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Watering Plants

by on Monday, July 14, 2014 10:32 under Do it Yourself.

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Feeding really does pay dividends. If you see a garden with particularly lush and healthy-looking plants, the chances are they have been well fed and supplied with sufficient water. Giving plants sufficient nutrients will ensure strong growth, abundant flowering and fruit production, and make them healthy enough to withstand pests and diseases.

Types of fertilizer

There are two groups of fertilizer: organic and inorganic. The organic ones are derived from natural ingredients, such as other plants (seaweed or nettles), blood, fish or bone, and generally last longer, although they tend to become available to the plant only slowly after application. Inorganic fertilizers are mineral-based and breakdown more quickly after application.

Feeding used to be a job that had to be tackled several times during the course of a season, and sonic enthusiasts still feed their plants once a week or even more frequently with liquid feeds. If you use modem slow-release and controlled-release fertilizers, however, feeding is something you can do just a couple of times a year.

Slow and controlled release fertilizers both allow the nutrients to seep out into the soil over a period of months, but the latter are affected by soil temperature. Nutrients are only released when the soil is warm enough for growth in most plants.

Liquid feeds are more instant in effect and still have a use, being invaluable when plants need a quick pick-me-up. This is especially true of feeds, which are applied directly to the leaves rather than the soil around the roots, and are absorbed straight into the plant’s system. These can have an effect within 3-4 days, compared with up to 21 days for a general granular fertilizer applied around the roots.

Applying fertilizer

In an established garden, you can apply fertilizer in granular form as a dressing around the plants early in the season, or in soluble form as the plants are watered during the spring. For a new plant, mix fertilizer with the soil as it is replaced in the planting hole around the root hall. Lawns will benefit from dressings of mixed weed-killer and fertilizer in the spring and autumn, keeping the grass healthy, and helping fight the effects of any dry periods in summer and cold spells in winter.


Lack of attention when plants are firstplanted can easily kill them if there hasnot been much rain recently.

The best water to use is rain water. If possible, use water butts or tanks connected to the down-water pipe to collect water that falls on the roof of the house, garage or any other building. Tap water can be used but it is best poured first into a barrel and left to breathe before you use it. This allows time for any chlorine used in the treatment of the water to be given off.

Beware hard water that comes from chalky (alkaline) areas. Although your soil may he acidic, the water from your tap may he collected, where the soil is alkaline. Hard water should not be used on ericaceous (lime-hating) plants.

The most important aspect of watering is to always be certain to give the plants a good soaking. A sprinkle on the surface is not enough. If in doubt, dig well into the soil and see how far the moisture has penetrated through the surface.

There are several methods of watering, but a can is probably best for a small number of plants. Alternatively, a garden hose with a spray attachment can be used. For a large number of plants use a sprinkler or dribble hose.

Feeding containers

Container plants require supplementary nutrients to keep them in good health. The quickest way to feed your lawn is with a wheeled spreader and you can usually adjust the delivery rate. Test the rate on a measured area of path first, then sweep up the fertilizer and weigh it to make sure the application rare is correct.


1 Give the plant a good soaking, covering the whole area around the plant where the roots will he. A watering can is ideal for a small area, such as around a newly planted plant that is still getting established.

A controlled- or slow-release fertilizer added to the potting soil at planting time will keep most containers blooming well all summer. Follow the instructions for application rates.

The N:P:K ratio

On the back of the pack of fertilizer, there should he some information about the nutrient it contains, the three most important elements being nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Nitrogen promotes healthy growth of leaves and shoots, phosphorus is needed for healthy root development and potassium improves flowering and fruit production. The ratio is given on the pack because certain plants need some elements in a greater quantity than others.


1. The quickest way to feed your lawn is with a wheeled spreader and you can usually adjust the delivery rate. Test the rate on a measured area of path first, then sweep up the fertilizer and weight to make sure the application rate is perfect.

