Category

Health

Hello! Thank you to Joanne for inviting me to guest post on her blog! I am Stephanie Ooi, Mum to my almost 2 year old daughter Lily and a private GP working at MyHealthcare Clinic in London. I post information about a variety of health topics with a bit of Motherhood in between. There is so much misinformation about health nowadays and I hope to provide some accurate bitesize information for people to refer to! I wanted to go through how to manage fever in children. We have gotten through about 2 bottles of Calpol this Winter period and I commonly see feverish children so I thought it would be a good place to start!

Dr Stephanie Ooi – GP & @the_gp_mum

A note on Calpol and Nurofen:

Calpol is a branded version of Paracetamol. Nurofen is a branded version of Ibuprofen. The branded versions are more expensive, but not any better! Unfortunately the market is saturated with the branded versions, but if you can find the generic versions these are perfectly good to use too!

What is a fever and why does it occur?

A fever is a temperature above 38C.

It happens because the body is trying to fight off an infection and make it harder for any bacteria or viruses to survive. It is not an illness in itself. As a result, you don’t actually have to give any medication to lower a temperature unless your child is distressed or unwell. If they are otherwise happy, they don’t need any medicine!

What can I give to my child to manage fever?

If they are distressed then choose either Paracetamol or Ibuprofen and use it by itself. If one does not work to make your child comfortable then switch over to the other one. If this doesn’t work then you can start to alternate doses of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen.

How often can I give medication?

Paracetamol is given every 4-6 hours and Ibuprofen is given every 8 hours. Follow the instructions on the box for dosing. Jotting down the times at which you give medication can help to avoid any confusion or mistakes.

Some general advice:

– Encourage regular fluids (can continue breastfeeding as normal)

– Avoid overheating or shivering. If your child is feeling hot then you can take off layers, but no need to strip them down completely. Conversely, do not put on additional layers even if your child feels cold.  Cool baths or sponging is NOT advised (a rebound fever can occur after this)

– Look out for signs of dehydration (sunken eyes, reduced wet nappies, dry mouth, absence of tears)

When should I worry and seek medical advice?

  • If your baby has a fever and is under 3 months old
  • If there is evidence of dehydration
  • If you are worried about their breathing
  • If they have a fit
  • If there is a non-blanching rash
  • If the fever lasts for more than 5 days
  • If they are becoming more unwell
  • If YOU are worried – you know them best!

I hope that you found my guest blog on how to mange fever in children helpful? If you have any questions then please feel free to message me through my Instagram page. Unfortunately I can’t give specific personal medical advice, but I’m happy to answer any general questions!

You can follow Dr Stephanie on Instagram @the_gp_mum for more helpful tips on family health. She also  contributes to the blog Gas and Air set up by Clemmie Hooper from @mother_of_daughters. Who is a successful Blogger, Author and Midwife. Over on Clemmie’s blog you will find some really interesting articles about pregnancy, birth and beyond!

Disclaimer – This article is in no way meant to replace direct medical advice. If you have any concerns about your child’s health or your own health, then you should contact your GP, call 111 or attend A&E.

 

 

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This week on Monday (it really was blue Monday for me!) I underwent surgery on my leg, as I have suffered with painful varicose veins for the past six years. I wanted to tell you about my experience and why I think we should be so proud of our NHS. We often hear so many negative comments about the NHS, but I want to remind us all that despite the ever increasing challenges and pressures on the NHS, we have something very special here in the UK.

As you know I’m a registered nurse and have worked in the medical sector for the past 21 years. However 6 years ago when I gave birth to my Daughter, I had an awful traumatic birth which wasn’t helped by the care (more like lack of care) that I received in a certain London hospital. My experience was so bad that I wrote an official complaint to the NHS Trust in question, this in turn lead to the member staff concerned being unable to work in that Trust again.

The whole experience left me wondering what had happened to the NHS that I know and had loved? The place where I have spent much of my adult life working, it even made me question my career choice. However, my experience this week as a patient has left me with a new view point. I now once again feel proud to be part of the nursing profession and I can tell you that there are still nurses who do care and know how to really get down on a patient’s level.

