Author Archives: Paula.KGS

How to Get Rid of a Bruise

Causes of Bruise

Bruises are caused mainly by damages to the soft tissues under the skin and tend to appear after an area on the body has been inured by a blow or forceful contact with an object. Upon contact, the blood vessels under the area that is injured break and blood starts to ooze. Cells in the area are often damaged as well. When the two occurrences combine, the area tends to darken or turn black especially within 24 hours of the incident.

This discoloration will start to change within a few days giving the appearance of a light yellowish color that will disappear in gradual stages. This gradual disappearance happens as the blood clots and debris accumulated are removed by phagocytes (unique cells found in the blood) and the appropriate enzymes. A black eye of “shiner” is probably the most readily identified bruise.

Injuries to some parts of the body can result in bruises at lower places or levels. For example, a blow to the head may manifest itself around the eye and damages to the legs can cause bruises on the feet. In cases like these, blood in the tissues chooses to gravitate downward. There are cases in which bruises may occur without forceful contact between the skin and an offending object.

Numerous small bruises caused mainly by Purpura and other hemorrhagic disorders as well as a deficiency in vitamin K may occur in some persons using drugs like cortisone (and related products). For this to happen, use of steroids must be prolonged. It is often harmless however, persons should be carefully monitored by a doctor.

Getting Rid of a Bruise

All uncomplicated bruises are treatable at home using one or a combination of analgesics, local applications and hot or cold applications/compresses. Analgesics are used to combat any pain, try Two (2) 300 mg Paracetemol after meals. Half this dosage can be administered to children 6 to 12 yrs, Elixir RM is also sufficient. Aspirin may be used except in infants since bruises can be worsened due to the aggravation of eth bleeding under the skin. A local pharmacist can further advise of this and any other pain killer.

Local applications like Fibriolytic cream can be applied to the surface of the bruise to aid the absorption of the blood being deposited by the damaged vessels. There is a plethora of commercial brands available at pharmacies and stores. Always apply these to the surface of the area, do not rub it into the skin. Most treatments are to be used daily 2 to 3 times.

Hot applications come in the form of hot packs or a towel emerged in warm (to slightly hot) water. Be sure to remove excess water and avoid burns. Cold applications are frequently cold packs or towels soak in icy water. It is now possible to find combination packs that start hot then get cold. Always end treatment with cold packs.

Most bruises and marks disappear completely after 3 to 14 days. For massive bruises or those that appear without cause, consult a medical professional.

Secondary Dysmenorrhoea

Secondary Dysmenorrhoea is a period-associated pain hardly ever occurs before the age of 30. More often it is seen in women past 35 years. As the name implies, the pain is -often secondary to some other precipitating cause. Sometimes the pain is associated with actual diseases of the pelvis.

The most notorious is a condition called endometriosis. This means that small pieces of tissue, much the same as that forming the lining of the womb have started to grow on other pelvic organs – perhaps the outside of the uterus, or the ovaries or tubes.

Often severe pelvic pain sets in two to three days before a period starts. It will persist right throughout the menstrual flow and stops only when the period itself finishes.

Sometimes there are other infections M the pelvic organs, which may be short- , term or long-term. A similar picture results. These symptoms invariably require proper medical investigation. Medication 46 is usually required, and the results of this are often very valuable. But the correct therapy can be given only after the physician. or more likely the gynaecologist, has made a full and thorough pelvic examination and has pinpointed the diagnosis. The actual treatment will depend on the diagnosis made.

Another type of secondary dysmenorrhoea is commonly called the “pelvic congestion syndrome.” This is more common in women who have a heavy menstrual flow. The pain similarly comes on a few days before the actual flow (usually two to three days). Generally, as soon as the period commences and the blood can escape. The discomfort tends to wane. Sometimes the pain may persist until the end of the menstrual flow.

Often there is a tremendous psychological overlay to this type of problem. It is more common in women who are normally tense, anxious or uptight.

Sometimes it is related to general ill health, vague aches and pains, backaches and pelvic disorders in general. Wry frequently it is associated with the next condition to be discussed, premenstrual syndrome. Often the personality types are identical. The treatment is the same as it is for premenstrual syndrome.

