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Showing posts from June 4, 2013

Dr Ellie Cannon's guide on how to beat the back-to-school bugs

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0 shares 6 View comments By the middle of September, my surgery is heaving with children who have already fallen ill a couple of weeks into the new school term. Tummy bugs, coughs and colds all seem to thrive once kids are jam-packed in the classroom all day. I certainly notice this with my own children. I think the early mornings and long day at school can take their toll on the immune system, which is why I insist they get an early night. The important thing is most of these back-to-school infections are usually mild and require minimal treatment at home with the help of a pharmacist or your GP. Here is a comprehensive guide to the most common of school ailments – and how to tackle them... KEEP ON TOP OF LICE WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? An itchy head – this may start  three months after the initial infection of head lice. ‘They are parasitic insects between 1mm and 3mm long that live on the head and feed on human blood. Many people mistakenly call them nits, but nit

Why childless women are heading for Spain

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0 View comments Frustrated by long waiting lists and huge costs here, more and more childless women are seeking fertility treatment abroad to enable them to have a family. This is certainly the case for women seeking egg donation, where Spain is offering accessible solutions. More and more childless women are seeking fertility treatment abroad to enable them to have a family Why would a couple opt for egg donation to conceive? Some women are unable to get pregnant due to premature menopause or a long-standing failure of their ovaries, and do not produce their own eggs. Alternatively, some women’s ovaries may have been affected by chemotherapy. Donation is also considered after several failed IVF attempts, as it can be a problem with the eggs that is causing the failure. For a small group of women, egg donation is an option to avoid passing on a genetic illness. Where do donor eggs come from? Healthy women donate eggs altruistically in order to help other couples concei

DR ELLIE CANNON: There can be good reasons for 'bed blocking'

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5 View comments The horrible label ‘bed blockers’ - elderly patients well enough to go home but with nowhere to go - surfaced again last week as the Department of Health said £4 million a week is spent on these individuals. The label fails to recognise there might be a vulnerable, frightened and unsettled person in that bed. Moreover, to call the patient a ‘blocker’ implies they are to blame, when there are many managerial reasons for a person not being discharged when they should be. The label of 'blocker' fails to recognise there might be a vulnerable, frightened and unsettled person in that bed (file picture) Why are patients kept in hospital when they’re well? They can be waiting for services to be set up before they are discharged safely – for example social services or home rehabilitation. Discharging them without this in place could be unsafe. Circumstances can change while the patient is in hospital and they may be waiting for a residential or nursing

Emergency jabs as whooping cough cases triple

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19 View comments There has been a sharp rise in the number of whooping cough cases in the UK - 11 babies have died so far this year. This has led to the Department of Health launching an emergency vaccination programme for pregnant women in an effort to combat this serious illness. Scroll down for video A sharp rise in the number of whooping cough cases in the UK has led to the Department of Health launching an emergency vaccination programme Why has the Department of Health initiated this now? Three times as many cases as normal have been reported: 235 babies under three months have been ill. Most babies who get the disease are so ill that they will require hospital treatment. Why has there been this rise in cases? Parents have been forgetting to get pre-school booster jabs for their children, and many adults vaccinated in the Seventies and Eighties are susceptible as their immunity seems to have waned. Is it safe to have a vaccination when I’m pregnant? It doesn’t co

DR ELLIE CANNON: If at first you don't conceive, read this

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3 View comments I was interested to read about a new formula that can help predict a woman’s chance of conceiving depending on her age, but I won’t be recommending it to my patients. Investigating infertility is a common consultation for me in general practice, but I don’t think these statistics tell the full story. There are many factors that affect chances of conceiving, some immeasurable, such as stress, which is why fertility cannot always be predicted by science. There are many factors that affect chances of conceiving which is why fertility cannot always be predicted by science At what point should  I go to the doctor to discuss fertility? A few go when they start trying for a family, and this is fine to discuss pre-conception health, particularly if you have any medical problems. But most will wait until there appears to be a problem. It would be normal to try for a baby for a year before seeing your GP if you are under 35, or six months if you are older. Trying

