Sunday, May 13, 2012

Keep household allergies at bay

With these simple tricks, banish the nasties in your house that make you cough and wheeze
The very thought of them makes you scratch and itch - and now the dust mite has become increasingly responsible for a rise in household allergies.
Instances of perennial allergic rhinitis, or home fever, have shot up in our urban homes, making people allergic to their own abodes. Unlike regular hay fever, triggered by high seasonal pollen levels, home fever is caused by allergens such as dust mites, moulds, cleaning products and pets. Since these are present all around the year, they can catch you unawares any time.
With the most common symptoms of an indoor allergy or home fever being a runny nose and sneezing, people all too often confuse symptoms with a common cold or flu and don't treat the cause of the problem. While curing home fever is tough, here's how you can fight back:
Room spray
This is one of the most common causes of allergic reactions and is even known to trigger asthma attacks. Room sprays are unnecessary if you keep your house clean, don't smoke indoors and open your windows regularly.
There's also an alternative - create your own by mixing a tablespoon each of bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice with warm water.
Dust mites
Your bed provides the ideal environment for dust mites to thrive because in them they can feed on skin cells, obtain warmth from your body and gather water from your sweat. Their droppings, though invisible to the naked eye, are responsible for causing the majority of allergic reactions. To eliminate them, use allergen-proof barrier covers on all mattresses, bedspreads and pillows. Wash your sheets and blankets every week, ideally at 60 degrees or above. Also, change your mattress every eight to 10 years, and replace pillows every 12 months.
Cat and dog dander, which are flakes of dead skin that collect on fur and other surfaces, contain allergens that can cause serious asthma attacks. Pets also carry outdoor allergens back inside on their coats. Keep your pets in well-ventilated rooms and never let them sleep on the beds or furniture. Wipe pets down after long walks and wash their bedding weekly. You could try a pet cleanser which removes allergens from coats.
This is a type of fungi that grows best in damp and poorly-ventilated areas. To stop it developing, simply reduce humidity by increasing ventilation. Use trickle vents in double glazing or just open your windows. Extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens are also useful at getting rid of steam. Avoid hanging damp clothes in the house to dry. Also, try an air purifier to trap mould spores.
If allergic, remove as many of the carpets in your house as possible and replace with solid wood flooring. New carpets in particular are full of noxious chemicals that can be inhaled for months and could trigger allergic reactions. If you do have carpets, regularly use a high-temperature steam cleaner to get rid of any dust mites.
Avoid furniture and shelving made from chipboard or manufactured wood as these may contain formaldehyde - a chemical that can give off a colourless gas that irritates the airways. Your best bet is to invest in solid wood furniture in the long run.
All perfumes, hairsprays, shampoos and soaps have the potential to cause nasty skin reactions. Try to use scentless products when you can, and dab natural oils on your clothes instead of processed ones.
Indoor plants and flowers can produce pollen so avoid having them in the house if they cause sneezing. Speak with garden experts to find the best plants for indoors. Be aware that planters, soil and old leaves can serve as great hiding places for mould.
Soft toys
Dust mites are commonly found in furry toys so it's really important to keep them irritant-free. Washable stuffed toys should be sent tumbling through the washing machine on a regular basis. While children at home would be aghast at the thought, it would help if you place the furries in a plastic bag in the freezer for at least 12 hours once a month, and then wash them at a lower temperature if needed.

Do you have mood swings?

Bipolar disorders can affect every aspect of our lives.
Abipolar disorder is a common condition, in which an individual experiences both low and high mood states. It affects men and women equally.
It is caused due to imbalance in the level of neurotransmitters - serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine - in the brain. Conditions within the environment can be a trigger for an episode, but do not cause the disorder on their own. Stressful life events can also follow from the illness.
Low and high mood swings.
There is a lack of interest in activities, avoidance of people and situations, tiredness, difficulty in concentration, changes in sleep and appetite, lack of confidence, reduced self-esteem.
At the other end of the spectrum are the high or elevated moods. These can be either hypomanic or manic. In mania, one has an elevated or irritable mood, accompanied by reduced sleep and appetite. In hypomania, the individual experiences similar symptoms as in a mania, though the intensity and severity of the symptoms are lesser.
Diagnosis can be made by carefully exploring the presence of both depressive and manic or hypomanic states.
Pharmacotherapy helps stabilise the mood states and reduce the levels of irritability and excitability. Restoring sleep is of crucial importance. Avoid the use of substances. Psychotherapy for the individual and family.
(Inputs by Dr Samir Parikh, Chief, department of mental health and behavioural sciences, Max Healthcare, New Delhi)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A diet that keeps you cool in summer