Phenylketonuria

This disease interestingly, occurs in babies as an inherited genetic defect. It prevents the production of a special body hormone called phenylalanine hydroxylase, which in turn makes it impossible for chemicals in certain foods to be dealt with in the body. So they accumulate, and unless treated may cause severe mental retardation.

It seems more likely in blue-eyed blond babies. They may seem normal at birth, but soon after develop vomiting, restlessness and irritability, a peculiar smell, skin rashes and an odd behavior. Sometimes convulsions take place. Mental retardation will occur and intelligence suffers as the child becomes older. Many become hyperactive and their behavior may be erratic. Excessive sweating is also common.

Ideally they are treated from birth with foods that do not contain the chemical phenylalanine. This usually means a restricted diet, especially with milk, or synthetic forms may be used that do not contain the chemical that causes the trouble, and which cannot be dealt with by the system because of the deficiency. This routine may be continued for quite a few years. It is yet undecided at what age it can be discontinued, if ever. Some say a minimum of five years is essential. Others believe it may require care for the rest of life.

A great deal of progress has been made in diagnosis in recent years. It is now a routine for all Australian hospitals to check every baby by performing a blood test at birth. If present, it can be picked up rapidly, and immediate steps taken for correct dietary therapy.

Do many infants suffer from the disorder? Some textbooks claim the figure is about 1 in every 15,000, boys and girls being equally affected. Of the first 2.5 million babies screened in Australia, 222 positives were detected, which means about one case in every 11,000 born. In a recent year, eighteen cases were detected. Screening has made an enormous difference to detecting these cases and is a very worthwhile check. The amount of worry and money saved is almost incalculable.

Premenstrual Syndrome

At least 50 per cent of women (probably more) are affected at some stage or other with an unpleasant condition called premenstrual syndrome (or PMS for short). This can vary from vague symptoms that produce little disturbance, to a set of extremely uncomfortable symptoms. It is often referred to as dis-ease, rather than a disease. A great range of symptoms can take place. These can be consistently the same, or they may vary from month to month. Usually they are a manifestation of the production of the hormone progesterone during the latter part of the menstrual cycle. The nearer the time comes for the menstrual flow, the more noticeable the symptoms usually become.

Irritability, crankiness and an unnaturally bad-temper are the most common symptoms. Many women who are normally loyal, loving, dedicated wives suddenly become bad tempered and spiteful, hating themselves and their partners, as well as anyone else within range. The degree can vary from very mild symptoms to those that provoke considerable personal distress and frequent marital disharmony. Indeed, this single symptom has often been blamed for marital break-ups, so it is a very important one.

Lethargy and constipation are common about this time. Other patients develop dark shadows under the eyes, and facial pimples frequently appear. The increased hormone levels make the little fat-producing skin glands of the face jam up with overproduction, to add to the victim’s misery. Others often complain of fullness in the abdomen and pelvic pressure. Frequently the breasts tend to swell, becoming tender and uncomfortable.

Sometimes actual lumps seem to occur in the breast tissue. This is associated with a sudden weight gain, which may be quite excessive. These are symptoms of fluid retention. When fluid is retained in the tissue cells, the discomfort gradually becomes increasingly prominent. Fortunately, with the onset of the menstrual flow, there is an abundant fluid loss, and many of these symptoms tend to vanish automatically. However, with discomfort and emotional and physical distress gradually escalating over a seven to ten day period, many women are acutely aware of their dilemma and seek a way out.

Premenstrual Syndrome Treatment

Today, treatment for premenstrual syndrome is good. It should be undertaken under proper medical supervision. Once commenced, sticking to the recommended routine will quickly and successfully bring relief to the majority of women. Modern therapy revolves around the following systems:

The Diuretics

These have come into great prominence during the past few years, and bring untold relief to large numbers of PMS victims. They are also known as fluid pills. Their chief function is to greatly increase the urinary output of the system, usually within hours of being taken.

Many different brands are commercially available, all requiring a doctor’s prescription. A common dose is one or two diuretic tablets daily for seven to 10 days before the expected onset of menstruation. This can be easily worked out on a calendar by most reasonably regular women. The thiazide diuretics or the quicker-acting and more potent drug frusemide is often prescribed. Often heavy diuresis ( where large amounts of urine are passed) follows. When taking these tablets, due consideration of one’s social obligations, outings etc, is suggested, to avoid embarrassment and being “caught unprepared”.