I have needed varicose vein surgery since 2016, but essentially I have been putting off having the treatment, because in reality I was so terrified to put my life in the hands of health professionals again! To cut a long story short the first time my surgery was booked, unfortunately the hospital had to cancel it. The second time it was booked I cancelled it, because I was having mental health issues with anxiety so bad that I couldn’t face it. So it was third time lucky!

Warning – there is a graphic picture of my bruised leg below!

This is just after I woke up from the anesthetic! I think I was still as high as a kite!

Anyway, the point I want to make is that my Daughter’s birth was just one bad experience and this time (obviously I was not giving birth, more having an uncomplicated procedure) at Charing Cross Hospital – part of Imperial Healthcare. I was treated with dignity and respect. I was very nervous about having a general anesthetic, but everything was explained to me and it was the little things the nurses, doctors and other members of the team did that made me feel cared for.

So now the surgery is done I feel like a weight has been lifted from me. My leg as you can see doesn’t look very pretty, I had what is known as a ultrasonography guided percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of the long saphenous vein. I am still finding it very uncomfortable to walk and sleep at night, as the bruising can get worse before it improves. However I am back at work and trying to get on with things, I’m just a bit slower than usual.

I have found a new prospective of both hospitals and medical care. I also think being a patient myself again has reminded me what is really important in nursing and that really it is the basics. As cheesy as it sounds it’s the human touch and the reassuring words that make all the difference. I was so lucky to have a lovely recovery nurse looking after me when I woke up from the general anesthetic. I remember her looking at me and making direct eye contact. She spoke softy and was reassuring, she didn’t rush me and I felt heard when I said I was in pain and very cold. She held a cup of water for me so I could drink small sips and made sure I had an extra blanket.

To practice as a Registered Nurse in the UK you must be a member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and you must uphold the code of conduct. I have just pulled out the very first part of the code for you to read, as for me this part really stands out, but every single part of it is really important too. You can read the full code on the NMC Website.

Prioritise people

“You put the interests of people using or needing nursing or midwifery services first. You make their care and safety your main concern and make sure that their dignity is preserved and their needs are recognised, assessed and responded to. You make sure that those receiving care are treated with respect, that their rights are upheld and that any discriminatory attitudes and behaviours towards those receiving care are challenged”.

“1 Treat people as individuals and uphold their dignity

To achieve this, you must:

1.1 treat people with kindness, respect and compassion

1.2 make sure you deliver the fundamentals of care effectively

1.3 avoid making assumptions and recognise diversity and individual choice

1.4 make sure that any treatment, assistance or care for which you are responsible is delivered without undue delay

1.5 respect and uphold people’s human rights”

From the NMC Code of conduct – Publication date: 29 January 2015
Effective from: 31 March 2015
Updated to reflect the regulation of nursing associates: 10 October 2018

My School of Nursing & Midwifery badge from The University of Sheffield, where I completed my training in 1997.

Finally, I want to thank every single member of staff at Charing Hospital for their care (I doubt any of them will read this), this post is for their hard work and dedication. From the lady on the ward who brought me a cup of tea up to the Consultant Vascular Surgeon who performed my operation. I thank you for your care and consideration.

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It’s getting to that time of year when we are looking forward to our Summer Holidays. The holiday is booked, you’re checked your passport is still in date and you have treated yourself to a new bikini, but have you thought about how to keep you and your family safe and well at your choosen destination? When I’m not working on my blog I also work as a Practice Nurse and have a qualification in Travel Health. I spend some of my clinic time advising patients on how to stay well abroad. So, I’m going to give you a quick run down on some of the essential items you should be packing in your suitcase this Summer. I have picked up all of these items at The Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre. So if you are about to jet off, then you can head down there to pick up your last minute essentials!

One of the most common complaints travellers often have when travelling abroad is suffering with diahorerra and vomitting. This often caused by poor hand hygiene and occasionally food posioning, but did you know that it can be simply down to dehydration? So how to avoid it? Always carry hand gel and anti-bacterial wipes, avoid shellfish, ice cream, unpeeled fruit and vegetables and ice in your drinks. Also avoid street food and always drink bottled water that has an intact seal. Make sure you take some rehydration powders like Dioralyte or a similar brand.

