Zika Virus – Symptoms, Prevention & the World’s Thought

International Recommendation:

New Zealand and world health authorities are continuing to monitor the spread of Zika virus. There is ongoing research about how it can affect infected people.

On 1 February 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This is because of the concerns around birth defects and other neurological disorders, and the possible link to Zika virus infections. The WHO recommended:

  • Increased monitoring of the virus
  • Increased information and education about it and promotion of mosquito control.

New Zealand and international health authorities are still investigating the connection between Zika virus and the reports of birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes.


Most people who get infected with the Zika virus do not show any symptoms. Only one in five people who get it will feel sick. The symptoms appear 3-12 days after getting the infection. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. The illness is usually mild with the symptoms lasting a week. There is no vaccine for Zika virus disease. Those who do feel sick experience symptoms that may include:

  • Low-grade fever (between 37. 8°C and 38. 5°C)
  • Joint pain, especially the small joints of your hands and feet, with possible swollen joints
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Red eyes
  • Flat, red rash with small bumps
  • Feeling weak and tired.

Rare symptoms include digestive problems (abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation), small ulcers in the mouth or on the tongue, and itching


There is no specific treatment for Zika virus infection, and if symptoms develop these will typically clear up within 4-7 days. Zika infection may cause a rash that could be confused with other serious diseases such as measles or dengue, so it’s important that you check with a health care professional so that they can rule out these diseases. Until dengue fever can be ruled out, do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, as there is a risk of bleeding. Use paracetamol for pain and fever if needed. Get plenty of rest and fluids, and treat the symptoms that you have. Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes that are active during the day. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to avoid being bitten.


Zika is spreading to many tropical and sub-tropical countries. According to the information available, including the cases reported in New Zealand, the three Pacific states where Zika virus infections are currently occurring are Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga. This list will be updated as the situation changes. We recommend that if you’re travelling to any of the Pacific Island countries, you should always take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Anyone who travels to an affected area should protect themselves from mosquito bites.

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use insect repellents containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed.
  • If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
  • Use clothing and gear such as boots, pants, socks, and tents
  • Use bed nets to cover your sleeping area.
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
  • If you’re sleeping in a tent, use a zip-up screen.

Until we know more, the international organization like WHO, recommends that women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the near future should consider delaying travel to the areas mentioned above. See your healthcare provider if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes within three weeks after travelling to a country where Zika virus infections are occurring. Be sure to tell your provider everywhere you traveled.

If you do travel to an area where Zika virus infections are occurring, and you plan to become pregnant after you travel, you should consider waiting to conceive until three weeks after you have left the area.

There is no vaccine for Zika virus disease. All sectors that can assist should be engaged, and the public informed of the risks and preventive measures against Zika virus disease. People can protect themselves against mosquito bites by using insect repellent, wearing clothes that cover as much of the body as possible, and using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and wind


All sectors that can assist should be engaged, and the public informed of the risks and preventive measures against Zika virus disease. People can protect themselves against mosquito bites by using insect repellent, wearing clothes that cover as much of the body as possible, and using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows. Everyone should help prevent breeding of mosquitoes by emptying containers that hold standing water in and around their houses.

Are You Getting Enough Probiotics?

Probiotics are the “good” or “healthy” bacteria that live in our gut and keep our gastrointestinal tract in optimal health. It’s estimated that this nice mix of microflora growing in our intestines amounts to some 100 trillion bacteria–10 times more than the 10 trillion total cells making up our bodies.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations define probiotics as “microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits to the host.” But just how much probiotics is “adequate,” and how can you work them into your diet?

How much–or many–do you need?

You may have seen TV ads featuring Jamie Lee Curtis touting a particular yogurt for its “healthy bacteria”–but is eating an occasional carton of yogurt going to be enough? Hardly–research suggests that in order to ingest a “therapeutic” amount of bacteria, we need to eat a dollop of yogurt that contains around 10 billion “colony-forming units” or CFUs (aka “bacteria”). And since many of the yogurts you can buy in grocery stores, including the one Jamie is holding up for the camera, contain bacteria “only” numbering in the millions, that’s not going to be nearly enough.

