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January contents...

 

Hydration is more important than you think!

 

Taking the scratch out of that itch!

 

The benefits of exercise!


Hydration is more important than you think

 

Staying hydrated is one of the most important factors in helping your body function properly.  The human body is nearly two-thirds water and so it is really important that we consume enough fluid to stay hydrated and healthy. The body has special mechanisms to make sure we stay hydrated, if we are dehydrated, our bodies and brains won’t function in the optimal way.

 

Feeling thirsty is your body’s way of telling you that you need to drink more.  However, the easiest way to spot that you might not be getting enough water is if your urine is a dark yellow colour during the day.  If you are getting enough water your urine should be a pale straw colour.  So if it is darker than this or if you are urinating infrequently or passing very small amounts of urine, then you probably need to drink more fluid1.

 

The NHS recommends that in climates such as the UK’s, we should drink about 1.2 litres (six to eight glasses) of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated.

 

The healthiest and cheapest choice for getting fluid into our bodies is water.  Not only will it quench your thirst it also contains no calories so will help you avoid unnecessary calories some other drinks carry.  If you don’t like the taste of water alone, add a slice of fruit i.e. lemon or lime and infuse the water to your taste.

 

Top tip: Tea and coffee count towards your fluid intake goal each day but be careful about adding sugar or flavoured syrups as these will add unhelpful calories to your diet.

 

Top tip: Try to keep water to hand i.e. a bottle in your bag or a glass on your desk; you are much more likely to drink it at regular intervals during the day if it is in front of you.

 

Top tip: We get some of the fluid intake we need from the foods we eat so try to have a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.

 

1Nutrition.org.uk

 


Taking the scratch out of that itch!

 

Chickenpox is a mild but infectious childhood illness which is most common in children aged between 0 to 4 years old, most children catch at some point. The symptoms normally start with a general feeling of being unwell. A few days later, small, itchy red spots will appear on the body which will develop into small fluid filled blisters.  They then crust over to form scabs, which eventually drop off.

 

Some children develop spots that cover their entire body whilst other children only have a few spots. Spots are most likely to appear on the face, ears and scalp, under the arms, on the chest and belly, and on the arms and legs.

 

It can take 10-21 days for your child to develop the symptoms after coming into contact with the virus. Chickenpox is very contagious and is infectious until the last blister has burst and scabbed over.  If your child has chickenpox, try to keep them away from public areas to avoid contact with people who may not have had it, especially people who are at risk of serious problems, such as new-born babies, pregnant women and anyone with a weakened immune system*.

 

Chickenpox is a virus so there is no cure for it and no specific treatment however there are remedies that can alleviate symptoms including paracetamol to relieve fever, calamine lotion and cooling gels to ease itching. 

 

In most children, the blisters crust up and fall off naturally within one to two weeks*.

 

We advise:

 

As chickenpox is a virus there is no cure for it, but there are things you can do to help relieve your child’s symptoms:

 

  • Try to make sure your child drinks plenty of water.
  • Ask your pharmacist for advice about giving children’s paracetamol if your child has a fever.
  • Dress your child in light, loose clothing and keep bedding to a minimum.
  • Keep your child’s fingernails clean and short to help prevent deep scratching.
  • Apply Care ViraSoothe Chickenpox Relief Cooling Gel, which is clinically proven to relieve chickenpox itching.

You should contact your doctor immediately if your child has chickenpox:

  • Is under 4 weeks old.
  • Has breathing difficulties.
  • Has chest pains.
  • Has skin blisters which become infected and look yellow and pus-filled.

*NHS Choices

 


The benefits of exercise

 

Whatever your age, there's strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life.  In modern times people are much less active thanks to technology and the impact it has made to our lives, for example driving cars or taking public transport, having machines wash our clothes and entertaining ourselves in front of a TV or computer.  Most people have jobs that involve little physical effort which means we move around less and burn off less energy than people used to. 

