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Zuri Health’s Healthy Holiday Guide

Source: Nappy.co

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Everyone plans to get together with family and friends and have a lot of fun. It could seem like there is so much to do! You have to plan for gifts, activities, food and hosting family and friends. With all this, it can seem like any free time you have should be devoted to eating and lounging in an armchair.

I am here with a gentle whisper in your ear to remind you that a healthy holiday season is not impossible. Your physical and mental health don't have to suffer because the holidays are coming. Here are some tips to stay healthy during the festivities.

Healthy Eating Guide

Food is a big part of holiday culture all over the world. We consume the most calories per day in festive seasons. Whereas a person's caloric requirement and typical daily intake per day are between 2000 to 2500 calories, one full day of Christmas day eating can be up to 4500 calories!

  • Maintain your regular eating schedule. It would be best if you didn't skip meals to "save space for later". It may just end up being counter-productive as you might end up eating more than you planned to. This also means you shouldn't be having snacks throughout the day just because there's food around or you can see. If it helps, you can give out some food to neighbours so that you don't have food and desserts hanging around.
  • Control your portions and include fruits and vegetables in your meals. Try not to overindulge in all the buffet meals and desserts. You can have your best cake or cookies, but you don't need to have all the treats. When plating your food, try to fill half of your plate with vegetables, a quarter with carbohydrates, and the remaining quarter with proteins. That will make for a more healthy meal.
  • Watch your drinks! It is almost a sure bet that sugary drinks and alcohol will be plenty during this season. However, limit your intake of these drinks and instead ensure that you drink about 6-8 glasses of water daily to stay well hydrated.
  • Keep moving. It might not be feasible to keep up with your rigorous exercise routine while you're busy playing with your nephews and nieces and laughing at the jokes your mother tells. But you can get up and move. It might be as simple as taking a morning walk or organising family bonding activities that require physical movement, like swimming, hiking, cycling in trail parks or taking walks along the beach. Your body will thank you!

Mental Health Guide

Believe it or not, people commonly feel fatigued, stressed, irritable, and sad during the holiday season. In fact, up to 88% of Americans in a 2018 study felt stressed about celebrating the holidays.

Trying to care for children or aged parents and other extended family members can be overwhelming. You want to ensure everybody is comfortable, fed, and happy with their gifts. This can, however, have an incredible toll on the people responsible for all this.

The holidays are a time for fun and relaxation. Even if you are responsible for other people, you should be able to enjoy the holiday as well.

  • Differentiate your real needs from the false ones.
    Be truthful to yourself and determine which things on your to-do list your family really needs and which ones you've imposed on yourself. Do you absolutely need to perfect this online chicken recipe by Christmas morning or will a traditional, familiar recipe be just as hearty and delicious?
  • Delegate as much as you can. When you figure out which tasks your family really needs, see if you can share some of those tasks to other members of your family. Maybe your brother can help you shop for the food items you'll cook on Christmas morning while you shop for the gifts.
  • Be comfortable saying no You cannot satisfy everybody, no matter how hard you try. If someone asks you for something that is truly out of your depth, be comfortable enough to tell them no. Your favorite nephew wants an iPhone? You can't afford it, politely tell him no.
  • Practice mindfulness Be mindful of the things you're grateful for, do breathing exercises, journal and take long, silent walks in nature. Amidst all the chaos, try to remain calm.

Avoiding Illness

In many parts of West Africa, December comes with colder, dryer, and dustier weather. This also makes December notorious for the flu, common cold, and other respiratory infections. Simple ways to avoid getting sick yourself or infecting others include the following:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables often or use vitamin supplements.
  • Drink water more often.
  • Wash your hands more frequently for up to 20 seconds per time with soap and water.
  • Have a hand sanitizer in case you can't access soap and water.
  • Wear clothing that will protect you from the elements.
  • Cover your chest especially to protect yourself from cold related infections.
  • Use menthol creams if the cold becomes unbearable.
  • Moisturize your skin properly with a rich cream or moisturizer and an oil or body butter to prevent skin dryness.
  • Get your flu vaccine if you haven't gotten it this year.
  • If you're already sick, stay at home to rest and allow yourself to recover, avoid visiting people and attending events to prevent infecting others.

Enjoy yourself and reconnect with family ,and as you do so, remember to stay healthy while at it.

You can contact us to talk to a doctor and get tests done and drug prescriptions if need be. Text Vera on +254756551551 for Kenya and +2349130006888 for Nigeria to start now.

