Author Archives: Ramon.KGS

Stamping Equipment


When you are stamping, you will discover that different paints and stamps will produce very different results. Here are some of the best materials to experiment with.

Dutch metal leaf and gold size: metal leaf is a cheap, easy-to-use alternative to real gold leaf. Use a sponge stamp to apply gold size in a repeating pattern. When the size is tacky, carefully apply the gold leaf.

Inks: water-based inks are too runny to use on their own but can be added to wallpaper paste or varnish to make a mixture thick enough to adhere to the stamp. Use them for paper or card, but not for walls. If you are using rubberstamps, inkpads suitable for them are commercially available in a wide range of colours.

Interior filler (spackle): add filler, in its dry powdered state to emulsion (latex) paint to give it body without diluting the colour.

Paint: water-based paints such as emulsion and artist’s acrylics dry quickly to a permanent finish. Use emulsion paint straight from the can or dilute it with wallpaper paste or varnish. For wall treatments, emulsion paint can be thinned with a little water and sponged or brushed over the wall as a colourwash.

Precut stamps: rubber stamps are widely available in thousands of designs, usually mounted on wooden blocks. Finely detailed motifs are best suited to small-scale projects, while bolder shapes are more effective when used for walls and furniture. Make your own from foam or sponge.

Sponge or foam: different types of sponge are characterized by their density and are easy to make yourself. High-density sponge is best for detailed shapes and will give a smooth, sharp print. Medium-density sponge or low-density sponge will absorb more paint and give a more textured result and is better for larger projects.

Varnish: use water-based, acrylic varnish (sold as quick-drying) for stamping projects. The varnish can be mixed with emulsion paint or ink to thicken the texture and create a range of different sheens.

Wallpaper paste: wallpaper paste allows you to thin emulsion paint without making it too runny to adhere to the stamp. Mix up the paste with the required amount of water first, and then add the emulsion.


When this occurs. part of the bowel twists on itself. The result is that the blood supply is suddenly cut off. This gains access to the bowel via the mesentery, a sheet of thin tissue that provides the bowel with its nutritional requirements. When this occurs, a closed-loop type of obstruction takes place. The immediate risk is that if complete, the bowel, devoid of its blood supply, may quickly die and become gangrenous and perforate. Peritonitis may quickly follow. Often the volvulus is not complete, and cases occur where it tends to come and go.

Sometimes symptoms come on rapidly, or they may be much slower. Symptoms simulate a bowel obstruction.

Volvulus Treatment

Acute cases must be surgically treated as an emergency. For chronic forms, more probable with older adults, decompression by a rectal tube may be possible. However, this again is in the province of the doctor, and any symptoms that indicate abdominal problems must receive prompt, expert medical attention. Delay may prove fatal.

One of the major changes in surgical care in recent years is the day-care centres. Here, the patient is admitted for one day (or part of a day) only. Many one-time major surgical operations have contracted to fairly “minor” procedures that can be completed in a short time.

With quick-acting general anaesthetics (or the use of local anaesthesia), a large amount of investigation and treatment can be quickly and expertly carried out. Theatres are often attached to the centres, with certain theatres being geared for a small, specific range of operations (eg endoscopic or colonoscopic surgery, eye surgery, various gynaecological or abdominal laparoscopic techniques). This not only reduces overall costs, but enables more patients to be treated in a shorter time. It appears to be the way of the future.

Overactive Thyroid Gland

Overactive Thyroid Gland is referred to as an overactive gland or hyperthyroidism. Unlike the underactive state that may set in at birth, this is more common in the 12-14-years age group, and seems to affect girls more commonly than lads.
They may come on quite suddenly, and the symptoms represent a general speeding up of the system and its activity. It’s as though the accelerator has been shoved down to the floor, and everything is racing. So, the patient tends to be nervy and irritable. She fidgets and squirms around and simply cannot sit still for long. The skin tends to feel warm and clammy, and she may perspire more than normal. Occasionally there may be prominence of the eyes, although this is more common in advanced cases in adults.
The heart may race and palpitations may develop, which is a little scary. The child may eat well, but be quite thin, and often feel weak, for the food is being gobbled up at a fast rate. Growth may be above normal. Girls may commence menstruation later than normal, or might not commence at all.
A mother confronted with symptoms in her child along these lines should promptly seek medical attention. Exactly, and that is why I’ve named the most probable kinds of symptoms. The sooner special tests are carried out, the sooner the child will be restored to normal.
Overactive Thyroid Gland Treatment
This will vary with the individual patient. It will depend on the results of tests and assessments. In some cases, medication with tablets may be adequate. In more serious ones, surgery may be necessary. The doctor, usually a specialist, will prescribe a special medication routine for the patient and her particular problem. I might assure mothers that therapy is usually very satisfactory, and in the long run an excellent result will take place in most instances. The main object, however, is action if abnormal symptoms occur.

