Tips to overcome a needle phobia

Round & About

health

A needle phobia is quite common – it’s thought to be a problem for about 1 in 10 of us.

People who experience this may have had a lot of injections in childhood, or had previous bad experiences with injections, but this is not always the case. It can result in sensations of panic or feeling faint – or actually fainting – because of a rise and then a rapid drop in blood pressure.

Phil Day, Superintendent Pharmacist at Pharmacy2U, the UK’s first and largest online pharmacy, gives us some helpful advice for anyone who is worried:

1.

It’s nothing to be embarrassed about! If you’re going for an injection, tell the person giving it to you about your phobia and they’ll take good care of you. They’ll be very used to it and will know what to do. They can help by distracting you, perhaps by talking to you during the process – which is over before you know it.

2.

There are things you can do to help yourself. There’s a process called “applied tension”, where you tense your muscles for 10-15 seconds at a time, then rest, and repeat 5 times. Doing this every few days for a week or so can train your body to prevent fainting. Then, whenever you feel anxious about injections, you can repeat the process and it should control your blood pressure quickly. Don’t forget that you should always relax your arm for an injection, though.

3.

Gradually exposing yourself to different situations relating to needles has been shown to help lots of people ease their phobia over time. Perhaps start with thinking about having an injection, and working up from there – and practising “applied tension” and deep mindful breathing when you feel the anxiety coming on.

Overcoming or learning to control a fear takes time and practice, including discovering what tips work best for you to help reduce the fear you feel. It is important if you suffer from a needle phobia to try out different techniques that can help with this so that it doesn’t prevent you from getting important vaccinations that can benefit your health.


Share your local news with us here

Get zoom ready with vitamins

Round & About

health

As millions across the world continue to interact online, people are spending a record amount of time video chatting.

This means that you often spend hours every week seeing yourself far more than you did pre-Covid, often leading to you paying greater attention to how you look. With this in mind, Pharmacy2U, the UK’s largest online pharmacy, have compiled a list of the best vitamins to make sure you’re Zoom-confident!

Phil Day, Superintendent Pharmacist at Pharmacy2U, the UK’s first and largest online pharmacy, gives us which vitamins help with what:

Vitamin A

All cells need vitamin A for growth: this includes hair, which is the fastest growing tissue in the human body. It also helps your skin to produce an oily substance called sebum which helps to moisturise your scalp and keep your hair looking healthy. It has also been found that people that are deficient in vitamin A may experience hair thinning and hair loss.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can be found largely in both the epidermis (outer layer of skin) and the dermis (inner layer of skin). It has antioxidant properties and plays a key role in producing collagen, which helps to keep skin healthy. This is one of the key ingredients found in many anti-ageing skincare products. It helps to heal damaged skin and also has the ability to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, help to repair hair and prevent dry skin. It’s also great for healthy hair, again linked to its role in producing collagen, which is an important part of the hair structure.

Vitamin D

Typically we get the majority of our vitamin D in the summer months; the skin makes it when it’s exposed to sunlight. However, with most of us stuck indoors and with the gloomy winter weather many of us may be deficient at the moment. Vitamin D is used throughout the body, including the skin, where it plays an important role in skin tone, as well as preventing premature skin ageing. It also promotes healthy bone growth, with some studies showing that it can help with dry skin, eczema and psoriasis. Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to hair loss, with research showing that vitamin D may help create new hair follicles.

Vitamin E

Similarly to vitamin C, vitamin E possesses antioxidant properties, helping to prevent the skin from sun damage. Vitamin E absorbs UV light, minimising the damage done by UV rays, preventing dark spots and wrinkles. If you have particularly dry skin, vitamin E can help to counteract a lack of sebum, as well as to help in the treatment of skin inflammation.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is vital in helping the body’s ability to form blood clots, which helps the body to heal bruises, wounds and any areas that have been affected by surgery. It is thought to help skin conditions including scars, stretch marks and dark eye circles.

Some vitamins should not be taken in large doses, and some may clash with prescribed medicines. Before taking any new vitamin supplements, talk to your pharmacist for advice if you need it.”


