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Jamaica Health Tips Online

Protecting the Environment, Protecting your Health


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Mosquitoes: Why are they attracted to us?

Posted on June 24, 2018 at 8:27 PM Comments comments (25)
Ever wonder why mosquitoes are attracted to some people when compare to others? Many Jamaicans believed that if your blood is sweet, then mosquitoes will be more inclined to bite you more than others. With us having over 3,000 species of mosquitoes, only three are predominantly responsible for the transmission of diseases. These are the Anopheles, Culex and Aedes and some of the diseases that are transmitted by them are Malaria, Encephalitis and Dengue respectively.

Mosquitoes being so persistent and irritating at times, possesses an uncanny ability to sense our murderous intention and take flight before one of our fatal swats. However, before taking a blood meal, a mosquito would normally probe the surface of the skin, using sensory organs to find the perfect area to strike a blood vessel. It then injects its proboscis in your skin, releasing saliva in your blood vessel to prevent clotting and facilities the free flow blood. This is when its possible for this vector to transmit disease causing microbes in your body.
With that in mind here are a few reasons mosquitoes are more attracted to some people more than others;

High body temperature
Persons with high body temperature will be more likely to be bitten by one of these vectors e.g. pregnant women. Normal areas of our body with high temperature are our foreheads, neck, wrists and elbows. However, a person who has just finish some vigorous activity and is hot will have blood closer to the surface of their skin. As a result, the mosquito will use the heat to determined where blood is closer to the skin.

Carbon Dioxide
Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, therefore a person who breathes heavily, will cause the mosquito to hone in on them as it follows the steady flow of the gas. This is why you will hear them buzzing right at your ear line. So, as you exhale carbon dioxide through your nose, it travels at the side of the face along the ear line, where the vector follows the trail.

As we indulge in various activities or due to an increase in our body temperature, the body will start to producing sweat to facilities cooling down. When ever we sweat there is an increase in the secretion of lactic acid through our skin. Mosquitoes are attracted to lactic acid and this will make you their prime victim.

Blood Type
According to several prominent Entomologists, mosquitoes are believed to be more attracted to a person with a Type O when compare to a Type A or Type B. it has also been deduced that persons with certain genetic are greater attractant to mosquitoes than others.
In order to protect yourself from mosquito bites, always wear mosquito repellant containing DEET and light coloured clothing to keep cool.

Are you protecting yourself from mosquito bites?

Hurricane Season 2018: The Top 5 Things you Must Do!

Posted on June 18, 2018 at 9:08 PM Comments comments (20)
Hurricane Season 2018: The Top 5 Things you Must Do!

As we reluctantly welcome the 2018 hurricane Season, many Jamaicans are carelessly living day by day without a disaster preparedness plan. A hurricane can cause widespread devastation and catastrophic effects on not just lives and properties but also the economy. As mentioned in a post printed by, the official season begins June 1, 2018 and will end November 30, 2018. It is also predicted by many geologists that the season will be a very active one.
Therefore, planning and preparing are the only two things that will help you to be safe and resilient in the wake of a hurricane. The ability to quickly recover following a hurricane requires focus, preparedness, advance planning, and knowing what to do.
Against that background, here are a few things you must do to be prepared;
Check gutters, drainage and tall trees around your home.
 Clean all gutters and drains to ensure that there is no obstruction that could hinder the free flow of water during rainfall. Additionally, observe water flow around your house during rainy time, this will give you an indication of how high water will rise and if there is need for additional drainage. Cut down tall trees and over-hanging limbs that could cause damage to roof and house during high winds.
Caulk cracks and seams.
Using caulk to seal cracks and seams in wall, could save you hundreds of thousands during a hurricane. This will make your home impervious to water and protects your home other valuables during a heavy rainfall.
Evaluate the sturdiness of your roof.
Checking the roof of your home are among-st the first things you should do before the hurricane. This should take precedence, especially if your home has gone through a previous hurricane. The strong winds during a hurricane can wreak havoc on your roof, therefore checking for loose, missing or materials in disrepair are very crucial. 
Having a battery powered weather radio during a hurricane is imperative. Why? In most instances during a hurricane the electricity will go. As a result, having a battery powered weather radio will help you keep up to date on the news and weather reports.
Things such as can foods, other non-perishable food item and safe drinking water are a must have during the hurricane season.  Also having emergency equipment such as band aides, dressing items and antiseptic is very crucial just in case you need to treat a wound during a hurricane.
In conclusion, a hurricane is no joking matter, failing to prepare is basically preparing you and your family to be at great risk. Knowing where the nearest shelter is located and planning alternate routes to get there should be amongst some of the things in your disaster plan. Emergency number such as an ambulance services, the Police and the fire department are vital as well. Remember your health is your responsibility, so be prepared and get ready for this hurricane season.

