Author Archives: Ramon.KGS

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Sometimes in patients who have undergone removal of the stomach (most probably from severe peptic ulceration) a similar situation can occur. However, as the liver can store vitamin B12 with amounts that may last up to five years, it may be several years after surgery that the symptoms will commence. In other patients who have bowel disorders, there may be interference in folic acid absorption. A condition called Crohn’s disease may be present, or there may have been surgical removal of part of the bowel, coeliac disease, sprue and certain other disorders.

During pregnancy there is a large increase in the body’s need for folic acid. For this reason, folic acid is now given routinely together with iron to all women during pregnancy.

Some patients on drug medication for other conditions have their folic-acid supplies adversely affected. This ma y include drugs taken for epilepsy, and certain sulfa drugs, to name some of the more common ones implicated.

Apart from affecting the red cells. these deficiencies may also adversely affect the production of the white cells and platelets, both of which may be reduced in numbers. This in turn may produce serious symptoms and conditions attributed to this.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

The symptoms will be a combination of the usual symptoms of anaemia, plus symptoms of the underlying cause. A glossitis (sore, red tongue) usually occurs as well. The blood picture shows abnormal cells, and there is a reduced number of white cells and platelets.

Inadequate vitamin B12 may also react adversely on the nervous system, producing a serious condition called subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord. This also produces symptoms that are described under the nervous system. It is essential that this condition be treated early, for damage to the cord may be rectified with prompt early treatment.

But if left, these changes may be permanent, much to the discomfort of the patient. Tests are available that directly measure the blood levels of folic acid and vitamin B12. (Refer to the section on vitamins for a list of foods rich in these substances.)

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Treatment

Therapy is very satisfactory, and the results relatively prompt. Once the diagnosis has been established, the doctor will most likely order folic acid in tablet form, commonly giving 5 mg three times a day.

Vitamin B12 is usually given in the form of an injection. Over the years the exact chemical formulation has changed. It used to be cyanocobalamin. often injected weekly by the doctor or district nurse. However. this has now changed to a related product called hydroxocobalamin 1000 (equals 1 000 micrograms/ ml) that is claimed to offer adequate protection if given once each three months by injection. This is now the routine in Australia and New Zealand for pernicious anaemia patients. Nevertheless, many older patients claimed they felt better on their monthly or bimonthly shots of B12 in the older form.

The injections may he necessary for the rest of the patient’s life. They are painless and adverse side effects are extremely uncommon. It is a small price to pay for a supplement that yields such dramatic and beneficial results.

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

What is Astigmatism?

This is distorted vision caused by a variation in refractive power along different meridians of the eye. It may be regular or irregular. Most cases are due to irregularities in the shape of the cornea, but the lens may also cause astigmatism. Heredity may also play a part, and the error can usually be treated with the prescription of suitable lenses.

Astimatism is a condition related to the foregoing two, and means that the surface of the cornea, or window of the eye, is irregular, but along different meridians of light, usually at right angles to each other. On the other hand there may be a different irregularity. Vision may be blurred, headaches are possible, and sometimes school work suffers if the parent is not aware of what is occurring. Occasionally it is due to a distortion in the shape of the lens.

Astigmatism Treatment

Treatment is effective in most cases very good results may take place. I might mention that a pronounced form of this is called keratoconus. An irregular cone, often like a bleb of fluid, develops on the front of the cornea, and grossly distorts vision. It can cause blindness.

Astigmatism is curable. In recent years with the development of eye transplant surgery, the defective cornea may be surgically removed and a new one put in its place. It is a delicate and very intricate operation. But it can restore vision by almost 100 per cent.

When I was a lad in primary school, I started to develop a keratoconus. As time progressed it worsened, so that I lost vision totally in my left eye. I travelled the world seeking a cure, only to come back home to Australia to find the world expert at corneal transplants at the time lived less than 15 kilometres from my home.

From a total visual loss in my affected left eye, following the operation I regained excellent vision. Now I still wear specs to correct it, but I can read perfectly normally. My new eye is better than my old eye. I can assure mothers that if this is their child’s problem, please be referred to an expert in this field. Having the vision tested will determine if corrective lenses are needed for better sight. Results are incredible these days. This is a major development on the world eye scene.

