Coping With Stress and Anxiety

At some time in our lives, most people will suffer from some degree of stress and anxiety. For some people, dealing with it is relatively simple, as they process this stress in a logical way. However, for many it’s not so simple, and can lead to more serious mental health problems. For those of you that do struggle with dealing with stress and anxiety, here are some top ways of coping.

Be More Active

By taking care of your physical health, you can actually improve your mental health. Get active by going out for walks, joining an exercise class, or taking up a sport. This helps to get you out of the house and around other people, which makes it harder to sit at home and dwell on an issue.

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Talk to Someone

It can seem like the last thing you want to do when you‘re struggling with mental health issues, but talking to someone really can help, and allow you to process everything that’s going on in your head. Find a therapist that you feel comfortable with and who puts you at ease.

Cut Out Unhealthy Habits

One of the worst ways that many people deal with stress and anxiety is through unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking. These may seem like a quick and simple way to cope, but they will only make things worse in the long run. Quit smoking and drinking if you feel that you use it for stress relief through programmes such as Smart Recovery or Nicorette.

Kicking the Habit!

Seek Alternative Treatment

For some people, seeing a therapist or counsellor is not the best option. If you feel that you would find it unhelpful, seek out an alternative treatment. Make sure you do your research to find a reputable provider. You could try a range of treatments such as acupuncture or meditation, or find a hypnotherapist who treats stress and anxiety such as Alan David Kershaw.

The most important thing is to make sure that you don’t go through it alone, and talk to someone, whether it’s a friend, family member or a professional. Sharing the burden makes things so much easier.

Looking After the Mental Health of Your Staff

In any given year, one in four of us will be affected by mental health issues, and the effects are just as serious as physical health problems. Many believe that mental health care in the workplace is poor, so it is important that we work to improve this. As an employer or colleague, it can be difficult to know how to deal with a member of staff who is suffering from mental health issues, so here are a few tips on how to respond to and work with mental health problems.

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Take it Seriously

In the past there has been a poor attitude to mental health problems, with many people thinking that it’s something you can just ‘get over’. This attitude needs to be changed, as you cannot ‘get over’ depression or anxiety any easier than you could a broken arm or appendicitis. Telling someone to ‘man up’ or ‘get a grip’ is not just unhelpful; it can be extremely harmful.

Make Your Office a Happy Place

Of course, mental health problems cannot be fixed by putting up a few decorations, but creating a comfortable and happy work environment can be helpful to someone who finds the thought of going to work daunting. Think about providing natural lighting from Commercial Lamps, or flowers from Jungle World to create an attractive and comfortable environment.

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Provide a Place to Talk

There may be times when a member of staff just needs to talk to you and let you know how they’re feeling at work. If you’re sat behind your desk in your office as a manager, this can be very intimidating, and will most likely be avoided. If you can provide a separate room that is comfortable and inviting, it can be much easier for staff to tell you how they’re feeling.

Be Understanding

Although it can seem inconvenient at times, sometimes a person just needs a few days out to recuperate and give themselves a break. It’s important to be understanding and empathetic, as asking for help or time off can be scary. It’s a good idea to research a little into mental health issues, so you feel that you can understand them a bit more.

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The important thing is to be open, understanding and empathetic. By looking after the mental health of your staff, you look after your company.

Tooth Grinding: A Growing Problem

Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a little known condition in which individuals clench their jaw and grind their teeth. Whilst bruxism is one of the lesser known dental problems it is in fact more common than you might think, and is estimated to affect around 8-10% of the population. Worryingly, this figure is also thought to be increasing.

Many of us occasionally grind our teeth and clench our jaw, and this is of little concern for your oral health. However when this occurs on a more regular basis it can cause serious damage to your teeth, alongside a number of other complications.

There are a number of adverse effects associated with bruxism that can have implications for your oral health. For example tooth grinding can lead to excessive wear of the teeth and inflammation of the gums. For more information about bruxism take a look at The Bruxism Association website.

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Spotting Bruxism

Most cases of bruxism occur subconsciously, when we are asleep, however it can also affect people when they are awake. Because bruxism commonly occurs during sleep, many people are often unaware that they grind their teeth. However there are a number of common symptoms to look out for that can indicate you may have bruxism. For example symptoms can include headaches, muscle aches, and a sore jaw.

Causes

There are a number of factors thought to contribute to bruxism, such as stress, and most individuals find that teeth grinding occurs more regularly when they are feeling stressed. Other factors such as abnormal alignment of the teeth can also contribute

Interestingly bruxism is also commonly associated with other health conditions, including obstructive sleep apnoea and depression.