Table Flower Decorations

A garland is a lovely way to decorate a table indoors or out — for a special occasion such as a wedding or christening reception, a birthday, or any other celebration. You can make the garland to loop across the front of the table, to encircle the rim, or to drape on all four sides of a free-standing table. Long, leafy stems work extremely well for this type of decoration. With its pliable stem and mass of bright green leaves; this forms a natural garland, and makes an attractive instant decoration, even without the addition of flowers.

Smilax is usually sold to order in bundles of 5 stems. Keep the stem ends in water until just before you assemble the garland, and the foliage should stay fresh for several days. Mimosa, gypsophila and spray chrysanthemums all make a good accompaniment for a bright, summery look.


Floral and foliage garlands are very simple to make and as they are almost invariably composed of short-stemmed plant materials, they can utilize clippings from larger designs. Side shoots of delphinium cut from stems arranged in a pedestal design; individual spray-chrysanthemum flowers that formed too dense a cluster; florets and leaflets that would come below the water level in a vase— you can form them all into posies and hind them on to a garland using silver wire.

Garlands can be composed on a central core. According to the weight of the plant materials, this may vary from tightly coiled paper ribbon, thin string, twine or wire, to thick rope or even a roll made of wire-mesh netting filled with off cuts of absorbent stem-holding foam. This latter core has the advantage of providing fresh flowers in a garland with a source of moisture.

It will save time just before the event if you make up the posies in advance. Choose materials that will contrast well with the bright foliage of the garland. Cut the flower stems short, using 5 or 6 pieces of gypsophila, 2 small snippings of mimosa, and either 1 or 2 spray chrysanthemums, according to their size. Gather the stems together and bind them with silver wire.

You can space the posies as close together or as wide apart on the garland as you wish, so make up as many as you will need. As a general rule, the smaller the table, the smaller the gap should be between the flowers. Once you have assembled the posies, place them in a shallow howl of water before attaching them to the garland.

Measure the length, of garland needed for the side drapes and mark the centre. With the stems of the first posy towards the end of one of the lengths of foliage, hind the posy to the main stem with silver wire. Bind on more posies in the same way, reversing the direction of the stems when you reach the centre of the draped garland. Repeat the decoration with the remaining lengths of garland, but without reversing the direction of the flowers of the side trails.

Pin the garland to the cloth, adjusting the fall of the drape so that it is equal on all sides, and pin on the side trails. Check that the garland hangs well. Sometimes the weight of the posies will cause it to twist, with the flowers facing inwards. If this happens, pin the garland to the cloth at intervals. Pin lengths of ribbon to the corners, and tie more lengths into bows and attach to the centres of the drapes.

A garland of dried flowers, wired on topper ribbon and finished off with an extravagant bow, makes a beautiful table decoration. The garland will retain its crisp and colourful appearance throughout the day, and can be carefully packed away and used another time.


What is Otosclerosis?

This is a progressive disease that often commences in early adult life, particularly in females, producing advancing deafness, accompanied by tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and occasionally giddiness. There is a tendency, apparently, for this problem to run in families, transmitted by the female to her daughters. The condition may proceed to almost total deafness, but often sensori-neural deafness may also supervene.

Otosclerosis Symptoms

Deafness is the main symptom. It progresses until it may be nearly complete. The patient tends to speak in a quiet voice. Many find they can hear better in a noisy environment. The disorder is caused by spongy bone being laid down around the oval window of the middle ear, fixing the stapes, one of the vital bones required for normal movements in hearing. It is uncertain what produces this, but a genetic factor is definitely present.
Some of the points to look for with little ones include whether there is a history of “risk” factors with the child (eg did the mother have rubella during early months of pregnancy?); suspicion by the mother 54 of the child being deaf; and other defects in the child that may have resulted from the risks mentioned.
The child may also not appear to respond to sound in daily activities (eg failure to arouse when noise is present when very young; failure to answer to its own name; failure to vary the tone of speaking as it becomes older; strident sounds for certain, simple vowel sounds; retardation in speech and language development etc).
Some of these factors may be evident as early as three months of age. They will gradually become more apparent. Hearing is as important to speech as sight is to reading. It is imperative that a child suspected of having a hearing disability be referred to a special centre where it can be thoroughly and expertly checked promptly.
In older people, gradual loss of hearing is part of the aging process. Some note it re severely than others. Conversely, many older people have remarkable raring acuity well into old age. Nevertheless, in this electronic era, much can be done for many people with distress of hearing loss.
Sudden reduction of hearing may be caused by blockage of the outer ear canals by and debris, and foreign bodies can produce a sudden mechanical deafness to normal sound. Hearing diminution is sometimes associated with a ringing sensation in one or both ears. This is called “tinnitus.” It can be very disturbing in older people.
This is of particular importance in small children. Children anywhere from age of three months onwards should alert parents to recognize abnormal hearing. Immediately there is any suspicion of this, the child must be on to an appropriate place where diagnosis and therapy may be initiated without further delay.