DR ELLIE CANNON: It's heartbreaking to tell a parent that their child has leukaemia, but it can be beaten

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0 View comments Full recovery: Actress Julie Walters with her daughter Maisie Recently, I had to break the news to a parent that their child had leukaemia. As a parent myself, I can’t bear to think about how difficult this must be to take. But there is some good news about this blood cancer  – the outlook for children with many forms of the disease is improving greatly. The most common type of leukaemia  in children is ALL, or acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which affects 450 children a year in the UK. Mamma Mia! actress Julie Walters was devastated when her daughter Maisie was diagnosed with ALL at the age of two, but after undergoing chemotherapy she went on to make a full recovery. How can you get cancer of the blood? It occurs when the bone marrow, where blood cells are made, starts to overproduce immature blood cells. These take over the blood and fewer normal cells are produced, so the blood can’t function normally and carry oxygen around the body. This

Do you really need a doctor for a runny nose?

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5 View comments It’s National Self Care week. The initiative, which is backed by the Department of Health, aims to encourage people to manage minor illnesses at home. The Government estimates that more than 50 million consultations a year are for trivial ailments that do not require a doctor’s appointment. Aside from costing the NHS about £2 billion each year, this also puts pressure on overstretched GP services. Trivial ailments: Five million people go to see their GP about a blocked nose every year All too often the first patients to be seen are those who are fastest on the redial button rather than those who need it most. Isn’t this doctors trying to make their own lives easier?       More from Dr Ellie Cannon...   How to repel the dreaded winter vomiting bug, the norovirus 22/12/12  

How to repel the dreaded winter vomiting bug, the norovirus

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81 View comments There is a huge number of cases of norovirus, or winter vomiting bug, this year. More than 800,000 cases have been confirmed since the summer, an 83 per cent increase on the same period last year. The real figure is likely to be much higher given that many cases are not reported. Preventative measures: The norovirus is easily spread through contaminated hands and surfaces so hygiene is key How can the spread of the infection be contained? The infection spreads easily from person to person through contaminated hands and surfaces, so hygiene is critical. It is particularly crucial for children and those handling food. Those who have had the infection must remain isolated for 48 hours after recovery to prevent others being infected. We have already seen hospital wards and schools closed after outbreaks. This is an effort to contain the virus and curb a potentially larger epidemic. Why does it happen every year? Norovirus is no different from other viruse

Six Nations 2012: George North exclusive

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9 View comments The RBS Six Nations kicks off this weekend with the focus on a new look England. However, in Wales one young man has already made himself a star. And here Sportmail's new columnist George North opens up about life at the top of the game. The World Cup was one hell of an experience It feels like years ago now but I will keep hold of it — my first World Cup, my first full competition for my country. Welcome: George North has signed up as Sportsmail's Six Nations columnist With Ireland approaching we’ve looked back and spoken about that quarter-final. It was probably our best performance but in some ways Samoa was more significant. It was  must-win, we were getting smashed up by these massive Islanders and we still came away with the victory. The whole team grew in confidence after that. I owe the supporters a thank you Like all the players and the management, I really do want to thank the fans for their incredible support and for being so passion

Six Nations 2012: George North reveals all about Wales v Ireland

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3 View comments I remember games in detail because I go over them in the changing room. I sit by myself quietly for five minutes, thinking about what I did wrong and things I did right. I put the positive things away so that if you’re having a rough day in training you can call on them for strength. The bad things are what to work on. During the week Rob Howley will give us a list of positives and negatives. Obviously you want more plus signs than negatives on your sheet. Then you go through the footage. Over the line: George North scores Wales' third try in the thrilling 21-23 victory over Ireland I try not to read anything about me because if you start reading too much hype then you’ll get above yourself. Luckily, if I chirp up for a second the boys here or my dad at home will chop me down straight away. It goes the other way, too. A lot of people lost a lot of confidence in me at the start of the season and said I’d just had a lucky break with beginners’ luck a

