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We all seem to have our own particular habits and traditions, whether we’re aware of them or not (!). For us, September brings a post – or two (!) – looking ahead to the Winter bugs season. What you can do to help avoid any Lurgies doing the rounds AND what to do if the worst happens. If you want a quick reminder, here are the links to the two posts we did last year. Click here for what you can do proactively, ie, now (!) and here for what you can do if you succumb. 
 
However, with the mainstream media already gearing up for what some are calling “the Second Spike” or “Pandemic, the sequel”; we thought a slightly different approach was needed this year. So, as mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we’re going to focus on one set of conditions which have been found to SUBSTANTIALLY increase the risk of ANY of the winter bugs. So called “Lifestyle Diseases.” Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease and the like. All of which are linked to poor lifestyle choices. Diet, dehydration, smoking, stress, lack of sleep, to name but a few… 
There’s been much talk in recent months about the “new normal” and exactly what that may be. We’ve even mentioned it in our blog posts. However, having given the matter some thought, we’ve decided this is one phrase we won’t be using in future. 
 
Why? 
 
Well, for the simple reason there’s nothing remotely “normal” about what’s been happening in recent months. Or people’s reactions to it. Let alone what’s now being forecast for the months ahead… 
 
In our view, a much more accurate description would be the “new abnormal.” Now we appreciate this may sound a little harsh – or, possibly, cynical – to some people, so please bear with us while we explain why. 
If you’ve ever been stung by an insect – a Wasp, Bee or, if you’re really unlucky, Hornet – or wrenched a muscle, you’ll know just how painful inflammation can be. Or, put more accurately, the Inflammatory Response. With its telltale redness, swelling, heat and pain. And how quickly it occurs. 
 
It’s part of our basic Immune System response to ANY tissue damage, which can occur in a multitude of different ways. The most common, as we’ve already mentioned, are from trauma or injury. However, there are many others including infections, toxins and heat; to name a few. There’s also a “catch all” category which always makes us smile. Irritants. Which, if you stop and think about it for a moment, includes a great many other things… 
There’s something about this time of year. Perhaps it’s the last bank holiday of the Summer. Or the impending start of the new academic year. Maybe it’s the feeling that the seasons are turning, with the nights noticeably drawing in. Not helped by the ongoing uncertainty fuelled, in large, part by the near hysterical reporting in the media. Sorry to mention the last two but, sadly, it’s true! 
 
Whatever the reason, this time to year seems to trigger one of our more basic instincts. The need to prepare for the new season ahead. 
And, in the process, it’s easy to get caught up in it all. Rushing around more like a headless chicken than a productive – and happy (!) – little bee. Very busy but achieving little… If you need a reminder on why being “busy, busy, busy” is never the easiest way to get things done (!) click here
 
With a bank holiday this coming weekend – and many people making the most of the last few days of their summer holidays – it seems like a good time to take another look at one of the most pervasive summertime health myths. It’s repeated countless times every summer and goes like this: 
 
Sitting in the sun is dangerous; if you don’t use sunscreen your skin will burn and you’ll get skin cancer. 
 
Now if you stop and think about it for a minute, this message doesn’t make any sense at all. 
We know even raising this question may be considered heresy by some – or mark us out as Luddites by others (!) – but has our modern obsession with communication finally gone too far? 
 
And, yes, we know we’ve made this observation before. Well, in fact, several times but it’s one that does bear repeating… 
 
Have our phones transformed from being a useful tool – our servant – making life so much easier, to an insatiable monster without us even noticing? 
 
Are we so distracted that we don’t actually live our lives anymore? 
With the heatwave continuing, many people have been receiving the unwanted attentions of those “flying beasties”. Gnats, midges or mosquitos on the lookout for an easy meal. Wasps or bees on the defensive. Whichever way, a bite or sting can ruin your day. 
 
So, this week, we’re going to take a look at these beasties. Give you a few tricks to help prevent being bitten in the first place. And, if the worst happens, how to speed things on their way. 
 
Let’s start with those beasties out for an easy meal, in other words, a slurp of blood. Gnats, midges and mosquitos. While it may feel as though you’re being singled out, they have quite eclectic tastes; not minding too much who the lucky donor is. Human, pets and livestock; as well as other animals too. 
With the recent spell of hot weather – well, hot for the UK (!) – and a repeat forecast for the end of the week, it’s easy for people to become dehydrated without even realising it. Perhaps it’s due to them not being used to hot weather and simply not recognising the warning signs. Having said that, many of the classic signs of dehydration seem so obvious – to us at least (!) – that it can sometimes be hard to understand how people don’t seem to join the dots. 
 
So, this week, we’re going to look again at the most common signs of dehydration. And, don’t be fooled, they apply all year round, not just in the summer (!). 
 
Let’s begin with the most obvious ones of feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth. Now you may think these are blindingly obvious but you’d be surprised. 
As life gets back to some sort of normality – or, more accurately, what passes for the “new normal” even if that seems to be changing just as quickly (!) – we’ve noticed how quickly people have picked up their old lives and habits. Continued from where they left off a few months ago... 
 
Forgotten – or, perhaps, turned a blind eye to (!) – the many insights and good intentions they had during those strange months. And this applies equally whether they were already based at home, suddenly found themselves there or continued working at their usual job, albeit in a rather different way. 
 
As so often is the case, as normal life has resumed, those insights and good intentions have been left far behind. In many ways, it’s not much different to all those New Year’s resolutions which never seem to make it past the first few days of January. Although, fingers crossed, less over indulgence and alcohol were involved… 
With the rather strange year we’ve been having – in every way (!) – and people having to spend much more time at home, it’s not surprising that the barbeque season started much earlier than usual. In fact, if there’s been one saving grace, it’s that the weather has been remarkably kind to us since the spring; allowing us to spend more time outside in our gardens… 
 
Like us you’ve probably experienced your fair share of barbeques over the years; with the all too common “raw on the inside, burnt on the outside” offerings (!). All going well, you’ve survived them without any ill effects, although they account for a large number of food poisonings every year. 
 
So, with the school holidays just starting it seemed like a good time for a gentle reminder – or two – about how to survive the barbeque season without any ill effects. 
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