Author Archives: Ramon.KGS


What is Ulcer?

Ulcers may commonly occur in the oral cavity. They may come on suddenly, probably preceded by a small watery blister that erupts, leaving a shallow ulcer with a grey or yellow base. They are sometimes painful, and often take some time to heal. Various types of oral ulcers are described. Aphthous ulcers (also known as canker sore or dyspeptic ulcers of the mouth) are thought to be due to certain foods, and allergy may play a part. The advice is often put forward that, by leaving off possible irritating foods such as citrus fruits, nuts and chocolates, the risk of recurrence may be lessened.

Vincent’s angina is another form of painful throat that is often accompanied with ulceration of the oral cavity. It is thought to be due to infecting organisms, and sometimes follows dental work. It appears to be more common in people whose general level of health is poor. Symptoms. These forms of ulceration often come on abruptly. They may be accompanied with constitutional symptoms, such as mild fever and general malaise. The ulcers are usually painful, and may occur on the gums. the inner sides of the lips, tongue or throat. There may be general inflammation around them, and the lymph glands under the jaw and in the neck on the affected side may be swollen and quite painful to touch. Eating food is often painful, and salty food produces considerable discomfort in the ulcer itself.

Ulcer Treatment

Bland mouthwashes often help to remove debris from the ulcers. Adding half a teaspoon of common salt to a glass of hot water and rinsing every few hours stings. but can afford some relief. Avoiding products that are known to aggravate might prevent recurrences. In some ulcers, antibiotics will be effective, but usually this is not so. Your doctor may prescribe such medication as figures regularly testify. Regular care by the dentist will help prevent caries and gum problems. Prevention in this area is the best line.

How to Prune Trees

How to Prune TreesWhether it is to improve the shape of a plant, to make it produce more flowers or fruit, or to correct some damage, pruning is an important part of the procedure for maintaining the health of many plants. On some plants, pruning is an annual procedure, carried out to keep the plant to a suitable size or to encourage it to produce larger flowers, more fruit or better colored stems. On others, it is an operation carried out occasionally, perhaps as a result of damage, to prevent the open wound becoming infected and harming the plant. As a matter of routine, every plant should be checked regularly for signs of the “three D’s”, disease, damage and death.

If a diseased branch is caught early, and pruned back to uninfected wood, there is less chance of the problem infecting the rest of the plant. Areas of damage expose the tissue underneath the bark, and are ideal sites for fungal spores and diseases to enter the plant. Dead branches can also act as hosts to fungi and diseases, some of which can easily travel into the living tissue and damage it. Any suspect shoots should be pruned back to clean, healthy tissue as soon as possible, using clean equipment.

Types of Pruning

The main types of pruning are:

  • Formative pruning, when the plant is young, to encourage the early development of a strong frame work of branches.
  • Containment pruning, where, as the plant ages, it is regularly pruned in order to keep its size and shape within the constraints of the garden.
  • Remedial pruning, when the “three D’s” rule is put into operation, to maintain the health of the plant. Remedial pruning is also used to eliminate any crossing or congested branches and, on variegated shrubs, to remove any shoots which have reverted to plain green (variegated shoots are weaker than green ones, as they contain slightly less chlorophyll, so that if the green ones are left in place, the whole plant will revert).


Timing the pruning operation correctly is critical to the performance of the plant; if you prune at the wrong time, you may cut off all the flower buds for the season. Not all plants can be pruned for the year in early spring; in fact, the best time to prune many, especially flowering shrubs, is right after they have flowered, so that they have the maximum time to develop their buds for the following season.


One way of gaining confidence when pruning your climbers is to learn how to make the correct cuts. Always use sharp secateurs (pruners) or a sharp saw if you are cutting larger branches. Pruning cuts should always be clean; try not to bruise or tear the wood by using worn or blunt secateurs.

Cuts to remove main stems or thick stems branching off the main stems should be made close to their origin, making certain that there is no “snag” or stump left. On the other hand the break should not be so tight that it cuts into the parent wood. Thinner stems should be cut back to a bud, leaf joint or the previous junction. Make the cut just above a bud. This bud should usually be an outward-facing one, so that future growth is away from rather than towards the centre of the plant. The cut should be angled slightly away from the bud. If the leaves are in pairs on the stem, one opposite the other, make the cut straight across, rather than sloping. The position should be the same, just above an outward facing bud.


Some plants, such as shrubs of borderline hardiness, may be damaged but not killed by a cold winter. In spring cut out cold damaged shoots. Remove the affected tip only. This will greatly improve the appearance and new growth will soon hide the gaps.


If you buy plants sold specifically for hedging they are likely to be young plants with probably a straight single stem. These keep the cost down, but formative pruning is particularly important to ensure that they make bushy plants later on.

