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Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support In Cork

As the Evening Echo features a young woman from Ballincollig, Sarah McCoy, who has made a documentary to show the positive side of Alzheimer’s, we thought it a good time to take a look at Alzheimer’s and Dementia support in Cork.

What Is Dementia?

The Alzheimer’s Association describes dementia as a ‘general term for a decline in metal ability severe enough to interfere with daily life’.

Rather than being a specific disease, dementia is an overall term to describe a wide range of symptoms which are associated with a decline in memory and other thinking skills. The two most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s, which accounts for up-to 80% of cases, and vascular dementia occurring after a stroke. However, there are many other conditions that can cause dementia symptoms, some of which are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.

Symptoms Of Dementia

Symptoms of dementia can vary greatly but in general early signs and symptoms of dementia can include:

  • Memory loss
  • Communication and language
  • Inability to pay attention and focus
  • Reasoning and judgement
  • Visual perception

If you’re concerned that a loved may be showing any of the symptoms above, it’s really important to make an appointment for them to see your GP as soon as possible. The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland have also produced a factsheet on the early symptoms and diagnosis of dementia.

There are a range of organisations ready to provide support, both here in Cork and nationally, if your loved one has just been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer National Helpline on 1800 341 341 is a helpful first port of call, as they can talk to you in confidence about the process of diagnosing and living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Alzheimer’s And Dementia Support In Cork

Staying active and social is recognised as one of the most effective ways to treat dementia and improve the quality of life of sufferers. The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland (ASI) run a 7 day care centres across County Cork in Bessboro, Midleton, Mallow, Conna, Bandon, Mitchelstown and Skibbereen. Click here for details of the ASI day care centres in county Cork.

The ASI day care centres offer respite for carers and company for users and are social clubs which are designed for people to meet each other and offer peer support.

St Finbarr’s Hospital Alzheimer Cafe in Cork is also a social club that provides a safe and relaxed place where people with dementia, their families and health and social care professionals can meet to talk, share and learn.

The ASI run 3 support groups for families affected by dementia in Cork. ASI family support groups provide the opportunity to meet others in a similar situation to share stories, access information and practical advice in a relaxed, understanding and supportive environment. Find out more about the ASI Family Support Groups in Cork.

The ASI are also one of the first ports of call to get personal advice on what specialist support is available for you in the area. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland case management services support people affected by dementia, who would benefit from having someone work with them to access services and support in Cork. In Cork, the service is open to people from both Cork City and county. For further information, contact the Cork case management service on 021 497 2504.

Bluebird in-home dementia care are a nationwide care organisation that provide ‘in their own home’ care services for Alzheimer and dementia sufferers in county Cork. The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland also provide home care delivered from care centres in Bessboro, Mallow and Skibereen.

What’s On In Cork That’s Good For Mental Health And Wellbeing

As the Minister for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly launched Connecting for Life Cork on Wednesday 26th July 2017, we thought it would be useful to look at what’s happening in Cork this summer that can be good for mental health and wellbeing.

The launch of Connecting For Life Cork took place at Millennium Hall, Cork City Hall. The event was attended by a large number of those involved in the drafting of the plan, including Cork community and voluntary groups and members of the public from across the local area. A total of 356 people took part in public meetings, with 700 comments and suggestions recorded. Online surveys were conducted and separate youth consultations also took place at City Hall. The results of this extensive feedback were formed into a 72 point action plan for Cork, work has already started on some of these actions.

The vision of the four year plan, which runs from 2017 to 2020, is a County Cork where fewer lives are lost through suicide, and where communities and individuals are empowered to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

If you are worried about your mental health, or the wellbeing of someone else, it’s important to talk to someone or look for support. Exploring the small things you can do, that are good for mental health and wellbeing, can really help:

Healthy Eating

Good food is fundamental to make sure your mind and body are working properly. More and more studies are showing that what you eat can make a big difference to your mental health. Familiarising yourself with the Irish Food Pyramid can help when it comes to planning healthy meals. Of course, good food also tastes great and can be great fun to boot. If you feel like you need some help to learn how to cook healthier meals at home, there are a number of cooking classes for adults in Cork.

We’re lucky in Cork to enjoy a rich culinary culture and an active calendar of food events. This summer checkout Bia Sasta food events in Cork and the upcoming A Taste Of West Cork Food Festival which runs from the 8th to the 17th of September this year. If you’re looking to eat out, we enjoy a wealth of healthy eating restaurants in Cork.