Heat stroke, heat exhaustion and sunburn can be another major issue. Keep well hydrated and avoid the sun at peak times. Cover up and wear sunglasses and a hat. Wear sunscreen of a at least 15 SPF to protect against UVB and at least 4 star UVA. Pay particular attention to applying sunscreen to babies and young children. Don’t forget about using lip screen also. Think about taking some aftersun lotion too, to ensure your skin stays well moisturised and to avoid peeling skin.

Mosquito bites and malaria are another major consideration. Think about the country you are visiting and if there is a risk of Malaria. You can check a website like Fit for Travel for up to date advice on various destinations. The best way to ensure that you are correctly protected against Malaria is to either have a consultation with your Practice Nurse/GP or seek advice from your local Pharmacist as they can advice you on which anti-malaria medication to take. Cover up in the evenings and use an insect repellant that contains at least 50% DEET. Think about alternative for young children and babies as the chemicals in these products may not be safe for their skin. You can also buy mosquito nets.

Accidents on holiday are common and in most cases could be avoided. When arriving in your accommodation, have a good look around for any potential hazards, especially with young children in mind. It could be low open windows, exposed plug sockets, balconies ect.. Also check the depth of the swimming pool and make sure there is no way your children can access the pool on there own. Try to have to hand the contact number of your holiday rep if things were to go wrong and the contact details of a local reputable health clinic.

Regarding holiday vaccinations, it is always best practice to go and speak to your Practice Nurse/GP, however some local Pharmacies like Boots and Superdrug also offer Travel Health services. For your children do make sure that they are up to date with all their routine childhood vaccinations. There are of course vaccinations that are recommended for certain parts of the world, ideally you would want to get these vaccinations completed 4-6 weeks prior to travel. Again you can check on the following websites Fit For Travel  and Gov.com also have helpful information listed country by country on any health outbreaks or potential risks to tourists.

It is always a good idea to take a supply of items that you would usually keep in your medical cabinet at home. That way if you or your family suddenly becomes unwell you have items to hand. Plus in a non-English speaking country it may be hard to convey what you are after, So here is my list:

  • Suncream Adults at least SPF 30 – waterproof
  • Suncream Kids SPF waterproof SPF 50
  • Aftersun
  • Bite & sting antihistamine cream
  • Priton allergy tablets
  • Insect repellant spray – 50% DEET
  • Mosquito plug in device
  • Travel first aid kit – containing a variety of plasters/bandages and tape
  • Dioralyte – for rehydration
  • Loperamide tablets
  • Paracetamol sachets for children
  • Ibuprofen sachets for children
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Anti-bacterial gel
  • Adult lip screen
  • Kids lip screen
  • Paracetamol tablets
  • Ibuprofen tablets
  • In ear thermometer

This post is in no way meant to be a replacement for medical advice. If you have any concerns or questions about your health please seek advice from your Doctor or GP. 

Disclaimer: This is collaborative post with Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre.

 

 

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Yoga is something that I have only tried maybe once before in my life, so I was slightly apprehensive when I arrived for my first class at triyoga in Ealing. However, I need not had been worried because as soon as walked in the friendly reception staff made me feel welcome and gave me a show around. I particularly liked the computer check in system, which made for a speedy and efficient entrance!

I think we all know the immense benefits of practicing yoga for the mind, body and spirit, but for me this was a rare self-care opportunity. I felt almost liberated to put my mobile away in the locker and have a bit of me time for a while. I stepped away from my busy world and it felt great!

The studio is based in Dickens Yard, so is very central and easily accessible. There is on street parking nearby and only a few minutes’ walk from Ealing Broadway Station. triyoga also has studios in: Camden, Chelsea, Covent Garden, Shoreditch and Soho.

As soon as I entered the studio (I’m not sure if it was removing my shoes or the smell of incense), I felt relaxed. What I found with triyoga is that it is not just a yoga studio, but in some ways more a little community of its own.