Share your local news with us here

Staying safe after COVID-19 vaccination

Round & About

health

How the vaccination could make you feel and what to do after you’ve had it. Comments from Phil Day, Superintendent Pharmacist at Pharmacy2U, the UK’s first and largest online pharmacy:

“Like all medicines, there is a potential for side effects. These are generally mild and disappear within a day or two, and not everyone who has the vaccine will be affected. The most common side effects include fatigue, having a tender arm where you had your injection, and general aches and flu-like symptoms. These are common for many vaccines; the vaccine cannot give you Covid-19. It’s important to remember that if you experience mild symptoms after the first dose, you still need to get the second dose.

You must continue to take all recommended precautions to avoid infection

“It will take a week or two for your body to build up protection from the first dose of vaccine. No vaccine is 100% effective, and we still don’t know how much the vaccine prevents transmission of the disease, so you must continue to take all recommended precautions to avoid infection. In order to minimise any risks, for you, your family or other people you may come into close proximity with, you should continue to practise social distancing, wear a face mask, wash your hands frequently and follow the current government guidance.

“Although the fact that such a vast number of the population are receiving their vaccination is hugely positive, it’s important not to get complacent. By doing this, we can continue to alleviate pressures on the NHS. There is still a long way to go before life returns to pre-Covid normality and you can play your part in getting us all thereby sticking to the national guidelines.”


Share your local news with us here

How daylight savings affect your sleep

Round & About

health

Three ways daylight saving affect your sleep — and what you can do about it

The clocks go forward on March 28th — marking the start of daylight savings. Unfortunately, this means one less hour in bed, so prepare to feel extra sleepy that day!

As it turns out, this lost hour can have a greater impact than you may initially think on your sleep cycle. To help you prepare, we’ve identified three ways daylight savings affects your sleep, plus three ways you can fix it.

It disrupts your rhythm

Our bodies use circadian rhythm, a sort of internal body clock, to keep track of the time. It takes things like sunlight, how often we eat, and other aspects of our routines to determine when we should be awake and when we should be asleep. So, the hour lost from daylight savings could throw us off track and impact our nightly rest.

Maintaining a routine is crucial if you want to fall asleep easily

Solution: don’t oversleep. Try and keep to the exact same routine as you would normally. It may be tempting to lie in an hour past your alarm to ‘regain’ your lost hour of sleep, or even to have a nap during the day to catch up. But, these may be more detrimental to your body’s natural rhythm than if you were to stick to your regular pattern. Instead, it’s better to simply mourn the lost hour and move on, sticking to your usual routine.

The nights are shorter

This is the time of year where nights start to get shorter. By this, we mean that there are more hours of daylight, which is great for packing in loads of fun activities during the day. But, it can make sleeping difficult when the sun streams into your bedroom at times when you’d usually be trying to rest and recharge.

Solution: separate day from night. Darkness is key for sleep, as it tells our bodies to produce a soporific hormone called melatonin. So, at this time of year, you may wish to try installing thicker curtains or blinds to keep the light out and closing them around two hours before bedtime, so you can start to get sleepy when you need to.

Additionally, it can help to try and get as much light during the day as you can so that your body produces enough melatonin to keep you asleep through the night (NIH).

The weather is warmer

Summer sun is definitely something to look forward to, and the clocks going forward is signal that warmer weather is on the way. Unfortunately, this can mean sticky, sweaty nights and disrupted sleep, which can certainly put a damper on things. According to experts, the optimal temperature for encouraging sleep is between 15 and 20 degrees, much cooler than you might expect (Sleep Foundation).

Solution: keep it cool. The best solution would be to open your windows, as not only will this let the heat out, but the circulating air can make it easier to breathe too. You should also make sure you have a breathable mattress, as well as a lighter tog duvet than you would use in winter. A good summer duvet is generally around 4.5 tog, or anything up to 7.5 if you prefer a heavier blanket.

“The clocks going forward can make you feel off kilter for a few days, but it can have an even bigger impact on your sleep if you let it. Remember that sleep is a cycle, and maintaining a routine is crucial if you want to fall asleep easily and stay out of it until the morning.

“I always think of daylight savings as the start of summer, but, while longer days and warmer weather are a definite plus, if you’re not sleeping well, you can’t even enjoy the sun properly. Fortunately, by taking steps to make sure our bedrooms are the perfect environment for sleeping, we can enjoy a good night’s rest and longer days at the same time.”

Phil Lawlor, sleep expert at Dormeo. For more info please visit dormeo.co.uk


Share your local news with us here

Channel 5’s Skin A+E Needs Wiltshire

Round & About

health

5 Star and Boom are looking for people from Wiltshire with various medical conditions to appear on SKIN A+E which is returning for its second series.