To learn more or get involved in community initiatives to promote and prioritise a healthy food system in the area, see the Cork Food Policy Council website.

Stay Social

Social contact and being actively involved in the local community can make all the difference to your mental health. Although it can take courage to get out and meet people if you’re suffering mental health issues, it can make a very real difference to how you feel. If the cost is a big concern, there are many free events available in Cork.

Promoting events and activities in Cork is a key action plan point in the Connecting For Life plan. From Heritage Week from the 19th to 27th of August, to Cork City Libraries events to Summer In The Park events run by the City Council, there are loads of great family and adult activity events in Cork this summer. Many events running in Cork are free of charge too.

Take Time Out

Taking time out to relax allows you to give yourself permission to let go of worries for a while. We all need to relax, to give our mind and body time to recover from the stresses of life. The Wellness Workshop is an online app that shares practical tools to help maintain wellness when we’re feeling good and improve wellness during difficult times.

There are always lots of events and activities taking place in the area which provide the opportunity to take time out and enjoy a relaxing activity.

The UCC Walking Tour is an hour long historical and cultural tour taking in historical sites and the story of George Bool, the UCC’s first professor of maths and inventor of Boolean logic. Cork Nature Network promote nature conservation by offering public events, many of which are free. The Cork Heritage Open Day sees Cork’s most fascinating buildings open their doors, free of charge, for this special event.

Talk To Someone

There are a range of organisations nationally, and in Cork, providing support via the phone, internet or text message.

Have you been affected by suicide, self-harm, or just need to talk?

Support is available for you now in Cork:

Anyone in crisis can get support through their GP.

Round-the-clock psychiatric care is available at the Emergency Department of your nearest hospital, where care is provided out-of-hours by on-call psychiatrists.

  • Contact your local GP.
  • Go to the Emergency Department of your nearest hospital
  • Contact emergency services by calling 999 or 112
  • Call the Samaritans, the FREE 24-hour listening service, Call 116 123
  • Call Pieta House, a FREE 24-hour crisis line at 1800 247 247
  • Call Childline, 24-hour service at 1800 66 66 66

For further information and a list of other supports, you can access:

www.yourmentalhealth.ie

www.bereaved.ie

Local Support Branches In Cork

Cork Samaritans

Phone: 116 123

Email: jo@samaritans.org

Childline

Web chat

Phone: 1800 66 66 66

Text Talk to 50101

Pieta House Cork

Highfield Lawn, Model Farm Road

Bishopstown

Phone: 021-4341400

Contact Person: Sophie O’Callaghan

Healthy And Happy Summer Holiday Tips For Our Young People In Cork

As the long summer holidays begin, we thought it would be helpful to come up with some ideas and tips to help ensure that your kids and adolescents enjoy a happy and healthy summer holiday in 2017.

 

Keeping Our Young People Happy And Healthy In Cork This Summer

May 2017 has been a busy month in Cork for initiatives to raise awareness of mental health issues in our teens and young people.

Munster rugby star Simon Zebo is swapping drop goals for dropping beats by giving his backing to a rap track by Cork teenagers to raise awareness of mental health issues amongst teens. The music track is an initiative by the Mayfield Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force Project and is motivated by the group’s concerns about the rates of teenage bullying, anxiety, depression and suicide. You can read more about the Reach Out Speak Out music track by Cork teenagers on the Irish Examiner website.

May also saw the Scartleigh National School in Saleen hold a very successful wellbeing week which included a series of activities for pupils, both physical and psychological. The activities involved building healthy habits and skills amongst our young people to help themselves stay healthy and happy. Activities included mindfulness exercises, reading whilst out in the sun on Monday morning, participation in basketball, yoga and dance classes, swimming for PE, reduced written homework and SPHE activities.

 

Top Tips For Healthy School Holidays This Summer In Cork

Summer Holiday Healthy Eating

If you’re looking after children or young people this summer holidays you’ve probably given a thought to how you’re going to fill the time, but it’s also important to spare a thought for what you’re going to eat. Summer holidays invariably brings routine changes, and healthy eating and regular activities can easily fall by the wayside.

It’s important to try to think ahead about what you’re going to eat during the holidays as many studies have shown that a healthy diet in childhood is critically important. Studies have shown that a healthy diet in our youth is a foundation for good physical and mental health in adulthood. There’s an excellent article on the British Heart Foundation website with 8 tips for healthy school holiday eating.