SIX NATIONS: George North says no-one dare mention the words Grand Slam

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2 View comments Warren Gatland has made it clear the Triple Crown is only half of what we can achieve. We need to keep our heads on and go all guns blazing to the end. The feeling of achievement was incredible but Grand Slam is a banished phrase in the camp. We’ve got a Test match and a big physical battle against Italy before we can even start thinking about it. We needed to beat England to prove ourselves after all the hype and cement this young squad together. We had a few beers to celebrate at the hotel as Gatland said we had earned the right to enjoy it together, but the job is half done. Crown princes: North and Cuthbert celebrate On the morning of the England game the first thing I saw was Sam Warburton’s face! We were sharing a room and he woke me up snoring away. When we got on the bus to Twickenham all you could see was a sea of white with occasional clumps of red jerseys. Those pockets of red meant a lot. There was a lot of traffic and at one point we didn’t

SIX NATIONS 2012: World Cup is behind us, George North

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1 View comments Everyone knows it’s a big game, so let’s just play it. All the World Cup stuff is media hype. That was a game at the World Cup - this is a different tournament. France are playing a different type of rugby now and we’re playing a slightly different brand too. We need to cut off from all that and just play for 80 minutes. It’s about making sure my top two inches are right. Making sure your head is right is something Rob Howley has brought in. I know my stuff - where I need to be, my lines, what I hit, who I tackle, where I run. As long as my top two inches are fine then I’m happy. Obviously we do a lot of work with the body during the week but if your head is not right you’re going to look like Bambi on ice. Get your head right and your body will follow. Looking forward: Wales are focused on Saturday's game We got ourselves geed up against Italy but we didn’t fire on all cylinders. Basic errors and skills let us down. I think we went back a few step

George North: Grand Slam best day of my life

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1 View comments What a day! That was probably the best day of my life - certainly the best day of my rugby career. I believe we deserved that silverware and hopefully it’s just the start of something. The sun was shining in Wales on Sunday and everybody just seemed happier. Everyone was also wearing sunglasses because their eyes were sore... On Saturday morning there was an extra edge in the air. Everyone was trying to deny it but waking up on the morning of a Grand Slam game does feel different. Everyone was like, ‘Yeah I’m fine, just chilling out’, but most of the boys were buzzing. I certainly was: I woke up at a ridiculous time - 6.50am, and kick-off was not until 2.45pm. Grand Slam: George lifts the 6 Nations trophy For the bus ride into Cardiff one of the analysts had made a motivational video of all our best bits from the tournament. Cardiff was pounding even at midday. You should have seen the crowds. They were all going bonkers, I think everyone was already h

George North: How to get ready for the Aussies...

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0 View comments The Australian press have been bigging us up ahead of the first Test. The TV advert that has been running in the build-up calls us the 'European champions' who are coming on to their turf. It's a bit over the top, but good marketing, good for ratings and it's quite funny. I guess we are European champions in a way, but in Wales we call it the Grand Slam! We trained for the first week out here with just 16 players so we're sevens specialists now. With the rest of the squad staying in Cardiff for the Barbarians match, it was a case of going through patterns of play, set pieces, strike patterns. The jet lag has been a nightmare but we knew we had to head out here early as we have a job to do. George North: Ready for action For a couple of days we had the help of a local team called Brothers Rugby Club, who are top of their provincial division. They came to train against us and were a decent outfit with a few good players. The