2 An easy way to give your lawn a liquid boost is to use a sprinkler system into which you can introduce special fertilizer pellets. It will feed the lawn as it waters.

3 A dribble or seep hose is an efficient method of supplying water to exactly where it is needed. It is snaked around those plants that need to be watered and left permanently in position. It can be covered with a bark mulch, to hide it. When connected, it provides a slow dribble of water.


1. Give the plant a good soaking, covering the whole area around the plant where the roots will be. A watering can is ideal for as small area, such as around a newly plant that is still growing and establishing.

2. If you need to water a large number of plants, a sprinkler is a good method of providing water. To make certain that you provide sufficient water, place a jam jar or other container within the sprayed area, to give a rough idea of how much water has been delivered. It should be at least 2.5 cm/1 in full if the watering is to do any good.

3. A hose-ended sprayer like this is a good way to to apply a soluble fertilizer for a quick response. You can use this type of hose-ended sprayer for beds and borders as well as for the lawn.


1. Most established plants, benefit from annual feeding. Apply a slow- or controlled-release fertilizer in spring or early summer, sprinkling it around the bushes. Sprinkle it our further where most of the active root growth is.

2. Hoe it into the surface so that it penetrates the root area more quickly.

3. Unless rain is expected, water it in. This will make the fertilizer active more quickly in dry conditions

Planning Your Garden

by on Saturday, July 12, 2014 9:29 under Home & Garden.

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Simply moving a few plants is rarely enough to transform an uninspiring garden into something special. It is worth having a goal, a plan to work to, even if you have to compromise along the way. Bear in mind that you may be able to stagger the work and cost over several seasons, but having a well thought out design ensures the garden evolves in a structured way.

Use the checklist to clarify your needs, then decide in your own mind the style of garden you want. Make a note of mundane and practical considerations, like where to dry the clothes and put the refuse, plus objects that need to be screened, such as a compost area, or an unpleasant view.

Labour-saving tips

To minimize cost and labour, retain as many paths and areas of paving as possible, but only if they don’t compromise the design.

If you want to enlarge an area of paving, or improve its appearance, it may be possible to pave over the top and thus avoid the arduous task of removing the original.

Modifying the shape of your lawn is easier than digging it up and relaying a new one.

Garden styles

The garden styles outlined here are not exhaustive, and probably none of them will be exactly right for your own garden, but they will help you to clarify your thoughts.


Parterres and knot gardens: Shaped beds and compartments originally designed to be viewed from above. Knot herb gardens, such as ones based on intricate Elizabethan designs, can be stunning but are expensive to create, slow to establish and labour intensive.

Formal herb gardens: Easier to create than knot gardens. Seek inspiration from illustrated herb garden books -both old and new. It is easier to create one if based on a theme.

Formal rose gardens: Easy to create and can look good in first season. For year-round interest under plant with spring bulbs and edge beds with seasonal flowers.

Paved gardens: Particularly suitable for small gardens. Plant in open areas left in paving, up walls and in raised beds and containers.

Courtyard gardens: Floor tiles and white walls (to reflect light), together with some lush green foliage, an architectural’ tree or large shrub and the sound of running water will transform a backyard into a delightful courtyard garden.

A modern interpretation of an Elizabethan knot garden, with gravel and brick paving to keep weeding to a minimum

Traditional designs: A small formal garden, with rectangular lawn, straight herbaceous border plus rose and flowerbeds is a popular choice for growing a variety of summer bedding and other favourites.


Cottage gardens: The juxtaposition of old-fashioned’ plants and vegetables creates a casual but colourful look. Place brick paths or stepping stones through the beds.

Wildlife gardens: Even a tiny plot can attract small animals and insects. Planting must provide shelter and food, while a water feature will encourage aquatic wildlife.

Woodland gardens: Shrubs and small deciduous trees suit a long narrow garden and are effective for screening and dividing up the garden. Under-plant with naturalized bulbs, woodland spring flowers and ferns.