 

Family Fun Activities In Cork This Summer

Keeping busy and active is vital for young people at any time of year and is especially important during the long summer holidays. Fortunately, there’s loads going on for young people and families this summer in Cork. Click here for a list of some of the best summer camps in Cork for younger kids and teens in Cork in summer 2017. For family activities to enjoy with your kids this summer see this guide to family fun things to do in Cork this summer.

 

Activity Tips To Get Active With Your Kids

Physical activity helps kids and adolescents grow strong bones, maintain a healthy weight and discover the world around them. Best of all, staying active is fun and proven to help you stay happy and healthy at any age. Some suggestions to make exercise fun for all the family this summer in Cork include:

  • Walking and cycling. There are lots of cycling routes and cycling events in Cork to enjoy this summer.
  • Build a den with your kids. Under supervision, you could even encourage your kids to climb a tree or two.
  • Rollerskating. rollerblading or skateboarding, indoors or outside. Kids also love to get on their scooters.
  • Do an activity or challenge for a charity. Find out about charity events in Cork.
  • Take the dog for a walk together. If you don’t have your own dog to walk, you can always borrow a friend’s dog or a neighbours.
  • Find time every weekend do something active with your kids. Why not play Frisbee or football in the park, go trampolining or try indoor rock climbing.
  • Enjoy a day at the beach. Why not head down to Garrylucas or Garryvoe for the day.
  • The National Parks in Ireland website has lists of events including children’s fun days or guided walks which are great ideas for active days out for this summer

Tips To Manage Hay Fever In Cork This Summer

Hay Fever In Cork – Top Tips To Combat Hay Fever This Summer

Manage hay fever in Cork this summer with our top tips and treatments. Hay fever – or seasonal allergic rhinitis – is a common ailment afflicting many people. Each spring and summer, one in five people in Ireland is affected by hay fever.

 

Hay Fever Season In Cork

In Cork, hay fever often kicks in during April and lasts until August, peaking in the last fortnight of June. Some experts argue that it appears as early as mid-March. The main culprit is grass pollen, especially Timothy grass.

The warmer weather in South West Cork means that the grass pollen season tends to start here in mid-May, earlier than the rest of Ireland. In Dublin and the midlands, the high season usually begins at the start of June. In North West Donegal the high season starts up to a fortnight later.

Click here for Cork’s pollen forecast for today and this week

 

Hay Fever Symptoms And Causes

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to airborne particles, such as pollen or fungal spores. Hay fever is most commonly triggered by grass or tree pollen. When the allergen is inhaled, the immune system produces a histamine response resulting in some unfavourable physical symptoms which include:

  • Runny nose,
  • Sneezing,
  • Itchy and watery eyes,
  • Fatigue,
  • Coughs and sinus congestion.

Hay fever is caused when your body defends itself against allergens by producing antibodies. The antibodies bind to mast cells, a process which leads the body to releases a chemical called histamine.

 

Nutritional Tips To Combat Hay Fever

Following these nutritional tips can help to strengthen your immune system and reduce your hay fever symptoms:

  • Drinking green tea and eating apples. Green tea and apples contain plant sterols, which are known to regulate the immune system and help to stabilise histamine reactions.
  • Eating two portions of omega 3-rich fish weekly. A diet rich in omega 3 will be less prone to inflammation. Wild caught salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring are great sources of omega 3. Almonds, flax and chia seeds are also good sources, however you would need to eat them in larger amounts.
  • Boost your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps to keep the immune system balanced and also has anti-inflammatory properties. If you aren’t getting some time in the sun, you might want to consider a good supplement.
  • Eat foods that are rich in flavonoids and an amino acid called methionine. Sources rich in flavonoids and methionine include nuts, berries, and fish. When it comes to flavonoids, it is generally true that the darker the berry is, the more it contains. Not only are these foods great to eat, the flavonoids and methionine have natural anti-inflammatory properties, which can help counteract the allergic reaction that brings on your hay fever symptoms.