I loved the fact that there is an on-site boutique selling everything yoga related from mats, to clothing to books. They also offer a range of complimentary therapies and treatments such as: reflexology, reiki, acupuncture, osteopathy, life coaching and cupping to name just a few.

Pregnancy yoga classes are available at the Ealing studio and there is also a Mummy and Me class (Dad’s welcome too) for parents and movement for babies from forty days to crawling.

There is an onsite café CPress serving fresh healthy organic food, coffee and cold pressed juices. The area is a peaceful relaxed place to sit down after your yoga session to enjoy lunch or a snack. Or perhaps meet up with some friends!

I’m not sure if it is standard in many yoga studios, but I absolutely loved the fact that the floor was heated. I went into the ladies changing area and was happy to see there was enough space to get changed comfortably, plenty of lockers, toilets and a shower (this might be well needed if you op for a hot yoga session)! Plus it was very clean too!

Children are welcome at triyoga, my Daughter was over the moon to try one of the classes. Classes are broken down in to the following age groups. Ages 4-6 years, 7-9 years, 10-12 years and teenagers.

While she was in the class, I had a coffee in the café and afterwards she said she couldn’t wait for the next class! Relaxed and chilled out is how I would describe her mood afterwards. I can definitely see the benefits for this sort of class after a busy day at school!

 

 

My Top Tips are:

  • My main piece of advice for the adult classes would be to do your research on which class you should start off with. If you are not sure perhaps discuss the various options with the staff. I made the mistake of booking myself in for what I am told is one of the most challenging classes Astanga Yoga! I did manage to participate in some of this class, but I did find it differcuilt to keep up at times!
  • The other classes I did were: Yoga Level 1 and Yoga Gentle Open. I would recommend these for beginners. Simply before the teachers were understanding and happy for me to go at my own pace.
  • I would also say don’t be afraid to ask for help if you can’t get in the right position or find something uncomfortable. I was really pleased to find there are lots of adjustments that can be made for someone like me who has lower back problems. There is always the use of optional belts, blocks or extra blankets to help your positioning.
  • Do take a bottle of water, especially if you attending a hot yoga session. There are water fountains available if you need to top up.
  • Try not compare yourself to others. I saw people of all abilities, some of those were getting into positions that there is no way at this stage that I could achieve! Don’t forget some people have been practicing yoga for many years.
  • Don’t feel like you need to wear fancy yoga clothes. I saw plenty of people in leggings and t-shirts. Maybe invest in some key pieces later down the line.

Overall I found triyoga to be a lovely venue, purpose built for yoga and the staff could not do enough to help me.

I hope to go back soon and try out some other classes. They currently have an offer where you can have 30 days of unlimited yoga, mat pilates and barre for £54. This is for new customers only and terms and conditions apply. Check out the website for more details.

Image courtesy of triyoga
Image courtesy of triyoga

This is a collaborative post. triyoga gifted me a number of free classes in return for a review. However, all opinions are my own and are a honest reflection of how I found the studio.

Featured image is courtesy of triyoga.

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Tell me a bit about your background and why you decided to start Baby Steps?

I am a Paediatric Nurse, Health Visitor, Infant Massage Instructor and Mummy of two!

I’ve been in the Health Service over 22 years and started Baby Steps back in 2006. I was Health Visiting in central London at the time and services were becoming more stretched.  I saw the need for a relaxed, friendly service helping address common parental concerns, as often families were not getting the support they needed.

I also wanted to create a role which could be flexible in the future for when I hopefully had a family. I’ve always continued to work in the NHS too and think it can offer an amazing service. Baby Steps offers Baby and Child First Aid and Weaning courses. Courses can be in the comfort of parents’ homes or at local venues. They can be with friends and family or just for the parents themselves.

I feel incredibly lucky to do something I love so much. Seeing the reassurance and confidence the Baby Steps courses give, alongside my A&E nursing is so rewarding. Right from Day one it has felt such a privilege to work closely with families. It is often the little things that makes a difference.