Storage Organize

Gardening brings with it an extraordinary amount of practical paraphernalia. Tools, pots, and planters, potting compost, raffia, string, seeds, and baskets are but a few of the sheds can become an attractive part of the garden architecture if decorated. For tools and equipment, garden sheds bulky and space-consuming examples are the classic solution that most gardens can accommodate, though smaller gardens may be restricted to a mini-shed or tool shed, which can be as small as 30 cm/12 in deep and so can be tucked into a corner. However,

Another solution is to put your goods on show. Garden pots can be very visual and, displayed on weatherproof shelves; can become part of the decorative appeal of the garden. This is an excellent solution for very small gardens and patios, which still need space for the practicals. Instead of buying ready-made garden shelving, you could build your own from timber and treat it with exterior-quality paint. Metal shelves can be given a new life using car spray paint or specially manufactured metal paint, which can even be sprayed straight over old rust.

All shelves should he attached firmly to the garden wall — avoid attaching to the house wall since this could lead to water damage. Once fitted, use the shelves for displays, to store tools, or for bringing on young seedlings, which can look delightful planted in ranks of terracotta pots.

Means of disguise

In an ideal world, garbage bins and recycling containers would be beautiful in themselves, but unfortunately, in reality they are seldom an attractive sight. They are necessary, however, and they do need to be accessible.

You can spend a little effort painting them, using a screen of plants to hide them or camouflaging them with a trellis with plants growing up it. Trellises have the advantage of being compact, long-lasting and attractive.

In spite of its utilitarian name, the potting shed is far more than a useful storage area and behind-the-scenes workroom for the gardener’s al fresco performance. For many gardeners, it is a rustic refuge from everyday concerns, a quiet and solitary place for contemplation and gentle activity, which may or may not be of a horticultural nature.

Potting sheds are seldom shared. In households of more than one individual, one person will generally claim territorial rights and others will trespass at their peril, for here the gardener’s true nature may flourish without interference. Tidiness is optional. Some people will hang meticulously cleaned tools in serried ranks, while others fling rusting relics in heaps on the floor. Pots may be carefully cleaned and sorted ready for use or left where last discarded, according to inclination. Compost (soil mix) is neatly sacked and stacked or thrown with abandon over every surface. Most of us come somewhere between the two extremes, for while we admire orderliness, a natural impatience engenders a tendency towards disorder, and in this one area of our lives, we feel completely free to be occasionally tidy and well organized, but rather more often not.

Stenciling Equipment


A variety of materials can he used for stencilling, from special stencilling paints and sticks to acrylics and latex. Each has its own properties and will create different effects.

Acrylic stencil paint: acrylic stencil paint is quick-drying, reducing the possibility of the paint running and seeping behind the stencil. Acrylic stencil paints are available in a wide range of colours, and can be mixed for more subtle shades.

Acrylic varnish: this is useful for sealing finished projects.

Emulsion (latex) paint: ordinary household vinyl emulsion can also be used for stencilling. It is best to avoid the cheaper varieties, as these contain a lot of water and will seep through the stencil.

Fabric paint: this is used in the same way as acrylic stencil paint, and comes in an equally wide range of colours. Set with an iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions, it will withstand washing and everyday use. As with ordinary stencil paint, do not overload the brush with colour, as it will seep into the fabric. Always back the fabric you are stencilling with scrap paper or newspaper to prevent the paint from marking the work surface. Gold leaf and gold size: these can be used to great effect. The actual design is stencilled with gold size. The size is then left to become tacky, and the gold leaf is rubbed over the design.

Metallic creams: these are available in many different metallic finishes, from gold to copper, bronze and silver. Apply as highlights on a painted base, or use for the entire design. Creams can be applied with cloths or your fingertip.

Oil-based stencil sticks and creams: the sticks can be used in the same ways a wax crayon, while the creams can be applied with a brush or your fingertip. With either one, there is no danger of overloading the colour, and they won’t run. The disadvantage is their long drying time (overnight in some cases); also, the colours can become muddy when mixed. Sticks and creams are also available for fabrics.


Stencilling does not require a great deal of special equipment; many of the items used are commonly found in most households. A few tools, however, will make the job easier.

Brushes: it is worth investing in a set of good stencil brushes. The ends of the brushes should be flat and the bristles firm, to let you control the application of paint. A medium-size brush (4 cm/11/2 in diameter) is a useful, all-purpose size, but you may want to buy one size smaller and one size larger as well. You will need a selection of household paintbrushes for applying large areas of background colour, and small artist’s paintbrushes for adding fine details. Craft knife: use for cutting out stencils from cardboard.

Cutting mat: this provides a firm surface to cut into and will help prevent the craft knife from slipping. Masking tape: as the stencil may need to be repositioned, it is advisable to hold it in place with masking tape, which can be removed fairly easily from most surfaces.