Otosclerosis Treatment

There was no satisfactory treatment until the advent of the operating microscope and perfection of a microsurgical technique that has revolutionized procedures. This is in the province of the ENT surgeon, who has specialised in this form of surgery. Carried out by a trained surgeon, it is not a serious procedure.
There are several forms of the operation, but removal of the damaged footplate bone and replacing this with a suitable prosthesis is the final outcome. This restores the normal continuity of the growth and can result in a near-normal upbringing, but if it is missed, it can retard them and remain a tremendous drawback that may have a permanent detrimental effect on their physical and mental welfare.
There are many deaf children. Before the advent and widespread use of vaccination for rubella (German measles), many women sustained the disease during pregnancy. They subsequently produced deaf (completely or partially deaf) children. Now vaccination of women is more readily available, this cause of juvenile deafness should commence to reduce in the near future. Past epidemics resulted subsequently in enormous numbers of deaf children.

Infants and children

These should be taken immediately the family doctor who will most probably refer the patient to an Ear, Nose and -oat (ENT) specialist for further pinion and tests on hearing. The vast majority of these children in Australia attend a branch of the Cornnwealth Acoustic Laboratories. Children may be taken there directly, and no formal referrals are required. These clinics are situated in all State capitals and in many larger provincial towns. Tests are carried out, and if the patient requires hearing aids, these are supplied free of charge. They are subsequently maintained and serviced without charge to the child or the parents, and no means test is applied. Almost the entire deaf child population of Australia is catered for by these laboratories.
Approximately two children for every 1,000 born require hearing aids. These are generally fitted around the age of 18 months. But this age is decreasing with an earlier awareness of the child’s defect. Many are now fitted in the 3-6 month age group.

Older persons

As soon as there is an awareness of a hearing loss, medical assistance should be sought. Your own family doctor is usually the best starting point. He can carry out a preliminary assessment and check if there is any local cause. If there is, this will be rectified (eg syringing ears or removing foreign matter or objects). Alternatively, he may refer the patient to an ENT specialist for further investigation. The suitability of a hearing aid can be assessed. This may be carried out in conjunction with the laboratories already mentioned.
An assessment may also be made as to whether other medical disorders are producing some symptoms. Noises in the head, ringing bells, tinnitus etc may have other reasons, and these must be checked out. Suitable measures to correct these should be taken. Often “tinnitus” has no curable cause. The person must learn to “live with it.”

State of Shock

Shock is a very common feature of an infarct, and all degrees may occur. It may be mild and fairly transient in minor infarcts. Or it may be very severe and prolonged.

Simple shock may develop into cardiac shock, which is even more serious and ominous in total outlook.

The common symptoms of shock include a feeling of weakness and dizziness, and the patient may actually faint. Sweating and vomiting may occur. The appearance may be similar to a person in an ordinary faint.

But it may be more marked and more serious. The skin may appear to be pale, cold and clammy. The face is pale, drawn and anxious, and the skin assumes a transparent quality. Or there may be a bluish tinge, as inadequate oxygen is reaching the skin and extremities. But throughout all this, the mental alertness of patients is often surprisingly clear, and they may be well aware of what is taking place around them.

This state of shock may be transient. or more seriously it may persist for hours or even days. The longer it persists, the more critical the implications. With true cardiac shock that persists, the outcome can be very serious, and often death will follow.

As the state of shock passes off, patients will notice a reduction of the pain: they might brighten perceptibly, or indications of heart failure may put in an appearance.

Shock may be a serious condition, indicating a sudden reduction of the blood pressure and a depression of all vital centres, causing weakness, subnormal temperature, sweating and apathy. The skin is pale and cold, the pulse weak and rapid, and the patient may be restless and agitated. He or she may be able to think clearly, but may lie quite still. The immediate causes are usually severe external injuries and internal trauma to major organs. Haemorrhage, crushing injuries and burning are important factors.

These produce loss of fluid, and the amount of circulating blood suddenly lessens. Pain can aggravate the situation. Other important causes include serious conditions such as perforation of the gut, peritonitis, severe diarrhoea and vomiting, overwhelming infections, massive pulmonary embolism or damage to the heart (as by cardiac infarction).

Shock Symptoms

1. Patiem may feel light-headed, giddy or faint.

2. Nausea or votniting may be present. May feel thirsty.

3. Skin becomes cold, pale and clammy.

4. Pulse is slowly becomes rapid and weak. Breathing is weak and shallow.

h. There may be dullness of mentality, which can lapse into unconsciousness. The conditions causing the shock are usually present, and must be .treated if applicable.

Shock Treatment

Shock is a medical emergency, and treatment must be commenced as early as possible. This is best carried out in a hospital geared to cope with these emergencies. Haemorrhage must be stopped immediately, and blood replacement given by blood transfusion, or by some other replacement fluid if this is not available. In some instances hydrocortisone is given, and appears to be helpful. The patient is kept warm, but not hot.

First-aid treatment that may be given by the casual bystander, pending professional assistance, includes:

• Make certain there is an adequate airway and plenty of fresh air.

• Control haemorrhage as a matter of urgency.

• Ensure maximum blood to the brain by lowering the head and elevating the lower limbs.