Treating Bruxism

If you think you may be grinding your teeth then it’s important you make an appointment to visit a reputable dentists such as Bay Dental, where you can receive expert advice and treatment, to prevent any further damage to your teeth from occurring. There are a number of different treatment options available that have proved effective at treating the condition. For example mouth guards, such as those produced by SleepRight are approved by the British Dental Health Foundation and are designed to keep your upper and lower teeth separated, thereby helping to prevent tooth grinding.

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In instances in which bruxism is clearly related to a stress or anxiety problem, therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) may also be recommended, to help treat the underlying psychological cause. Additionally, if your bruxism is stress-related there are a number of things you can do to help yourself to relax, particularly before going to bed, such as breathing exercises or even activities such as yoga. Lifestyle changes such as giving up smoking and reducing your alcohol intake have also been found to be effective at reducing bruxism. For more information about treating and preventing bruxism take a look at this handy advice produced by the NHS.

Careers In The Emergency Services

There are a variety of careers available in the healthcare sector, including a number of exciting roles in the emergency services, such as the ambulance service. A career in the ambulance service can be a hugely rewarding experience and offers the opportunity to really make a difference and improve people’s lives.

Within the ambulance service itself there are a number of different roles on offer, each of which has a vital role to play in the provision of this essential service. For example paramedics play an important and leading role in the ambulance service, and are typically the first senior healthcare professionals to arrive on the scene of an incident, responsible for the provision of essential treatment.

When it comes to working as a paramedic no two days are the same, and each shift presents a different and unique set of patients and challenges. Paramedics must undergo intensive training prior to becoming qualified; they must have completed a course approved and recognised by the Health Care Professionals Council (HCPC), and there are currently nearly 50 such courses on offer. You can find more information about how to become a paramedic on the Prospects website, which has a number of useful resources.

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Emergency care assistants are also playing an increasingly large role in the ambulance service. Like paramedics, these individuals also respond to emergency calls as part of an emergency crew and support clinically qualified practitioners. At times they may also act as a first responder and as such have a vital role to play at the front line of the healthcare service. For more information about emergency care assistants and the training they must undertake, take a look at this handy advice produced by the NHS.

There are also a number of other support roles available within the ambulance service that can make for interesting and rewarding career choices. For example ambulance drivers also play a vital role in our ambulance service. In addition to holding a full manual driving license, ambulance drivers must also complete relevant training, including IHCD ambulance driver training courses, which are available from a number of providers including Emstar. You could also consider a career as an emergency call handler. Training for this role is provided in-house, and whilst there are no set academic requirements for entry, good IT skills are essential. Hence it can be a good idea to undertake an IT training course from providers such as Learndirect, to make sure you have the necessary keyboard skills.

For further information and advice about careers in the emergency services have a look at dedicated careers websites such as the National Careers Service.

 

The Importance of Looking After Your Teeth

From an early age, we are taught the importance of brushing our teeth, and keeping our mouths healthy and well-looked after. Although having white teeth and fresh breath are two of the most known reasons for keeping teeth clean, many people do not actually realise the sheer amount that regular checks, maintenance, flossing and care can really do for your overall health, as well as your smile!

Teeth vary in size and shape depending on their position within the mouth, allowing for many different jobs. Teeth help us to chew food, digest food, help us talk and to pronounce sounds clearly, as well as shaping our face.

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So as our teeth are an asset, we’re sure you know the basics of why you should look after them, but just in case, here are a few of the key reasons why you should look after your gnashers and keep that smile clean, white and healthy!

Prevents Decay

The whitish film that builds up on your teeth is called plaque, and is the leading cause of tooth decay. This acidic substance eats away at tooth enamel, and if left, can lead to cavities and decay. Plaque can be easily removed and kept at bay by regular brushing, flossing and dental cleaning.

Brushing is the cheapest and easiest way to keep teeth clean and plaque-free, so if you’re struggling to brush your teeth properly or need some top-brushing-tips, check out this great guide from Oral B.

Freshens Breath

Good oral hygiene is key to preventing bad breath; so make sure you visit your dentist regularly as well as brushing and flossing daily. Getting a full oral clean from your dentist is a great way to keep the mouth healthy and odour-free, so be sure to take full advantage of the services offered at your local dental practice.