Paint-mixing container: this may be necessary for mixing paints and washes. Pencils: keep a selection of soft and hard artist’s pencils to transfer the stencil design on to cardboard. Use an ordinary pencil to mark on your object the positions of the stencils before applying.

Stencil card (cardboard): the material used to make the stencil is a matter of preference. Speciality stencil card is available waxed from specialist art stores, which means that it will last longer, but ordinary cardboard or heavy paper can also be used. It is worth purchasing a sheet of clear acetate if you wish to keep your stencil design, to reuse time and again.

Tape measure and rulers: some patterns may require accuracy. Measuring and planning the positions of your stencils before you begin will aid the result.

Tracing paper: use to trace and transfer your stencil design on to stencil card

How to Use Fresh Ingredients

Fresh ingredients are essential to a healthy, balanced diet, and we are now encouraged to eat at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day. Vitamin C is found almost exclusively in fruit and vegetables and because it cannot be stored by the body, levels need to be topped up continually.

Fruit and vegetables are also extremely rich in fiber, particularly when eaten with the skin in tact. High-protein foods such as meat, game, poultry and eggs contain many other essential nutrients. Use frozen produce when fresh is not available; it is perfectly acceptable from a nutritional point of view.

Fresh ingredients

Fresh Fruit

Fruits are very versatile and can be enjoyed raw or cooked, on their own or as part of a recipe. They are also good sources of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C. A piece of fresh fruit makes a quick and easy, nutritious snack at any time of the day. Try topping whole wheat breakfast cereals with some fruit such as raspberries for a tasty and nutritious start to the day.

Fresh Vegetables

Vegetables are nutritious and are valuable sources of vitamins and minerals, some being especially rich in vitamins A, C and E. Vegetables also contain some dietary fiber and those that are particularly good sources include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, fennel, okra, parsnips, spinach, spring greens (collard) and sweet corn. Vegetables are also very versatile and many can be eaten either raw or cooked. Add vegetables to dishes such as soups, stews, casseroles, stir-fries and salads, or simply serve them on their own, raw or lightly cooked and tossed in a little lemon juice.


Potatoes are one of the most commonly eaten vegetables in the world and are valuable in terms of nutrition. They are high in carbohydrate, low in fat and contain some Vitamin C and dietary fiber. Wash old and new potatoes thoroughly and cook them with their skins on, for example baked, boiled and roasted. The flavor will be just as delicious and you will be getting extra fiber.

Potatoes are very versatile and are used in many dishes. Mashed potatoes (with their skins left on, of course) make an ideal topping for pies and bakes. For roast potatoes use a minimum amount of oil, and if you like to make chips, leave the skins on and cut the chips thickly using a knife. With baked and mashed potatoes avoid adding high fat butter, soured cream or cheese and instead use skimmed milk, reduced fat hard cheese and herbs to add flavor.

Fresh Beans and Other Pulses

There are many varieties of fresh beans and pulses available, either fresh or canned, including peas, broad (lava)beans and runner beans, and more unusual ones such as fresh flageolet beans, black-eyed (peas) beans and butter (wax) beans. Fresh corn on the cob and sweet corn are also popular.

All are good sources of dietary fiber and contain other nutrients including vitamins and minerals. Beans and pulses are very versatile and can be used in many dishes including hot and cold salads, stir-fries, casseroles, pasta sauces, soups and curries. Some varieties, such as sugar-snap peas and mangetouts (snow peas) can be eaten either raw or lightly cooked.


Virtually a complete food and extremely versatile, eggs provide protein, iron, zinc and vitamins A, B and E.


Increasingly research points to the great benefits gained from a diet high in fish. All fish is rich in protein, B vitamins and minerals; white fish is very low in fat. Oily fish, such as sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout and salmon, also provide vitamins A and D and Omega 3 fatty acids, which are believed to be beneficial in helping to prevent coronary heart disease.


A good source of quality protein, B vitamins and some iron, poultry is also low in fat, particularly if the skin is removed.

Meat and Game

Although the general health advice is to moderate your intake of red meat, thus reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet, red meat is still the best source of readily absorbed iron, zinc and B vitamins. Meat today is much leaner than it used to be, and it fits the profile for a healthy diet if it is cooked with low-fat cooking methods.