Meandering meadows: Where there is an attractive view, a sweep of grass between curved borders can merge with an unobstructed boundary. If the view is unappealing, curve the border round so that the lawn finishes beyond the point of view.

Decorative features



Borders, for herbaceous Borders, for shrubs Borders, mixed


Bright beds and borders: If plants are more important than design, use sweeping beds and borders with lots of shrubs and herbaceous plants to give shape. Use focal points such as ornaments, garden seats or birdbaths to create a strong sense of design.

Distant influences

Japanese gardens: Raked sand and grouped stones translate well to a small space, making a confined area appear larger. Plants can be kept to a minimum. Stone and gravel gardens: These materials can be used to create a dry-river bed feel. Minimal maintenance if you select drought-tolerant plants.

Functional features

Compost area


Tool shed


Children’s play area Climbing frame

Clothes drying area Dustbin (trash can) area Sandpit


In most cities and urban environments, back gardens are small and shady, but these factors need not restrict the garden’s potential, as these great splashes of colour show.

Choosing a style

The most comfortable and visually pleasing gardens are usually the result of careful planning, even those with an informal feel to them. Formal gardens appeal to those who delight in crisp, neat edges, straight lines and a sense of order. Many traditional suburban gardens are formal in outline, with rectangular lawns flanked by straight flower borders, and perhaps rectangular or circular flower beds cut into them. Such rigid designs are often dictated by the drive for the car and straight paths laid by the house builder.

The informality of the cottage garden and the ‘wilderness’ atmosphere of a wild garden are difficult to achieve in a small space, especially in a town. However, with fences well clothed with plants so that modern buildings do not intrude, an informal garden can work even here.

Professional garden designers are frequently influenced by classic styles from other countries, especially Japan, but amateurs are often nervous of trying such designs themselves. Provided you start with the clear premise that what pleases you is the only real criterion of whether something works, creating a particular foreign style can be great fun. Adapt the chosen style to suit climate, landscape and the availability of suitable plants and materials.


Before you draw up your design, make a list of requirements for your ideal garden. You will almost certainly have to abandon or defer some of them, but at least you will realize which features are most important to you.

Use this checklist of suggested features at the rough plan stage, when decisions have to be made… and it is easy to change your mind!

Herb garden

Lawn (mainly for decoration)Lawn (mainly for recreation)Ornaments

Patio/terrace Pergola


Raised beds

Summer house


Vegetable plot

Plant Potting

by on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 0:58 under Do it Yourself.

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Never be in too much of a hurry to put a plant into a larger container. Plants do not appreciate having their roots disturbed, and any damage to them will result in some check to growth. Some types of houseplants also prefer to be in small pots.

Re-potting should never simply be an annual routine. It is a job to be thought about annually, but should not actually be done unless a plant needs it. Young plants require potting on much more frequently than older ones. Once a large specimen is in a big pot, it may be better to keep it growing by re-potting into another pot of the same size, by top-dressing (see below right), or simply by additional feeding.

When re-potting is necessary

The sight of roots growing through the base of the pot is not in itself a sign that re-potting is immediately necessary. If you have been watering the plants through a capillary mat, or have placed the pot in a cache-pot, some roots will inevitably have grown through the base to seek the water.

If you are in doubt, knock the plant out of its pot. To remove the root-ball easily, invert the pot and knock the rim on a hard surface while supporting the plant and compost (potting soil) with your hand. It is normal for a few roots to run around the inside of the pot, but if there is also a solid mass of roots it is time to pot on. There are several ways to re-pot a plant, but the 2 methods described here are among the best


1 Prepare the new pot as in step 1 of the Traditional Method if you are using a clay pot. However, if you are using a plastic pot and you intend to use a capillary watering mat, do not cover the drainage hole at all.


A mass of thick roots growing through the bottom of the pot (top) is an indication that it is time to move the plant into a larger one. Equally, a mass of roots curled around the edge of the pot (above) is a sign that it is time for a larger container.