• Do not heat the patient, but prevent shivering by use of a blanket or other suitable covering.

• Endeavour to prevent fluid loss through sweating by protecting the patient from evaporation.

• Endeavour to relieve pain by covering wounds, splinting fractures, elevating injured parts and resting them. Handle gently at all times.

• Remain calm, and do not panic or rush. Take your time, but operate efficiently, calmly: and .effectively.

• Make certain air passages are clear. Remove any obstruction if present. Resuscitate if necessary,

• Control bleeding if this is occurring, (See Haemorrhage.)

• Ensure maximum blood supply to centres (heart and brain). Elevate legs on cushions, or some other form of comfortable support if there are no fractures.

• Prevent shivering, but do not overheat. Cover with blanket or rug if cool day.

• Speak encouragingly; This is for the patient already feels poorly, and positive words of encouragement can have a remarkable psychological benefit. Get to emergency medical attention as soon as possible keeping patient comfortable and moving as little as necessary.

How to Use a Sewing Machine

Few people would even think of beginning a sewing project without a sewing machine. Sewing by machine is quick and, if the tension has been set correctly, extremely neat. Machine stitching is indispensable when sewing long straight seams in soft furnishings and also produces strong seams in dressmaking. Use machine stitching in conjunction with hand sewing for the most professional-looking result.


Slow down as you approach the corner and work the last few stitches by turning the hand wheel. Stop 15 mm or 5/8 in ft, in the edge with the needle in the fabric. Lift the presser foot and swing the fabric round until the next seam is lined up with the guideline on the needle plate. Lower the toot and continue. You may have to turn the fabric back a little and take another stitch or two until the edge is exactly on the 15 nun/’/s in line on the needle plate.


Sew slowly round soft curves, keeping the edge of the fabric opposite the presser toot on the guideline of the needle plate. On tighter curves stop and turn the fabric slightly into the curve before beginning. Keep stopping every few stitches to adjust the line of the fabric until the curve is complete. To ensure that two curves are exactly the same, for example on a collar, make a template and mark the curve along the seam line before sewing.


Unless the fabric is fine or delicate, the easiest way to remove stitches is with a nunpicker. Slip the point underneath a stitch and cut it against the sharp, curved edge of the tool. Cut every two or three stitches and then turn the fabric over and pull the reverse-side thread out. Brush the loose threads from the right side and steam press to close the holes. On fine or delicate fabrics, lift and taut the stitches one at a time.


One of the first tasks in any sewing project is sewing a seam. Most soft furnishing and dressmaking patterns use a 15 min/5/8 in seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

Begin by basting or pinning the seam across the seam line with the right sides of the fabric together. Place the fabric under the presser foot so that the edge of the seam is next to the 15 mm/8 in line on the needle plate and the fabric is 5 mm/l/4 in behind the needle. Use the hand wheel to take the needle down into the fabric and begin to sew. Work at a speed that is comfortable, guiding but not forcing, the fabric along the line on the needle plate.


The type of machine you have will determine the range of stitches at your disposal. The stitches listed here are the most common ones used in general sewing. Look in your handbook for the complete range of stitches possible on your machine. Try out a stitch on a double scrap of the fabric you will be using before you start.

1. Satin stitch: A zigzag with the stitch length set almost at zero. It is used for buttonholes and machine appliqué. Use a clear-view foot to allow enough room for the bulky stitch underneath. Satin stitch can make the fabric gather if the stitches are too wide, so check the stitch width is right for the fabric before you start. Buttonholes consist of two parallel rows of narrow satin stitches with a few double-width stitches at each end to finish.

2. Blind hemming (blind stitch hem): Use in conjunction with a blind-hemming foot. This stitch is suitable for heavy or bulky fabrics where the stitch won’t show on the right side. The hem is tacked (basted) and then fed under the foot and is sewn with a series of straight stitches followed by a zigzag stitch which picks up the main fabric. Adjust the zigzag length to make the stitch into the fold as small as possible.

3. Straight stitch: This is the stitch most widely used to join two pieces of fabric together. For ordinary fabric set the stitch length dial between 2 and 3. If the fabrics very fine or heavy alter the stitch length to suit.Use a shorter stitch for fine fabrics and a longer one for heavy fabrics. If you have an automatic sewing machine you can work a stretch straight stitch —useful for sewing fabrics such as jersey. Quick basting stitches can be worked by machine. Use the longest straight stitch possible for this to make it easy to pull out the thread.

4. Zigzag: These stitches are used for finishing edges, for machine appliqué and as decoration. Try different lengths and widths of stitch to find which one suits the fabric best. In general, the stitch should be as small, narrow and as straight as possible.

5. Multi-zigzag: Wider versions of zigzag such as triple zigzag and herringbone stitch are useful for sewing elastic on to fabric. Triple zigzag can be used lot finishing scams on soft or fine fabrics. Both stitches can be used to prevent the edges of towelling or knitted fabrics from curling before sewing.