Because nutrients in fresh foods, especially valuable vitamins, deteriorate as food ages it is important to always buy the freshest and best quality available. Storing the food correctly at home will also ensure that the minimum of nutrients are lost before they are eaten. Whilst some fruit and vegetables can be kept at room temperature, they will not last for long in a hot kitchen and should be stored in a cooler environment. Quickly perishable foods such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy products should be stored in a refrigerator.
A freezer is useful for keeping many fresh foods longer term. You can buy them when they are plentiful and cheap for the freezer, using them when they become out of season or more expensive in the shops. Follow the freezer manufacturer’s instructions for storing and blanch fruit and vegetables as required.

Storing Fresh Fruits

Those fruits that can be kept at room temperature while still unripe include apricots, kiwi fruits, mangoes, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples and plums. Once ripe, refrigerate and eat within 2-3 days.

Fruits that can be stored at cool room temperature include apples (although they will be crisper if refrigerated), bananas, dates, grapefruit and oranges. Apples can be kept at room temperature for a few days, dates for several weeks, and grapefruit and oranges for up to a week. Unless you intend to eat them on the day of purchase, refrigerate fully ripe and perishable fresh fruits. These include berries, cherries, figs, grapes, lemons, limes, melons, pomegranates and tangerines. They can be kept refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Storing Fresh Vegetables

Like fruits, there are some vegetables that can be stored at room temperature. A dark, cool place (about 10°C/50°F) with good ventilation is ideal, however. Suitable vegetables are garlic, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes, swede and pumpkin can be kept for about 2 months. Store tomatoes at room temperature until they are ripe, after that, refrigerate.
Perishable vegetables should be refrigerated. Some, such as peas or sweet corn, should be used quickly, while others like carrots or cabbage, can be kept for a longer period. In most cases, do not wash the vegetable until just before using. Celery, frisee, escarole, spring greens (collard), herbs, lettuce, spinach and watercress should be washed before storage.

Cold Storage

All foods kept in the refrigerator or freezer should be well wrapped or stored in sealed containers. This preserves flavor and moisture, and prevents the flavors and odors of other, stronger foods being transferred. It is essential to keep raw meat and poultry well wrapped as their drippings can transfer bacteria to other foods.

Perishable fresh foods, such as meats, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, cheese and other dairy products, and many fruits and vegetables must be kept refrigerated at a temperature ofI-5°C/35-40°F. For longer storage, many can also be frozen at 18°C/0°F or lower. Cooked leftovers must also be refrigerated or frozen. Use a special thermometer to check temperatures; integral thermostats often give false readings over time. If temperatures are too high, food will spoil rapidly

What Are The Endocrine Glands?

Endocrinology is the study of a strange set of organs that produce important chemicals called hormones. These are pumped directly into the bloodstream, and rapidly circulate to all parts of the system. Most of the glands produce more than one chemical. Indeed, some, such as the pituitary gland, can produce a large number. Each hormone has a specific function. The remarkable thing is that the hormones seem to know exactly where to go and what to do.

There is usually a fine balance between the activities of the various chemicals. This is all aimed at keeping the body as near to normal as possible, and functioning with the minimum amount of discomfort. Indeed, considering the huge number of chemicals involved in the function of the system, it is amazing. The endocrine glands are all largely under the control of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. These two areas form part of the brain. near its base, and together act as “captain of the ship.” They produce hormones that in turn govern the production and activity of other hormones produced in other regions of the body. They can have an overriding effect. They are close together, and actually the hypothalamus is the reins that check, activate and regulate the pituitary.

Although there is no direct conscious control over these glands by the individual, certain mental states, such as tensions and stresses and other psychological conditions, may indirectly influence the hypothalamus, so in a sense there is some indirect form of control.

In ordinary health the normally functioning glands pump out measured amounts of their hormones each 24 hours. Sometimes there is a so-called circadian distribution of production. This means it may vary during the 24-hour cycle of the day. In other areas it may be on a longer-term basis, such as in the ovaries of the female, where a 28-day cycle tends to occur.

In indifferent health, usually due tosome disease process, the endocrines will produce an altered amount of chemical. There may be either overactivity or underactivity of production. In turn, this will have dire repercussions on the total system. With some, it will dramatically alter the production rate of other hormones or affect general bodily function in startling ways. The most serious cause for these irregularities is when tumours (grave if these are cancerous) commence growing in the glands.

The next gland coming down from the hypothalamus and pituitary is the thyroid. This is situated in the neck at roughly the level of the Adam’s apple. It produces thyroid hormones that in turn exert powerful influences directly on the body. They also affect the other endocrine glands of the system.

