Hay Fever 101

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It’s that glorious time of year again when some of us become actively allergic to our surroundings.

This irritating allergy affects 1 in 5 people in the UK.

Were going to give you the low down on triggers and prevention so you can enjoy the outdoors fully this summer.

 

Hay fever is the umbrella term for an allergy to pollen, depending on the month different pollen are more present. In April to mid May tree pollen will be the main irritant, in June and July grass pollen takes over, then in august and September weed pollen takes centre stage. If you’re unlucky you can be allergic to all three!

Luckily the pollon forecast can help you to predeict how you will be affected day to day.

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This diagram show the pollen count across the UK for Friday the 11th, Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th of may.

So what can you do?!

We’ve created a list of tips and tricks starting with what you can do while you’re out and about. Although staying in doors is a good method of prevention it is high likley you will have to go out side.

  • Put some Vaseline around your nose, a slightly greasy nose will help trap pollen particles so the don’t go up your nose.
  • A big pair of sunglasses will help keep some of the allergen out of your eyes, the more surface they cover the better!
  • Stay away from foods that encourage the production of histamine, these include cured meats, pickles and cheese. (sorry to ruin your picnic)
  • Alcohol is also full of histamines ūüė¶
  • Reducing smoking or stopping all together will also help, as the smoke irritates the sensitive lining of your nose¬† and makes you more susceptible to the symptoms of hay fever.

 

Is there a cure?!

Unfortunately there isn’t a quick fix to hay fever, some people grow out of it and if you’re really servery allergic to it you may be offered¬†immunotherapy, but this can take months or years to have any effect. But luckily for the average sufferer there are some short term aids to help you.

  • Antihistamines are one of the most commonly used preventative medications, there are available over the counter and as a prescription. However they can make you slightly drowsy and can have negative impacts on your health taken in too higher dosage.
  • ¬†Eye drops can alleviate the burning and itching in your eyes, you can also get medicated ones to target the problem area of the eyes directly.
  • Decongestant Nasal spray can wash out some of the pollen and help calm down the allergic reaction.

 

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Skin Cancer Awareness Month

May is skin cancer awareness month, as the days get sunnier (fingers crossed) the exposure to harmful UV rays increases.

Ill be discussing the potential risks and how to prevent them so you can stay safe in the sun.

The campaign aims to reduce instances of skin cancer and  help people diagnose the symptoms early.

Sun burn in the UK is more common than us Brits like to think, 35% of the population where sun burnt last year alone, and of those people 28% where burnt two or more times. Another study found that 8 out of 10 people don’t apply sun cream before going out in the UK.

Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer and the cases of it continue to rise, around 2,500 people die of skin cancer every year in the UK, many of which are preventable cases. According to the British skin foundation there are 3 main types of skin cancer,¬†‘malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC).’

Furthermore constant unprotected sun exposure will cause premature ageing, far more than smoking or any other environmental factor.  People who tan or have repeated sun damage can look 11 years older than their peers who have been responsible in the sun.

Melanoma is the most deadly for of skin cancer but there are some simple things you can do to prevent them and detect them.

Sun screen!!!

SPF stands for sun protection factor, the numbers relate to how long you can stay protected from UVB rays, these are the rays that make you burn and turn pink. If you would burn after 20 minutes of direct sun exposure, an SPF 30 sunblock should give you protection for 10 hours. But sunblock can ware off especially if you’re at the beach or pool that is why reapplying it is so important. However no sunblock is fail safe, SPF 30 only blocks out about 97% of the harmful rays, that is why a multi pronged approach is so important.

‘Mad dogs and Englishmen (and women ) stay out in the midday sun.’

Between 11am and 3pm the sun is at its most potent, if you are very fair skinned you should seek shelter at these times as it only takes a few minutes of intense sun fro these skin types to burn.

Cover Up

A physical block between your skin and the sun is always going to be the best method of prevention. Sun hats, kaftans and other sun safe clothing can easily be worked into any sunny day style, and will help dramatically in the fight against sun burn.

kaftan 2]

This Kimono Cover up from Pretty little thing is cute and functional in helping protect against harmful sun rays.

Get it here! 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of my favourite sun protection products:

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Nivea

Nivea daily essentials face cream, this product has an SPF 15 in it so is great for every day use and for sensitiveIMG_1768 skin.

 

 

Another great and well known Nicea product is the Protect and Moisture Nivea sun cream. This is good for people who are usually irritated by the harsh ingredients in standard sunblock.

 

Hawaiian Tropic

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This Satin protection from Hawaiian tropic helps you still gain a bit of a sun kissed look without damaging your skin. It also is one of the best smelling sunscreens as it doesn’t have a harsh chemical smell.IMG_1766

 

 

 

Another great product from Hawaiian tropic is there tanning oil. This is definitely for people with darker complexions who only need a small amount of SPF to block the harmful rays. Any tanning oils used on fair skin can catalyse burning which is not good! This also comes in an SPF 12 version for a bit more protection.