Analgesics

Sometimes an analgesic (as set out under the subheading “pain-killers” in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea) is effective if aches and pains and headaches are a feature.

The Pill

Anything that will reduce the production of the hormone progesterone will tend to improve the picture. That is why the contraceptive pill is so successful for this problem in many women. Although in some it may accentuate headaches, depression and nervous tension, in the main it does not do this. Many women in this age segment take the pill for purely contraceptive reasons. Therefore, they reap an additional bonus benefit. By inhibiting ovulation, pregnancy is impossible, but progesterone production is stopped, and the unpleasant syndrome of PMS is abolished.

Sedation

Some doctors find their patients respond well to mild sedation. Today, this comes in the form of the benzodiazepene derivatives, such as diazepam. For practical purposes, barbiturates are no longer prescribed and are best left alone. Any type of sedative should be taken only under recommendations from your doctor. Under no circumstances should anyone resort to illicit drug taking, even excessive use of analgesics! This could only breed even greater, long-term problems. Neither is it worth resorting to alcohol to soothe the nerves and make you feel better. By endeavouring to subdue one set of symptoms, an even greater number could loom and rapidly increase. The number of cupboard- drinking women with PMS is astonishing. Do not add to their unhappy numbers, for this is no cure.

Natural Remedies

In recent years many doctors believe that nutritional deficiencies may play a vital part in PMS. Therefore they often recommend an increased daily intake of pyridoxine (vitamin B), plus minerals such as zinc, magnesium and others, probably in combination with natural diuretics. A popular remedy in the early part of this century was the use of hot and cold baths. The patient sat in a tub of hot water, immersing the buttocks, lower part of the back and thighs. (This brought fresh blood to the muscles and pelvic region.) After 3 – 4 minutes, she then sat in a similar tub of cold water for 1 minute, then back to the hot. This was carried out 2 – 3 times a day for 10 – 15 minutes. It improved the circulation, and often brought relief without the need for medication. It is still very useful, taken for 10 days before a period is due, the results are often remarkable.

Oil of evening primrose capsules are claimed to help some women. No prescription is required. They may be taken regularly, or commenced midway between periods. Three capsules are taken twice a day. A variety of herbal products have proliferated in recent years. Some doctors claim natural laxatives help. Some believe a high-fibre diet assists, and it certainly may by increasing fluid output.

Some claim that large doses of progesterone each month, given artificially as a tablet, assists, even though others believe this hormone is one of the major causes. There are probably many “cures,” and not just one. In time, we may have the full answer. Right now, it is a case of trying the known remedies that appear to offer relief. Incidentally, more exercise never does anybody any harm.

Think Positively

As with any emotionally charged situation, thinking positively and thinking thoughts of success always assists. It may not entirely cure the situation, but it will certainly improve the situation. By making a determined effort to overcome apparent (real or imagined, and it is often hard to tell the difference at the time) problems, the mind sets to work on an avenue in your favour. Give it a trial. The wonders of a positive mental attitude have to be experienced to be actually realised. Think positively and assistance will certainly come your way.

Menstruation Is Normal

Get the idea permanently removed from your psyche that period time is something abnormal. Menstruation is a very normal occurrence. There is nothing sinister, fearful or depraved about your menses. There is no need to limit normal activities at this time unless you so desire. Even intercourse is not contraindicated, unless both partners prefer to abstain for aesthetic reasons.

However, in ancient Bible times the Levitical code prohibited intercourse at such times. Medically, it is perfectly safe and entirely harmless. At period time, use whatever type of sanitary protection you desire. All are suitable, and can be varied according to your personal tastes. External napkins or internal tampons are equally suitable. In other words, live normally. One gynaecologist of world renown recently summed it up this way:

“The few days before menstruation and the time of menstruation itself are times when an increased sexual urge is felt by many women. Intercourse during menstruation may be un-aesthetic, but it is not medically dangerous, and patients who seek advice can be reassured that there is no medical reason to avoid intercourse at this time.”