Following on from the success of the first series, which can be viewed here: SKIN A+E SERIES LINK

The doors to the Skin A+E clinic will be open for a second time, where a team of top UK dermatologists will give participants a FREE consultation, advice and medical treatment if appropriate.

If you, or someone you know, has a skin condition that you would like help with then the team at Boom would like to hear from you.

Perhaps your condition doesn’t qualify for treatment on the NHS? Or your treatment has been delayed?

Have you been unable to find the right treatment for your skin condition?

Or are you on a long waiting list for a referral to a dermatologist?

Their team of dermatologists would love to help you!

Applicants who are picked must be willing to talk openly and frankly about their condition and be available for filming for one day in April or May 2021. All applicants must be legal residents of the UK, currently live in the UK and be aged 18 and above.

To get more information and fill in an application form please email the production company at:

Deadline for applications is Friday 30th April 2021

We welcome applications from all sections of the community. Boom will process your information in accordance with its privacy policy (Boom Privacy Notice for Contributors) Applicants should be aware that due to the high volume of responses we cannot guarantee to reply to everyone.


Tell us your local stories here

Eat better in lockdown

Round & About

health

Food and drink have been one of the few pleasures we have still been able to enjoy during this lockdown and although the odd treat is fine, many of us are finding ourselves eating and drinking more, and have gained a few unwanted inches.

Commercial weight loss programs don’t work long term, with most achieving limited and/or temporary weight loss. So here are a few practical tips to eat better in lockdown.

1. Build your food environment.

The evidence is the rise in obesity is linked with our obesogenic environment. Be aware of the foods around you, and what you put on your shopping list, if you buy those Doritos chances are they will get eaten!

Abi Barclay-Watt, nutritionist

2. Kitchen opening hours.

If you easily succumb to snack cravings, try and stick to 3 meals a day. If you do need a snack have something nutritious on hand. Have a big fruit salad or veg sticks and nuts easily available. Meals can then be social focal points and it will mean less clearing up too!

3. Eating speed.

It has been shown that slower eaters release less of the hunger hormone than faster eaters. So, eat mindfully with your senses and chew well.

4. Portion size.

An obvious one, try and only cook what you need. Try and fill at least a third of your plate with veg.

5. Distraction activity

Are you really hungry, or just bored or thirsty? Try drinking some water first and wait before you grab that snack. Find another activity you enjoy to fill that craving, go for a walk, get lost in a good book etc.

6. Be kind to yourself.

There is nothing wrong in indulging occasionally and it is important to acknowledge resisting what your appetite wants can be a challenge. Try applying the 80:20 rule – eat healthily 80% of the time, it can make you aware of how much better you feel when you eat well but allow yourself the food you enjoy.

Find out more

For more information see my website and please do email any questions

Surrey Hills

Round & About

health

The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is looking forward to welcoming people back to visit but stress this is not the time to come and enjoy the countryside.

They want to reinforce the Government’s message in the releasing of lockdown measures in the countryside and encourage you to use the greenspaces closer to home and observe social distancing rather than travel distances.

Heather Kerswell, Chair of the Surrey Hills AONB Board comments:

“As we move out of the lockdown period over the coming months we look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“We know you will be keen to return to the Surrey Hills but just for now please stay local! This will ensure we all respect Government safety measures, local communities and wildlife.

“As freedom returns and we embrace a new normal, we will be keen for everyone to come and enjoy the benefits of natural beauty while supporting the local business community who very much need our custom at this time thank you.”

This very slight lifting of lockdown measures will still see many businesses remain closed, particularly those catering for the visitor such as attractions, hotels, restaurants, cafes, pubs, public toilets etc. The worry for many rural communities is people descending on beauty spots and picturesque Surrey villages making social distancing difficult and therefore increasing the risk of spreading the disease.

Chris Howard, Chairman of the Tourist Board – Visit Surrey added: “Whilst we are all anxious to get back out into the countryside, it is worth bearing in mind that facilities are still very limited due to the coronavirus restrictions. This means a lack of open toilets, and places to get food.

“Plan your outings carefully and get to know some of the amazing places right on your doorstep. Remember, the lockdown rules have only been tweaked slightly.”