Benefits even from run-of-the-mill yogurts having “active cultures”

But in spite of most yogurts’ relatively paltry bacterial numbers, even those merely containing “active cultures” can still help with certain gastrointestinal ailments, including:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • lactose intolerance
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • colon cancer
  • infection with H. pylori (the bacteria that’s linked with peptic-ulcer disease)

Researchers at Tufts University have cited additional benefits to be had from yogurts with active cultures:

  • enhancement of the body’s immune system
  • decrease in the time food takes to go through the bowel
  • positive changes to the microflora of the gut

Foods containing probiotics

Probiotics, which include such bacterial species as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacteria, and yeast, can be found in foods such as:

  • yogurt
  • milk
  • miso tempeh
  • soy beverages

Benefits of higher doses of probiotic bacteria

Lactobacillus acidophilus, the one with lactic-acid bacteria (and abbreviated L. acidophilus on food labels), is the most well-known healthy bacteria and comprises the largest family of probiotics. L. acidophilus can also be ingested in supplements, with doses ranging from 1 billion to 35 billion or more per serving. These products with the highest doses are typically found online rather than at pharmacies and grocery stores. What are the potential health benefits of probiotics in these higher doses that you won’t find in yogurt? Researchers have found that high-dose probiotics have many health benefits, including:

  • Treatment of diarrhea
  • Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Reduction of the recurrence of bladder cancer
  • Prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections
  • Shortening of duration of intestinal infections
    prevention and treatment of inflammation after colon surgery (also called pouchitis)
  • Prevention and management of eczema in children
  • Possible prevention of kidney stones (because L. acidophilus can encourage the growth of another bacteria, O. formigenes, which can decrease the risk of kidney stones)

Side effects or risks associated with the use of probiotics

While probiotics are generally found to be safe, only a few studies have been conducted on elderly, young, or immune-compromised populations. In populations where probiotic use has been studied, though, side effects are typically mild (for example, increased gas or bloating).

General considerations

As with any supplement, always check with your doctor before beginning a new regimen.

It’s important to note that dietary supplements (including vitamins and minerals) are not regulated by the FDA and therefore these products might not have the quality or purity that’s suggested by the label.

Choosing a well-known brand, or buying products bearing a USP label, will ensure that the product is safe.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9884872

How to Relieve Braces Pain

The road to braces is a long one, and even though the reward of straight, gorgeous teeth seems just beyond arm’s width, there’s some discomfort and soreness along the way. Children experience particular discomfort, specifically after a tightening. When their braces are tightened, the orthodontist adjusts the wires, forcing the teeth to shift and exert more pressure. This movement can be difficult to adjust to, and cause soreness in the days following. Furthermore, the brackets themselves can cause irritation to the inside of your child’s lips and cheeks, and sores can form. However, there are a couple of ways to alleviate this pain.

Adjust your diet and try more cold beverages and foods. Soon after getting braces, your teeth and gums are sore and hard, crunchy foods such as chips, raw vegetables, and certain fruit further irritate this soreness. Avoid anything that could further cause discomfort, and instead opt for soft foods or foods that don’t involve a lot of chewing or pressure on the teeth, such as mashed potatoes and soup. Having cold beverages and foods helps combat inflammation as well. They can act in a similar manner to an ice pack, and numb the inside of your mouth. Sucking on ice can also help relieve pain, but make sure that you don’t chew the ice! Chewing it can damage your gums, fracture your enamel, and even cause broken teeth.

Try chewing on frozen teething rings. Teething rings are designed for infants, however, they can help combat pressure and discomfort that comes with braces. Chewing on them gently will help pain subside and shift the pressure elsewhere.

Another quick solution that involves cold treatment: ice packs. Applying an ice pack/cold compress to the inside of the mouth reduces swelling, sores, and soothes any soreness as it does for many other injuries.

