A woman's holistic wellbeing conference featuring physical, mental and spiritual health. Inspirational professional women speakers from various walks of life will be sharing insight and practical tips concerning women's health.
Entry to the conference is FREE.
Ebola virus disease: an overview
Ebola virus disease is a serious, usually fatal, disease for which there are no licensed treatments or vaccines. But for people living in countries outside Africa, it continues to be a very low threat.
The current outbreak of the Ebola virus mainly affects three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Around 9,936 cases and more than 4,800 deaths have been reported across these countries by the World Health Organization. This is the largest known outbreak of Ebola.
So far, there has been just one imported case of Ebola in the UK. Experts studying the virus believe it is highly unlikely the disease will spread within the UK.
What are the symptoms, and what should I do if I think I’m infected?
A person infected with Ebola virus will typically develop a fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, a sore throat, and intense muscle weakness.
These symptoms start suddenly, between two and 21 days after becoming infected.
If you feel unwell with the above symptoms within 21 days of coming back from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, you should stay at home and immediately telephone 111 or 999 and explain that you have recently visited West Africa.
These services will provide advice and arrange for you to be seen in a hospital if necessary so the cause of your illness can be determined.
It’s really important that medical services are expecting your arrival and calling 111 or 999 will ensure this happens.
How does Ebola spread among people?
People can become infected with the Ebola virus if they come into contact with the blood, body fluids or organs of an infected person.
Most people are infected by giving care to other infected people, either by directly touching the victim’s body or by cleaning up body fluids (stools, urine or vomit) that carry infectious blood.
Who is at risk, and how can we prevent its spread?
Anyone who cares for an infected person or handles their blood or fluid samples is at risk of becoming infected. Hospital workers, laboratory workers and family members are at greatest risk.
Strict infection control procedures and wearing protective clothing minimizes this risk. Simply washing hands with soap and water can destroy the virus.
How is Ebola virus disease treated?
There’s currently no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola virus disease, although potential new vaccines and drug therapies are being developed and tested.
Patients diagnosed with Ebola virus disease are placed in isolation in intensive care, where their blood oxygen levels and blood pressure are maintained at the right level and their body organs supported.
Healthcare workers need to avoid contact with the bodily fluids of their infected patients by taking strict precautions.
ZMapp is an experimental treatment that can be tried, although it has not yet been tested in humans for safety or effectiveness. The product is a combination of three different antibodies that bind to the protein of the Ebola virus.
How is it diagnosed?
It’s difficult to know if a patient is infected with Ebola virus in the early stages as symptoms such as fever, headache and muscle pain are similar to those of many other diseases.
But specialist infection clinicians will make expert judgement on what the most likely diagnosis is, based on the patient’s history.
Why is the risk low for people in the UK?
The likelihood of catching Ebola virus disease is considered very low unless you’ve traveled to a known infected area and had direct contact with a person with Ebola-like symptoms, or had contact with an infected animal or contaminated objects.
Not easily transmitted
There has been just one imported case of Ebola in the UK. While it is possible more people infected with Ebola could arrive in the UK on a plane, the virus is not as easily transmitted as a respiratory virus such as influenza.
Only infectious when symptoms start
People infected with Ebola do not become infectious until they have developed symptoms, such as a fever. The disease then progresses very rapidly. This means infectious people do not walk around spreading the disease for a long period.
It typically takes five to seven days for symptoms to develop after infection, so there is time to identify people who may have been exposed, put them under surveillance and, if they show symptoms, quarantine them.
Effective infection control procedures
In past outbreaks, infection control measures have been very effective in containing Ebola within the immediate area. The UK has a robust public health system with the trained staff and facilities necessary to contain cases of Ebola.
Training and awareness
Public Health England has advised frontline medical practitioners to be alert to Ebola in those returning from affected areas.
Advice has been issued to the Border Force to identify possible cases of Ebola (read FAQS on screening for Ebola at UK airports) and there are procedures in place to provide care to the patient and to minimize public health risk to others.
Flight crew are trained to respond swiftly to any passengers who develop symptoms during a flight from Africa. They will take measures to reduce transmission on board the plane. But this event is very unlikely, and so far there have been no documented cases of people catching the disease simply by being in the same plane as an Ebola victim.
Let’s talk about the silent killer – high blood pressure and how to check your blood pressure.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force that your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries. When your blood pressure is too high, your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Over time, this can weaken your heart. High blood pressure also places a strain on the walls of your arteries, making a blockage more likely. This means that having high blood pressure is a big problem, because it increases the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease
Simple Tips to an accurate reading
There are a few simple steps that you can follow to be sure that you get an accurate reading of your blood pressure.
Before you take your blood pressure reading
1. A lot of factors can affect your blood pressure reading, for example eating a big meal, taking your blood pressure 30 minutes after smoking or taking caffeine.
2. Do not wear tight-fitting clothes, wear loose-fitting clothes like a short sleeved t-shirt so that you can push your sleeve up comfortably.
3. Always use the same arm for blood pressure readings, as each arm will give you a slightly different reading.
4. Before you take your readings, rest for five minutes. You should be sitting down in a quiet place, preferably at a desk or table, with your arm resting on a firm surface and your feet flat on the floor.