Quality practices such as Brocklehurst Dental Practice offer a variety of services to enhance oral hygiene, so be sure to take full advantage of the treatments on offer to provide your teeth with quality care.

Stops tooth loss

Gum disease, which is a result of plaque build-up, is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. As gum disease advances, plaque moves further down the tooth and begins to destroy the supporting jaw bone, causing teeth to loosen and eventually fall out. Although, with regular dental cleaning combined with good oral hygiene habits, your chance of this can be effectively reduced.

Plaque is removed by regular brushing, and brushing with effective and quality toothpaste. If you particularly struggle with plaque build-up, use quality toothpaste such as Colgate or Aquafresh to make sure your teeth are well-cleaned and protected.

Boosts overall health

Studies have shown a connection between oral and overall health, proving that regular dental cleanings may actually help lower your risk of diseases. Many medical conditions can be detected in their early stages by your dentist during routine oral examination – another reason why regular check-ups are crucial to quality oral hygiene.

Save money

It may seem obvious, but the more you look after your teeth, the longer they’ll last. Poorly-looked after teeth are more prone to disease, and will require more dental work in the future. If you take full advantage of the care on offer from a young age, you will be able to fully protect your oral health and potentially avoid more costly and expensive procedures.

For further information, and the full reasons why it’s so important to look after your teeth, for not only health and aesthetic purposes, check out all you need to know through the NHS website. Look after your teeth and they’ll keep you happy, healthy and with a beautiful smile for many years!

The Basics: Understanding Hair Loss

What is hair loss?

Hair grows everywhere on the human skin, but as some hairs are so fine, it is virtually impossible to see. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin. Keratin is produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin, and as hair follicles produce new cells, old cells are gradually pushed out through the surface of the skin at the rate of about six inches a year. Hair which is visible to the human eye is actually a string of dead keratin cells, and upon the average adult head, there are over 100,000 hairs, to which 100 are lost a day.

At any one time, about 90% of the hair on a person’s scalp is continuing to grow. Each hair follicle has its own life cycle that can be influenced by age and a range of other health related factors.

This life cycle is divided into three phases:

  • Anagen – active hair growth that lasts between 2 – 6 years
  • Catagen – transitional hair growth that lasts 2 – 3 weeks
  • Telogen – resting period that lasts about 2 – 3 months. Once rested, hair will then shed and a new hair replaces it.

Reasons & symptoms

There are many types of hair loss, and the reasons can differ throughout both male and female hair loss conditions. Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on the problem that may be causing it. It can come on suddenly, others gradually, and can affect just your scalp or whole body. Some types of hair loss are only temporary, while others are permanent.

Signs and symptoms of hair loss may include:

  • Gradual thinning on top of head – This is the most common type of hair loss, and affects both women and men. In men, hair often begins to recede from the forehead and women typically retain a line of hair at the forehead yet experience a broadening of the part in their hair.
  • Circular or patchy bald areas – Some people experience smooth bald spots, often about an inch in size. This type of hair loss usually affects just the scalp, but it can also occur in beads or eyebrows. In some cases, your skin may become itchy before the hair eventually falls out.
  • Sudden loosening of hair – A physical or emotional shock can cause hair to loosen. Handfuls of hair may come out when in the shower or combing. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning and not bald patches.
  • Full-body hair loss – Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer, can result in the loss of hair all over the body. The hair usually grows back after treatments end.

For further information, please read this article from Mayo Clinic regarding the causes of hair loss.

Treatments

For some types of hair loss, hair may resume growth without any treatment. In other situations, modern treatments have been designed and diagnosed to those who may desire help to promote hair growth or hide hair loss. If you’re suffering from hair loss, here are your options:

Medication

If your hair loss is caused by an underlying disease, treatment through medication applications may be a suitable option. Options may include drugs in order to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system, such as prednisone. For a list of medications, click here – however, always visit a doctor if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms for professional advice and support.

Surgery

Various Surgical procedures are designed to build up hair follicles and target a particular area of hair loss to either improve current hair quality or encourage new cell growth. An appropriate and popular option that may be the perfect solution to your condition is hair transplant treatments.

Hair transplant

This type of procedure removes tiny plugs of skin, each of which contains a few hairs, from the back or sides of your scalp. The plugs are then implanted into bald sectors of the scalp to encourage and implement hair growth and follicle build-up. Often, this type of treatment will require several sessions and appointment checks, as hereditary hair loss progresses over time.