 

Daily Living Tips To Manage Hay Fever

Other daily living tips which can help you deal with hay fever include:

  • Avoid lush grassland areas
  • Keep windows closed during late morning and mid-afternoon, the peak times for pollen levels
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses to prevent pollen from affecting your eyes
  • Avoid smoking and smokers
  • Try to get someone else to help with mowing the lawn and gardening, or at least make sure you’re wearing a face mask if you need to mow it yourself
  • Keep your bedroom windows closed while sleeping
  • Used tea bags chilled in the fridge make for the perfect smoothing compress for watery or itchy eyes
  • Keep an antihistamine medication on-hand for sudden allergy attacks

 

Methionine Supplements for Hay Fever

If the natural methionine sources aren’t doing the trick alone, methionine supplements up to 500mg per day may help. Another supplement that may interest you is quercetin. Quercetin helps to work as a natural anti-inflammatory.

 

Menthol inhalers such as Siang Pure

These small plastic tubes contain a mix of menthol, eucalyptus oil, camphor, and borneol. This combination of ingredients helps to clear away mucus, thus reducing the chances of repeat sneezing. These inhalers are also sometimes helpful in treating motion sickness, vertigo, and dizzy spells.

 

Fixes From Your GP

When all else fails and you need an emergency short-term fix, your GP can prescribe oral steroids. Repeated or prolonged courses of oral steroids are harmful but they will get you through that vital client meeting or your baby’s christening.

 

Cork Pollen Forecasts

Click here for Cork’s pollen forecast for today and this week

For the latest pollen forecasts across Ireland visit – Met Eireann Pollen Forecast For Ireland

Get Involved in Cork and Cultivate your Wellbeing in Older Age

Get involved and stay social, that’s the overriding message from a new Age UK charity study into the wellbeing and health of older people. The clear message, the report says “is the importance of maintaining meaningful engagement with the world around you in later life – whether this is through social, creative or physical activity, work or belonging to some form of community group”.

The overarching message from the study is that, as human beings, we are social by nature. Maintaining vibrant and healthy social lives is so important at all ages. We wanted to highlight local groups and opportunities in Cork, around the important factors for health and wellbeing highlighted by the report.

Creative and Cultural Activities

As the report says, older people with the highest levels of wellbeing “are all involved in some form of creative and cultural activity”. The study found that participating in creative and cultural activities makes the greatest contribution to your overall health and wellbeing, out of a long list of contributing factors.

You can check the city council website for news on the latest upcoming cultural events and activities in Cork.

Illness and Disability

A key finding from the report identifies that if your illness or disability allows you to participate is social activities, the activities can counteract the negative effects of ill health on your overall wellbeing.

There are currently 57 Active Retired Groups based in and around Cork, if you’re looking to get involved socially in your area.

The Wellbeing of Carer’s

Caring for a loved one, often your partner, is a role that many older people have to take on. According to the report, when the caring is fairly low intensity it actually has a positive effect on the carers wellbeing. However, where the care given needs to be high intensity, the caring has been shown to have a negative effect on the carers wellbeing. Perhaps this is due to the carer being less able to work or get involved in other activities.

There are several support groups for carers in Cork, including Family Carers Ireland group in Cork and West Cork Carers Support Group.

Remain Active and Healthy

At any stage of live, keeping active is so important to remaining healthy and enjoying increased wellbeing.

With the aim of getting older people more active, more often, the Go for Life Programme helps older people to plan and lead activities and sports. Go for Life also fund groups who are getting older people more active. They have lots of ideas for activities that can be done – either alone or with friends. The Go For Life Programme is very active in Cork, in partnership with the Cork Sports Partnership, to support and coordinate active events in the area including the FitWalk Programme.

In March, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, announced TILDA, a study by Trinity College, which proves that older people make an enormous contribution to Irish society. The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) states that its overarching aim is to make Ireland the best country in the world to live for the over 50’s.

On the back of the increasing spotlight being shone on the wellbeing of older people by Government and in the media, we want to highlight some of the community groups in Cork for the over 50’s:

Groups and programmes for older people in Cork

Active Retirement Ireland groups in Cork

Active Retirement Ireland reaches out to all older people to stop loneliness through friendship and support.

Age Friendly Cork

AgeFriendly.ie, aims to be the one stop website for all your information needs. The website aims to deliver all the vital information that is the relevant to older people and their families in Cork and throughout Ireland.

Go For Fitline is a phone based service that encourages those over 50 to get more active. Freephone Go For Fitline on 1800 303 545 and their mentors will ring you every few weeks until you’re happy with your progress

Go For Life Programme

Go for Life is the national programme for sport and physical activity for older people in Ireland.