5. Your arm should be relaxed, not tensed. Make sure your arm is supported and that the cuff around your arm is at the same level as your heart. You may need to support your arm with a cushion to be sure it is at the correct height.
Taking blood pressure at home with your BP monitor.
1. Put the cuff on following the instructions that came with your monitor.
2. Make sure you are relaxed and comfortable. If you are anxious or uncomfortable, this will make your blood pressure rise temporarily.
3. Keep still and silent whenever you are taking your own reading. Moving and talking can affect your reading.
4. Take two or three readings, each about two minutes apart, and then work out the average. Some people find that their first reading is much higher than the next readings. If this is true for you, keep taking readings until they level out and stop falling, then use this as your reading.
5. Record your reading, either in the memory of your monitor or on computer or paper.
Keep a record of your readings
- Ensure you keep accurate records of your blood pressure – if you don’t keep accurate records of your blood pressure it may affect the treatment you receive.
- Do not be worried if you get an unexpected high reading – a one-off reading may be nothing to worry about. Measure your blood pressure again at another time, but if you find that it continues to be high after a period of time, consult your doctor or nurse.
- Do not check your blood pressure too often – you may become worried or stressed about small changes in your reading. This can raise your blood pressure in the short-term. Worrying about your blood-pressure reading may actually make it higher.
Work-life balance is a much-used term and sometime it is hard to know what it really means. For me, as a career woman, a wife, a mother, an ordained minister in the church, work-life balance refers to creating a holistic approach to one’s life, making it work for you and your dear ones. Work-life balance implies clear lines of division, knowing what to do as and at when.
These days the challenge is to see patterns and compose activity so you get what you need and meet the needs of your workplace too. As women, we often put others first and we need to watch out for ourselves carefully so we do not burnout. I have a passion for the women and as a women leader, God had given me a ministry on Well Woman – looking in to different dimensions of wellness in a woman, be it clinically, spiritually or evangelically, it is all encompassing. In other way; paying attention to ourselves and our needs because if we do not do it, no one can do it for us.
The first thing we do is to take a look at yourself and sound out what is important for you, creating a lens through which you can filter and refine plans to make your life healthy and successful. Without having perspective you cannot choose wisely.
More women than ever are in the workforce, with nearly 4 in 10 homes having a woman that is also a working mother.” Being a full-time working mother can lead to feelings of guilt and stress because of divided attention between work and family. The key is to focus on a plan, get organized, and find the right balance between profession and parenthood. Here are some ways to help make sure both your career and your family flourish.
Do not feel guilty: Rather than dwell on how you’re not with your child, think about how your role in the work place is benefitting the family. Perhaps you can afford certain classes or educational opportunities for your children or you’re able to put away savings for college.
Find a good childcare: Ask friends and family for references to nannies, child minders, babysitters, and day care centres. Create schedule time to interview qualified childcare providers or to tour local day-cares.
Be organised: Avoid starting the day on an exhausted note by getting organized the night before. Pack the kids’ lunches, lay out their clothes (plus your own), and have everyone shower. “You should also decide what to make for breakfast, and repack the diaper bag, backpacks, purses, or work bags to be placed by the door, right next to your keys, so you can grab them and lock up on your way out,”
Family Calendar: Figure out your family’s priorities. A calendar can include dates when bills are due, a chore chart for the kids, a list of school and family events, extracurricular activities, birthdays, and more.
Communicate with your employer: Before talking to your employer or HR representative, construct a written plan detailing what you need. Research whether other employees have flexible arrangements and using this information to your advantage… This information will help tailor your proposal to the terms that your employer has already embraced with your co-workers.
Limit Distractions and Time Wasters: Be disciplined and set time limits when checking email or making phone calls, things you can do when the kids are sleeping. Reduce TV watching to once a week to maximize time with your partner during the evenings. Try to avoid multitasking, especially when spending time with your children. At your workplace, try to avoid wasting time. Of course you want to have a rapport with co-workers, but numerous email exchanges, casual Internet surfing, gossiping, and long lunches are distractions that will make you less productive. Focus on your tasks at work and talk to co-workers during breaks or lunchtime.
Create Special Family Activities: Making time for your kids is crucial, both during the week and on the weekends, to nurture your family dynamic and allow everyone to bond. If you’re pressed for time, have a family breakfast or a family night with board games or movies. “Create activities that regularly fit into your schedule so everyone knows what to expect and what to look forward to
Spend Time with Your Spouse: Remember to nurture your relationship with your partner, who will often be the number one person by your side. Start by having monthly date nights to get closer, feel rejuvenated, and enjoy each other’s company. Often, if you’re busy with work and home, your partner is the first to get neglected. Maintaining this relationship will bring back some excitement to the marriage. For some couples, going out on a monthly date can be difficult and expensive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t focus on each other. Have an indoor date night by cooking an elegant meal together or even sitting together with a glass of wine and talking (but not about work or the kids.
Don’t forget your spirituality: A time for one to one with your maker will get you on the right track. Remember to create time for your daily prayer and meditation. When you have done all these, you are on your way to achieving wellness.