Are you prepared for hurricane season 2018?

Sleep Paralysis; the spirit in your dreams

Posted on August 21, 2016 at 8:09 PM Comments comments (24)

Ever woken up from a bad dream, only to realize you are pinned down to your bed and cannot move?

I bet you have, this feeling of being out of control is known as Sleep Paralysis. Many Jamaicans would claim they have been held down by evil spirit while others said they have even seen ghosts. According to an article written by the NHS Choice; “sleep paralysis is the temporary inability to move or speak that happens when you're waking up or, less commonly, falling asleep.”

So in essence, your brain has woken up but your body is still in a state of sleep, which normally cause the muscles to be paralyzed. Despite, the muscles of the body being briefly paralyzed, you are still able to breath and even see in some cases.

It has been noted in several research that sleep paralysis has been experienced by majority of the population at some time in their live.  Researchers have even went on to say that most of these occurrences take place while the individual is sleeping on his or her back. Sleep paralysis may even cause individuals to experience hallucination, this is reason they may have sense ghost or evil spirit in their presence. This terrifying but harmless experience can last from few seconds to even minutes.

Wondering what could possibly cause such dreadful experience? Here are a few causative factors;

  • Sleep deprivation - the less sleep you get and the more exhausted you are, the more likely you are to experience sleep paralysis.

  • Family History - family history plays a very important role in our health and wellness, thus sleep paralysis is just one more thing in our life it will impact on.

  • Age – sleep paralysis has been reported mostly in the teens and young adults.

Sleep paralysis is also being rumored to be linked to mental illnesses such as bipolar and stress therefore, it’s important to check with your doctor if you have any of these concerns:

To reduce and eliminate the occurrence of sleep paralysis is to have a healthy sleeping life and to take care of your personal health through regular exercise and a proper diet.

Have you ever experience sleep paralysis?  

Five biggest mistakes we make when trying to lose weight

Posted on January 10, 2016 at 6:12 PM Comments comments (22)
As the reality of the New Year sets in, many Jamaicans are eager to drop all the pounds they have packed on during the festive season.  Needless to say though, a lot of us will be in the same spot as we were last year or even the year before. Within a month or two many of us would have lost all hope in accomplishing our weight loss goal, mainly because we have made the very same mistakes year after year. Against that back ground, here are the five biggest mistakes we make when trying to lose weight;

  •  Working out too long

According to a research done by the University of Copenhage, a person who works out for 30 minutes a day will lose 40% more fat than someone who works out for a longer period. Shocked? Don’t be, this is because the longer you work out, your body will resort to using your muscles to fuel your workout. Remember fat is the fuel use to keep the muscles in the body active hence, the less muscle in the body the less fat you will burn at the end of your work out. In addition, the body reads exercise as a stressor, therefore when the body is stressed it will produces cortisol. Elevated cortisol due to long periods of exercise may lead to an increase in blood sugar levels, retention of fat around the mid-section and slowing down of the immune system.  In essence it’s best to do short high intervals work out for a maximum of 45 minutes a day. 

  • Not taking rest day(s)

Working out six to seven days a week does not give the body adequate time to rest. Rest plays a very crucial part in muscle recovery. Remember when you are working out you are not building muscles but rather tearing them down. This means that the body will need  time to heal and rejuvenate for your next work out. Another important part of resting the body is getting adequate sleep. Ever noticed after a good night’s rest, how flat your tummy looks? This is because during sleep your body produces hormones that burn fat.  According to a research published by Annals of Internal Medicine, getting less than seven hours of sleep can undo the benefits of dieting. As outlined in the study; 50% of weight loss by dieters who got adequate sleep were fat, while dieters who cut back on sleep loss less fat. The study even further explained that dieters who did not get adequate sleep were hungrier; they were also less satisfied after meals and lack energy to exercise. In summary working out 3-4 times per week and getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night should do the trick.