Located behind the thyroid gland, and indeed deeply embedded in its back wall, are four small, rounded organs called the parathyroids. These are concerned with calcium and phosphorus metabolism. In this way they radically affect the bones, their rate of growth and general solidarity – a vital factor to normal living.

Sitting on top of the kidneys at the back of the abdominal cavity are the adrenal glands. Each consists of an outer part or cortex, and an inner part or medulla. These two sections produce important hormones. Cortisone comes from the cortex and is well-known for its vital effect on the system. It also produces hormones that affect blood pressure, and the medulla produces adrenaline, essential in giving the body its ability to cope with situations demanding “fight or flight.” The gonads are the major differentiating glands of the sexes, and are commonly called the sex glands. In females they govern the onset of the secondary sexual characteristics, and also control menstruation and the ability to become – and remain – pregnant.

In males, apart from ensuring pubertal development, the testes produce male hormone and the sperms, the male cells of reproduction.

Finally. the pancreas is located in the abdominal cavity, and its main claim to fame is in producing insulin. Deficient supplies produce a disease syndrome called diabetes mellitus, commonly known as sugar diabetes. Unless treated. many cases could quickly end fatally. But treatment can now maintain a person in near-normal health for a good long life. Generally speaking, the study of the endocrines is a very complex one.

Doctors who study this aspect of medicine usually do so in special clinics attached to major hospital units equipped with full facilities to investigate patients. Diagnosis is often difficult. Treatment is no simple matter in most cases. It usually has to be regulated very carefully. The doctors who do this are called endocrinologists. Diabetes too, although often patient-treated, must be under strict medical supervision. but it is one of the few disorders in which the patient is encouraged to take a close part in the actual administration of therapy, such as giving insulin if this is needed. The endocrines are a fascinating study and have attracted some of the best brains in medicine.

As more research is being carried out, more knowledge is being gained. Recent development of sensitive methods for detecting very small quantities of hormones in the blood have been developed. One such method is radioimmunoassay. This is opening vast new areas, for often until the doctors know more about chemical levels in the blood, diagnosis and treatment are delayed.

There are many practical repercussions from all this. For example. infertility (the inability to conceive) is an increasingly common problem in many women after they have taken the oral contraceptive pill for awhile; there are also other unknown reasons. To date treatment had been poor and relatively ineffective. But radioimmunoassay revealed that these women often have a higher-than-normal level of prolactin in their bloodstream. This is a hormone produced by the anterior lobe of the pituitary.

With this knowledge, the doctors have developed a drug called bromocriptine that effectively lowers plasma prolactin levels. The result is that many infertile women may now become pregnant – often within a few months of diagnosis – by taking bromocriptine. This is merely one indication of the value of increased knowledge in this exciting and rewarding field.

It is pointed out that many cases of endocrine disorder give rise to odd symptoms. If any of these are recognised, do not try to treat yourself. Get along to a doctor, who in turn may refer you to an endocrinologist if it appears to be warranted. Here correct diagnosis and treatment will be readily available. Home therapy, as a general rule. has no place in the treatment of endocrine disorders

How to Prepare to Paint a House

Remove areas of flaking paint using a scraper or filling knife (putty knife),and then either touch in the bare area with more paint or fill it flush with the surrounding paint film by using fine filler (spackle). Sand this smooth when it has hardened then use a clean cloth moistened with white spirit (paint thinner) to remove dust from recessed moldings and other awkward comets.

If knots are showing through on painted woodwork, sand back to bare wood and apply knotting (shellac) to the knot, then prime and undercoat to bring the new paint film level with the surrounding paintwork and sand between coats. Resinous knots may produce stains which can only be prevented by drying out the knots with a blowtorch.

Stripping Paint

Every time a surface is re-painted, a little more thickness is added to the paint layer. This does not matter much on wall or ceiling surfaces, but on woodwork (and, to a lesser extent, on metalwork) this build-up of successive layers of paint can eventually lead to the clogging of derail on moldings.

More importantly, moving parts such as doors and windows start to bind and catch against their frames. If this happens, it is time to strip back to bare wood and build up a new paint system. There are two methods of removing paint from wood and metal surfaces. The first is using heat, traditionally from a blowtorch but nowadays more often from an electric heat gun. The second is to use a chemical paint remover, which contains either dimethylene chloride or caustic soda. Heat works well on wood (although it can scorch the surface), but is less successful on metal because the material conducts heat away as it is applied. Chemicals work well on all surfaces, but need handling with care; always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter.