Care and Repair Programme Cork by Age Action

The Care and Repair programme carries out minor repairs for older and vulnerable people free of charge at locations all over Ireland and provides contact details of local tradesmen for larger jobs. Befriending services are also provided through visits and telephone calls.

Care & Repair Programme – Cork

Contact: John O’Mahony on 021-2067399 or email aac@ageaction.ie

Top Tips to Help Prevent Sports Injuries in Kids and Parents

Participating in sports and taking regular exercise is well known for being good for your health, or the health of your kids. Sports also play an important role in our lifestyle and culture. However, sports injuries can and do happen regularly.

With the Irish Times reporting that one-third of visits to HSE minor injury clinics are sports related, it’s important to always keep the risks in mind as sporting injuries are common. There are simple steps you can take to reduce the risks. By following some basic tips and preparing properly, you can minimise the risk of sports injury that could keep your kids off school, parents unable to work or being unable to participate in the sports and hobbies that we enjoy.

The Benefits of Sports and Exercise

In addition to being highly beneficial to our physical health, sports provide us with social contact, competition and are proven to be good for our all-round health and wellbeing. Participating in sport and regular exercise play a key part in a healthy and active lifestyle.

Common Sports Injuries

Sports injuries are commonly caused by:

  • Accidents – such as a heavy blow, a fall (or a mistimed tackle from an opponent)
  • Failing to warm up sufficiently – not warming up properly is all too common and one of the key things to you can do to reduce the risk of injury
  • Using inappropriate equipment, footwear or clothing
  • Pushing yourself too hard
  • Using inappropriate or poor technique

Although ankles and knees are commonly affected, sports injuries can affect any part of the body including bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Tips to Prevent Sports Injuries

You can reduce the risk of getting injured, or the risk of your kids getting injured, by ensuring that you:

  • Warm up properly – a qualified healthcare professional or sports coach is the person to seek advice from, about the most appropriate warmups and stretches for the specific sport
  • Don’t overdo it – be mindful and realistic about your personal fitness levels, experience in the activity and your technique and skill levels
  • Use appropriate equipment for the specific sport or activity – your coach, supervisor, sports teacher and other qualified sports professionals are the best people to talk to about getting the right gear
  • Wear the right footwear and clothing – for example suitable running shoes, shin pads for football, gum shields for rugby or suitable walking boots for hiking and the terrain and weather conditions
  • Get expert advice and coaching – to learn the correct techniques

If you or your children are starting a new sport, it’s important to get advice from a qualified sports coach or healthcare professional.

Physiotherapy Techniques You Can Use Before Your Activity

Techniques used by the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists sports injury rehabilitation programme could also be useful before your activities, to help prevent injuries from occurring in the first instance. On top of that, they could also be beneficial to your sporting performance.

It would be well worth asking your coach, supervisor or the trained staff in the facility you play your sports in for advice on how you can use the techniques prescribed by physiotherapists as rehabilitation treatments, before you play.

Ask your coach, trainer, supervisor or the staff at the sporting facility for advice in the following areas, before your sporting activities:

  • Injury prevention advice
  • Advice on techniques and properly using the equipment
  • Advice on properly warming up and warming down
  • Customised exercise routines, tailored to you and your specific sport
  • Advice on when to return to your sport or activity, when you’ve got a slight niggle or injury
  • Preseason fitness training, testing and screening

What to do if you have A Sports Injury

If you’ve picked up an injury, you are likely to notice symptoms such as swelling, bruising, tenderness, pain, stiffness and restricted movement in the affected area. Sometimes, it can take several hours for you to notice any symptoms after you’ve finished exercising or sports.

If you feel any pain whilst you’re playing sports or exercising, it’s vital that you stop immediately. Continuing to exercise whilst injured is a critical factor in the amount of damage and the time it will take to recover.

If your injury is minor, you probably don’t need to see a doctor. For minor injuries, there are some basic steps you can take at home. You can usually treat minor niggles and injuries at home with:

  • Rest – the affected body part for the next 48 – 72 hours to prevent any further damage
  • Apply an ice pack – holding an ice pack on the area affected can reduce swelling during the first 48 – 72 hours after injury
  • Take over the counter painkillers – painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can relieve pain

If your symptoms are severe or don’t get better within several days or a few weeks, your doctor may be able to refer you for specialists sports treatments, such as physiotherapy. Click here for a list of Chartered Physio’s in Cork.