 

 

As the weather gets warmer remember to protect your self, before you wreck your self.

sun burn

 

 

What We have Learnt From Stress Awareness Month

Since 1992 April has been stress awareness month, stress can have a physical and emotional impact on an individual

There are many ways to combat stress and help improve the physical effects.

I spoke to Richard Holmes, a well being expert,  about stress in the work place and in day to day life and how to combat it.

 

 

You may think stress is a temporary emotion, but long-term stress can alter your genes, a new study has found. Stress can affect the way your genes are expressed, in other words different parts of your coding can be switched on or off depending on environmental factors like stress.

For instance, stress can activate an immune response that then leads to inflammation over time, inflammation and swelling can be linked to all sorts of issues like acne, rashes and more serious health problems like heart disease and arthritis.

Stress has also been named as one of the main contributors to insomnia, stress causes hyper arousal that makes drifting off to sleep, and staying asleep, considerably harder. Insomnia can lead to a number of mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

All these impacts are worrying and unfortunately women are more prone to the physical effects of stress. But men are not immune to stress, in fact men suppress the physical symptoms so much that it may impact their emotional health in the long run.

But¬†before¬†all this research pushes you over the edge, don‚Äôt fret! There¬†are¬†many solutions that can reduce the effects of long term stress and give you better ways of coping with¬†life’s¬†struggles.

Mediation and other forms of mental relaxation has been proven to be one of the best long-term coping mechanisms for stress. Audio meditations are available on Spotify and other music services.

 

 

 

Practice Safe Sesh

Students taking drugs is not news to most people, but contrary to popular belief students are not as involved with illegal substances as the media and popular shows like skins would have you believe.

Only about 2 in 5 students are regular drug users, and the most commonly used substances are weed, cocaine, ecstasy and nitrous oxide.

Despite the moral panic of students bingeing on class A drugs the most frequently used is cannabis, a class C substance.

The report issued by the NUS argues that universities should stop penalising students for seeking help relating to drugs or reporting drug use to the university.

 

sesh graph

Source: NUS, Release (the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law). Base: 2,810 UK-based students. 

The report by the NUS¬†describes¬†student drug use as ‘complex’ some students suggest taking drugs has helped them attend lectures and complete work,¬†while 60% claim to have missed a lecture due to their drug use.

The findings show¬†punishing drug use or involving the police does not reflect the students wants and needs, in fact 50% of students who took the survey said they¬†disagreed with¬†the statement ‚ÄúMy university/college‚Äôs drugs policy does not do enough to punish students who take drugs‚ÄĚ. This compounds that in many cases¬†universities¬†may act as a barrier to students seeking help surround substance abuse.

Current university drug policies range from effective to completely invasive, some of the universities found wanting used sniffer dogs, surveillance and swabbing.  Although some miss the mark, some equally get it right, they try to not involve external authorities when possible, they help give the student information to make informed decisions and they clearly distinguish between addictive drug use and recreational drug use.

Study drugs, like Adderall, where also reportedly used by about 1 in 10 students. These drugs can actually help students concentrate and motivate them to work, so its hard to brandish all controlled substances as harmful to academic success.

Harm¬†reduction¬†techniques have be sighted as beneficial, this method aims to reduce the harms that are often linked to illegal drugs. The report states this approach helps ‘reduce negative health, social and economic consequences of these activities’

The context of drug taking was study in depth in the report, its often unknown as to why people experiment with drugs and what context the associate them with. For students who recreationally take drugs it seems to be a social activity, 39% say they use only in a social context. Some students reported feeling more confident when under the influence of drugs and more significant bonding with friends. Of course some also reported negative social impact of taking drugs, even regretting the sexual interactions they had while under the haze of narcotics.

Although socially fuelled drug taking may be the case for some students, another more problematic catalyst could be self medicating mental health conditions.

Any illegal substances taken frequently or in a problematic way will have a harmful effect on an individual health and well being. The positive take away from the report is that students are not all hedonistic drug users that is often popularised by the media, however it has highlighted how marginalised groups often have a very different relationship with illegal substances than cis gender, mentally well students. It has also shed light on how universities need to reform how they deal with students drug use.

 

‘Only Conservatives Could Think That Money Is Being Thrown At The Police!’

In recent mayors question time Sadiq Khan heavily criticises the 1 billion pound cut in the Mets budget

Street level crime is increasing however there has been a 65% loss in police officers since 2010.

Another anti knife campaign is introduced by the mayor but with no infrastructure in place behind it.