  • Starvation diets

Not eating enough food to provide the body with sufficient energy will put the body under stress and by extension slows down your metabolism.  This action also sends the body into survival mode, this means it will hold on to the existing fat and slows down the process of burning it so you won’t lose energy. It does this to prevent itself from starving and also providing energy to operate the vital organs. This very same reaction can take place when you restrict yourself from eating certain food; hence letting the body becomes deficient in certain nutrients. As stated by a dietitian who works at the Western Regional Health Authority, “No food is bad”. Just make sure you are eating in moderation while focusing on eating healthier, which is eating more natural foods. If you eat healthy 80% of  the time you will only need to work out 20% of the time. This means that what you put in the body is four times more important than any work out.

  • Not drinking enough water

Did you know that often times when you feel hungry you are actually thirsty? Drinking water is one of the easiest things you will ever do to lose weight. Drinking water aids in digestion of food, the proper functions of organs and also makes you feel full so you will eat less. Not drinking enough water can slow down your metabolism and hence reduces the burning process. There are countless reasons why drinking enough water is a vital part of any weight loss program, but more so it’s very important in the body’s daily function. Remember water is life.

  • Not doing exercise you love

Ever heard the saying, will power is a diminishing resource? All of us at some time in our life have set out to accomplish some dreams, but over time that level of will and determination fades in the distant. One factor that could combat such a thing when trying to lose weight is doing physical activities that you love. Dancing, Kickboxing, Running whatever that is convenient and not burdensome for you to do.
Most importantly it is vital to listening to your body, do not over-exercise, over-eat or vice versa, but rather do everything in moderation. Once you practice these five steps listed above you will realize that losing weight is not so difficult and burdensome after all. 

 Do you currently find it hard to lose weight? Leave your comments and share your experiences.

Hand foot and mouth disease; should you be worried?

Posted on October 10, 2015 at 6:19 PM Comments comments (25)
With the recent buzz in the media about the outbreak of hand foot and mouth disease in our schools, Jamaican parents are frantic with fear and hoping that their children do not contract the disease. One of the latest news published by the Gleaner mentioned that there were approximately 313 reported cases of the disease from a total of 98 schools in the island.  The only four parishes that have not yet been affected are Trelawny, Hanover, Clarendon and Manchester. But what is this hand foot and mouth disease? Should you be worried?

As outlined on the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention website, Hand foot and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, it can sometimes occur in adults. This disease should not be confused with foot and mouth disease or otherwise called hoof and mouth disease that only affects cattle, swine and sheep, as these two diseases are not related and are cause by different viruses.

Early symptoms are usually fever, loss of appetite, sore throat and malaise, a day or two after the fever a child will start to develop painful sores in the mouth as well as small red blisters around the mouth, palm of the hand, sole of the feet, elbows, knees, buttocks and other parts of the body such as the genitals. These blisters may turn in ulcers which most times are painless. The thing that parents should pay attention to though, is that the painful sores in the mouth may result in dehydration and weight loss in their child as it would be difficult for him or her to swallow.

This disease most times only last for about a week however, it is during this time that the illness is most contagious. The infected individual can spread the virus when they cough; sneeze and the droplets are inhaled by people around them. A person can also get infected by touching an object contaminated with the virus such as toys, door knobs and then touch their eyes, nose and mouth. The virus can also spread through blister fluid and stool from an infected person hence, to help others from getting infected, you should stay home while you are sick and keep children at home until their fever and blisters have healed.

This will help in the transmission but not totally eliminates it as, the virus can still lives in a person body for weeks even after symptoms disappear. This means that it’s very important to seek medical advice as to when it’s safe to send your child back to school or when you can return to work. The hand foot and mouth disease as no treatment or vaccine, this disease is caused by a virus and antibiotic does not work against viruses. To relief symptoms doctors may prescribe a mouth wash or spray that numbs mouth pain and over the counter medications to reduce pain and fever. Children however, should never be given aspirin as it may result in other complications.

Here now are things you can do to help protect yourself and your children from getting hand foot and mouth disease; wash your hands often with soap and wash especially after changing diapers and using the bathroom, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contacts with an infected person such as hugging, kissing, sharing of utensils and disinfect frequently touched areas for example door knobs and toys.

Remember your health is your responsibility so be healthy today, for more information on hand foot and mouth disease please visit your nearest health facility. 
Are you prepared for the hand foot and mouth disease?