It can take from a few weeks to a few months to fully recover from a sports injury, depending on the type of injury you have. While your injury is healing, it’s important that you avoid trying to do too much too quickly. You should aim to increase your physical activity gradually, as your symptoms get better over time.

For more information and guidance on what to do if you have a sports injury, click to download a sports injury guide leaflet from the Irish Society of Chartered Physios.

The Pre-Baby Blues – Recognising and Treating Antenatal Depression

Unlike postnatal depression, a term that many of us are familiar with, there is far less awareness of antenatal depression. Recent studies have shown that antenatal depression is just as common as postnatal depression, but often goes undetected.

The first study in Ireland into antenatal depression, conducted by Trinity College Dublin and the Irish Obstetric Services, indicates that antenatal depression is probably more common in Ireland than in most other EU countries.

Recognising and treating antenatal depression is crucial, not only for mum but for baby too, as depression during pregnancy has been shown to increase the chances of development problems during infancy. Antenatal depression has been linked to brain development and behavioural development disadvantages. In some cases, depression during pregnancy has also been linked to psychiatric disorders in adult life.

Pregnancy is typically a time of happiness, fulfilment and joy. Perhaps because of this, depression during pregnancy can be harder for women to recognise, and harder for those who love them to recognise and accept.

It’s not uncommon to experience shifting emotions during pregnancy. However, if you are experiencing the signs below, for any extended period of time, you may have prenatal depression:

  • Feeling tired all the time
  • A loss of interest in yourself, your pregnancy or both
  • Always feeling down, angry or anxious
  • Trouble sleeping

Common Causes

Hormone imbalances during pregnancy can lead to prenatal depression. Other contributing factors can include being rundown by pregnancy sickness and tiredness, anxiety over the coming motherhood, and money or relationship worries. Typical concerns reported by women who are experiencing depression during pregnancy include:

  • Feelings or concerns about such a life-changing event
  • How you view yourself, particularly as you experience physical changes, such as weight change, enlarged breasts and general discomfort from pregnancy
  • How you view the changes in lifestyle that motherhood may bring for you
  • How your partner and family see your new baby
  • Worrying about how depression may impact on your relationships
  • Memories of difficulties with past pregnancies

Symptoms

Symptoms of antenatal depression can surface at any stage during pregnancy. Although more common with women who have suffered from depression in the past, it is by no means inevitable. A depression free history also doesn’t guarantee that you won’t develop depression during pregnancy.

Antenatal depression is characterised by higher than normal levels of worry about the birth and motherhood. Symptoms can include tearfulness, emotional detachment, chronic anxiety, lack of energy and feeling isolated or guilty.

Advice

If you are suffering from any of the signs and symptoms above, it may be helpful to consider these recommendations by the UK’s Royal College of Psychiatrists:

  • Take it easy – try to avoid doing too much and take care not to become overtired
  • Talk to someone – If you don’t have a close friend that you feel you can talk to, there are local groups that can be supportive before and after the birth such as Cuidiu Cork
  • Attend antenatal classes – If you don’t have a partner to take with you, take a relative or a friend
  • Don’t change antidepressant medication during pregnancy without getting medical advice first
  • Keep in touch with your GP and health visitor regularly
  • Make sure you get treatment for depression in pregnancy. Treatments can range from talking therapy to medication, your GP will be able to advise on what’s best for you
  • Accept help – be open to any help from family and friends, don’t try to be ‘super-woman’ and deal with everything on your own

Treatments

It’s important that you speak with your midwife or GP if you are feeling low during pregnancy. There are various antenatal depression treatments available to help. People respond differently to different treatments so it is really important that you speak with your GP or other specialist services and organisations.

Treatments available include:

  • Counselling and therapy – as well as helping you to feel better, talk therapies offer an opportunity to look into any underlying causes that may have contributed to the depression.
  • Medication – your GP can prescribe antidepressants, which can help to ease the symptoms of antenatal depression. Your doctor will ensure that the medication selected for you is safe during pregnancy.
  • Peer support groups – in the right environment, peer support can be highly beneficial to mothers suffering with antenatal or postnatal depression. Speaking to other mothers who have come through antenatal depression enables mums to see that they can get better. It’s important to check that the group is properly safeguarded with fully trained staff.