  1. Spray the air stream from the heat gun over the surface to soften the paint film. Scrape it off with a flat scraper as it bubbles up, and sit the hot scrapings in an old metal container
  2. Use a shave hook (triangular scraper) instead of a flat scraper to remove the paint from moldings. Take care not to scorch the wood if you intend to varnish it afterwards.
  3. Remove any remnant of paint using wire wool soaked in white spirit and paint working along the grain. Use a hand vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining loose particles paint.
  4. Sand the wood to remove any raised fibers, and then wipe it over with a cloth moistened with white spirit. Seal the resin in any exposed knots by brushing on liquid knotting (similar) and leave to dry.
  5. Apply a coat of wood primer or other recommended primer/undercoat to the stripped wood surface. This will provide optimum adhesion for the subsequent top coats, ensuring a really great finish.


  1. Fill splits and dents in wood using filler (spackle) on surfaces that are already painted, and tinted wood stopper (patched) on new or stripped wood that you intend to finish with a coat of varnish.
  2. Use the corner of a filling knife (putty knife), or a finger, to work the filler into recesses and other awkward to reach places. Smooth the excess filler before it dries and hardens.
  3. When the filler or wood stopper has hardened completely, use a piece of fine grade sandpaper wrapped around a sanding block to sand down the repair until it is flush with the rest of the wood.


  1. Wear rubber gloves and old clothing. Decant the liquid into a polythene (polyethylene) container or an old can, then brush it on to the surface to be stripped. Leave it until the paint bubbles.
  2. Use a flat scraper or shave hook (triangular scraper) as appropriate to remove die softened paint. Deposit the scrapings safely in an old container.
  3. Neutralize the stripper by washing down the surface with water or white spirit (paint thinner), as recommended by the manufacturer and leave it to dry.


  1. Paste remover is especially good for removing paint from intricate moldings because it dries very slowly. Apply the paste liberally to the surface
  2. Give the paste plenty of time to work, removing paint from intricate moldings especially on thick paint layers, then scrape because it dries very slowly. Apply the paste it off. Wash down the surface with plenty of liberally to the surface.


Add caustic soda to water until no more will dissolve. Thicken to a paste with oatmeal and use as for proprietary paste remover. Be particularly careful when using this corrosive solution. If it splashes on the skin, rinse at once with plenty of cold water.

Paperhanging Tools and Equipment

As for painting, there are 2 distinct groups of tools, equipment and materials to deal with wall coverings.

Stripping tools

The basic: technique for removing an old wall covering is to soften the paste used to stick it to the wall so that it can be scraped off and discarded. To strip porous materials such as ordinary printed paper and the hacking paper left behind after dry-stripping vinyl wall covering, use a bucket of water and a sponge or a garden spray gun to apply the water, dust sheets (drop cloths) to protect floor coverings, and abroad-bladed scraping knife to remove the softened paper.

To remove wall coverings with a water-resistant plastic or painted surface, it is necessary to pierce the surface film and so allow the water to penetrate. This can be done with a serrated wallpaper scraper or preferably a toothed roller or wheel, which is rolled backwards and forwards over the surface to create hundreds of little perforations. The water will take longer to penetrate this type of wall covering.

Stripping can be sped up dramatically on coated wall coverings(and also on paper-backed fabrics and texture paints) by using a steam stripper. This consists of a perforated steaming plate and a water reservoir heated by electricity or bottled gas. Steam penetrates the surface far more quickly than water does, enabling the covering to he stripped more quickly and effectively.

Paperhanging tools

‘There are 4 separate operations involved in hanging a new wall

covering: earring to length, pasting, hanging and trimming.

For cutting, the tools are a retractable steel tape measure, a pencil and a pair of scissors (or a sharp utility knife and a steel straight-edge).

For pasting the wall covering, there should be a bucket in which to mix the paste (unless using ready-mixed tub paste), plus a stirrer and a brush with which to apply the paste. A standard10 cm/4 in wide paintbrush is usually satisfactory, but special pasting brushes can be bought.

When choosing the paste, follow the instructions for the wall covering concerned. In particular, remember that a paste containing a fungicide should he used for washable and vinyl coverings, to prevent mold from growing in the paste as it slowly dries under the impervious covering.

A special overlap adhesive is needed for lap joints in internal and external corners when using washables or vinyls.

All that is needed when hanging a ready-pasted wall covering is a large plastic soaking trough in which you can immerse the rolled-up lengths of wall covering.

Before starting hanging, a plumb bob and line are needed to mark it true vertical line on the wall against which to hang the first length.