The closer a couple lives to normality the better. In these days of the emancipated woman, everything is going for her. Gone are the bad old days when a woman’s problems were not to be listened to, let alone to be acted upon. Comfort and freedom from distress both mental and physical are right on hand. But she must take the first step in the direction of seeking assistance. Sensible women are now quick to detect any abnormality, and to take full advantage of the remarkable aids that modern medicine currently offers. If this is your problem, why not seek professional assistance from your family doctor or gynaecologist this week: You could be so glad you did!

Housekeeping Tips

With an average of 2 out of every 3 women working outside the home, research shows that, despite the advent of the ‘new man’, most housework is still done by women. How you tackle the household chores will depend a great deal on your lifestyle. If you have children, keeping the house in order can sometimes seem an impossible task, so perhaps now is the time to become organized and make sure that everyone helps to get the chores done.
Begin by organizing a rota, so that everyone knows what they are expected to do, and make sure that they stick to it by putting up a star every time a job is completed. Try using incentives to get the jobs done rather than punishment if they are not – extra pocket money or a treat means that everyone ends up happy. Encourage young children to tidy up their toys and pull their quilts down to air the beds in the morning, or ask them to help you make your bed so that they learn how it is done properly at the same time. Laying the table and wiping down low cupboard doors are also easy tasks for them to do. Older children can help with dusting, cleaning or washing up. Do not differentiate between boys’ and girls’ jobs, as everyone needs to know how to clean, tidy and wash up.
Keep the mop and cleaning materials together so that no one will have an excuse to say that they could not find the right things. A plastic bucket with dusters, rags and polish is useful – check it regularly and replace contents as containers become empty.
Ask the family to fill in a ‘Weekly Planner’ or to tell you what they are doing, where and when. Keep the planner pinned to the wall where you can see it easily – you will find it invaluable when you need to check that children are safe or whether you will be free to take them to and collect them from an after-school activity. Keep a note of the telephone numbers of their friends to check that children are safe if they do not get home on time.
A year planner takes up wall space, but is useful for jotting down important dates for the family such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. A wipeable planner is useful where dates are regularly changed.
When you sit down together in the evening, ask the members of the family whether there are any items of shopping that need to be bought the following day, or appointments for the dentist or doctor to be made. Put letters to be posted near the door so that they will not be forgotten when you leave the house.

ORGANIZED FILING

Keep a general file with receipts for goods that are under guarantee, and instruction manuals for all electrical appliances in case you need to refer to them.
Keep another file containing all important documents such as birth certificates, driving licences, passports, insurance documents and even your Will in a safe place so that you can find it quickly if necessary.
Keep a working list of jobs that need doing and cross them out as soon as you have dealt with them.
Prevent panics in the morning when clothes cannot be found or homework has not been finished by checking the night before. Even if there is a good programme on the television, the ironing can still be done, shoes polished and clothes mended while it is on. An extra washbasin or shower installed in a bedroom can also help to relieve the morning rush and inevitable queues for the bathroom.
Keep a small notebook and pencil with you at all times so that a job you have overlooked, or a telephone call you must remember to make, is noted down and not forgotten again. If you wake in the night and remember a string of things that you have forgotten to do during the day, a piece of paper and a pencil next to the bed will get them written down for the morning.
Put telephone messages or reminders in one place where everyone is likely to look. Papers with a tacky strip on one side are ideal for sticking on doors at eye-level where they will not be overlooked, or next to the item that needs dealing with.

Garden Gravel

Gravel is an inexpensive and flexible alternative to paving or a lawn, although it is not suitable for a patio. It blends beautifully with plants, needs little maintenance, and can be used in both formal and informal designs. It is also a useful ‘filler’ material to use among other hard surfaces, or in irregularly shaped areas where paving will not easily fit and a lawn would be difficult to mow.

Types of gravel

Gravel comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors. Some types are angular, others rounded, some are white, and others assorted shades of green or red. All of them will look different in sun or shade, when wet or dry. The subtle change of color and mood is one of the appeals of gravel. The gravels available will depend on where you live, and which ones can be transported economically from further afield. Shop around first by going to garden centers and builders merchants to see what is available in your area before making your choice.