You Can Be Vaccinated Against the Flu

Source: Pexels

The flu is a preventable disease. This might sound new to you, but it is true. You don't have to suffer the flu every year. Also known as influenza in medical circles, we all know it is a disease that affects all age groups and social classes.Everyone gets the flu. That's just how it is. It is a virus that affects the nose, throat, and lungs. Most people can tell when they have the flu because it presents with familiar symptoms such as fever, cough, chills and sweats, headache, catarrh, and sore throat. Many people who get the flu can get better on their own. But preventing the disease in the first place is a better idea.

The influenza vaccine is a substance that is taken into the body to prevent or reduce the severity of the influenza disease.The vaccine reduces the chances of a person getting influenza by up to 50%. In cases where the disease is not prevented, it can significantly reduce the severity of the disease.

Do I need to get the Influenza Vaccine?

About 200,000 people in the United States have to go to the hospital for the flu every year. However, some people are more at risk of getting it than others.While everyone should get the vaccine to prevent illness or reduce how often they get sick, these groups should be especially religious about their Influenza vaccination. These people include:

  • Children, especially younger than two years of age
  • Pregnant women
  • Adults older than 50 years
  • People with weakened immune systems. For instance, people living with HIV/AIDS, lupus, type 1 diabetes etc
  • People living with long-term diseases. For example, people living with hypertension, asthma, etc.

But the Flu is not that Serious

Think back to the last time you had the flu. How you had to sniffle and hold a box of tissues everywhere you went. How you tried to hold your cough in because you thought you had coughed too many times in a public place like a bank or at church.Some of you might have had a fever of chills that kept you out of work or school for a day or two.

A little cough and catarrh may not seem like much. But it can negatively affect how well you live your life, and sometimes it can lead to more severe complications. Some of these complications include:

  • Ear infection
  • Sinus infection
  • Bronchitis
  • Stroke
  • Pneumonia Myocarditis Encephalitis
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Myositis
    Kidney failure
  • Heart failure

Is it Safe to Get the Influenza Vaccine?

It is extremely unlikely that you will experience severe side effects after getting the influenza vaccine. It is normal to feel some pain and a slight fever after taking the vaccine. It is the immune system's normal reaction to the vaccine's entry into the body. After a day or two, you should be fine.

How often should I get the Influenza Vaccine?

The United States Centre for Disease Control recommends that children aged six months and above should get the vaccine and continue to get it every year.It would be best if you took the influenza vaccine annually. Vaccine manufacturers continually improve the formula for the vaccine to keep up with emerging strains and mutations. Keeping up with your vaccination helps you stay immune to new strains that could cause an outbreak.

How else can I limit my exposure to this virus?

You get influenza by coming in contact with the virus. It is very contagious. The virus travels through droplets in the air. When infected people talk, sneeze or cough, they release the virus into the air. These droplets can also rest on surfaces like desks. On touching the objects, you can pick up the virus and transfer it to your nose, mouth or ears.

Even though it seems like influenza is everywhere and is too easy to catch, there are some things you can do to help prevent it, along with taking the vaccine.

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
  • Use a hand sanitiser that is based on at least 60% alcohol when soap and water aren't available
  • Avoid being in close contact with sick people
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are commonly touched, such as door handles
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a handkerchief
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get good quality and quantity of sleep

Taking steps to prevent a disease is always better than seeking a cure. The influenza vaccine has been created as part of an effort to avoid illness and to create a healthy global community. Please take full advantage of it so you can live a healthier, fuller life.

Are you already feeling sick? Take charge of your health today by consulting a doctor virtually with Zuri Health. Text Vera on WhatsApp at +254756551551 for Kenya and +2349130006888 for Nigeria.

World Aids Day

The Problem of Living with AIDS 

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has an interesting history from the 1950s to the present day.

Once called "the gay plague" or the Gay Related Immune Disease (GRID), it was regarded as a disease mainly affecting homosexual men. Even when it was discovered that women could contact it through sexual relations, it was still regarded as the "gay disease" for many years. The term AIDS was first used by the CDC in 1982. 

What is AIDS? 

AIDS is the end stage of the viral disease HIV. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks a person's immune system, making it susceptible to diseases it should ordinarily be able to fight against. People with HIV start with non-specific symptoms such as sore throat, fever, and fatigue. Then, they enter a chronic stage where the disease is latent and present but showing no symptoms. The final stage of HIV is AIDS.

 

At this stage, the immune system is severely weakened, and the affected person shows symptoms such as:

  • Unintended and fast weight loss 
  • Chronic diarrhea 
  • Pneumonia 

 

Diagnosing HIV early enough and starting treatment with antiretroviral drugs can help a person living with it to live a full, healthy life without ever developing AIDS. 