Most wall coverings are applied with a special soft-bristled paperhanging brush. These are generally between 19 cm/71/2 in and 25 cm/10 in wide, and have a slim handle. The soft bristles help to make the wall covering follow the contours of the wall surface beneath, and also eliminate undue hand contact with the lace of the covering, which might mark it.

A sponge can be used instead of a brush for hanging washables or vinyls, especially if they are ready-pasted, since here the sponge helps to mop water from the surface of the wall covering as well as smoothing it into place.

The final stage is trimming, and the best tool for this is a special pair of paperhangers’ scissors. These have blades up to 30 cm/12 in long for making long, straight curs.

For papering walls, a stepladder is needed which should be tall enough to enable the ceiling to he easily touched. For papering ceilings, set up a proper platform across the width of the room at a comfortable  height, using scaffold boards or staging on trestles or other low supports to ensure complete stability. Do not step trout chair to chair or set up similar dangerous makeshift arrangements.

A flat surf tee is needed to lay the paper on while it is being pasted. It is best to use a proper pasting table. This is a lightweight folding table covered in hardwood or plywood on a softwood Mime, and is usually about 1.8 m/6 ft long and just wider than a standard roll of wall covering. If you cannot buy, borrow or hire a pasting table, one can be improvised by cutting a standard sheet of plywood or chipboard (particleboard) down to the same width and supporting it on trestles or sawhorses.

How to Make a Table Cloth

Both square and round tablecloths are quick to make. For practical uses choose a washable fabric, either plain or patterned, in a shade which matches or co-ordinates with the general color scheme of the room as well as any favorite tableware.

Cotton and synthetic blends are easy to sew, require practically no ironing and so make a good choice for everyday table cloths in the kitchen or dining room.

Plain, heavy cotton and linen look better for more formal occasions, but they require more hard work to keep them looking good over the years. Always treat stains on table linen immediately and launder as soon afterward as possible. Choose a pretty printed fabric to make a covering for a rectangular kitchen table.


1. Measure the sides of the table top, adding twice the required drop from the edge of the table and 25 mm/1 in all around for hem allowances. Cut out the fabric. Turn and press a 12 mm or 1/2 inch hem around the sides.

2. Unfold both hems and carefully cut across each corner diagonally, as shown, within 6 mm or 1/4 inch of the corner point at the inner fold.

3. Pin the diagonal edges together, with the right sides facing, and stitch a narrow seam 6 mm or 1/4 inch from the raw edge. Stitch from the inner corner point and make the seam 12 mm or1/2 inch long. Press and turn the corners out to the right side

4. Refold the double hem. The diagonal seams at each corner make a neat miter. Stitch around the edge of the table cloth, close to the inner fold. Press the hem.

Cover a round occasional table with a floor-length plain under cloth, and then top it with a small square cloth made of co-ordinating fabric.


I. Measure the diameter of the table top and add twice the depth of the drop plus 25 mm or 1 inch for hem allowances. Make a pattern from dressmaker’s pattern paper using a pencil tied to a piece of string measuring half your final measurement. Hold one end of the string and draw a quarter circle on the paper. Cut out.

2. Fold the fabric into four and pin on the quarter circle pattern, aligning the folded edges of the fabric with the straight edges of the paper. Cut out using sharp scissors.

3. Stitch around the outside of the fabric 12 mm or 1/2 inch from the raw edge. This line of stitching marks the hem. Press the edge over on the wrong side of the fabric along the line, without stretching the fabric.

4. Carefully turn under the raw edge to make a double hem, and then pin and tack (baste) the hem in place. Stitch around the edge of the table cloth close to the inner fold of the hem. Press the hem well.


When joining fabric to make either a square or round table cloth, avoid making a seam down the centre as this can look rather unsightly. Instead, cut out two pieces of fabric to the correct width and use one as the central panel. Cut the second piece in half lengthways and join to either side of the panel, matching the pattern if necessary. Use an ordinary flat seam and neaten the raw edges.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a disorder of the airways of the lungs producing problems in normal may be administered—cromoglycate, or the bronchodilators, or theophyllin. The doctor will work out the best routine for your child. Today, there are various bronchodilators, and they are all good. Aerosol sprays can now rapidly cut short an attack. Salbutamol (“Ventolin”), currently one of the most popular, when inhaled into the airways will hasten relief. Other products are also used.