Hair transplants, especially of late, have become a fantastic option for all individuals, both male and female, suffering from hair loss conditions, and have even been praised by high level celebrities who have boasted their success. However, it is important to consider a professional practice that provides quality and high-level health care and after-care. Always consult your doctor beforehand, and research a practices portfolio, reputation, and if possible, past customers and success results and stories! For hair loss in Glasgow, KSL Hair are the leading specialists of hair transplant and hair loss treatments and provide quality advice, support and service to their individual clients needs.

Hair loss shouldn’t affect your life, or your confidence, and if you are experiencing such conditions, be sure to contact your doctor to acquire more advice before you make any decisions. There are plenty of options available to you, so be sure to conduct research in order to find the confidence-boost and appropriate treatment to suit you!

 

Crackdown Planned on Building Health and Safety

Occupational_Safety_EquipmentHealth and safety is quite naturally a broad ranging concept, and the different industries will all have very diverse health and safety concerns to take into account. Sometimes, people view health and safety as an instance of ‘red tape gone mad’, and a number of recent reports have suggested that, in many areas at least, health and safety regulations are becoming almost unbearably pernickety. However, that’s certainly not the case within the construction industry, as in this sector the observance of health and safety is of paramount importance.

The Proposed ‘Crackdown’

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has always viewed the construction industry as a sector where much improvement can be made, and reducing construction accidents is an almost omnipresent priority. To this end, a national clampdown upon health and safety is underway right now, with health, as well as safety, being heavily scrutinised. Whilst safety precautions like the correct equipment are neglected far too often upon construction sites, they are observed more regularly than plenty of more general ‘health issues’ are, and this is what the HSE aims to change.

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What’s Involved?

There are many areas that are set to undergo evaluation. Perhaps the most prominent of these is the regulation surrounding asbestos dangers. According to the Asbestos Advice Helpline, building, demolition and construction workers are among the highest risk professionals when it comes to exposure to asbestos, yet many laws continue to be ignored surrounding asbestos and its removal. Such removal needs to be carried out by a licensed contractor, but often the work is conducted in an unlicensed fashion, and safety measures are lax when it comes to protecting workers.

Asbestos isn’t the only such concern though. Silica dust is another hazard that is being targeted by the HSE, but there are also many other very commonplace health dangers as well. For example, noise and vibration are troublesome in their own right, but adequate protective measures like ear defenders aren’t always provided. Even rudimentary practices like ensuring that walkways remain free of obstructions are regularly disregarded, and easily avoided circumstances like trips and falls are a major cause of building and construction fatalities.

The Importance of Health and SafetyConstruction Safety

It’s the aim of the HSE to reduce work-related injury and ill-health, as well as the obvious efforts to minimise fatalities, and to this end the proposed crackdown is also going to implement some stricter health and safety training guidelines. Despite only making up a fraction of the UK workforce (about 5%), the construction and building industry is responsible for more than a quarter of fatal injuries, and quite simply that needs to change, and soon. As such, this is definitely one industry which can’t be accused of being a place where health and safety has ‘gone mad’. In actual fact, you’d be mad to overlook the significance of health and safety when the stakes are so high.

Clinical Negligence

Whilst there is no denying that medical professionals here in the UK offer a great standard of care, unfortunately there are rare occasions when things can go wrong and patients can suffer the consequences. Indeed in 2013 it was revealed by the NHS Litigation Authority that there had been a reported 6% increase in the number of clinical negligence claims.

What is clinical negligence?

According to the charity Mind, clinical negligence, previously referred to as medical negligence, refers to a situation whereby damage is caused to a person due to a breach of the duty of care owed to that person by a healthcare professional. Negligence can apply to numerous different circumstances including diagnosis, psychiatric care and a perceived delay in treatment.

The law

According to the law, clinical negligence can only be proven if a claimant is able to prove a  number of points, including that they were owed a duty of care in the first place, that this was not met, and that this consequently caused damage or harm to them as a result.

Why make a claim

As advised by the charity Scope, if you find yourself in a situation where you are unhappy with aspects of the healthcare you received, and feel you require an apology or would like to make improvements to clinical practice to avoid a similar situation occurring for other individuals in the future, then you may wish to consider making a complaint to the hospital or care service. For more information about making a complaint take a look at this guidance produced by the NHS and the Department of Health about the complaints procedure.

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However if you require financial compensation, for example to help pay for the expense of the additional care and support you may need, then you can make a claim for compensation. Whilst this may seem a daunting prospect, the first step in this process would usually be to contact a solicitor who should be able to provide valuable assistance. Indeed a number of law firms such as AYB Law specialise in clinical negligence claims and can help you negotiate the legal processes involved in making a clinical negligence claim.