6. Over locking: This is worked directly over the edge of the fabric, stitching and finishing the seam in one. Alternately, stitch along the seam line and trim.

7. Decorative stitches: Automatic machines contain a device called a pattern earn which allows a range of stitches to be firmed. Suitable for machine embroidery or to finish hems.

8. Computer-generated stitches: The most advanced machines have a silicone chip to create many decorative stitches. These stitches take time to complete as the fabric moves in a circular direction to create the pattern, but the results are very effective.

Pet Safety

Pets can give a lot of pleasure. They make good companions for all ages and are an excellent way for children to learn about responsibility and caring for others. Being a deterrent to burglars and an intruder alarm, a family dog also helps to safeguard the home.

Keeping pets involves a lot of responsibility, however, and they can cause accidents and spread disease if not properly looked after. Make sure you know how to care for any animal you own and that whichever member of the family takes on the routine tasks will have enough time and commitment to do the job properly. Bear these points in mind when deciding what sort of pet to bring into the home.

Living with dogs

Dogs interact with humans so well that they soon become a member of the household, demanding their equal share of company and attention to keep them happy and well behaved. As dogs can live for ten to 15 years or even more, owning one is a long-term commitment. Feeds need to be regular, as does exercise. Grooming is necessary to keep the dog’s skin and coat in good condition, and to minimize the amount of hair shed in the house, and with long-haired varieties, this can overtime become more of a chore than a pleasure. Dogs bring dirt and dust into the house, so increasing the amount of housework around them.

Choose the breed carefully to suit your family situation; dogs are bred for certain characteristics and different types can require much more exercise and feeding than others. Most dogs do not like to be left alone for long periods, and some can become destructive in the home. Check on the dog’s likely temperament and if you are buying a puppy try to see both parents.

Training is another important aspect in a dog’s life. Dogs must always be kept under control and well behaved, especially in public. An uncontrollable dog is a potential danger in the home and on the street. If you have any difficulty with training your dog, seek out a training group, where your dog can learn to socialize with other canines and learn to respond to your commands.

Keeping cats

Cats are much more independent than dogs, and require less care and attention. They groom themselves, unless they are long-haired, and often spend a lot of their time on their own. However, when they do want attention, or a nice warm lap to snuggle into, they can be very affectionate and rewarding as pets. They will even play with you, but on their terms and only when they feel like it.

It is wise to get a male cat neutered and a female cat spayed. Males grow into rangy beasts which take to fighting and spraying your property as they mark out their own territory. Females can, and most probably will, start to reproduce at six months of age and can produce two litters a year. Finding good homes for the kittens can become a regular headache. Talk to your local vet about the best time to spay and neuter your pet, if unsure.

Small rodents

Mice, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits all have their particular charms. They are generally relatively short-lived, although some rabbits do go on for many years. Although they are much cheaper to keep than either dogs or cats, they all need to be contained in cages, preferably with areas or runs large enough for them to exercise in. Hamsters particularly like toys and wheels to play with and guinea pigs and rabbits benefit from being allowed to run out of doors. Cages should be cleaned weekly.

Many children are wonderfully at ease with pets, but it is a good idea to show them how to hold and handle animals safely.

Window Repair

By far the most common window problem is a cracked or broken pane, caused by a flying object or by the window being allowed to slam. Make a temporary repair to cracked glass with a clear waterproof repair tape not household adhesive tape – but aim to replace the pane at the earliest opportunity. If the glass is broken, lift out all the loose pieces for safety’s sake and make a temporary repair by fixing heavy-duty polythene (polyethylene)sheeting or a piece of board over the opening to keep out the cold.

When measuring up bar the replacement glass, measure all four sides in case the rebate in the frame is not perfectly square, and use the smaller of each pair of figures. Subtract 3 nun/

Vs in from each one to allow for clearance all around, and note which way the pattern ran if the glass was obscured rather than clear. Take a piece of patterned glass with you when buying a replacement, so as to be sure of getting the correct type.

The other problems that windows suffer from are similar to those affecting doors– paint build-up, expansion and warping. They may also pull out of square if the frame corner joints start to open up, causing the casement to bind in its frame and possibly also cracking the glass. The trouble can be cured by strengthening the frame corners with small L-shaped metal repair plates; cut shallow recesses for them and disguise their presence with filler (spackle) and a coat of paint.


1. When a window breaks, remove all the loose glass immediately for safety’s sake. Wear stout gloves to protect your handstand dispose of the glass safely

2. Use an old chisel or a glazier’s knife to remove all the old putty from the rebate in the frame. Take care not to cut into the wood while doing this.

3. Use a pair of pincers or pliers to pull out the old glazing sprigs. Metal frames have glazing clips; save these and re-use them.

4. Knead some putty with your hands toward and soften it, then press it into the rebate by extruding it between your thumb and forefinger.

5. Set the replacement pane m position against the bedding putty with equal clearance all around, and press it into place mound the edges to compress the putty.

6. Secure the pane in the rebate by tapping in glazing sprigs at roughly 30 cm/12 in intervals. Replace clips in their locating holes in metal frames.

