) For Beauty-Try It!

Phitkari (Alum) For Beauty-Try It!

There will be very few homes in Pakistan that do not have phitkari. Commonly used for water purification and a very effective remedy for ‘chaalay’ (mouth sores), phitkari or alum is a highly underrated naturally occurring substance. It has antiseptic properties. But did you know that phitkari has fascinating powers when it comes to its usage for beauty?

Below we have collected all the ways you can incorporate alum in your beauty regime. You simply will not want to go back to hazardous, chemical products once you know just how wonderfully helpful phitkari can be. Read on to find out more.

Alum for Hair Removal

These naturally occurring salts have been in use for beauty purposes since the ancient times. Women at home did not have any kind of Veet-like products, razors or other hair removal options. They either had to scratch the hair off with sharp stones or opt for the gentle alum. You too can use this method to get rid of unwanted hair.

Phitkari (Alum) For Beauty-Try It!

All you need to do is mix powdered phitkari with rose water and a few drops of olive oil, and apply it to the area where you want to be hair free. Let the mixture dry and then apply another round of the same concoction. Repeat 3-4 times and then scrub off with cotton. You will notice visible difference. Make sure you moisture after this treatment as it can be drying.

Perfect Deodorant

Yes, no more do you need to use those cancer causing deodorants. Alum is here to save you from smelling bad and darkening underarms. It is ‘the’ cure for you.

Phitkari (Alum) For Beauty-Try It!

All you need is a block of solid alum in your bathroom cupboard. Simply rub it like any deodorant under your arms to remain blissfully odor-free throughout the day. You can even keep a small block in your purse to renew the ‘perfumeless perfume’. It neither itches nor does it give off any weird smells. Make sure you apply it under clean armpits.

Shaving Cuts

Tired of getting nicked every time you shave?

Phitkari (Alum) For Beauty-Try It!

Simply rub an alum stone on the area you want to shave and then shave. You will be pleasantly surprised by how well this works.

Acne and Wrinkles

This may sound surprising and most people don’t know, but alum is excellent for curing acne. It kills off bacteria and helps keep your skin smooth and clear. It is …

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The 5 biggest causes of digestive issues over the festive season

For many people the festive season goes hand in hand with unpleasant digestive ailments. Here are a few potential pitfalls and how to avoid them.

For most of us the upcoming holiday season is something to look forward to. For others, though, it presents the prospect of uncomfortable digestive issues.

Do you belong to the second group? Don’t worry! We identified the biggest culprits – and what you can do to avoid those nasty digestive pitfalls.

1. Alcohol

Festive champagne, cold beers after work, countless bottles of wine – while this sounds idyllic, excess consumption of alcohol can trigger several digestive issues. Not only can alcohol upset a stomach that’s already susceptible to discomfort (especially in those with IBS), but it can also weaken the body’s immune response, making it easier for you to contract a stomach bug. Doesn’t sound all that cheery now, does it?

Alcohol can also trigger heartburn – often associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GOERD), which relaxes the muscle that keeps food in the stomach. Alcohol also irritates the stomach lining, which can lead to nausea.

Are you travelling to an area where you need to take an anti-malaria prophylaxis? These medications affect how the liver metabolises alcohol, which can result in nausea the next day.

What to do: You don’t have to be a complete teetotaller to beat the bloat, heartburn and whatever goes with it. Choose your tipple wisely – avoid fizzy drinks and those with a high sugar content. Don’t mix your alcoholic beverages and drink water in between to limit your intake and avoid dehydration.

2. Large portions

Festivities, end-of-year parties and family visits often mean bigger portions of indulgent foods and desserts. There are many after effects of eating too much, including nausea, indigestion, heartburn, bloating and abdominal pain – as our bodies struggle to digest more food than usual.

What to do: Eat mindfully – stick to your absolute favourite foods and eat smaller portions of foods high in sugar and fat. Focus on the people and conversations around you. Allow some time before going for a second portion – you might even not be hungry anymore.

3. Foods high in fat and sugar

Desserts, rich meats, fried canapes – all of these contain more sugar and/or fat that is good for you and your body might have a hard time digesting these foods. Studies have shown that meals …

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7 yoga poses that might help your digestion

If you’re struggling with poor digestion, these yoga poses might help.

Time: 3 minutes

Equipment: Yoga mat

Good for: Digestion

Instructions: Flow from one pose to the next, repeating on both sides where noted. Complete the yoga flow as many times as you’d like. You can also hold each pose for more than one breath, to make the flow a bit longer.

Wide-stance forward fold

How to: Bring your feet in a wide stance, about three to four feet apart. Raise your arms out to the sides and slowly bend forward, placing both hands on your mat. Hold for a breath, then continue to the next move.

Wide-stance forward fold with twist

How to: From a wide-angle forward fold, place your right hand on the mat, equidistant between your feet. Raise your left arm out to the side and up, twisting your body, and turn your gaze up to your fingers. Lower your left arm and place it where your right hand is. Repeat on the other side, then continue to the next move.