Many garden centers and stone merchants sell, or can obtain a wide range of gravels in different sizes and colors. You will find the appearance changes according to the light and whether the stones are wet or dry. Gravel gardens can be a formal or informal shape, but an edging of some kind is required otherwise the gravel will become scattered into surrounding garden beds.

Gravel paths

Gravel is often used for drives, but it is also a good choice for informal paths within the garden. It conforms to any shape so is useful for paths that meander. However, it is not a good choice for paths where you will have to wheel the mower. Fine gravel is an ideal ground covering for a Japanese-style garden design.

  1. Excavate the area to a depth of about10 cm (4 in), with a slight slope to avoid water logging after heavy rain. If the gravel garden is low lying or in a hollow, provide a sump for excess water to drain into.
  2. Make sure the surface is reasonably smooth, then lay thick plastic sheeting over the area (to suppress weed growth).Overlap the joints.
  3. Tip the gravel over the plastic sheet, and rake it level. It can be difficult to judge how deeply or evenly the gravel is being spread once the plastic sheet has been covered, so if necessary carefully scrape back the gravel occasionally to check progress.
  4. If you want to plant through the gravel, scoop back the gravel to expose the plastic sheer. Then make cross-slits through the plastic with a knife.
  5. Make the planting hole with a trowel, enrich the soil with garden compost and fertilizer and plant normally. Fold back the sheet, and replace the gravel without covering the crown if it’s a small plant.

Poliomyelitis

What is Poliomyelitis?

Poliomyelitis is a severe nervous system disease that was once responsible for an astonishing number of deaths and an even greater number of cases of paralysis, is now seen much less frequently. In fact, with the wide use of Sabin vaccine in infancy, it is now rare to see it at all, and many younger doctors may not see one case in their professional lifetime. The Salk vaccine was introduced to the Western world in the mid-1950s, and from that moment on, there has been a dramatic decline in cases.

However, this does not mean the insidious viral infection is not still in existence. In countries where active vaccination campaigns have not been carried out and maintained up to date, it is still a common disease, and large areas of the Third World still suffer from it. Statistics for Australia and New Zealand have recorded no cases or deaths attributable to polio since 1986. This is a very different picture from that of the high figures of a few decades ago.

The disease tended to attack mainly the young, especially those in the second and third years of life, but over the past fifty years it has seemed to attack adults too. Any time of the year could see its occurrence, but it favored the hot summer months.

Polio is produced by a very small virus measuring, thirty micro microns, and is one of the smallest detectable under the most powerful microscopes. In an unimmunized community, the virus may live in the pharynx of many without causing symptoms, and these people may act as carriers in times of epidemics.

Exactly how the virus is transmitted is not known. It is believed that droplet infection from infected persons is important. This means that during coughing and sneezing, tiny moisture particles are projected from a person harboring the virus in the throat. This may be inhaled by a person in the immediate vicinity, and so the infection is transmitted.

Transmission of fecal material by flies also seems to play a part. The disease appeared to be more common in patients who had undergone tonsillectomy, and for this reason, the mass removal of tonsils, particularly in children, fell into disfavor when this was discovered in the pre-vaccination era. Incidentally, this idea is still current, and today there are few reasons for enthusiastically removing tonsils in children. The virus may be collected, isolated and identified by the pathologist from washings from the throat, and from pharyngeal swabs and also from fecal samples taken for several days before and just after symptoms set in.

The virus attacks the brain and spinal cord, permanently destroying the cells. Irreversible muscle paralysis occurs and, in about ten percent of these cases, death takes place. Symptoms are often minimal. There may be a slight fever; tremor of the limbs may accompany any sustained effort, then paralysis may suddenly occur. Often there is no previous indication of any serious illness, especially in infants.

Poliomyelitis Symptoms

It is most unlikely that poliomyelitis will be encountered by persons living in Western countries where active immunization has been carried out along the recommended lines. In the early stages, influenza like illness may occur, with headache, backache, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting. It is similar in nature to viral meningitis and, indeed, on clinical grounds they may be indistinguishable. The patient may run an elevated temperature for about a week.