If cold treatments aren’t proving to be effective, use a heating pad. Place it over the affected area for pain relief, and if you don’t have one, use a warm washcloth. It’ll do the job just as well.

If the formation of sores on the inside of your mouth becomes an issue, rinse with salt water. Braces can irritate the skin on the inside of your mouth, and the constant rubbing can cause sores which can be painful and uncomfortable, especially while eating. To get rid of them, rinse with warm salt water. This will alleviate pain and prevent an infection from occurring. While you can buy salt water rinse from your local drug store, you can also make it at home by dissolving half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. Gargle and swish it around in your mouth for around 60 seconds before spitting it out.

Another way to combat those nasty sores: wax! Wax is your best friend after getting braces, and after having them tightened. Your orthodontist will provide you with soft orthodontic wax which you can place on the wires and brackets. This will heal the areas that have experience chafing through the metal rubbing against the inside of the cheeks and lips. It will also prevent sores from further forming, and if you run out, your orthodontist will provide you with more free of charge.

If medication seems to be a route that will alleviate the pain, apply oran analgesics. Benzocaine is a pain reliever that can be found in both liquid and gel form, and applied directly on the teeth and gums. This medication may taste unpleasant, but will effectively numb the mouth from pain.

Taking over the counter pain medications are also very effective, specifically aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. You can take them before your appointment so it’s ready to fight before the pain sets in as well. Ensure that you take the appropriate dosage, and shouldn’t be taken too regularly.

And finally, be patient. Give it time. While the pain can seem like a lot, it’s only temporary. Give your mouth time to adjust to the pain, discomfort and soreness, and eventually the pain will subside. Your lips and gums will toughen up and adapt over time.

Don’t forget the ultimate reward: a straight, beautiful smile. Use the methods listed above to help fight off teeth pain, and if you have any concerns, contact your orthodontist.

The Health Benefits of Biophilia

Biophilia refers to the love that a person may have for nature and all the natural processes that take place in nature. Biophilia suggests that all individuals are connected to nature as a result of their genetics. The connection between individuals and their natural surroundings is created as a result of thousands of years of surviving in an agrarian setting.

Biophilia was first brought to the scene by psychologists Edward Wilson in the 80s after observing how modernization and urbanization were causing people to lose their connection to nature. As technology continues to become commonplace in today’s contemporary society, the importance of Biophilia today cannot be overemphasized.

Why is Biophilia important and relevant today?

Stress-related diseases such as anxiety and depression, as well as other health disorders such as stroke, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases can be diminished if individuals increase their connection to nature. The increasing pressure brought about by technology leaves us little time and opportunity to recuperate the mental and physical energy that we utilize throughout the day.

Incorporating elements if nature directly or indirectly to your physical environment has demonstrated through research to have a considerable effect in helping to reduce stress levels, your blood pressure, stabilize the heart rate, increase productivity and lead to a general feeling of improvement in your wellbeing.

The health benefits of Biophilia

When you nurture your soul in nature, it can have a significant impact on your mind, body, and soul. Some of the benefits of Biophilia include:

Combat the effects of urbanization

Biophilia is important today because as the contemporary world continues to become more urbanized, it has emerged that integrating Biophilic features into our day to day lives can help to combat the effects of urbanization. Biophilic components are designed to mimic patterns, colors, textures and forms of nature, which can be practical since half of the world’s population will be located in urban centers.

Improved health

Increasing biophilic elements in the workplace and at home has shown to benefit one’s health. For instance, having a large window that can offer individuals views of nature can result in improved rates of recovery from stress and faster recovery from anxiety and depression. Views of nature can also lead to increased concentration levels and it can have serious implications for healing.

Enhanced moods

Biophilia has proven effective to enhance moods. Doing something as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood can have considerable effects on boosting your moods. Biophilia can be used alongside existing treatments to increase their effectiveness.

5 Signs Of A Slow Metabolism And Hacks To Fix It

Wondering why the pounds keep piling up? You could be experiencing a slow metabolism.