High lunge

How to: From a low lunge, root your feet foot firmly into the ground and rise up, lifting both arms overhead, keeping your shoulders down. Lift your torso, and square your hips to face forward. Hold for a breath, then continue to the next move.

Revolved side angle

How to: From high lunge, make sure your right knee is directly above your right ankle. Turn your torso to the right and then lean forward, either with your hands in prayer position or with your left arm extended down to the inside of your right foot. Repeat high lunge and revolved side angle on the other side.

Hindu squat

How to: Stand with your knees slightly wider than your hips. Bend your knees and sit down as deeply as you can, reaching your arms forward, if needed, to keep your balance. If possible, place your arms between your knees in prayer position. Hold for a couple of breaths then continue to the next pose.

Wind-relieving pose

How to: Lie on your back. Bring your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around them. You can also twist your knees to one side, then the other, keeping your upper back flat on the ground, for a nice lower back stretch. Continue to the next pose.…

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Banish Baggy Eyes and Dark Circles

Do you want to banish baggy eyes and dark circles around them? Think you need an expensive cream? Plastic surgery? Think again.
Our simple home remedy will cost you virtually nothing and you can have great results. You can really banish baggy eyes and dark circles.

How Did You Get Baggy Eyes? Dark Circles?

The bags and dark circles that you see under eyes can be the result of a number of things. First of all it may be (and often is) an inherited tendency. Next there are just people who are born with darker circles around their eye sockets. Next they may be just part of the natural aging processes. Lack of restful sleep often results in bags and dark circles, and finally it may be due to environmental factors such as allergies, dehydration and crying.

The truth is, the causes are not perfectly understood. What is Technically Happening?
Aging causes our skin to get thinner. There is a break down of the lattice work under the skin formed by collagen fibers. This latticework acts to keep the skin tight and elastic.
Then, the thin skin, when seen in places without layers of fat (such as the skull or hands) gives a darker appearance…With the skin around the eyes thinning, the blood vessels beneath and our own darker shadows of bone to begin to show through. This may be worse due to genetic pre-disposition, but things like too much UV light and even smoking and worsen the effect.

Also a general lack of sleep or restful sleep is another culprit for baggy eyes and dark circles. It may have a lot to do with blood supply and oxygen in that area.So, What Can be Done?
You may not be able to completely eliminate baggy eyes and dark circles, but you certainly can reduce them.

 Here are some real and effective tips to follow:

• Drink plenty of fresh clean water daily and keep yourself hydrated

• Take a 3mg tablet of melatonin (if your doctor agrees) each night, and try to get a more restful sleep

• Stop smoking

• Wear refrigerated eye pack just before going to bed

• Prepare a strong cup of tea with teabags, and then chill the bags with most of the water dripped out. Apply the teabags to closed eyes for 15 minutes during a nap or at the end of a long …

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The bigger the brain, the bigger the tumour risk?

Researchers have been able to prove an association between brain size and cancer risk.

The bigger your brain, the greater your risk for a deadly brain cancer, new research from Norway suggests.

It’s a matter of maths: A large brain means more brain cells, and more cells means more cell divisions that can go wrong and cause mutations that trigger cancer, the study authors explained.
Lifestyle makes a difference
“Aggressive brain cancer is a rare type of cancer, but once you have it, the chance of survival is relatively low,” said researcher Even Hovig Fyllingen, a Ph.D. student at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in Trondheim.

According to the researchers, lifestyle makes a difference for some cancers. For example, people who smoke have a greater risk of lung cancer than nonsmokers. But when it comes to brain cancer, lifestyle matters far less.

Studies have shown that the size of some organs may be important in whether cancer develops. For example, women with large breasts are at a greater risk for breast cancer.

“We wanted to check if this was also the case for brain tumours,” Fyllingen said in a university news release.

For the study, Fyllingen and his colleagues used data from the Nord-Trondelag Health Study, which includes health information and blood samples collected from thousands of Norwegians in the Nord-Trondelag area.

Fyllingen used the third version of the survey and compared it with St. Olav’s Hospital’s neurosurgery database.

Men have a larger brain

The investigators looked at everyone who had surgery for high-grade brain tumours between 2007 and 2015, and compared that data with healthy people from the Nord-Trondelag Health Study.

The researchers used MRI scans to measure the size of the brain and made 3D models so they could measure the intracranial brain volume.

The findings showed that more men than women developed brain tumours.

“Men have a larger brain than women because men’s bodies are generally larger,” Fyllingen said. “It doesn’t mean that men are smarter, but you need to have more brain cells to control a large body.”

More men develop brain tumours

But it turns out that women with big brains have a greater risk of developing brain tumours, compared with men with big brains, the researchers found.

“Seventy percent more men than women develop brain tumours, but when we correct for head size, it’s no longer beneficial to be female,” Fyllingen said. …

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