Indoor air pollution; the unexpected killer

Posted on July 26, 2015 at 4:14 PM Comments comments (24)

 Over the past few months, the cries of many Jamaicans have been the sweltering heat and stifling humidity being experienced in our country.  As a result most persons are forced to stay inside, but could we be running from one health hazard into another? With indoor air pollution being one of the top public health issue on the WHO agenda, It’s critical that Jamaicans know that the air inside may put them at more risk than they believe.

 According to the WHO, 4.3 million people a year die from the exposure to household air pollution. In poorly ventilated dwellings, smoke from cooking, cleaning supplies like bleach and disinfectants, too high or too low humidity, recent remodeling, and burning of garbage around the home can increase level of toxic particles in the air. Recent researches have shown that exposure to these air toxins are high in women and children who spend most of their time in the home.

 As outlined in an article in the Jamaica Gleaner (February 2, 2014), “Consistent exposure to poor indoor air quality often leaves occupants with symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, sinus infections and asthma attacks”. In addition the air producing equipment such as the air conditions and fans will not do much good, as they only circulate the bad air inside. A study done by the MOH has reveals that there has been an increase in the number of individuals suffering from asthma, both young and old, whether they reside "in dust-prone areas or live in upscale residential communities". These symptoms can lead to dire implications and even deaths.

Now here are some simple ways to reduce indoor air pollution;

  •  Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors.
  •  Bring nature inside; NASA research has shown that indoor plants like fern, spider plant and Aloe Vera acts like an air purifier.
  • Use sliced lemons/lime and baking soda to eliminate bad odor in the kitchen rather than air fresheners.
  •  Plan remodeling (painting) during the spring time when you can open up your house to allow fresh air to come in rather than the colder time.
  • Remove garbage frequently from inside the home.

Remember the health of your family is in your hand; help them to be safe today by reducing air pollution in your homes.

How is the air quality in your home? 

Nutraceutical; the hidden truth to a perfect health.

Posted on May 3, 2015 at 7:37 PM Comments comments (26)
 My first encounter with this word was about five years ago in college. My lecturer had given us a paper to write on the difference between pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, which would include their pros and cons. What was astonishing to me then was why this approach to health care was not as popular as the pharmaceutical approach? 
Many have theorized that the drug industry is a very lucrative business and has the power to control the health care industry and the media. Adding to that point, there have even been reports of pharmaceutical companies manipulating doctors and even pharmaceutical representatives in promoting their drugs. 
Some even have said that the pharmaceutical industry by no means is in the business of health, healing, cures or wellness but rather disease maintenance and symptom management. In other words, if all our illnesses were to be cured and the population had optimum health, there would not be the need for the pharmaceutical industry, which reiterates the point that they do not intend to cure diseases. With that in mind, nutraceutical which is a "Food, or parts of food, that provide medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease,"(DeFelice, 1989), maybe very foreign to many Jamaicans, more so the multifarious health benefits that are attributed to their products. Against that background, here is a list of some common foods and their health benefit that we should incorporate in your diet.

It is important to know that a lot of our pharmaceuticals are manufactured using synthetic product e.g. minerals obtained from stones. Stone was never apart of man’s diet hence, some of these product do not benefit us in anyway but rather a placebo effect. To couple with that point, most nutrients used to make pharmaceutical products are extracted from it source and added with other nutrients and by-product such as enzymes which may not result in the same effects or benefits as it would in its natural form. In conclusion, my intention is to solely educate all Jamaicans of the benefits of taking a holistic and natural approach to their health. Healthy environment = healthy food = healthy people take your health in your own hands today.

Do you think you could survive without pharmaceuticals?

Fruits and Vegetables

Posted on March 29, 2015 at 7:49 PM Comments comments (37)

It’s great to see many Jamaicans adding more fruits and vegetables to their diet nowadays, but eating healthy is not the only thing we should focus on. When purchasing our fruits and vegetable we tend to shy away from the ones that have been bitten by insects or that have insect parts on them, but are we really equipped with the correct information to identify good quality fruits and vegetables in the market place? Generally, these foods ought to be consumed when they are fit and not to be offered for sale in an over ripe, rotten, parasitic or poisonous condition.  Over ripe fruit is known to cause diarrhoea and other complications.  Here are things to look out for when purchasing these produce in the market place;

Eating healthy is good but never neglect safety in the process. Remember your health is your responsibility so shop smart and responsible.