7. Repeat step 4 to extrude a bead of putty all around the pane, then neaten it to a45′ bevel by drawing the blade of a putty knife along it.

8. Trim off excess putty from the outside and inside of the pane and leave it to harden for about14 days before painting over it to disguise and seal the joints.


1. If a build-up of paint is causing the edge of the casement to hind against the frame, strip it hack. Use chemical strippers for this, as heat may crack the glass.

2. If the Ionic has swollen because of moisture penetration, plane a little wood off the leading edge. Prime and paint it immediately to keep the wood dry.

3. If the corner joints of a casement show signs of opening up and the frame is pulling out of square, screw on small L-shaped metal repair plates.

Illness and Child Care

Abdominal pain

This can be caused by indigestion, colic or wind, and antacids or charcoal tablets will help to relieve the symptoms quickly. Anyone suffering from abdominal pain accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting or fever should be seen by a doctor.

Bad breath

Bad breath may simply be the result of smoking or eating spicy foods, but can also be caused by gum disease. Cleaning teeth regularly and using dental floss will ensure the health of gums and, with the use of antiseptic mouth washes, the problem should disappear. If gums are not the problem, there may be a digestive disorder and you should seek the advice of a doctor.


In the first few days a slight fever may occur, which can be treated with paracetamol. Try to prevent a child from scratching the spots, as this may lead to infection. A daily bath or shower will prevent the spots from becoming infected, and calamine lotion applied afterwards will help to reduce and relieve the itching.


Resting as much as possible and taking plenty of fluids will help to clear up a cold quickly. Aspirin or paracetamol will help to reduce the discomfort and lower fever, and medicines containing decongestants will ease congestion.

The herbalists’ traditional standby is an infusion of equal amounts of peppermint (Memiku piperita),elderilower (Sumbucus nigra) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Taken hot just before going to bed, this will induce a sweat, and if the cold is caught early enough, may stop it altogether.

Cold sores

After the initial infection, the virus that causes cold sores lies dormant in nerve cells until, under the right conditions, it re-activates and causes the familiar blistering. The blisters are highly contagious, so avoid touching them as the virus can easily be transferred. Cold-sore creams are available from chemists (drugstores). They should be applied when the symptoms of prickling start, but before blisters appear.


Lack of dietary fiber and exercise, and an insufficient fluid intake can cause constipation. Eat plenty of foods containing bran, whole meal (wholegrain) bread, vegetables, pulses and fruits. If the problem persists, it would be advisable to see a doctor.


The main launches of alternative medicine are: acupuncture, the ancient Chinese practice of inserting needles into the body to restore the balance of vital energy, which can be used for a wide range of conditions, including headaches, sprains and even strokes. The others are osteopathy and chiropractic, which involve the manipulation of bones and joints; and homeopathy, which takes into account the patient as a whole rather than just the physical symptom and treats them accordingly. You may wish to try some of the homeopathic remedies, available at many chemists (drugstores) and health food shops, for nesting simple complaints at home, but for a full diagnosis of a serious complaint, it is essential to see a qualified homeopathic doctor.

If you do try alternative medicine for treating more serious conditions, let both your orthodox doctor and the alternative practitioner know about each other. Tell each of them what the other has prescribed and about any medicines or treatments you are already having. Make sure you see a fully qualified practitioner before embarking on any new treatment.


Convulsions usually affect small children and are often the result of a high fever. These are known as febrile convulsions, and will only last for a few minutes at a time. Reduce the child’s temperature by sponging with tepid water. Once the convulsion has passed, paracetamol elixir will help to reduce the fever. Always call a doctor even when the convulsion has stopped.


Numerous cough remedies are available, depending on the type of cough, ask your pharmacist for advice. Whichever treatment you use, if a cough does not improve within a few days, seek professional help, especially for children. Breathing in steamy air can help to loosen phlegm, and inhaling a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water can have a cleansing effect.

This is an area where herbs are of special benefit; if in doubt get qualified treatment. Choose from one or a mixture of the following, taken as warm infusions. Coltsfoot (Tictsilagofatfara), one of the best cough remedies, particularly for irritating, spasmodic coughs, will soothe, loosen mucus and reduce the spasm. llyssop(1-1,tssopus officinalis) is a calming and relaxing expectorant for a cough that is associated with restlessness and irritation. For a harsh, dry and painful cough always include marshmallow (Althea ojicinalis) in a mixture, to ease the soreness. Thyme (Thymus valgaris) is powerfully antiseptic and relieves a dry cough linked with a respiratory infection. As an expectorate, white horehound (Manubiunt valgare) frees up thick, sticky mucus.

Aromatherapy oils used in a steam inhalation can help a cough do its job mote effectively; they can be chosen to soothe the lining of the air passages, fight infection if needed, and loosen mucus to make it easier to be removed. Soothing oils include benzoin and lavender; thyme and eucalyptus are antiseptic; and frankincense or marjoram increase expectoration. Choose a blend that you like the smell of. Essential oils have an ancient link with water and have been used since classical times.