With mercury soaring high, it is essential to eat right.
Summer is all about having some fun under the sun. But, the harsh sunlight and humidity is your hair, health and skin's worst enemy, so, it is always important to take care.
And summer is a period when all in the family are susceptible to ill health. And as the mercury is rising high, precautions are needed before it creates trouble for you or your close ones. A good diet is an essential part of family health-care and summer time is no different. Eating sensibly ensures that you maintain a strong immune system and build up a strong resistance against viruses and infection and why just that, it also ensures better skin and hair! Dehydration and sunstroke are very common in summers
. Hence, one should drink plenty of water, coconut water as it contains potassium which is needed to have a healthy immunity and eat lots of fruits like watermelon, muskmelon etc. that are high on water content.
One must take small meals at small intervals-one should avoiding taking heavy meals. Also, it is very important to have Vitamin C thereby; citrus fruits are a must as they consist of anti-oxidants which make immune system strong to fight illness in summers. Apart from sunstroke and dehydration, gastrointestinal diseases take a toll like cases of people suffering cholera, jaundice, and diarrhea are observed a lot. So, one should avoid pani-puris, ice-candies and road-side food as a precaution. Also, one must eat lot of curd and drink buttermilk to avoid sunstroke and dehydration.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Have a good night’s sleep

Stick to a schedule: Do you sleep and  wake up at more or less the same time everyday? If yes, you are doing the right thing. But in the event you are not, keep in mind that erratic bed times don't permit your body to align to the proper circadian rhythms. Going to bed late or getting up later than usual one time in some time is fine. Don't make it a habit. Also, try & sleep only at night. Daytime naps will make it difficult for you to get sleep at night. At the most, limit daytime sleep to twenty minute power naps.Know the benefits of meditation

How plenty of hours do you sleep every night? Is your sleep uninterrupted or disturbed? Do you have trouble sleeping immediately? Do you find yourself waking up in the midst of the night for no apparent reason? Several people suffer from bad sleep for different reasons. They give you simple tips that you can follow to receive a lovely night's sleep...

Take a hot bath before you turn in for the night: Hot water helps you sleep better because it can relax tense muscles. Never have your meal before you are going to bed. Eating massive meals or spicy food before bedtime will make it difficult to nod off. Keep a gap of at least hours before you turn in. This allows digestion to happen well before you go to sleep so that your body can rest well in the coursework of the night.

Exercising actually helps you get better sleep: Your body makes use of the sleep period to recover its muscles & joints that have been worked out. Even half an hour of exercise - in the gym, at home or a brisk running outside can help you sleep well. Your exercise time ought to be in the morning, afternoon or early evening. Activity before bedtime may make it hard for you to get sleep.

Read a book before you turn in. Studies show that spending even 15 to twenty minutes reading before you go to bed, lets you sleep well.

Hooked on caffeine? Well, at least make positive you don't have it at night. It will keep you tossing & turning in bed for hours.

Shut the radio & tv. Sleeping with no distractions is best for a clearer mind.

Keep your windows open. This allows air to circulate in & out of the windows. & make positive that when you sleep, there is no disturbing sound in the background.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Eat cherries for a good night’s sleep

Cherries grown in sun-rich Central Otago are a natural source of melatonin at levels 30 times higher than their northern hemisphere counterparts.
know your diet-for-a-healthy-heart
If you are having struggling with sleep issues, Central Otago cherries could be the bedtime treatment, say researchers.

The findings come from research commissioned by Fruision Ltd, a joint venture between Hamilton-based Quantec Ltd, a company specialising in developing health treatments from natural products, and Alexandra-based fruitgrower Summerfrui, reported.

Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally present in the human body and aids sleep.

The latest study, undertaken by an independent laboratory in Australia, has shown Central Otago cherries have 500 nanograms per gram.

Earlier studies published in the United States have shown northern hemisphere cherries to have levels of melatonin at to 15 nanograms per gram.

When the cherries had been dried, the melatonin levels increased to 3100 nanograms per gram.

Fruision senior scientist Dr Judy Bragger said Kiwi plants are exposed to more ultraviolet radiation than those growing at a similar latitude in Europe of North The united states, and this caused them to produce more secondary metabolites - organic compounds that are not directly involved in the normal plant growth.