Metabolism is the process of how your body burns stored fuel (including fats) to be used up as energy. When your body burns more fuel, you trim down. So if you’ve been busy at the gym, eating right but you can’t seem to see results, you may want to check if you have a slow metabolism.

A thyroid problem. Hypo and hyper thyroidism can make you lose or gain weight even if you do not try to do so. People who suffer from thyroid problems can also experience and dry skin.

Unexplained weight gain and problems losing it. The most common sign of a slow metabolism. Even if you eat healthy and regularly exercise or train, you still pack the pounds. And the most annoying part is you are having trouble keeping it off. While age may play a factor in retaining the pound and having trouble trimming down, this does not happen in an instant.

You always feel tired. A slow energy burn means your body functions slow down as well, keeping you feeling tired and sluggish.

Sadness and depression. Mood changes as your bodily functions slow down. Sadness, and depression can sink in.

You feel cold all the time. Blood circulation can also slow down, together with the decreased energy burn and supply, this makes you feel colder than usual.

However, don’t lose hope. While metabolism does decline as we get older, there are ways to jumpstart it again.

  1. Visit your doctor. If you suspect thyroidism, an early diagnosis can help counteract the effects and lessen the damage. Also, a check-up will show possible lingering illnesses, either than thyroidism, which you need to correct.
  2. Diversify your workout. Routine can make you stale, the same goes for your workout. You may not be experiencing results because your body needs a better challenge. Change your workout sets and routine after every four weeks. It can be a different exercise or workout but targets the same muscle groups. If you some extra time to spare, you can cross train. This provides your body with a different kind of challenge while still giving it ample time to recover.
  3. Stay healthy but try other foods. If you eat healthy, then keep it that way. But do try some other healthy foods to help diversify your diet. Add spice, literally, to your foods. Spicy foods help perk your metabolism.
  4. Get enough sleep. Not only your reflexes and your brain slows down when it does not get enough rest, so does your digestive system. Hence, your metabolic rate decreases and instead of burning fat, your body cannot cope at it stores it. Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night regularly. If you get a chance, don’t skimp on naps as well. However, don’t over sleep. Some people who sleep 10 or more hours have a tendency to get sluggish.

Seven Days of Solitude, Silence and Water Fast

I recently came back from my own private silent retreat. Over the couple of silent retreats that I have done in the past few years, I have experienced the powerful value of this kind of work. Besides the obvious like switching off from the daily routine, the duties of work and the constant demand of raising children, there is a whole other dimension to it.

I stayed in our off-road, super cool camper on a farm in Robertson, a remote place in the mountains of Cape Town, South Africa. I was nestled in a gorgeous valley with a pristine lake, where I swam daily.

My intention was to experience seven days of solitude and silence, and to water fast, while I was writing my upcoming book “Unapologetically Me”. This is my own private inspirational story of how I dropped guilt, shame, judgment, and blame and became a self-realised, switched on and vibrant woman.

I aimed to close all the exits to the external world so that my energy kept circulating within me, without distractions.

I wanted to sit with my self and watch my inner sky, with the space to notice the patterns of my thoughts and the growing emptiness arising in between them. I wanted to clear and crystallise my mind and my body so that I could become an open channel for the words to flow through me.

The silence part of it, I deeply cherished and I enjoyed the privilege of rooting deeper into my being – listening to the sounds of nature.

As a storyteller, I love talking to people and a retreat is a great occasion for revitalisation. The water fasting was the most challenging part. I had to take each day as it came, being totally present in the current moment and surrendering to the discomfort.

There is a powerful quality of higher spiritual connection when fasting and that was a great motivator to keep me going.

I feel that it is important at times to explore life out of our comfort zone and I chose to select my ways.

I have noticed that people who are too attached to their comfort zone often get shaken out by spirit in a form of an illness, an accident, loss of job, etc.

It is in this uncharted territory of the unfamiliar that our soul gets to expand and explore new qualities of the self.

I am grateful for the opportunity to witness my courage, resilience and utter trust in the guidance that I receive.

How can you leap out of your comfort zone?

I would love you to share your ideas.