The vast majority of plants on sale are grown in plastic pots, which are inexpensive, light and remain largely free of algae. Plastic pots do become brittle with age, however, and even a slight knock can break them, whereas a clay pot will not break unless you actually drop it on a hard surface.


1. Once plants are in large pots, perhaps 25-30 cm (10-12 in) in diameter, continual potting on into a larger pot may not be practical. Try removing the top few centimetres (inches) of compost (potting soil), loosening it first with a small hand fork. Replace this with fresh potting compost of the same type. This, plus regular feeding, will enable most plants to be grown in the same pot for many years.

2. Put in a little dampened compost (potting soil). Insert the existing pot (or an empty one of the same size), ensuring that the soil level will be 12 mm/1/2 in below the top of the new pot when filled.

3. Pack more compost firmly between the inner and outer pots, pressing it down gently with your fingers. This will create a mould when you remove the inner pot.

4. Remove the inner pot, then take the plant from its original container and place it in the hole formed in the centre of the new compost. Gently firm the compost around the root-ball, and water thoroughly.


1. Prepare a pot that is either 1 or 2. sizes larger than the original and, if the pot is a clay one, cover the drainage hole with pieces of broken pot or a few pieces of chipped hark.

2. Water the Plant to he re-potted, and leave it for a few minutes. Remove the root-ball from the old pot, either by pulling gently on the plant, or by inverting the pot and tapping the rim on a hard surface.

3. Place a little compost (potting soil) in the base of the new pot, then position the root-ball so that it is at the correct height. If it sits too low or too high, adjust the amount of compost in the base.

4. Trickle more compost around the sides, turning the pot as you work. It is a good idea to use the same kind of compost -peat- (peat-moss) or loam-based — as used in the original pot.

5. Gently firm the compost with your fingers. Make sure that there is a gap of about 12 mm-2.5 cm (1/2-1 in) between the top of the compost and the rim of the pot, to allow for watering. Water thoroughly.


Potting up is what happens the first time a seedling or cutting is given its own individual pot.

Potting on is the action of re-planting the root-hall in a larger pot.

Re-potting is sometimes taken to mean replacing the plant in a pot of the same size, but with the bulk of the compost replaced, if the plant cannot he moved into a larger pot.

How to Fit a Curtain Pole

by on Sunday, June 8, 2014 22:42 under Do it Yourself.

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There are many different methods of hanging curtains and drapes, ranging from simple rings on a wooden pole to complex tracks that are often cord operated and may even be motor driven. Poles can be wooden or metal, while tracks are either metal or plastic. The choice depends on the style of decor, and also to some extent on the curtains themselves, as some heading styles work better with one type than another. Check with the supplier to see which track style will work best.

Fixing curtain tracks can be tricky on a masonry wall. The top of the window opening may be bridged by a reinforced concrete or galvanized-steel beams, concealed behind the plaster. The problem lies in making firm fixings into this beam, as drilling concrete at a precise spot to make ita wall plug and screw can be difficult,you will need a cavity fixing such as a spring toggle for a steel beam. It is often easier either to fit the track the beam, or to put up a wooden support strip first and then attach the track to that. If the worst comes to the worst, you could use a ceiling mounted track. Fixing tracks to wood framed walls, by contrast, could not be easier. You can fix the brackets anywhere on the wooden beans over the window opening.


1. Draw a pencil guideline on the wall, and mark the bracket position, along it. Attach the bracket bases after drilling and/or  plugging the holes

2 Slot in the bucket extensions and tighten the locking screws. Slide in the pole, in the rings and finial, and screw through the brackets into the pole.


A roller blind, as its Marne implies, consists of a length of material — usually fabric – wound on to a roller that is mounted in brackets close to the window. It can be used instead of curtains and drapes for a simple, uncluttered effect, or in conjunction with them, if for example, extra shade is required in a sunny window.

1. Screw the roller brackets to the frame close to the top corners, with the fixing flanges facing inwards so that you have to use a screwdriver.