Symptoms will vary according to the part of the brain or spinal cord which is affected. Therefore, it may range from parts of the face and head, to the trunk, or limbs. If the respiratory muscles are involved, breathing becomes increasingly difficult. During pyrexia (the period of elevated temperature), paralysis may occur, or there may be general or specific muscle weakness.

Poliomyelitis Treatment

In the rare event of this disease being diagnosed, the patient must be under the care of a competent physician and in a hospital where full facilities for accurate diagnosis and therapy are available. The disease will be treated as a serious contagious illness where special precautions are taken to prevent spread, and in the early stages absolute bed rest is essential for the patient to prevent the onset of paralysis. Facilities for respiratory management are essential, for many deaths occurred when paralysis of the respiratory mechanism took place.

The early stages of treatment are aimed at keeping the patient alive, nourished and hydrated. Respiratory failure, if it is destined to happen, usually takes place in the first two to three days, and often there are warning signs that paralysis of the muscles of respiration is taking place so appropriate steps can be taken.

Muscle weakness or paralysis must be treated by nursing the affected parts in their physiological positions. This will help prevent, or at least reduce the risk of permanent contractures and loss of movement if and when the muscles start to regain power and function.

The important anterior horn cells of the nervous system are the ones affected and, depending on the severity of infection and destruction, various degrees of return to function may take place. The picture is variable. Actually, the number of people affected is a great deal more than those who go on to the production of symptoms or the exhibition of paralysis. The essence of treatment is careful nursing by professionals experienced in this field. Specialized care affords the patient a better chance of recovery.

The chance of polio occurring today is minimal, but this should not prevent parents from making certain their babies and infants are adequately protected early in life. Vaccine is readily available in the Western world, and its use is imperative. Today, with the incidence of polio now largely historical, young mothers are unaware of the terrifying picture it presented, and may become negligent. Such an attitude is extremely dangerous. Polio immunization must be carried out as an automatic part of baby care, and reinforcing boosters given regularly.

Serious cases were treated in hospital and there was full back up support to gain life. Milder cases were often gated at home. A variety of different methods were used, once the disease had brought about its havoc, practical therapy became of much use. Various forms of bed rest, heat (the famous meter Kenny method), physiotherapy, artificial mechanical respiration, all had their place. However the ace treatment is to prevent it from happening. The continued widespread use of polio immunization is the only present guarantee for this.

How to Decorate Lamp Shades

A plain lampshade is like a blank canvas, just waiting for the artist’s creative touch. The best type for decorating is a simple shape made of plain smooth fabric or thick paper. If you are experimenting, it is best to use the least expensive type because you will feel less restricted knowing that failure won’t cost a fortune. A fabulous result can always be repeated on a better quality shade.
Mix colourful hand-painted stripes with pieces of velvet ribbon to an old lampshade to give a rich variety of texture and colour.
This lampshade has been enhanced by an Elizabethan border design, applied using a combination of sponge and stencil techniques. The pattern would also look sumptuous using a deep blue or red with gold.
Stencils, stamps or freehand brushstrokes can be used to paint colourful motifs and patterns. The simplest are often the most effective and it is worth trying a light behind the shade to see how the pattern will show up at night. Try a pattern of dots, zigzags and stripes in earthy colours on a cream background to give an African look, or use black silhouettes on a terracotta-coloured shade for a classical Greek effect. Sky-blue stripes on a white shade look really fresh and burnt-orange patterns on a yellow shade seem like instant sunshine. Before you embark on the whole shade, first paint a small area to check the effect on the fabric or paper.
Photocopy a black and white image, then make copies to cut out for a decoup-aged shade. Use wallpaper paste to stick the photocopied cut-outs in place on a paper shade, then apply clear varnish to give a smooth finish and prevent any curling at the edges. Another good alternative is to use your lampshade as an unusual photograph album. Stick old photographs all around the outside. They will fade with age, creating a nostalgic feel.