Do you still work in the NHS? 

Yes, absolutely. I do shifts regularly in Chelsea and Westminster Paediatric Accident and Emergency where I have worked since 2000.  I really love the buzz of A&E. The variety is amazing; caring for children with day to day illness and injuries right through to life threatening conditions.  When it is your own child nothing feels minor and I really understand that!

How do you spend your time when you are not running Baby Steps?

I am a wife and Mummy to Isabella age 8 and William age 5. I knew I would love being a Mummy but it has been a billion times better than I imagined.  It’s extremes – amazingly wonderful and the hardest job ever all at the same time!  Being a parent has massively helped my work too.

I am really enjoying being a school Mummy and help with school trips and listening to reading each week in their class.

I love girlie time with my friends, being outside and going for lovely walks, to shop, watch box sets, eat chocolate, cook yummy food for family and friends. I love the beach and try to go whenever I can with the family to blow the cobwebs away!

What sort of topics do you cover in your courses?

As a parent, Nurse and Health Visitor, I have combined all that experience that to make the courses the most practical and helpful for parents, grandparents and babysitters. The courses are bespoke and tailored to the age of the children of those attending and if there are any specific concerns or medical conditions.

The Baby and Child First Aid course covers all the main First Aid topics; including burns, scalds, cuts, bruises, allergies, ingestions and head injuries.  I am passionate about accident prevention and home safety. So as well as covering the important First Aid I very much focus on how to prevent the accidents in the first place!  I also cover temperatures, Meningitis and aspects of childhood illness.

I have an army of manikins and everyone gets to learn and practice the CPR and choking techniques. We chat about where to get help, what to keep in a First Aid kit and medicine cabinet – everything really!  Everyone is given a First Aid manual and loads of info to refer to after the course.

The Weaning course really aims to ensure parents feel excited not daunted about this lovely stage. I go through step by step how to introduce solids, the various options; purees, mash, finger foods, Baby Led as it is really confusing these days!  I explain how babies can have family food from early on to save hours preparation and massively encourage the fun, social aspects of eating!  Everyone gets a booklet of all the info covered with recipes, food ideas to refer to along their Weaning journey.  We chat about teething, cups, dummies and other things that can be happening around this time.  You can see parents shoulders drop through the course as they can see it actually will be fun!

With both courses I have a stack of demo stuff again to make the courses as useful as possible!

Since you launched Baby Steps what has been the biggest challenge you have faced?

I think like most parents it’s juggling time!  Sometimes I stay up to late doing emails or preparation for Baby Steps once the children are in bed, but it’s important to switch off. Also I have so many ideas for Baby Steps and I need to remember to take it step by step!

If you could give one piece of advice to a new parent what would it be?

To go day by day.  Everyone says when your babies are tiny the time goes so quickly and you are often too tired to take that in. The tricky parts are just a phase but it can be hard to see that at the time. Mine are both at school now and I am so pleased I made the most of my time with them when they were small. Part time work kept me sane but I am a Mummy above and beyond anything. You do get more balance back as they get older.

When it comes to home safety there is a lot of equipment out there, what do you think is the most worthwhile to buy and why?

Stair gates are so important. Children can move way before they understand the dangers and we see terrible accidents in A&E from stairs. Corner cushions – I know they are ugly but coffee tables are big culprits of head injuries!

A lot of stuff isn’t necessary but it’s preventing the big accidents and reducing your stress levels as you can’t have eyes in the back of your head!

Why should a parent come along to one of your courses?

To feel reassured and confident! They are super practical course and parents are buzzing with tips and ideas following the courses. I have loved it so much when parents have said they feel ’empowered’ from the First Aid course or ‘excited’ about Weaning. Sometimes parents can have had a tough time and the courses can be a turning point to getting the advice and confidence they need. I am always happy to chat through issues on a 1:1.

Where do you see Baby Steps going in the future?

I love the group courses but I also love the 1:1 appointments supporting parents with different issues related to health and nutrition. I am doing more now online (Facetime, What’s App video) so am excited to think I could help parents all over the world!