Stephanie Fudge, National Trust General Manager for the Surrey Hills reinforced this saying that while the National Trust has been working on reopening plans, the safety of staff, volunteers, visitors and local residents is the priority.

She said: “Any reopening will need to be gradual and phased and visitors’ experience is likely to be different from usual, including the need to manage volume at our pay for entry places. Countryside car park opening will also be phased.”

Surrey Hills AONB has set out some key guidance points for accessing the Surrey Hills over the coming months:

· Keeping yourself and others safe is paramount and we encourage you to adhere to guidance set out by DEFRA in their Countryside Code.

· We are aware that many visitors who love to walk and cycle will have greatly missed the Surrey Hills landscape, the views and the well-known beauty spots. We encourage you to use countryside sites close to your home rather than travelling. Over the coming weeks and months we will see carparks and facilities gradually re-open and we urge you to check before you travel that car parks are open and would advise you away from the more well-known sites which may become congested and therefore difficult to socially distance.

· Please be aware that our local farms are under great seasonal pressures during this time and we would encourage you to respect their needs by keeping dogs on leads and follow all designated foot paths and bridleways to keep yourselves and farm animals safe.

· During the lockdown period, nature has had an opportunity to thrive and we ask you to look after nature by being extra cautious. Please stick to footpaths and bridleways so as not to disturb ground nesting birds and other wildlife.

· We encourage you to continue supporting local during this time of transition and want to highlight all the wonderful products and services available on our doorstep in the Surrey Hills. Take a look at our list of businesses offering home deliveries, online support and services, gifts and inspiration.

 

Click for further information on the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Hypnotherapy sleep tips

Round & About

health

Oxfordshire-based clinical hypnotherapist Linda Flanigan has some help for anyone struggling to sleep in the current circumstances

One of the main impacts of the current situation is that it can disrupt our sleep. When we are stressed and facing dramatic changes, it can make sleep more difficult. Hypnotherapist Linda Flanigan is working to combat those sleep problems with the power of hypnosis, offering a complimentary hypnosis recording, as part of her community ‘give-back’ initiative to help people get through this difficult time. The latest recording is to help people achieve the deep, soothing, healthy sleep that we all want.

She said: “Our everyday way of life has changed dramatically and we are having to deal with emotions and fears that are causing a strain on our mental and physical well-being. As the lockdown continues and anxiety increases, many are finding they are suffering with sleep issues for the first time in their lives, while others who already have sleeping problems are finding they are exacerbated at this challenging time.

If sleep problems are not dealt with it can result in us being unable to sleep at all or to wake up several times during the night

“We cannot function properly without good, quality sleep and by stressing over the current coronavirus situation we are keeping our minds in a constant state of vigilance at night, rather than allowing restorative sleep. It’s natural to be worried but we need to look for ways to manage the stress to reduce the effects of being sleep deprived.”

Linda added: “I teach my clients hypnotherapy strategies that well help them deal with the blocks that are causing them problems. By giving them sleep techniques aimed specifically at calming restless minds and bodies, such as relaxation, focused attention, guided imagery and symptom control, I can ease the worries that are stopping sleep.

“If sleep problems are not dealt with it can result in us being unable to sleep at all or to wake up several times during the night or have more vivid or emotional dreams all leaving us feeling exhausted and irritable and unable to perform or focus the next day. Hypnosis can help with many forms of sleep issues.”

Linda advises sleep hypnotherapy as an alternative to traditional methods that perhaps are not effective with everybody or for those who prefer not to take sleeping pills.

She said: “It is a perfectly natural treatment without any side effects. That endless tossing and turning in bed creates more frustration so I can’t recommend this hypnosis recording enough if lack of sleep is troubling you during lockdown.”

As well as her recording, Linda has some hints and tips to achieve a better sleep:

1. Introduce helpful habits

We are not designed to sit all day in front of a screen, being bombarded with artificial light. Building good habits into the day will train your body to recognise when it’s time to sleep: make sure you get some natural light and exercise, eat healthily and sleep around the same time each night.

2. Let your body know you’re ready for bed

Wind down gently each night by watching, listening to or reading something fun or uplifting before you think about going to bed. Avoid caffeine, mobile phones, computers and late-night exercise – your brain wants to calm down not be stimulated.