2 Cut the roller and fabric to the required width, and insert the pin caps at each end to match the brackets—one is round.

3 Hang the roller on its brackets, then pull down to cheek the tension. If it will not enact, lift off the ratchet end, roll up and replace it.


1. Decide at what level to fit the track, and use a pencil and spirit level to draw a guideline on the wall surface. Extend the line at the sides.

2. Drill holes for wall plugs in a masonry wall, or make pilot holes in a wood-frame done, at the spacings recommended in the instructions. Fit the brackets.

3. If you need to use a ceiling-mounted track, locate the joist or joists and screw a support strip into place. Attach the track brackets to the support strip.

4. If you have to fit lengths of track together to cope with wide windows, you must use special
connectors that do not interfere with the runners.

5. Mount the track on the brackets. Here, this is done by totalling a locking earn via a small lever on other types there is locking screw.

6. Fit the curtain hooks to the heading tape, then clip the hooks to the track. Some types have hooks on the track already, in which case you can simply hook on the curtains.


Before you buy your curtain (drapery) pole or track, measure the width of the window carefully, and add extra width at the sides. The amount you add will depend on the bulk of the curtains, and flow much space they will take up when they are open. With a narrow window, it is important to allow enough width for the pole or track so that the curtains do not obscure the window at all.

Screw the roller brackets to the frame lose to the top corners, with the fixing flanges facing inwards so that you have to use a screwdriver.


If you require a curtain overlap, form an S-bend on a length of track so that it overlaps the track behind. Clip the extension bracket to the tracks and screw the bracket to the wall.


by on Thursday, June 5, 2014 21:46 under Health.

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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.

Soft Furnishing Sewing

by on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 21:04 under Home & Garden.

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Most items of soft furnishing are expensive to buy ready-made but they can he made just as successfully at home and much more cheaply. Curtains and drapes, cushion covers, bed linen and table linen require the minimum of sewing skills and little equipment beyond a sewing machine and an iron.

The choice of fabric plays a major part in setting the style of a room, creating accents of colour to enliven a neutral decor or providing a means of coordinating different elements effectively in a loom. Colour is an important consideration when furnishing a room —light shades tend to open it out, while dark and vivid shades tend to enclose it. Many people tend to play safe by choosing neutral or pastel shades which, although easy to live with, can look rather boring and impersonal.

Making soft furnishings at home is the perfect way to experiment with colour and make a visual statement. Most items require a few metres (yards) of fabric at the most. A good point to hear in mind when selecting fabric is that there are no hard-and-fast rules, apart from trying not to mix

too many different colours and patterns in one setting. Most good stores will supply swatches of furnishing fabrics without charge for colour matching at home.

Another consideration is that the chosen fabric should be suitable for the intended purpose — for example, heavyweight cloths will make up into good curtains and cushion covers but will he too stiff to make a successful tablecloth or bed valance. Many of these details are primarily common sense but, when in doubt, be guided by the sales assistant’s specialist knowledge.

Stamping is a quick and effective way of repeating a design on a wide variety of surfaces, using many different mixtures of paints and inks. It does not require a great deal of specialist equipment; many of the items used are found in most households.

Craft knife: a sharp-bladed craft knife is essential for cutting your own stamps our of thick sponge or foam. Use a cutting mat to protect your work surface, and always direct the blade away from your fingers.

Lino blocks: linoleum blocks are available from art and craft shops and can be cut to make stamps which recreate the look of a wood block. You will need special lino-cutting tools, which are also easily available, to accurately scoop out the areas around the design. Hold the lino with your spare hand behind your cutting hand for safety. Always cut away from you. Masking tape: use for masking off areas of walls and furniture when painting. Natural sponge: available in various sizes, use for applying colour washes to walls before stamping.