How HIV/AIDS is Spread

HIV/AIDS is spread by body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal discharge, and breast milk. Therefore, the most common methods of contracting HIV/AIDS are:

Sex

A person can transfer HIV/AIDS to another person by sleeping with them. The transfer of bodily fluids from one person's body into another carries the virus into the other person's body. Even when penetrative sex is avoided, small sores in the mouth or genital area are enough entry points for the virus to pass through.

Mother-to-Child Transmission

A mother with HIV/AIDS can pass it on to her child during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding. If a mother is diagnosed and is taking antiretroviral drugs, this can be avoided. 

Sharing Needles/Using Unsterilised Needles 

Needles come in contact with a person's bloodstream. They are supposed to be discarded after a single use. Sharing needles or using unsterilized needles puts a person at risk of HIV/AIDS or other diseases. 

How AIDS is Not Spread 

AIDS is not spread by regular interactions with an infected person, such as:

  • Hugging
  • Sitting close to the person
  • Shaking hands
  • Sharing cutlery
  • Dancing
  • Sharing toilets 
  • Sharing plates 
  • Any form of contact or touch that doesn't involve body fluids

Other ways AIDS cannot be spread include:

  • Mosquitoes and other insects
  • Through the air
  • Through saliva, tears, or sweat. 

The stigma of people living with AIDS

Famous American actor Charlie Sheen hid his HIV status from the public for four years while paying millions of dollars to people threatening to expose his secret if he didn't pay them off. 

The assumption is that he paid the blackmailers for so long because he was aware of the negative attitudes that people have towards people living with HIV/AIDS and did not want to be a victim of that. He has since come out to tell the world of his status, saying he feels like he's "carrying the torch" for others living with HIV. 

 

Effects of Stigma 

People living with HIV/AIDS often anticipate negative treatment by people around them, much like Charlie Sheen did. This, coupled with the adverse treatment they receive when people discover their HIV status, has terrible medical and social effects on them.  

Medical Effects of Stigma

Delay in Seeking Healthcare 

Anticipating and later internalizing the negative beliefs and attitudes people have about people living with HIV/AIDS can cause people to put off going to the hospital to get tested and receive a diagnosis. Sometimes the attitude of health workers who are not adequately educated about HIV/AIDS makes this situation worse. 

Poor Mental Health 

Stigma against people living with AIDS can cause them to develop poor beliefs about themselves. They can develop low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and poor drug adherence. 

Social Effects of Stigma 

Relationships

People living with HIV/AIDS can have complicated relationships. They can be ostracised by people they were once close to and sometimes suffer violence. Navigating romantic relationships is also difficult because of the myths associated with the disease. 

Employment 

Increased costs of healthcare and more frequent trips to the hospital can put a strain on a person's employment and financial security. They could also face taunts from colleagues and employees, leading to an impaired workplace experience. 

Protecting Yourself and Others 

Protecting yourself and others from contracting HIV/AIDS is possible by following these simple guidelines. 

  1. Do not have sex without a condom. 
  2. Do not have sex with multiple people. 
  3. Insist on using new, sterilized needles for injections or other procedures you need to get done in a hospital. 
  4. An HIV test should be part of the routine tests on pregnant women. 

 

Stopping HIV Stigma

We can join forces to stop HIV/AIDS stigma by:

Talk openly about HIV/AIDS 

HIV/AIDS is not a taboo topic. It is a disease that affects and has claimed the lives of millions of people. Talking openly about it and educating yourself and others is an excellent way to dispel myths people have about the disease and people who have it and foster better attitudes towards people living with HIV.

Stand up against discrimination 

When you see someone being discriminated against because of their HIV status, please stand up for them when you can and correct the wrong behavior. Apart from the immediate relief your help will bring them, you will be sending a message to other people that such behavior is inappropriate. You can do this by speaking up when someone says something harmful or reporting to the appropriate authorities where necessary.

 

People living with HIV/AIDS are people too. People are loved, appreciated, and cared for like everyone else. We should encourage and support them, not cast them aside.

 

It is important for you to know your HIV status, especially if you are sexually active, pregnant, or doing more things that could increase your chances of getting it. If you have HIV, seeking treatment early will save your life. 

You can consult a doctor virtually and get a HIV test done in the comfort of your home with Zuri Health. Just text Vera on +234 913 000 6888 if you're in Nigeria or +254 756 551551 if you're in Kenya. Your consultation and test results will remain confidential. 

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