New shoots will be produced if you cut back the main (leading) shoot to about 15 cm/6 in after planting. Trim these back by about half in early or midsummer. If you buy bushy hedging plants, shorten the height of these plants by one-third. Do not remove the main (leading) shoot of a conifer, large leaved evergreens such as aucubaor laurel, beech or hornbeam. Trim that off only when the hedge is approaching the desired height. If you like, shorten other shoots on these plants by between one-quarter and one-third, to stimulate instead bushy outward growth.


  • The best time to prune shrubs is as soon as possible after the flowers have faded. Shorten the growth from the last summer by half. It will be paler and suppler than older wood.
  • Avoid cutting into dark, older wood as new shoots are seldom produced from this.
  • From a distance the difference after pruning will not be obvious but it should be neater and more compact. The real benefit will be cumulative. Remember to start pruning while the plant is still young.


  1. Simply cut back all the previous summer’s growth to within about 5 cm/ 2 in of last year’s stem. Do not worry if this seems drastic. The plant will soon produce vigorous new shoots and replace the ones you are cutting out.
  2. Cut back to just above a bud. Keep to outward facing buds as much as possible to give a bushier effect. Most of the shoots should be cut back to within about 5 cm/2 in of the base of last year’s growth, but if the bush is very old, cut out one or two stems close to ground level. This will prevent stems rubbing against each other, and improve air circulation.
  3. This is what a plant that has been cutback to a low framework of old stems looks like. Try to keep the height after pruning about 90 cm /.3 ft or less.

Save Energy at Home

Insulation means saving energy, and that is becoming more and more essential on every level, from the personal to the global. People are increasingly conscious of the importance of environmental issues. One of the greatest contributions that any one household can make is to cut down on the unnecessary wastage of fossil fuels, and so to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by burning them. This means making more efficient use of energy, and insulation has a big part to play in this. It saves money, too.

Insulation is a means of reducing heat transfer from a warm area to a cold one, and substantially reduces heat loss. In temperate countries, the external air temperature is below what most people regard as a comfortable level for much of the year, so heating is needed for fairly long periods and heat is constantly lost to the outside.

All materials conduct heat to a greater or lesser extent. Wood is a good insulator, brick an average one and glass is downright poor, as anyone who has sat next to a window on a cold winters day will testify.

Except in countries which have very cold winters, proper insulation of homes has until recently been a very low priority, both for house builders —who will not pay tot something that provides only a hidden benefit unless they have to — and for the legislators who frame the regulations and codes with which builders must comply. At last, however, the tide is turning, and current building rules call for much higher standards of insulation than ever before. They have also recognized that over-insulation can cause condensation, both inside the rooms and within the building’s structure.

Poor insulation, inadequate ventilation and poor heating levels can, in extreme cases, lead to patches of mould occurring around windows and inside fitted cupboards (closets).

Sources of Moisture

People themselves are a major source of the moisture in the air inside a building. Breath is moist and sweat evaporates; one person gives off 250 ml/1/2 pints of water during 8 hours of sleep: 3 times that during the day.

Domestic activities create even more moisture. cooking, washing up, a hot bath or shower, washing and drying clothes and so on can create as much as a further 10 to 12 litres/3 gallons of water a day, and every litre of fuel burnt in a Clueless oil or paraffin heater gives off toughly another litre of watervapour. The air in the house is expected to soak up all this extra moisture invisibly, but it may not be able to manage unaided. However, a combination of improved insulation and controlled ventilation will go a long way towards eliminating the problem of condensation.

This will not help people living in older properties, many of which were built with no thought to their insulation performance at all. Over the years, various attempts will have been made to insulate houses like these, but what was deemed adequate 20 years ago will he well below par for today.


Condensation is a big problem in many homes. It can lead to serious health problems and can also cause damage to the structure of the home.

The air always contains a certain amount of moisture – a lot on it humid summer’s day, less on a clear winter one. When the air at a particular temperature cannot hold any more moisture, it is said to have reached saturation point, described as a relative humidity of 100 per cent.

Air at saturation point is the key to the problem. If that saturated air is cooled — for example, by corning into contact with a surface SUCH.1 as a windowpane on a chilly day — it can no longer hold so much vapour. The excess moisture vapour in the air condenses into droplets of water, and these are deposited on the cold surface — first as a fine film that mists up the glass burthen, as more moisture is deposited, the droplets combine to form rivulets that run down the surface to create pools of water on the window sill. This can ruin decorations and cause window sills and frames to rot and rust; it can also cause2 further problems, both of which are potentially more serious.

Constant condensation ruins paintwork and will eventually cause wooden window frames and sills to rot.

Fit an extractor fan (exhaust fan) to control ventilation in a steamy room such as a kitchen or bathroom. The type linked to a humidity detector activates automatically.

Fit a special brush draught excluder over a letter-box opening, and also to the bottoms of doors to minimize heat. loss.

If the roof of your house is pitched(sloping), lay blanket insulation over the loft(attic) floor to prevent heat loss.