Getting Better

It’s important to remember that you are not alone. Particularly during pregnancy, suffering from depression can feel very isolating and confusing. It’s important to talk about how you are feeling and try to be proactive and seek help. With the right help and support, things can get better.

For more information, advice and support you may want to visit these websites:

Postnatal Depression Ireland (PND) – providing support and friendship to those suffering post-natal depression

Post Natal Depression and Cuidiu Support in Cork

Preventing Stomach Flu – Tips To Avoid Norovirus

It seems that each winter these days, there are more and more stories in the news about outbreaks of the public’s winter health enemy No.1 – norovirus. Also commonly known as stomach flu, or the cruise ship virus, norovirus can really put your body through the ringer at any time of year. Although another common alias for the virus, winter vomiting bug, highlights the fact that this extremely infectious stomach bug is more common in winter.

Norovirus Symptoms

Fortunately, although it is an extremely unpleasant stomach bug, norovirus is usually over within a couple of days. Symptoms commonly surface one or two days after you become infected. You are likely to have norovirus if you experience –

  • Sudden feelings of sickness
  • Projectile vomiting
  • Watery diarrhoea

Accompanying symptoms can also include:

  • Slight fever
  • Stomach cramps
  • Aching limbs
  • Headaches

Sudden diarrhoea and vomiting are the tell-tale signs that you’ve caught norovirus, the best thing you can do, to prevent spreading, is to stay at home until you’re feeling better.

How the Virus Is Spread

As you may well have seen in the news recently, the virus is easily spread in confined spaces, especially wherever numbers of people are in close contact. Schools, hospitals and nursing homes are often in the news after an outbreak. The common alias of ‘the cruise ship virus’ is a label that tells you how contagious the stomach flu virus can be in confined spaces.

Preventing Norovirus

It is not always going to be possible to be 100% sure of avoiding norovirus. However, following the tips below can help to stop the virus spreading and can help keep you and other virus-free:

  • Stay at home and away from work or school for at least 48 hours after symptoms have passed. It is particularly important to avoid visiting anyone in hospital, a nursing home, a school or indeed any environment where there are numerous people in confined spaces.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water. Washing your hands with soap and water is fundamentally important for avoiding the virus in the first place, and critical to prevent you from spreading the virus others if you have contracted it. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are shown to be less effective against norovirus. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers for removing or inactivating certain germs, including norovirus.
  • Disinfect surfaces and objects that could be contaminated. To be sure that the germs have been thoroughly cleansed, a household bleach cleaner is best.
  • Don’t forget to clean the less obvious places around the home. If you or someone at home are ill, don’t forget to clean all of the small spots that the sick person is likely to have been in contact with. Norovirus can live on hard surfaces for days, so it’s important to cleanse all the small places that you’ve come into contact. Small spots to be particular with include doorknobs, computer keyboards and mice, remote controls and mobile phones.
  • Wash clothing and bedding that could be contaminated on a separate hot wash.
  • Clean carpets and rugs. Viruses can live for considerable periods of time in rugs and carpets. If someone vomits on your carpet, it may be best to have it professionally cleaned. Some studies show that steam cleaning can be more effective for killing germs than wet shampooing.
  • Avoid sharing flannels and towels.
  • Raw, unwashed, produce is best avoided if there is a known outbreak of norovirus at home or in town. In particular, Oysters can carry norovirus, so it’s always advisable to only eat Oysters that have come from a reliable source.

Top Foods to Combat Colds

If you’ve ever had a common cold, you’ll know the feeling of misery that it brings with it. To avoid that horrible feeling and all of the nasty side affects that come with having a cold, it’s important to do your best to combat catching a cold as best you can.

With winter just around the corner, this couldn’t be more important than it is right now. If you are one of the unlucky ones and have failed to prevent yourself from a cold or flu this season then you have come to the right place. We know just what to do to help you feel better soon. 

Maintain a diverse diet

Your daily diet is the most important factor when it comes to fending off germs and illnesses such as the cold. No single food group has the power to protect against illness. You need to combine foods from different groups to keep you healthy.  

This is why it is so important to eat a varied diet each day and consume all of the vitamins your body needs. Your immune system needs to be strong if you’re going to be successful in fending off that cold, and it’s the fuel that you give your body that will determine how strong your immune system is.