Asthma Symptoms

1. There will be loud, laboured, wheezy breathing.

2. The sufferer has difficulty in speaking and moving.

3. The sufferer is distressed and anxious.

4. Pallor and sweating are marked features.

5. Sometimes, in a severe attack, lack of oxygen leads to mental confusion.

What to Do in the Case of Asthma Attack

1. Sit the patient upright, with arms resting on a pillow, table or chair for support. Open windows, being careful that the patient is not subjected to draughts or chills.

2. In a severe attack seek medical help promptly, as the patient may have to be given oxygen.

3. If the patient has medication specifically prescribed for asthma, it should be given immediately.

4. Speak confidently and reassuringly to the patient, advising that help is on the way. Perhaps a warm drink may help to relieve the tension and fears.

Asthma Treatment

To help the patient easily obtain the full dose of medication, a device called a “spacer” may first receive the dose, which is then inhaled more slowly. These are very effective.

The drugs must not be used haphazardly or too frequently. Despite the fine film of mist the can imparts when the button is pressed, they are very potent drugs. Parental supervision is essential. The doctor’s instructions must be followed implicitly. If relief is not gained within a few minutes, this does not mean fresh sprays are required. Minimum time periods between successive doses are important to avoid overdosing. However, today, the tendency is for patients to under treat rather than over treat asthma.

Cortisone provided a major step forward in the treatment of asthma. With current methods it is being used much less, both in its original form, and its other derivatives, prednisone. prednisolone and beta-methasone. Many adverse side effects occurred with longterm use. But it played its part, and in certain instances is still used. Causing fluid retention, children often develop an odd-shaped appearance called “moon face.” Also, it caused the bones to stop growing, prematurely stunting growth. Many children on long-term steroids have switched to newer methods of therapy.

Other aerosol forms of cortisone-type treatment are now available and they are highly successful in preventing attacks before they occur. Chief of these are beclamethasone (“Becotide” and “Aldecin”). Used regularly, they are highly effective in stopping attacks from occurring. It takes a few weeks for them to become effective. Many children now use this regularly, eliminating the need for oral steroid drugs (the cortisone derivatives).

Other medication that is inhaled is called sodium cromoglycate. It has been around for many years and is also effective in aborting attacks in many instances before they occur. Likewise this must be used regularly. It does not succeed in all cases, but  a certain number find it provides good relief.

What about all the other pills and mixtures that choked the medicine cabinet of many asthmatics?

These are now not nearly so necessary. Tininophylline, adrenaline, theophylline and ephedrine are the basis of many. These are still sometimes used, especially for milder asthmatics.

Sometimes skin tests are carried out by allergy specialist to try to discover the most probable cause of the attacks. When it is found, an extract may be prepared that is injected into the patient in increasing doses over a period of 12-18 months. This is aimed at increasing resistance to product. Also, it is hoped to desensitize the patient, as the doctors say. It is still used, but is not popular. Other methods seem easier and more effective.

Keeping house dust to a minimum is advisable. In fact a special kit to help with is now available and is a worthwhile exercise.

Every effort should be made by the parents to eliminate allergy factors to which the child may be sensitive. Hairy, furred pets may precipitate symptoms. Microscopic house dust mites, present in house dust, and often very prolific in bedding, is notorious for causing attacks. Dry-cleaning bedroom curtains, washing bed clothing, vacuuming the bedroom weekly, probably washing the Nankets monthly, using a damp cloth to wipe away settled dust (rather than a dry duster that simply allows dust to re-enter the bedroom air) often help.

Every asthmatic must have a “crisis plan” worked out in conjunction with the doctor well in advance in the event of a sudden asthmatic emergency occurring.

This is of vital importance. How important is the child’s general health?

Ideally, the fitter the child the better. Keeping free from respiratory infections, and indeed infections of any nature, is worth striving for. Eating sensible, regular meals, getting exercise within the child’s capacity, avoiding cigarette smoke (and educating children on the dangers of smoking before they decide to start).

Many children gradually grow out of their asthma, and develop into strong, fit and healthy adults. The attacks become less frequent, and often finally vanish.

A happy, tension-free home environment can only help. Sensible parents will strive to achieve this. In fact it helps all round—parents included!

Today, asthmatic attacks occur with far less frequency and severity than formerly, because new medications are available that stop the attacks from taking over. (See Section 2: Chapter 5.) In the majority of cases a person who develops a sudden attack of asthma will do best with inhalation of one of the “instant action” aerosol preparations especially designed to cut short such an attack.

Occasionally, however, distressingly severe asthma attacks may prove to be life-endangering, so treat promptly.