INSTANT EMBELLISHMENTS

Armed with a glue gun and a plain shade you can really go to town. Almost anything can be stuck on to the surface or dangled from the edge. The range of trimmings available today is very extensive and you can buy fringes, ribbons, beads and baubles to suit every style.
Large shades look particularly striking dressed up with upholstery fringing and matching tassels glued around the bottom edge.
Add beautiful ribbons in shot taffeta and silk tied into swags and bows. Or use milliner’s velvet finished off with fake flowers or fruit.
Dress smaller shades with finer decorations such as borders of beadwork or fine fringing.
A border of hold buttons looks good in primary colours against a plain background and wooden or leather buttons have a solid country feel.
Alter the hard-edged shape of a shade by covering it with another material, such as coloured net (tulle) or draped butter muslin, both of which allow plenty of light through. It is best to use lightweight fabrics otherwise the softening effect will be lost when the bulb is lit.

TRIMMED SHADE EDGE

  1. Measure the length of trimming needed to go around the shade plus a small seam allowance at each end. Stitch the seams flat to prevent the raw edges from fraying.
  2. Heat a glue gun and apply some glue to the surface of the shade. Attach the trimming immediately. You will get an instant bond as the hot glue cools on contact. If you are working with very fine trimmings it may be neater to stitch the trimming on to the shade.

Laced Lampshade

  1. Carefully cut a strip of card to use as a spacer to accurately mark the position of the holes around dye top and bottom edges of the lampshade.
  2. Set the punch to the required hole size and make a hole at each dotted mark.
  3. Attach one end of the string to the inside of the shade using the glue gun or a dab of all-purpose glue.
  4. Lace thick string in and out of the punched holes. Cut the string when you reach the end and secure it at the back with glue. Repeat with the other line
  5. These delicate-looking shades, made from Japanese handmade paper and photocopies of real leaves and flowers, match the soft glow of candlelight. They have been treated with fireproofing spray for safety.

Refractive Error

Normal vision depends on light rays from an object under observation focusing on the fovea, the most sensitive part of the retina. To achieve this, the rays are “bent” as they pass through the lens system of the eye, so they all converge on the same central point.

The shape of the lens alters automatically through pressure exerted by the ciliary muscle surrounding it. This enables objects viewed from a distance (six metres away or more) to focus on the fovea in a similar manner to closer objects (those nearer than six metres). When using a camera, lens focus adjustments must be made to cater for the distance of objects; with the eye, however, this is an automatic process, called accommodation.

Although the powers of accommodation are usually very effective, they are sometimes insufficient if the shape or size of the lens is abnormal. For this reason, the point of focus, even with maximum accommodation, may be at a point behind the fovea, resulting in a condition called hyperopia (or hyperuietropia or farsightedness) for objects viewed at a distance. The result is an indistinct image of the object viewed.

About 80 per cent of babies are born hyperopic due to the shape of the eye, but as they develop and the shape of the eye alters, they tend to gain normal vision. Many persons, however, remain slightly hyperopic during adulthood.

The patient may complain of eyestrain, perhaps accompanied by pain in the eyes, headaches and nausea if he has to continually make an effort to accommodate in coping with normal activities.

The opposite to this condition is called myopia (or short sightedness), in which the light rays are brought to a point of focus in front of the retina. A blurred picture is also perceived. Thus the far point of the eye, instead of being in excess of six metres, is usually less than this distance, and will vary according to the degree of myopia. As the myopia increases, so the far point of clear vision decreases. Heredity plays a large part in myopia. It usually increases during the teen years and levels off at 25 years. This happens regardless of other factors, such as the ante – of “close” work done, lighting, rest, exercise, or anything else (most of which have been blamed at some time in the past).

The most common symptom is the inability to distinguish objects clearly in the distance (such as the blackboard at school or road signs). Children are often unaware of their disability because they have never been free from it. Others develop a habit of frowning, and partially close their eyes because this often helps sharpen visual acuity. Over long periods. however, this may cause headaches and eyelid irritation. Myopic children often automatically bring their reading material closer to their eyes than normal.

Recognition of refractive errors and having the eyes tested and corrected is the best course. This is usually carried out by an eye specialist, and frequently accompanies a regular eye examination to detect any other pathological abnormality. Optometrists also carry out refractive tests, manufacturing corrective lenses that give satisfactory results.

With the passage of time, further variations tend to occur with the lens shape, so that regular testing for life may be necessary. Changes will be made to the lens system according to specific needs.

