Monthly Archives: November 2016

Kerri

November 21-28: HIV Testing Week Celebrates 5 Years

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There is a stigma associated with HIV that many organizations are trying to break. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus is treatable, and the best chances of successful long term treatment happen when HIV is detected when the body’s “viral load”, or presence of the virus, is low.
What is worse than being HIV positive? Well, I would think that being HIV positive and not knowing it is! In the case of HIV, the cliche is true—knowledge is power. Just as we now know HIV is not spread through casual contact with those who are infected, we also know that the sooner people who are HIV positive can begin treatment, the longer they can survive with HIV, as well as prevent transmission to others. Treatment is through with antiretroviral drugs—they do not “kill” the virus or “cure” the disease, but they do prevent growth of the virus within the body. [1]
The only way to be positive of your HIV status if you are sexually active, is to be tested for HIV. A simple blood test can be done to determine whether or not someone is HIV positive. And while the UK HIV Testing Week Campaign is aimed at Black African and the LGBTQ* (gay/bisexual MSM—men who have sex with men) communities, HIV testing is important for everyone who has ever been with a partner whose sexual history they are uncertain of.
HIV Prevention England and HIV Testing Week work to start the discussion about HIV testing, and promote more opportunities for HIV tests to be run, both in community clinics as well as in general medical care. Learn more about HIV Testing Week and HIV Prevention England this week, and take part in HIV testing if you want to be certain of your HIV status. The earlier you know, the better!
If you are HIV positive, wearing a medical ID bracelet can discretely alert medics to your status in case of an emergency.
Kerri

Just a drink or two… Alcohol Awareness Week is November 14-20

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tux-161391_1280Organised by Alcohol Concern, this year the goal of Alcohol Awareness Week is “Alcohol: Know the risks.”
Awareness of the risks involved with alcohol consumption is important for everyone: from the designated driver, to students, professionals, athletes and even people who are not yet old enough to legally consume alcohol. Often, participants of Alcohol Awareness Week campaigns include local legal authorities, National Health Service organisations, hospitals and emergency services, treatment services and centres (often known as “detox” and “rehab” centres), and schools, colleges, universities and workplaces. Even if you do not fall into any of these categories, it is still important to be aware of the risks of alcohol—to protect your own health, and the health and safety of those around you!
One campaign of Alcohol Concern that may be of particular interest during Alcohol Awareness week is regarding driving while under the influence of alcohol. In the UK, the legal limit is 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood tested (0.08) [1], which is the same as limits in the United States in Canada. Most of Europe’s limit, however, is 30 mg lower—at 50 mg (0.05). The laws in Asia are much lower, ranging from 0.02 to 0.05 or no tolerance. [2]
Impaired driving is just one concern associated with alcohol. Alcohol increases health risks such as obesity, and is the direct cause of alcohol dependency or alcoholism. Impaired decision making or judgement due to alcohol consumption is also the cause of injury and death unrelated to operating a motor vehicle. Alcohol poisoning is another potentially dangerous risk of overdoing it with alcohol.
Have a drink or two socially. Stay hydrated. And make plans before you start drinking to prevent clouded judgement when under the influence from getting the better of you. If you have a medical condition like diabetes, there may also be extra steps to ensuring safety while drinking—you can visit Drinking With Diabetes to learn more on type 1 diabetes and drinking alcohol—wearing a medical alert bracelet for diabetes or another medical condition, such as asthma which can be exacerbated by alcohol—can help you communicate medical needs in case you can’t, whether as a result of alcohol consumption or your medical condition.
Kerri

Lung Cancer Month: What’s In Your Air?

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While lung cancer has very direct links to smoking or second hand smoke exposure—which is a reason that it is important to quit if you smoke, or be adamant that people not smoke around you—many people are surprised to learn that you can get lung cancer even if you do not smoke. About 14% of lung cancer cases diagnosed in the UK are not linked to smoking [1].
120 people each day are diagnosed with lung cancer in the United Kingdom. Cancer Research UK states that 89% of cases of lung cancer are preventable: this is based on lifestyle, such as nutrition and exercise, and exposure to occupational hazards and ionising radiation, in addition to smoking [1]. High exposure to air pollution or diesel exhaust also are contributing factors to developing lung cancer.
Some steps toward prevention are straightforward, and go beyond quitting smoking. Research indicates a diet that contains lots of fruit and vegetables can be protective against lung cancer—nutrition is linked to about 9% of lung cancer cases in the UK. [1] Exercise at high or moderate frequency is demonstrated to be more protective against lung cancer than low levels of activity, and/or being sedentary. in preventing cancer, being underweight may be a protective factor in former-smokers. [2]
More and more people are surviving a lung cancer diagnosis than ever before—but positive health habits can help prevent cancer, or if you are diagnosed, help your body be strong enough to tackle treatments like radiation and chemotherapy, or recover from surgery.
If you have lung cancer, or are undergoing any cancer treatment, it is important to wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace—especially if you are participating in a Clinical Trial. View our product selection to make one more choice to keep you safe while facing cancer.
Kerri

Getting Stress in Check: November 2 is Stress Awareness Day.

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Stress can make us feel not at our best. It can cause mental and physical fatigue, and simply make our bodies feel not feel our best—if you have chronic illness, which can be another source of stress, it can also cause difficulty managing certain diseases. Lung disease like asthma can be made worse by the body’s stress response, causing increased inflammation—this might also affect people with other inflammatory conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or arthritis. If you have diabetes, you may have experienced having more difficulty controlling your blood glucose levels during times of stress.
Stress Awareness Day calls our attention to stress, and the impact it can have on our health, and how we can choose to manage stress, rather than stress managing us! Stress Awareness Day also encourages us to reduce the stress we experience in everyday life—we all have stresses, but they do not have to overwhelm us constantly as long as we practice good self-care.
Self-care does not have to be complicated—simply it is a way to take a break and unwind! Here are some common self-care strategies used to decrease stress:
  • Writing or journaling
  • Creating art or music; singing or playing a musical instrument
    • Anti-Stress or “zen” adult colouring became a phenomenon a couple of years ago, and is still a very popular way to manage stress
  • Exercising—simply going for a walk counts!
  • Progressive muscle relaxation or meditation
  • Taking a long bath
  • Going to a cafe with a friend to chat
If you have chronic disease, wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace might help you to feel more protected in case of an unexpected medical situation, and alleviate stress. We have a variety of colours and styles to choose from—all engraved in bold black print for your peace of mind.
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