Loose, frequent bowel movements can happen as a short term reaction to infection, inflammation or food poisoning, and as such are quite a positive, cleansing action. A common experience is holiday diarrhea, and this is usually a response to exposure to unfamiliar bacteria.

As a herbal treatment if mild food poisoning or infection has upset the bowels, try eating garlic as a natural gut disinfectant. Agrimony (Aggiimontacapawria), astringent and healing to the inflamed and swollen membrane lining the gut, is helpful in mild gastro-enteritis. Chamomile, (Chamomillarecutiut), one of the first herbs for many digestive disorders, is calming and anti-inflammatory, and so reduces the impact of tension on the digestive tract. Meadowsweet (Filipenduio ulmaria) will help to settle an acidic stomach. Ribwort (Amigo lanceolaut) has excellent toning, soothing and healing properties for use in diarrhea from many causes where there is inflammation. Thyme (Thymuscalgaris) will fight infections and improve digestion generally, settling churning, loose bowels and killing harmful bacteria.

Massage of the abdomen with antiseptic and relaxing oils like chamomile, lavender and neroli can ease diarrhea caused by minor upsets and also by anxiety and nervousness. Eucalyptus can be used in the same way if an infection is definitely suspected as the cause. Add fennel or ginger if there are griping pains with the diarrhea. For all these oils, dilute to 3 per cent in a base oil.

Causes of diarrhea vary, some foods have a laxative effect naturally, for instance prunes or figs, so over indulgence will give temporary diarrhea. Stress and anxiety often increase peristalsis and hurry bowel contents through. Repeated diarrhea may indicate more complex digestive problems and should be treated professionally. Prolonged diarrhea, especially in young children, can be quite serious as it causes dehydration; ensure adequate fluid intake and seek professional advice.

A simple yet dramatically effective rehydration drink can be made by dissolving 5 ml/1 tsp salt and 15 ml/ 1 tbsp sugar in 600 m1/I pt/21/2 cups of boiled water. Keep in the refrigerator in a screw-topped bottle and give small amounts frequently, use for a short time only.


This can be the result of a heavy cold, or of an infection of the inner or outer ear causing pain and deafness. Aspirin or paracetamol will help the pain. See a doctor if fluid builds up behind the ear causing it to rupture and the fluid to seep out.

Hot compresses over the ear are the most effective home herbal treatment; chamomile (Chamontitla recutita) maybe used as an infusion for this purpose. Taking garlic internally will help to reduce any catarrh and fight infection. If on professional examination the eardrum is not perforated, then crush some garlic into 5 m1/1 tsp of olive oil; this is warmed to blood temperature and a few drops gently inserted into the ear for a local antibiotic.

Two very good essential oils to draw the inflammation outwards as hot compresses are chamomile and lavender; or try a combination of both. The pungency of garlic and other bulbs and fruits, speeds up the metabolism and acts as an antiseptic.

Ear ache in children

Ear aches, especially in children, need to be treated quickly as an infection within the middle ear can be both painful and damaging. Speedy home help can be very useful to avoid these problems, but get medical help if the ear ache worsens or persists.

Eye infections

Conjunctivitis is a common eye infection that results in sticky eyelids and sore, bloodshot eyes. Make up a dilute solution of 1 part bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to 20 parts of boiled and then cooled water, and use cotton-wool (absorbent cotton) swabs to gently ease the sticky ‘glue’ from the eyelids. Always use a fresh swab on each eye.

Food poisoning

The sufferer should have plenty of rest and only be given fluids for 24 hours. With an adult, call a doctor if the condition does not improve within this period. Food poisoning can be more serious with children and the elderly, so they should be watched carefully. Call a doctor straight away if a baby or young child is suffering from sickness and diarrhea.

Hay fever

Hay fever symptoms can be similar to those of a common cold. Antihistamine medicines can be prescribed by your doctor, and air purifiers in the house can help to reduce airborne irritants.


A doctor should be seen for long-lasting, acute and recurring headaches, as they could be caused by another ailment. However, a rest in a quiet, and possibly darkened, room, a cold compress on the forehead and an analgesic will be sufficient to deal with most headaches.


This can be caused by eating too large a meal or rich and spicy foods, or by eating in a hurry or just before going to bed. For immediate relief take antacids. Alternatively, 2.5 ml/1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) dissolved in a glass of water will relieve indigestion.

Herbal teas may well sort out indigestion. Choose from the following. Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita) relieves the effects of over-eating, and being in a stressed state. Lemon balm settles a churning stomach due to nervous indigestion, whether related to meals or not. Meadowsweet is good for acid indigestion, especially if accompanied by some looseness in the bowels. Peppermint (Meruha piperita) is good for indigestion coupled with flatulence and bloated abdomen, or even nausea. Also think of taking slippery elm (Minus fiduct) if indigestion pains are persistent, either 5 ml/1 tsp of the powder thoroughly blended in a cupful of water, or the pure tablets, with one or more meals, to soothe the stomach.
A warm compress of some essential oils, including chamomile or lavender, may give some relief. For mild indigestion, try gently massaging a 2 per cent dilution of either of these into the abdomen.