George North: Just my luck, one carry, a double hit and a dead leg... it's agony

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0 View comments I feel like I've spent my entire week in ice. I've been using a gadget called 'game ready' which is an ice-compression machine. You put water and ice in it and strap it on to your quad. The water comes through a tube and the idea is that it compresses and ices the leg at the same time. From Saturday night to Tuesday night, I had to use it every two hours - that included setting my alarm for every two hours during the night. It's not fun when it's 2am or 4am and the phone alarm comes on, but you do whatever it takes. Agony: George North hobbles off against Australia The dead leg happened on the first contact of the tour.  We won a lineout off the kick-off and I took the ball up. If I had come in tight I'd have gone straight through but I took the ball on a wide angle and I ran into their centres. You can see the bruises where I caught a knee and a shoulder on my right quad - two for the price of one. After two-and-a-ha

George North: The best part of our Polish adventure is when it's over

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3 View comments On average in our Polish training camp we backs put on 5kg of lean muscle and lost four per cent of our body fat. It meant we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted when we got home. The forwards have to be more careful! We got back on Friday and spent two days completely resting. Boy, did we need it. I chilled with friends and family and just ate the whole weekend. It was nice to get some real food. Putting the work in: George North tries to get past Lloyd Williams during training When all life’s luxuries are taken away it’s the simple pleasures that keep you happy. You look forward to a protein bar with a line of peanut butter in it, and cracking your back out in the morning on a foam bar. You don’t normally do five days that hard without a rest but we achieved what we set out to achieve and I feel like we’ve already been together for months. It’s not fun but you’re out there to do a job and you get that done. My Poland highlight is always the last d

Six Nations 2013: Wales are excited to be back playing again - George North

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7 View comments The boys are stoked to be back. Last year certainly brought its extreme highs and lows, and it has been a long wait to get here again. Our biggest issue is being ambushed in the first 20 minutes because we’re not getting up to the speed of a Test match quickly enough. It happened first in Australia and then in the autumn. Once we do crank up the tempo, we’ve shown we can put the pressure on the best teams in the world. We have to find that gear in the first minute. Our form may not suggest it, and everyone might be queuing up to write us off, but we are the defending Grand Slam champions. We’ve had our blows, and it has only brought us closer together. Good to be back: George North is pleased to be back in action with the Wales squad There is nothing we want more. People can talk about the Lions all they like, but for us as a team, it is only about the three feathers and the Six Nations. We’ve had two absolutely gruelling weeks of training so the boys a

Welsh players take defeat the hardest - George North

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0 shares 2 View comments Trust me when I say this: nobody takes defeat harder than the boys themselves.The thousands of people in the stadium, the millions watching at home, nobody else sees the hours and hours we put in or the days where we cannot walk because we’re so stiff after training. Our supporters share the good times and the bad, and they have been magnificent over the past 10 difficult months, but it hurts most  for us when we lose because we’ve had to go through the trenches to get there. Come here: Rob Kearney of Ireland is tackled by George North of Wales - but his side lost 22-30 Sunday was a day of reflection and a day of licking the wounds. I was just with my girlfriend and my family, although sometimes you don’t need your mother asking you if you’re all right every two minutes! It was one of those days when I didn’t want to be pestered or looked after, just left to reflect on the Ireland match. But I also appreciate I’m very lucky to have that s

GEORGE NORTH: I've taken stick since my dad ran on pitch

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0 shares 2 View comments I have had endless stick from the boys after my dad ran on to the pitch in Paris when I scored. In fact, I've had a hammering. Every morning when we meet for the first session, somebody asks if my dad is coming to training. Then after every try in training somebody shouts: 'Look out for George's dad!' Over the line: George North touches the ball down to score a try against France in Paris Is that you, dad? North's proud father ran onto the pitch after his son's try Endless stick: North says he has taken a 'hammering' from his Wales team-mates since his dad ran on My parents are not going to Rome for the Italy game this weekend so it won't happen again. Our team manager Alan Phillips has a right-hand woman called Caroline Morgan. She's lovely. She's like a mother to all the boys and sorts us out with anything we need. This week, I asked her to text my dad and tell him he's banned