Paintbrushes: a range of decorator’s brushes is needed for painting furniture and walls before stamping. Use a broad brush to apply colour washes to walls. Stiff brushes can be used for stippling paint on to stamps for textured effects, while finer brushes are used to pick out details or to apply paint to the stamp. Pencils, pens and crayons: use a soft pencil to trace templates for stamps, and for making easily removable guidelines on walls. Draw motifs freehand using a marker pen on medium- and low-density sponge. Always use a white crayon on black upholstery foam.

Rags: keep a stock of clean rags and cloths for cleaning stamps and preparing surfaces.

Ruler and tape measure: use these to plan your design.

Scissors: use sharp scissors to cut out medium- and low-density sponge shapes, and are especially useful for cutting out the basic shapes. Also handy for cutting out templates. .Sponge rollers: use to apply the paint evenly over the whole stamp. Small paint rollers can be used to load your stamps, though you will need several if you are stamping in different colours. Use a brush to apply a second colour to act as a highlight or shadow, or to pick out details of the design


by on Thursday, May 29, 2014 19:40 under Health.

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Although there are far more overweight people around than underweight, the latter may be a problem in those afflicted. Sometimes disease can cause person to become underweight, often dramatically, and needs medical investigation by the doctor. However, there are many ways to improve weight; the methods are simple and practical.

It is a strange paradox, but while one of the world is today starving to the other half is eating itself to death!

Many developing lands, and in particular the developing world in general, suffer from undernourishment to a severe degree. Unfortunately, in many of these countries populations are constantly in hunger.

Warning: sometimes an attempt to gain weight is to anticipate nature increasing at an alarming rate. The population tends to catch up to the total food availability, and invariably goes way past it.

Therefore, in many lands there is under nutrition, underweight (with consequent inroads of disease and debility) and general body thinness. However, while the Western world in general has too much food, and an excess of availability of it, there are some people who are underweight. They are outnumbered by far by the overweight, but thin people contrast even more sharply with the well-fed people with whom they inevitably associate. This tends to make them stand out in stark relief. The very thin dislike their appearance almost as much as the overweight, although as a class they are far less vocal about it. Doctors are frequently visited by the underweight and asked for advice as to what to do.

Causes of Underweight

Of course, there are many causes. Just as there are constitutionally obese persons, so the reverse also holds true. There are many who have a genetic predisposition to be thin. “Small boned” is a common phrase, used in the hope of hiding the suggestion of any disability.

Just as many overweight people have been brought up on foods since babyhood that predisposed to adult obesity, so the underweight person most likely has been brought up on a dietetic intake that tends to produce a thin adult body.

Many thin people simply do riot enjoy the high-carbohydrate (and consequently high-kilojoule) foods. They do not eat sweets and chocolate and cake and pastry by choice. Their consumption of potato and allied products tends to be low. Their intake of sugar and sugar based foods is also much lower than average. They prefer foods to be unsweetened, don’t have sugar in their beverages, and drink simple water or unsweetened fruit juice in preference to bottled carbonated drinks, which are notoriously high in sugar (arid kilojoule) content.

On the whole, underweight people tend to be healthier as a class than the overweight. They tend to be quicker in their movements, be more active in the total daily volume of exercise, may he more mentally active, but not necessarily so.

However, a very underweight person, particularly one who is losing weight, may have some inherent disorder that must be corrected. Weight loss can be a sign of serious disease. Such wasting disorders as cancer and tuberculosis are notorious in this respect. Anaemia and many other illnesses cause the body to deplete its food stores quicker. It may be due to a reduced intake of kilojoules simply because the illness is making the person less hungry and consequently eat less. Or it may be due to increased metabolic rates. There are various views.

The sudden onset of weight loss should be considered a potentially serious symptom. It often follows acute illnesses, and in these events, if it is a relatively short lived, mild infection, may not be of consequence. For example, a bad bout of a viral influenza, particularly if accompanied with a gastric component where there is nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, will quickly lead to a rapid weight loss. If this persists for a week or two, it can readily strip four to ten kilos from a pers frame. Many of these sicknesses or brief duration, and as soon as the illness is over, and the fluid losses are stop; and the normal eating pattern is resumed, the weight will gradually cc: on again.