The symptoms of influenza often include fever, aching muscles, nausea, headaches, a cough, a sore throat and a running nose. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection from causing additional problems. Otherwise, rest in bed, plenty of fluids and an analgesic: taken every 4 hours should help.

Note: the first symptoms of meningitis can be similar to those of influenza. If the symptoms shown are accompanied by vomiting, a stiff and sore neck and joints, a skin rash, bruising or some patchiness of the skin and an aversion to bright lights, call a doctor at once.


Irregular working hours, depression, stress or being in an unfamiliar room can lead to sleeplessness. A doctor can prescribe drugs to help, but try to restrict their use as it is easy to become dependent on them.

A milky drink before going to bed can be relaxing, avoid alcohol and stimulants, such as coffee and tea, as these will all only exacerbate the problem. A walk during the day in fresh air and a warm bath before going to bed may also help.


All children should be immunized against measles, but can suffer from the disease before then if they come into contact with an infected person. A blocked nose, fever and conjunctivitis are the first symptoms, followed a few days later by a red, blotchy rash spreading from the head down wards. Call your doctor to see whether the child should be examined. Otherwise, give plenty of fluids and paracetamol elixir to reduce the fever.


This is a viral infection of the parotid glands, which are situated just in front of and below the ear. Discomfort and fever can be reduced by giving either paracetamol or aspirin, or paracetamol elixir to young children. The virus is usually infectious for up to 6 days before the swelling appears, and for 10 days after the onset of the swelling. Adult men can suffer from swollen testes and should visit a doctor.

Nausea and vomiting

The remedy of first choice is probably ginger (Zingher officinalis); either take frequent sips of a weak tea, or 10 drops of tincture in a little water, or chew a small piece of fresh ginger. Another possibility, say, for travel sickness, is to chew a little crystallized ginger, or drink flat ginger ale. Other potentially useful herbs to settle the stomach are chaitunnile (Chamomilla recurita), croon balm (Melissa officinalis) and peppermint (Mentha piperita); try weakish herb teas. All these herbs aid digestion and so can help to sort out the causes of nausea as well as the symptoms themselves.
Causes of nausea or vomiting can usually be linked to specific things, eating too much rich food, or drinking too much alcohol, anxiety or travel are common triggers. Continual feelings of nausea indicate greater disturbance; again this may be obvious as in 1110Minp, sickness of pregnancy. Where the cause is not obvious, and if symptoms are not quickly cleared up with self help, get medical advice as soon as possible. Children in particular can easily become dehydrated.

Occupational hazards

Many occupations involve excessive use of the voice, e.g. teaching, and sore throats are common place. The regular use of herbal gargles can ease this discomfort, and help you prevent loss of voice or an actual infection. Keep the throat moist by drinking liquids.


At one time or another, most children and some adults suffer from parasites.
Fleas: are usually passed on to their host by cats, birds or other pets, or in infected bedding, carpets or upholstery. Treat animals with a veterinary insecticide. Where flea bites have occurred on your skin, use an antiseptic wash to prevent infection. Spray throughout the house with a flea killer and vacuum thoroughly.

Head lice: these are tiny brown insects with 6 legs. They feed on blood and lay eggs (known as nits) which are attached to the base of the hair shaft. They are usually found behind the ears and cause irritation. If head lice are detected, the whole family should be treated with insecticidal shampoo.

Tapeworm: eggs can be seen in feces. Consult your doctor, who will prescribe a suitable medicine.

Threadworms: live in the lower bowel and lay eggs around the anus, causing itchiness. The eggs are minute, but occasionally a fine, thread-like worm may be seen around the anus or on bedding. A doctor will prescribe a suitable medicine to eradicate them.

Ticks: these live in long grass and will latch on to humans and animals to suck blood. Remove with tweezers, using a rocking motion to release them then wipe the area with an antiseptic.

Sore throats

With increased airborne pollution, smoky, dry atmospheres in air-conditioned buildings and so on, sore throats are more and more common. The irritation can range from an annoying tickle to a rasping soreness, and may be linked to other infections. Where the throat inflammation, or pharyngitis, also extends down to the larynx, the voice may be affected.

If possible, use the following herbs as tinctures for gargling; if unavailable then use cooled infusions: agrimony (Agrimorda eupatoria), sage (Salviaofficinalis) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) are all astringent, toning up the membranes, the latter two also being quite antiseptic. For a more powerful effect try using a tincture of myrrh (Cutraniphura mulmol), together with one or more of the others. If making infusions, add two liquorice sticks to give a more soothing effect, or else use marshmallow (Althea officinalis) leaf in equal amounts with the other herb(s).

With essential oils such as benzoin or thyme, use steam inhalations. One drop only of essential oil of lemon on2.5 ml(1/2, us!) of honey acts as a local antiseptic, as well as being soothing.