 

Are you doing enough physical activity for your age range?*

 

Children (under 5 years)

Being physically active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of children.  For this age group, activity of any intensity should be encouraged.  Babies should be encouraged to be active throughout the day, every day including reaching and grasping, pulling and pushing, moving their head, body and limbs during daily routines.  Children who can walk on their own should be physically active every day for at least 180 minutes.  This should be spread throughout the day, indoors or outside.  The 180 minutes can include light activity such as standing up, moving around, rolling and playing, as well as more energetic activity like skipping, hopping, running and jumping.  Active play, such as using a climbing frame, riding a bike, playing in water, chasing games and ball games, is the best way for this age group to get moving. Energetic activity for children will make kids "huff and puff" and can include organised activities, such as dance and gymnastics. Any sort of active play will usually include bursts of energetic activity.

 

Children and young people aged 5 to 18

To stay healthy or to improve health, young people need to do 3 types of physical activity each week:

  • Aerobic exercise
  • Exercises to strengthen their bones
  • Exercises to strengthen their muscles

To maintain a basic level of health, children and young people aged 5 to 18 need to do:

  • At least 60 minutes of physical activity every day – this should range from moderate activity, such as walking to school, cycling and playground activities, to vigorous activity, such as running, swimming and playing football or rugby.
  • On 3 days a week, these activities should involve exercises for strong muscles and bones, such as swinging on playground equipment, hopping and skipping, and sports such as gymnastics or tennis
  • Children and young people should also reduce the time they spend sitting for extended periods of time, including watching TV, playing computer games and travelling by car when they could walk or cycle.

Being active for at least 60 minutes a day is linked to better general health, stronger bones and muscles, and higher levels of self-esteem.  Muscle strength is necessary for daily activities, and to build and maintain strong bones, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and help maintain a healthy weight.  For young people, muscle-strengthening activities are those that require them to lift their own body weight or work against a resistance, such as lifting a weight.

 

Adults aged 19 to 64

To stay healthy, adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and should do:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week and  
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) 

Or:

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

One way to do your recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity is to do 30 minutes on 5 days every week.  All adults should also break up long periods of sitting with light activity.  Muscle-strengthening exercises are counted in repetitions and sets. A repetition is 1 complete movement of an activity, like a biceps curl or a sit-up. A set is a group of repetitions.

 

For each strength exercise, try to do:

  • at least 1 set
  • 8 to 12 repetitions in each set
  • To get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you struggle to complete another repetition.

There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether it's at home or in the gym including lifting weights, working with resistance bands and doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups.

 

You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same day or on different days as your aerobic activity – whatever's best for you.  Muscle-strengthening exercises are not an aerobic activity, so you'll need to do them in addition to your 150 minutes of aerobic activity.  Some vigorous activities count as both an aerobic activity and a muscle-strengthening activity, examples include circuit training, running and football/rugby.

 

Adults aged 65 and over

To stay healthy or to improve health, older adults need to do 2 types of physical activity each week: aerobic exercise and strength exercises.  The amount of physical activity you need to do each week depends on your age.  Adults aged 65 or older who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility should try to be active daily.

 

You should do:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or walking every week and 
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or     

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

Or

  • a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week (for example, two 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of brisk walking equates to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity) and
  • strength exercises on 2 or more days a week that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms)

You should also try to break up long periods of sitting with light activity, as sedentary behaviour is now considered an independent risk factor for ill health, no matter how much exercise you do.  Older adults at risk of falls, such as people with weak legs, poor balance and some medical conditions, should do exercises to improve balance and co-ordination on at least 2 days a week, for example yoga, tai chi and dancing.

 

Daily chores such as shopping, cooking or housework don't count towards your 150 minutes because the effort isn't enough to raise your heart rate.  But this type of activity is still important, as it breaks up periods of sitting.

 

As a rule of thumb for everyone moderate activity raises your heart rate and makes you sweat. One way to tell if your activity is moderate is if you can still talk but cannot sing the words to a song.  Vigorous activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If your activity is vigorous, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.  In general, 75 minutes of vigorous activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate activity.

 

If you are not used to physical activity, it is best to start slowly and gradually build it up. Why not start with 10 minutes each time and build this up to 30 minutes. Remember the first few attempts at physical activity are quite an effort but don’t become discouraged. You are likely to find that each time it becomes easier and more enjoyable.

 

*www.nhs.uk/live-well

 


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