Actually, some people welcome a short illness such as this, for it may strip away enough unwanted fat to bring weight to a level they may have striving to achieve for a long time. Once the weight has reduced, it is far easier keep it at a static level simply by diet and discretion.

If there is no obvious cause for be: underweight, if it is worrying the patient or if it has occurred suddenly for no apparent reason, a medical examination is worthwhile. The doctor may order to exclude serious causes, such as cancer or TB. In younger persons these are unlikely, but anything can happen. Do not say to yourself, “I’m only 30. Nothing serious could possibly happen to me.” It may, and the only way to be sure it won’t is to obtain an expert opinion.


by on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 19:14 under Health.

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If there has been excessive secretion of androgens from the adrenal cortex, this may give rise to precocious puberty if it happens in the pre-pubertal age.

Virilisation Symptoms

In females, of any age, this will result in virilisation. which means the appearance of typical male characteristics. There may be an increase in muscular development and hairiness (particularly the face and underarm), as well as enlargement of the clitoris, the equivalent of the male penis. In males the condition may be unnoticed until puberty is reached. Then precocious puberty occurs. This causes premature development of the external genitals, rapid bony growth and muscular development. The voice breaks prematurely, facial and body hair appears.

Libido increases, often dramatically, and can lead to psychosexual difficulties and social problems. Excessive male hormone causes the growing points of bones to close prematurely, so that growth may be stunted.

Apart from coming from the adrenals. the excess hormone may emanate from the pituitary gland due to a tumour that may press on the optic pathways, producing visual disturbances as well.

Virilisation Treatment

Substitution therapy with cortisone type drugs often successfully checks symptoms. However, if due to a tumour in the adrenals, the outlook may be poor. If cancer is causing the symptoms. spread can rapidly take place to other organs. Tumours of the pituitary must be treated either surgically or with radiotherapy. Sometimes hormonal therapy (medroxyprogesterone) by injection may assist if given long-term.


by on Sunday, May 25, 2014 5:45 under Health.

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What is Osteomyelitis?

This is an infection of the bone. Acute symptoms occur mainly in growing children and cause pain, tenderness, swelling and reduction in the range of movement of affected part. In addition, there may fever, chills, feeling off-colour. It is most common in the active, growing years of childhood, when the bones are rapidly developing. They are mainly prone to infections with the staphylococcus or streptococcus germ. Often come from an infection in another the bones of the lower limb are the main ones to be involved. These are the femur (the single long bone of the. thigh), or the tibia (the large bone of lower part of the leg between the knee ankle).

Osteomyelitis Symptoms

In infants and children the onset is often rapid, and there may be signs of marked toxicity. Sometimes it comes on more silently and insidiously. Movement of the limbs may be limited, with tenderness and swelling of the involved part taking place.
In adults, the onset is generally less striking than in children. Vague pains and limitation of movement, particularly at the joints, may be the main feature, especially if the bones of the spine arc affected or if the lesions are near joints. Diagnosis is made from X-ray examinations, from growing the germs in blood cultures or examining any fluid that may suppurate from bony lesions. Today, it is much less common than in years past.

Osteomyeltis Treatment

It is important that acute attacks be treated as early as possible. Unless this happens, the condition may smolder on and lead to a chronic stage. It may also lead to serious complications. These include abscesses in the soft tissues, infections in adjacent joints leading to “septic arthritis,” probable fractures at the site of infection, and maybe the spread of infections to other organs via the bloodstream. Treatment is best carried out in a fully equipped hospital where the patient is under proper supervision with adequate medical care and attention. Antibiotics often help, but frequently do not cure the problem.
Surgery is often required to o pen and drain the bony abscesses that have occurred. Antibiotics may have to be continued for several weeks after tests have indicated the nature and sensitivity of the organism producing the disease. There is a 1 per cent mortality rate, and unless active treatment is started within 48 hours and successfully carried out, quite a few drift into a chronic state. Prompt treatment will bring recovery in about two-thirds of cases, according to one specialist.