Foods to boost the immune system

  • Yogurt is a delicious way to introduce a dose of good bacteria into your body. Good bacteria will line your intestines to help fend off invading germs. They are called probiotics and studies show that eating yogurt will lead to an improved immune system by increasing the body’s healthy white blood cell count.  

  • Turmeric is an amazing spice with very strong cold and flu fighting properties.

  • Garlic is the most widely used plant worldwide and, as it’s a natural antibiotic, it has huge medicinal properties.  

  • Red peppers, oregano, green tea, ginger and broccoli will also serve to help your immune system on a daily basis.

  • Beef is a great source of zinc and zinc plays a vital role in the development of bacteria-fighting white blood cells.

Vitamin C foods for colds

Vitamin C is widely known for its ability to fight and heal infectious diseases. The following Vitamin C rich foods should be on your shopping list if you want to increase your chances of not catching a cold this winter:

  • Green bell peppers
  • Sweet potato
  • Citrus fruits
  • Butternut squash
  • Kale
  • Papaya
  • Strawberries
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Cauliflower
  • Herbs such as parsley, basil and chives

Make sure that your body is ready for the cold months of winter that lie ahead of us by eating the above foods. As well as the foods that we’ve listed, be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet that will give your body all of the required nutrients that it needs to function at its very best.

How to Get Rid of Headaches

Most of us suffer from headaches from time to time. They can be the result of lots of different causes and some can be a lot more painful and long-lasting than others.

One option to treat a headache maybe to visit your local pharmacist but there are also many other simple options available to you.

  • Apply Heat Packs/Ice Packs

We’ve been using hot and cold application techniques to relieve pain for many years now and it’s no surprise considering how effective they are.

By simply placing an ice pack to the area of your head that’s causing you pain, the cold will help to shrink your blood vessels, improving circulation and, in turn, easing the pain that’s being caused by the pressure they’re causing. Hold the pack there for 10-15 minutes for best results.

Applying heat on the back of your neck will help relieve migraines and other kinds of headaches that are caused by stress. Heat relaxes your muscles and, in turn, has the power to relieve throbbing pain. You could hold a water bottle on the back of your neck or take a warm bath as any type of heat will help relax your muscles.

Note: You should never apply heat packs or ice packs directly to your skin as doing so can cause damage. Instead, wrap the pack you are using in a tea towel before applying it to the affected area.

  • Relax!

Stress is the number one cause of most people’s headaches. Therefore, taking some time out to relax will most likely relieve a lot of your discomfort.

Have a long soak in a bubble bath, go for a walk, take a nap, watch a movie, read a book or do whatever you like to do to help you forget what’s bothering you.

  • Turn off the Lights

Bright lights (including those from a computer screen) can be the number one reason why you’re suffering from a headache.

If you feel a headache coming on, try and stay away from direct light including sunlight. This is very important if you are prone to migraines as taking a break in a quiet, dark room will be your solace.

  • Drink Water

It’s been proven that dehydration can bring on a headache  and even though experts recommend that we drink at least eight pints of water a day, many of us don’t.

Not consuming enough fluids can dehydrate your body leaving it in a bad state, which can cause headaches among other things. Give your body the water if needs and you’ll experience less headaches for doing so. It’s sometimes that simple.

  • Let your Hair Down

If your hair is in a tight ponytail and you’re suffering from a bad headache, taking your hair down might just be the answer to your problem. Pulling your hair back and holding it tight in place will put pressure on certain points and nerves in your head causing you pain.

These types of headaches can also come about as a result of wearing a hat, a headband or swimming goggles that are too tight.

  • Over the Counter Medicine

When all of the above fails, Ibuprofen is the number one medicine used to treat a migraine or headache. This is because it is an anti-inflammatory drug and, rather than just treating the pain itself, it’s effective in relieving the tension that a headache causes.

What headache medicine to take when pregnant?

Many women will suffer more with headaches during pregnancy. It is not advisable to take lots of medicines when pregnant for many reasons, making it difficult to treat a simple headache.

If a natural remedy doesn’t work, paracetamol can be taken. That said; when you’re pregnant, you should always consult your doctor before taking any medication. If you don’t have time to see your GP, you can also go to your local chemist and consult them for the best advice.

The above are just some of the many ways to treat and relieve headaches. Each person and type of headache is different so while one remedy might always work for one person, it may never work for another.

Find what works best for you and you’ll know what to do the next time a headache strikes.