Home Improvement Budget

Now that you have a realistic idea of what needs doing to your home, the next step is to plan what the various improvement options will involve in terms of time, logistics and, of course, money. Like most common projects this can be divided up into a number of groups as a brief summary of what each might involve.

Changing the room usage

Just because a particular room in the house currently has a particular function, it does not have to maintain that function. For example, if you have the traditional arrangement of two rooms, one used for sitting and one for dining, you could consider swapping their functions. Similarly, a bedroom swap could involve parents giving up their large bedroom to a teenage child for use as a study and recreation room. Other possible options include turning a spare bedroom into a home office, switching the kitchen and dining rooms to make better use of space and access, or fitting out a small spare room as a second bathroom.

Sometimes the way your house is laid out no longer suits the way you want to live. Rearranging the room layout is a bigger job than changing the room usage, since it usually involves removing or building internal walls. It will not give you any extra floor space, but it will let you use the existing floors pace more efficiently and creatively. Options that involve knocking down walls include creating a joined living and dining room, a combined kitchen and diner, or a master bedroom with en-suite bathroom from two smaller adjacent rooms.

You can build partition walls in large spaces to create extra rooms, and you can also change the size of adjacent rooms by repositioning dividing walls. Repositioning doors to alter traffic routes can make a difference, and you could even consider altering the way the staircase runs.

Converting uninhabited areas

Unless your house has a flat roof, you will have a loft (attic), and this could offer the perfect opportunity for conversion to valuable extra living space. The conversion is a complex job to carry out, since its feasibility depends on the way the roof was built, how access to the loft (attic) can be created and how safety requirements can be met. It is definitely a job to be left to an architect and builder or to a specialty loft-conversion company.

Older houses with basements offer another conversion option. Here the feasibility depends on the size of the basement (many are just small storage cellars), how damp-proof it is and how easy it will be to provide ventilation and some degree of natural light, all essential if the basement is to be used as a habitable room.

Installing tall glass doors leading on to an outdoor area is a simple alteration to a room that makes a dramatic difference. The third uninhabited area you may have available for conversion into extra living space is an integral or attached garage. If you intend to create habitable rooms, you will have to upgrade the damp proofing (water-proofing) and insulation. Garages can provide the opportunity for some creative converting, and it is worth taking the time to consider what is possible. The garage-door opening, for example, can be filled in as a large window. A doorway into the house will be needed unless one exists already.

Building art extension

If rearranging existing space or carrying out internal conversions cannot give you the extra living space you need, then building an extension is the only solution (apart, of course, from moving house). Its feasibility depends mainly on whether you have the space to extend and whether the work counts as permitted development under the local building codes. Depending on where you have the space and what you want the extension to provide, you could build a one-storey or two-storey building at the side or rear of the property, front extensions seldom get planning permission. The design and construction of a home extension is definitely a job to leave to the professionals unless you are a highly skilled and motivated person with enormous organizational skills.

If all you want is some extra room downstairs, adding a conservatory (porch) to the side or rear of the house could be the answer. Modern conservatories are modular buildings, so they are quick and simple to erect, even on a do it yourself basis, although most people leave their construction to a specialist supplier. Adding one is also relatively non-disruptive, since all the construction work occurs outside the house. Conservatories count as home extensions for planning purposes.

Getting better services

Older houses are likely to benefit from some upgrading of their services, for instance the plumbing, the wiring and the central heating system. Plumbing improvements could include washbasins (sinks) in bedrooms, a second lavatory, plumbing in a utility room and so on. Wiring work can provide extra socket outlets and up-to-date lighting .Heating improvements can bring more efficient water and room heating. The kitchen and the bathroom seem to need upgrading every ten years or so to keep them looking up to date and working efficiently.

Improving the site

Not all home improvements involve the house. Improvements to the site could include building a garage or carport, providing extra car parking space in front of the house, creating walls, paths and steps and adding outbuildings such as a garden shed, a green house, a children’s play house or an aviary. All can add significantly to the way in which you live in and enjoy your home.

Converting a loft or attic could be the perfect solution as children grow up and desire more space.This can be quite complicated however, so do seek specialist advice.