Chronic Osteomyelitis.

This may lead on from an acute case that settles down, but is riot properly controlled. It is also characterised by pain, tenderness, swelling and redness of the overlying skin. There is the formation of “sinus tracts.” The disease is often slowly progressive, and there may be remissions followed by recurrences extending over months or even many years. Sometimes the symptoms are so mild that the condition is unnoticed, and there may be little if any disability. On the other hand, the smoldering nature of the lesions gives rise to recurrences of fever, pain and swelling. There may be a history of injury. Often the bone infection communicates to the outside through a tract called a sinus.
The persisting nature of the infection may cause a decline in general health and vitality, with weight loss, anaemia, general weakness and increasing debility. The germs may spread to other centers in the body and establish nests of infection there. If there is a spread to joints, it may establish a septic arthritis, The constant bony erosion may lead to weaknesses, with the risk of pathological fractures occurring.
Once more treatment is by surgery with adequate antibiotic cover governed by sensitivity tests. The results of ever vigorous medical and surgical treatment by the doctors arc frequently poor, with reinfections occurring. This may be due to the incomplete removal of debris, germs and infected tissue at the time of surgery. It presents a very difficult surgical problem. Fortunately, with antibiotics, osteomyelitis is today much less common than in the past.


In my younger days we often heard about this condition. It was usually spoken about in hushed tones, as if something terrible had happened. In days gone by, especially the pre-antibiotic era, it was a very severe and at times life-threatening disease. Today, fortunately, with the wide use of chemotherapy, it is seen much more rarely. But if it gains a foothold, it is still dangerous.

What’s it all about?

It means that the bone has become infected. It may follow on from a severe blow to the bone. This weakens the surface resistance, and germs in the vicinity may gain access and set up infection. Symptoms include local pain, swelling and redness. Fevers and general constitutional symptoms may occur. In fact, the patient may be very ill. On the other hand, symptoms may be only minimal.
What about treatment? Is this necessary, and where?
Any obvious bone discomfort or swelling, especially if accompanied by general symptoms, needs prompt medical attention. It is essential that the infection does not gain a good foothold, for eliminating infections in the bone may be a long, tedious and difficult exercise. In the past, symptoms could go on for years, and discharging bones were a common sight.
Attending the doctor or a large hospital geared with the facilities for proper diagnosis and therapy is essential. Home remedies have no place until a treatment plan has been worked out for the particular needs of the patient. Giving the doctor as much backup support as possible is necessary and advisable.
Parents should be on the alert for persisting pain in legs and arms following what may, on the surface, appear to be fairly simple injuries.

How to Organize Space

by on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 16:37 under Do it Yourself.

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Finding suitable storage space around the house for all the personal and household belongings every family accumulates can be quire a challenge. One difficulty is making a sensible compromise between tidiness and accessibility; it is no good having a place for everything if that means spending hours each day laboriously taking things out and putting them back again.

The solution is to tailor make storage to suit its purpose. Some things need a temporary resting place where they remain readily accessible. Others need long-term storage, perhaps being retrieved and used only occasionally. And there is the third storage category, that of display, simply to show things off.

In a typical home, possessions are stored in one of three main ways: on shelves, in cupboards (closets) or in drawers. These may be combined in a variety of storage or display units, and the amount of each type of space that is required will vary from house to house. For example, the avid book worm will have miles of shelves lining the walls, while the clothes horse will need more wardrobe space.

The storage that is needed can be provided in one of two ways. One is to buy or make pieces of free-standing furniture that match the required storage function. The other is to use raw materials such as wood and manufactured boards plus the appropriate hardware to create built in storage space, arrays of shelving, cupboards in alcoves and so on. The former is the best solution for those who value furniture more than function, since the pieces can be moved from one house to another. However, built-in storage is generally more effective for providing the most space for the least money, since the house walls can often be used as part of the structure.