Do you inspect your vegetables and fruits before you buy them?

Corset waist training; the health risk associated with achieving the hourglass figure.

Posted on March 8, 2015 at 8:13 PM Comments comments (25)
With the recent increase of corsets wearing by celebrities in Jamaica and around the world, many young women including myself have fallen prey to the delusion and false sense of true beauty in our society today. It’s our aim to achieve that hourglass figure portrayed on our television screens and fashion magazines by some of the biggest names in the fashion industry. But is it even safe or realistic for all women to look like Kim Kardashian or even Amber Rose?

 In doing my research on this topic it’s staggering to see the number of young women who were convinced that their waist were much smaller after couple hours of wearing this cinching garment. On the contrary there were equal number of medical personnel who were saying these garments don’t work, while reiterating the innumerable health effects associated with wearing a corset waist training garment.

In trying to squeeze into a corset, you could potentially harm the major internal organs that reside in that region.  It has been agreed by many medical practitioners including Dr Jan Schroeder, Professor of Fitness in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University that Corsets do not result in a permanent loss of fat in the midsection but rather a re-distribution of the fat and organs, to give the appearance of a smaller waist.

It’s important to note also that tightening the abdomen and torso could affect lung function by restricting the amount of space available for the lungs to expand into the abdomen and fill with air thus, oxygen or carbon dioxide will not be inhaled or expel respectively resulting in the person becoming short of breath.

According to an articles posted by Life by Daily Burn, Dr. Ball was sited saying ,“If you genetically don’t have an hourglass shape, you can exercise all you want, but you might not end up with an hourglass figure.” So if your skeletal system do not have an hourglass structure it’s impossible to obtain such figure from wearing a corset.  

As young women we need to find our inner beauty and embrace it. If you want to be a size six just focus on eating a clean diet until you achieved your goal weight. Diet and exercise is not our issue in this society today but rather the will power and perseverance we need to accomplished what ever our desires maybe. First develop these two skills afterward everything will fall into place. Remember there is only one of you therefore, love and value your unique you.

Do you think wearing a corset slims the midsection?

Cockroach infestation and its public health significance

Posted on February 15, 2015 at 4:17 PM Comments comments (25)
Cockroaches are one of the most repulsive and resilient pest encountered on a daily basis in a Jamaican home. These insects never seem to give us a break; they infest our furniture, laundry and most importantly our food. They normally become established in the home by an infested grocery bag(s), laundry or from simple wandering from outdoors. Cockroaches are nocturnal in nature and frequent premises where food is handled, as they like to live where they eat. During the day they will hide in cracks, crevices, voids in the wall and warm and moist areas in the home, e.g. sinks, drains, manholes, stoves, the back of the cupboard and in the refrigerator units.

Cockroaches are the type of pest that we should not ignore or take for granted. They are vectors known for numerous deadly diseases e.g. Dysentery, Typhoid, poliomyelitis and many more. These roaches are famous for crawling over faeces and other insanitary areas and then come crawling and feeding on our foods and utensils.

The four most common cockroach species that have been encountered in our island are the;

  • German cockroach (Blatella germanica)
  • American cockroach (Periplaneta Americana)
  • Brown-banded cockroach (Supella longipalpis)
  • Drummer cockroack (Blaberus giganteus)

The German cockroach may be considered to be the most successful and shows a greater resistance to insecticides as they are small and readily hid in cracks and crevices. In addition the female roaches will carry their ootheca for a long time (up to just before hatching). As a result, they may not be killed during the pest control process.
The first step you should take when dealing with a cockroach infestation is to keep your home clean and sanitary. Pest needs three things to survive; water, food and shelter and an insanitary environment provides all three.  The next step is to use a licensed pest control operator to implement the pest program or seek advice before you implement the same. This is very important because there is certain information that needs to be obtained before treatment begins and only a trained person will be competent enough. Adding to that fact, pest control chemicals are very poisonous and should be handled with caution therefore, a layman is not equipped to take on such risky task. A pest control program may include the use of baits hence, it’s crucial that adequate information is obtained from a train pest control worker. This is because the behaviour of the roaches need to be identified in order to know where you should locate your baiting station(s).

Do you currently have cockroach infestation in your home?