 

While street level crime is peaking, policing levels are troughing, the Torys are proposing a 1 billion pound cut to the Mets budget which will see the lowest level of police officers in 2 decades. Putting this amount of pressure on a force that needs serious reform and development will not aid it in moving forward with the times.

Sadiq Khan stated in Thursdays mayors question time that he ‘will not apologise’ for the effects the cuts are having on the capitals police force, while conservative Susan Hall emphasised the importance of efficiency within the met. In this rare instance, I see where shes coming from, why throw millions of pounds at a service that misses the mark so many times? and evidently has such a disconnect to the most vulnerable members of society.

So called low level crime has seen a huge rise over the course of 2017, knife crime has increased by 24% and gun crime has almost doubled with a 42% increase since 2016. Although these crimes are associated with youth culture they have a huge impact on communities as a whole, often scapegoated on one small strata of society responsible, they highlight dramatic failings in the way society is structured. Politicians are quick to introduce campaigns that only treat the symptoms.

Sadiq Khan has coined ‘London needs you alive don’t carry a knife’ yet another smoke screen that centres only around ‘positive role models’ instead of reinstating youth services and support in the community. This trivial attempt at tackling the wide spread use of weapons in the capital flirts with the idea that if change is to occur, it will need community backing, however from reading the proposal it is only a 6 month social media campaign with no tangible impact on communities.

Head of the metropolitan police Cressida Dick has said that the further cuts of ¬£600 million will be ‘incredibly demanding’, on top of this the met is meant to save around ¬£400 million. The areas that are going to most effected is the preventative infrastructure, community links that have taken years to build that have actively helped in reducing crime. Dick said herself that there will be more focus on the ‘enforcement sphere’ and less so in the ‘preventative sphere’.

 

The Christmas Sandwiches of Clapham 2017!

A turkey sandwich on boxing day is many peoples favourite bit of the Christmas celebrations, however the cunning people behind sandwich manufacturing have come up with hundreds of different Christmas sandwiches so you¬† don’t have to wait an till the 25th. Here are just 5 of them, the terms of this review is their all food retailers that are walking distance from Lambeth college and at a price point of bellow ¬£5.

 

5) Oh what a joy it was not…

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Coming in at the cheeky price of £3 the Gregg Sandwich is on the naughty list.

The worst sandwich was Gregg and their almost sacrilegious attempt at a turkey sandwich. The bread was as good as mush and the salad was far to prominent, even though some kind of greenery was a feature of them all this amount of spinach was overwhelming. The only thing it managed to do right was the distribution of cranberry sauce.  

4) Big budget bap…

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Cafe Neros festive turkey special coming in at an extortionate £4.75 puts it firmly at the back of the race.

This was not an¬†ergonomic sandwich, I don’t think I have a particularly small mouth but this sandwich took a lot of squishing to get it in there. Ciabatta is the type of bread that really could do with some kind of soup with it, or any liquid really, and this sandwich is no different. The bread is almost 5 cm thick and it really is the main feature. The cranberry sauce is nice, it has whole cranberries in it which makes it taste a bit more home made but it is far from a delight.

3) Peculiar but not offensive…

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This reasonable wrap comes in at £3.20. 

This is a sandwich and a fajita combined to make something not quite as good as either. It had the welcome addition of cocktail sausages a key element missing from the other turkey heavy feasts. It felt wrong as a concept, but after a few bites I became adjusted to its modern fusion. Overall it was quite dry and the cranberry sauce was lurking in just one corner but it really did get better as I went along.

2) Its not meatball marinara but…

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This seasonal sub comes in at £4.20 just missing the top spot.

Subway sandwiches are a in a very particular style, and no matter which filling you get it always has the omnipotent subway flavour. This seasonal sub was quite nice, I had it toasted with cheese because I really couldn’t understand what the sandwich artist was asking me. The turkey looked suspicious but upon tasting it I was pleasantly surprised. This sandwich was the ideal texture, the cranberry sauce didn’t taste dissimilar to monkey blood sauce you would put on ice cream but it wasn’t out of place. The sandwich misses out on the top spot due to its high price point and its lack of authenticity, however that is slightly my fault as the cheese is not part of the advertised festive feast. Also the fact its warm means it a lost easier to eat in the cold.

1) Winner winner turkey dinner!

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Waitrose winning christmas sandwich at the price of £3.20.

The Waitrose Christmas sandwich was my winner, the bread had integrity and the turkey to trimming ratio was ideal. The cranberry sauce distribution was even and it felt authentic like you could actually eat it on boxing day and not be bitterly disappointed. For me the seeds in the bread really didn’t add anything and there where some dense bits of spinach but the generous chunks of turkey balanced it out. The price was also very reasonable.