"It is these secondary metabolites that the cherries produce that have such great human health promoting properties when eaten," Dr Bragger said.

Moanui Laboratories in Hamilton were already backing the science and are the first New Zealand company to distribute a sleep aid derived from cherries in a capsule form.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nature's secret for your face

Natural recipes for your face.

8 natural face mask best for you

Cucumber mask (for dry skin)
Mix  grated cucumber with a spoon  of oatmeal as well as a tablespoon of yogurt . Apply a thick layer on the skin for 30 minutes. Then wash with warm water .

Yogurt mask (for oily skin)
Mix  half cup of yogurt with little yeast. Apply on face in circle for five minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Honey mask (for all skin types)
Apply a narrow layer of honey to the room temperature moderate to damp skin, & stay that way for five minutes. Carefully washed with warm water, then with chilled water, then use a towel if it is still sticky.

Banana mask (anti aging)
Crushing a ripe banana until it is smooth & apply a narrow layer on the surface. Leave for ten minutes, then rinse with warm water & pat dry. Your skin is soft & smooth!

Avocado mask (for all skin types)
A ripe mashed avocado until creamy smooth it, then apply a thick layer on face. While waiting 15 minutes to dry the mask, you can add pieces of cucumber on the eyes. Rinse with warm water, then chilled water & leave dry.

Lemon juice mask (for all skin types)
This mask helps reduce the dark marks on the skin. Mix half the lemon water with egg white. Then apply a narrow layer on the surface. When dry, it will be a small bit hard, leave it overnight then rinse with warm water in the morning.

Oatmeal mask (for oily skin)
Mix tablespoons of unprocessed oats with a medication spoon of salt (baking powder - baking soda), then add a small water to make it more dense. Apply through circle on moisture the skin then rinse with warm water.

Banana & yogurt mask (for dry skin)
Crushed one / four ripe banana, then mix with half cup of yogurt as well as a teaspoon of honey. Apply a narrow layer on face & leave for ten minutes then rinse with warm water. Your skin will be moisturized & smooth.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How stress affects humans

By studying social stress that moulds monkey immune system, researchers have shed light on how the stress of low socioeconomic status may impact human health and how individuals' bodies adapt after a shift in their social environment. 
Check What is the good diet for a healthy heart
Researchers, who conducted the study with rhesus macaques at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, insisted that if a monkey's social status changes, her immune system changes along with it. 

Researchers led by Jenny Tung, PhD, said they can predict a rhesus macaque's rank within a small group by examining gene expression levels in her immune cells
Primate researchers can tell macaques' social rank by watching them engage in competitive interactions, such as grooming and accessing food and water. 

Tung and her colleagues studied 10 groups of female macaques (five each) in which researchers could manipulate individuals' social rank. Before being placed into new groups, all of the macaques started out as middle rank. 

"In the wild, macaques inherit their social rank from their mothers" Tung said. 

"But in our research, the order of introduction determines rank; the newcomer is generally lower status. When some macaques' status changed after a newcomer arrived, so did their patterns of immune system gene activity." 

The researchers used microarrays, a technology that allows them to scan thousands of genes and read the expression levels, to look at the macaques' immune cells. The gene activity that changed the most depending on social rank was what controlled inflammation. 

Previous studies have found lower status macaques have higher levels of inflammation and have changes in their levels of hormones that indicate they're under more stress. 

Based on the pattern of gene activity, the researchers could, without looking at a monkey's identity, predict whether that animal was high (rank 1 or 2), middle or low (rank 4 or 5) with 80 percent accuracy. 

Seven monkeys' social ranks changed because other individuals were moved. When this happened, the researchers were able to take blood samples before and after the shift. 

The gene scans revealed the pattern of immune system activity changed along with these monkeys' social ranks. Here, social rank post-shift could be predicted to 86 percent accuracy (six out of seven). 

"There's a concerning side to this kind of research, in that an individual's social environment probably partially determines health status," Tung said. 

"But there's also a hopeful side. For the seven females that changed ranks, their gene status changed with them." Dr. Mark Wilson, PhD, chief of the Division of Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience at Yerkes and director of the center''s Biomarkers Core Laboratory, said. 

"That they are not stuck in place says something more broadly about the capacity for change within human society. With these studies, we are showing we do have the ability to advance from our roots and live more healthful lives," Dr. Wilson added. 

The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.