3. Learn to switch off

It is important to calm our bodies physically and mentally before getting ready for bed. Do that in a way you enjoy. Have a long, hot bath (that also works to aid sleep as it reduces core body temperature when you get out – beneficial for sleep); do some meditation; focus on your breathing and breathe deeply; listen to some calming music; write down anything that you need to do the next day so that you can then let go of it before you sleep.

4. Make your bedroom conducive to sleep

Keep your bedroom as clear of clutter and work as you can. Keep it as a haven of comfort. Have a look around and see what you can clear out or tidy away. Sometimes just changing things around can make a big difference. Pay attention to the temperature in your room as research shows that we fall asleep a lot quicker if we are in a cool room.

5. Learn not to battle to get to sleep

Don’t watch the clock all night – turn it away from you. Instead of putting your focus on not being able to sleep, focus on how good it is to be simply resting: enjoy the feel of the comfy covers, your head resting on the pillow. Take yourself off in your mind to a nice, relaxing time, a time when it felt good to be relaxing. Put your focus on the positive: tell yourself “I choose to sleep” or “I’m enjoying resting peacefully”.

If you cannot sleep after a while get up and do something that is not too mentally taxing or stimulating.

Turn on the TAP

Round & About

health

A new social platform for thanking unsung heroes in education and healthcare/NHS was launched in Ascot last year but never has it been more poignant.

TAP (Thank And Praise) is a unique platform, running on WhatsApp, for parents and patients to thank employees working in education and healthcare/NHS.

Founders, Phillip and Sandie Curtis, came up with the idea after receiving so much excellent care and support for their special needs son, in schools and the NHS, and often finding it difficult to relay their appreciation.

Sandie shared her experience: ‘We have received so much help, from many truly amazing people, who deserve to be recognised for their selfless commitment to caring for us, and our children.’’

TAP research in 2019 confirmed more than 70% of people do not manage to give the thanks they want to pass on, and believe employees in the NHS and education, deserve more praise.

To use TAP, just register on WhatsApp, and let them know who you would like to thank. TAP will pass on your words of appreciation, and also allocate TAP points, worth £1, to your unsung hero, which can be redeemed with participating retailers. These points are funded by corporate companies who want to contribute to the wellbeing of employees in certain sectors.

Soon after the launch in Ascot, St Michaels school became the first establishment to receive more than 100 thank you messages, which means some of their staff have already qualified, and claimed their vouchers, which can be spent in retailers such as Costa, Waitrose and M&S.

The headteacher at St Michaels school, Lorna Anderton has witnessed the benefits of TAP first hand: “As a headteacher, I am thrilled with the opportunities TAP provides to support my teachers’ well-being. A ‘thank you’ every so often makes a huge difference to someone’s day and how they feel. Happy, positive teachers create an environment where our children can flourish. Everyone’s a winner!”

TAP is delivering a tangible solution to the growing need to improve staff well-being in the NHS and education; many of these unsung heroes are being worn down with pressures at work, and TAP provides us all with the opportunity to show how much we appreciate them.

TAP has just launched a digital thanking wall to allow people to post messages of appreciation for the courageous and selfless people working in healthcare/NHS and education, visit the website www.thankandpraise.com to see the wall and post your message.

If you live in the Ascot area, and want to give thanks, message us on Whatsapp 07871 064296, or, if you think TAP would benefit your community, contact Ann on

Health research study

Round & About

health

People in the Thames Valley can now find more than 100 research studies taking place in the NHS, public health and social care using a new interactive online map.

The map, at thamesvalleyresearch.nihr.ac.uk, features pins that show where studies are taking place at locations including hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes.

Users click on the pin to browse studies at that location. They can also search all studies in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire by medical speciality, location, keyword (for example diabetes), postcode and study name.

After finding a study they are interested in, users visit a webpage for more information including a summary of the study, health inclusion and exclusion criteria and contact details.

The website lists studies supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands.

Prof Belinda Lennox, Clinical Director for the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands, said: “Health research is vital for developing new treatments in the NHS and improving the quality of the care that we provide.

“We rely on the public to take part in this research, which can range from filling out a questionnaire or giving a blood sample to trialling a new medication or treatment.

“This map provides people with the opportunity to actively seek out studies that they could take part in.”

Participating in health research helps develop new treatments, improves the NHS, public health and social care services and save lives.

Studies are offered to NHS patients that are relevant to their condition. Healthy people can also take part so results can be compared to those with a condition.

We rely on the public to take part in this research