It is worth being aware that if you do decide to take legal action then depending on the policy you have taken out, some insurance providers may cover legal expenses. For example AVIVA offer legal services cover as an optional extra in their home insurance.

For more information you can also take a look at this handy guide produced by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau which has some great advice regarding the claims procedure.

Preparing for Medical Emergencies in the Workplace

There’s always a risk of an accident; whether you’re at home or at work, you should always be ready to respond accordingly if somebody is injured. However, it is in the workplace where many of us are at an increased risk of injury; this especially true in industries where the working environment is filled with potential hazards.

According to statistics published by the Health & Safety Executive , approximately 646,000 British workers suffered an accident at work during the 2012 to 2013 period. That’s an awful lot of accidents, many of which may have been preventable. Bearing these figures in mind, it’s always best to be ready to act if yourself or a colleague has an injury in the workplace.

Have Equipment to Hand

It’s important to ensure that well stocked first aid kits are stored in easily accessible places throughout your premises. Staff should know where the kits are and in areas where there is a greater risk of an accident or injury it would be wise to have more than one first aid kit readily available. If an accident does occur, then quick access to even basic first aid equipment could make a great deal of difference.

First Aid Kit

First aid kits that are suitable for the workplace can available from St John’s Ambulance supply website; these kits will be compliant with health and safety legislation. Also, remember in that some environments where there are unusual risks, first aid kits may need additional supplies.

Training is Vital

Knowing how deal with an injury isn’t instinctual; staff will need first aid training to ensure they’re able to handle such a situation should it arise. In many cases it is a legal requirement to have at least one first aid trained person, sometimes more, present in the workplace.

First Aid Training

First aid training courses are available from companies such as Human Touch, who provide training suitable for the workplace and other scenarios too. There’s no point in preparing for an emergency with first aid kits if there is nobody present who knows how to use them!

Ensure People are Aware of Risks

Training goes beyond ensuring there are staff capable of administering first aid present, it’s also vital that all staff are made fully aware of any dangers or risks in the workplace. That could be something as simple as putting out ‘caution wet floor’ signs when appropriate and making sure staff know how to handle spillages.

Safety Warning

However, if your industry requires use of specialised machinery or equipment that is potentially dangerous then make sure that all staff who use or work nearby this equipment are trained appropriately. Check out the workplace NHS’s health and safety assessment to see how your premises measure up. Remember that this only covers the general basics though; special rules are required in more hazardous working environments!

Follow these simple steps and make your place work safer, reducing risk of serious injury from accidents.

The Rise of Allergies in Modern Life

sneezeThe chances are that you either suffer from allergies or you know somebody who does. Today, one in three people suffers from an allergy of some kind, and severe reactions cause the hospitalisation of 20,000 people a year.

Scientists believe that bacteria play a large part in many allergies, and a recent BBC Horizon programme put this to the test, taking samples from two severe allergy sufferers and their family. The result was that the families had far fewer bacteria in and on their body than is found on people living in traditional tribes in the developing world. A number of factors, including the fact that we in the Western world tend to spend 91% of our time indoors, were cited as contributing to this difference.

Modern life, it seems, is causing changes in the bacteria that we are exposed to and contributing towards a rise in allergies.

This may, of course, be only one factor. Repeated or prolonged exposure to a substance can increase the likelihood of developing a severe allergic reaction – this can be the case with reactions to hair dye and to latex gloves.

So what can you do if you suffer from an allergic reaction? The first solution is, naturally, to avoid the substance that you are allergic to and seek out alternatives. If you suffer from a reaction to latex, then you can use alternatives like nitrile gloves, which are readily available from specialists like The Glove Club. If you are allergic to hair dye, the main culprit is often an ingredient called p-Phenylenediamine or PPD – you may still be able to use natural hair dyes which do not contain it.

Secondly, if the allergen is not one you can completely avoid, then there are a range of over-the-counter antihistamines available from high street chemists like Boots, or prescribed by your doctor, which can reduce allergic symptoms. In the case of a severe allergy, your doctor may also prescribe an Epipen or Anapen, to be used in the case of anaphylactic shock.

However, if the theories portrayed by the Horizon programme are correct, you may also be able to reduce your chances of developing severe allergies simply by getting outside more and not seeing all bacteria as harmful.