My interests in Home Safety and Nutrition are growing all the time I am so excited to be passing information on to families. I am on a mission to ensure parents are as fully informed as possible when making decisions about their child’s safety. Often all they see is the marketing and not the potential risks with some products.

As far as Nutrition goes it is huge for all of us as we learn more and more how what we eat impacts on our health, sleep, moods, energy so for growing little brains and bodies even more so.  I am so keen for babies to build a good healthy relationship with food early on and for families to enjoy happy meals together.

I haven’t quite got there yet but am planning to run First Aid courses for children in schools and for parents to be able to learn with their children or arrange for a group of kids at home.  It’s an amazing opportunity for them to start lifelong learning of First Aid.

You can find out more about Baby Steps via the Website and don’t forget to follow Baby steps on social media for regular updates on upcoming courses @babystepsx

The Ealing Mummy and Baby Steps are running a free event Ealing Mum’s Mush Up on Tuesday 7th November 2017 at the Grove Pub in Ealing 12 midday. Come and join us in a friendly and relaxed environment with taster sessions on how to deal with choking and find out a bit more about weaning. You will also receive a free goodie bag. Limited tickets available, please book your tickets via Eventbrite.

 

 

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How many times have you suffered with a health issue and thought I really should see a Doctor about that, but because of the busy and hectic life you are leading you don’t manage to make that appointment? I know this feeling well and as a working parent there have been many occasions over the last four years that I have perhaps not taken my health as seriously as I should. We are all too busy running around looking after everyone else in our lives. Our children are our main focus, so we rarely have time to stop and think about ourselves.

It is obvious that your own health should be your priority, because if you are not mentally and physically fit to look after your own family then who will? In today’s society it is often the case that we no longer live near our immediate family. In my case both my parents live more than 100 miles away, so are not in a position to help if things go wrong. So now is the time to start looking at what you can do to improve your health.

First of all, are there any outstanding tests or investigations that you have been putting off? Are you up to date with your cervical smear test? You should be having a test every three years. In my job as a Practice Nurse I perform numerous smears on a daily basis. One of the things I hear nearly every day is “I know I should have come sooner, I have been putting it off”. Please don’t put this test off, it really does just take a couple of minutes and it could save your life. So if you have had a letter recently reminding you your test is due, pick up the phone and book your appointment at your GP surgery today. For more information about cervical screening have a look at NHS Choices .

My next question to you is are you over forty? If so did you know that the NHS offers a free health check? This is something that not everyone seems to be aware of and doesn’t always take up. It is a check up of your overall health and it can tell you if you are more at risk of: heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke. First you need to attend your surgery to have blood tests taken and then you will be invited back to discuss the results. At the appointment you will also have your blood pressure and weight taken. This is usually done by the Practice Nurse or Health Care Assistant. Once completed it will be able to give you an overall picture of your health and the areas you need to improve upon.

You might wonder if having a health check actually makes any difference? The NHS latest research suggests that,
“For every 27 people having an NHS Health Check, one person is diagnosed with high blood pressure, for every 110 people having a Health Check, one person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and for every 265 people having a Health Check, one person is diagnosed with kidney disease”.

Getting this check done could be the first step to ensuring you get the correct treatment for a condition, that you might have otherwise not known you had.

Don’t forget about your mental health either. 1 in 4 people will have suffered with some sort of mental health problem in their lifetime. Stop for a second and think about how your mental health may be effecting your daily life?

  • Are you eating, drinking or smoking too much?
  • Are you short tempered with your children or partner?
  • Do you lack energy or always feel tied or run down?

All of these things could be related to your mental health. Not all of us want to or need to go for counselling, but have you considered it? You will be able to get help via your GP. For more information about mental health see the Mind website .

Finally, I would like to draw to your attention to that health niggle that you might have had for some time. Whether it be the mole on your back that you have noticed has been getting bigger, or perhaps you have suffered with heart burn/acid indigestion for a long time or you have had a change in bowel habit, but have done nothing about it. Make the time now to speak to your GP. Our health is so precious and you should never under estimate the benefits of an early diagnosis.

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