Glass is an extremely poor insulator. Secondary glazing, known as double glazing, can cut down on heat loss, provided that the inner panes are well-sealed to their tracks.

With a suspended floor, you can lift the floorboards and suspend blanket insulation on netting stapled to the joists. Lay a vapour barrier, such as heavy plastic sheeting, on top.

The first is mould. Apart from moisture vapour, the air also contains millions of tiny spores which float around looking for somewhere to live and multiply. The one thing they need is a damp surface. The result is the patches of black, brown or dark green mould seen especially around windows, in fitted cupboards (closets) and in the upper corners of those rooms that have poor insulation and ventilation and inadequate heating.

The second problem is interstitial condensation. if rho materials used to build walls, roofs and other parts of a building allow water vapour to penetrate, condensation can actually occur inside rho structure. If moisture cannot evaporate to the outside the affected part of the structure remains damp; this can then encourage rot to grow on wood, and may also result in frost damage to masons’ in cold weather, caused by the water expanding as it freezes. What is more, it damp wall has a lower resistance to the passage of heat than a dry one, and therefore becomes colder and encourages yet more condensation.


Always be aware that, no matter how well the home has been insulated, it is vital to ensure that it is well-ventilated too and that air can circulate freely to prevent the problems of condensation. When insulating your home it is essential to make allowances for air circulation by installing, for example, an extra air-brick, an extractor fan(exhaust fan) or window vents in a bathroom or kitchen, and even a cooker hood. Simply opening a window while cooking to allow steam out can make a difference. Fuel-horning appliances such as paraffin heaters, gas cookers, central-heating boilers and fires also require ventilation to work efficiently and to dispel potentially dangerous fumes.

Quick Ways to Insulate

Once icy winds begin to whistle around your home in the winter, you will soon find out where the chill gusts blow in and where all the expensive heat escapes. The following steps will all contribute to keeping your home warmer and energy-efficient.

Sash windows are notorious for draughts, and their sliding action calls for special weatherproofing. A brush seal (with soft bristles) against inside sliding faces and a V-strip seal where sashes close against the top and bottom of the frame are best.

in cold, wet conditions. Seal it with A flexible PVC (vinyl) or brush strip pinned to the outer face.

Keyholes can let in cold air, so put cover plates on the outside.

Fill gaps around overflow and wastepipes that pass through holes in exterior walls with an exterior-grade filler (spackle), mortar or an expanding foam filler.

Fill any gaps in windows that remain closed throughout the winter with flexible, clear sealant. Apply it with a mastic gun and, when you wish to operate the windows again, simply peel off the sealant and discard.

A porch built over a front or backdoor acts as an insulating barrier by preventing cold air from entering the house and keeping warm air in. It will also keep wet boots and coats from dripping over floors.

In addition to traditional sausage-shaped door draught excluders, door curtains are a very effective way of redirecting heat loss, and can also add a decorative finish to rooms.

Insulate the wall immediately behind a radiator by simply placing tinfoil behind it to reflect the heat back

Wallpapering Corners

In a perfect world, rooms would have corners that were truly square and truly vertical, and it would be possible to hang a wall covering all around the room in a continuous operation, simply turning the lengths that ran into the room corners straight on to the adjoining walls. In reality, corners are seldom square or true, and, if the covering were hung in this way, lengths would be vertical on the first wall but could be running well off the vertical by the time they returned to the starting point. This would be visually disastrous, with vertical pattern elements out of alignment are corners, and sloping horizontal pattern features.

The way to avoid these problems is to complete each wall with a cut-down strip that only just turns on to the next wall. Then hang the remainder of the strip with its machine-cur edge against a newly drawn vertical line on the second wall, so that you can trim its other edge to follow the internal angle precisely. Any slight discontinuity of pattern will not be noticeable except to the very closest scrutiny, and the remaining lengths on the second wall will be hung truly vertically. The same applies to paperhanging around external corners


1. Hang the last full length before the corner of the room, then measure the distance to the corner front the edge of the length and add about 12 mm or 1/2 in.

2. Use a pencil and straightedge to mark a strip of the required width, measured from the relevant edge (here, the left one), and cut it from the length.

3. Paste the strip and hang it in the usual way, allowing the hand-cut edge to lap onto the adjoining wall. Trim the top and bottom edges as usual.

4. Brush the tongue into the internal angle. If it will not lie flat because the corner is out of true, make small release cuts in the edge and brush it flat.

5. Measure the width of the remaining strip, subtract 12 mm/1/2 in. and mark a fresh Vertical line on the adjoining wall at this distance from the corner

6. Hang the strip to the marked line, brushing the wall covering into the angle so that it just turns on to the surface of
.the first wall.

7. Use the back of the scissors blades to mark the line of the corner on the wall covering, then cut along the line and smooth the cut edge back into the angle. Use special overlap adhesive when using washables and vinyl on all lap joints.


1. Plan the starting point so that lengths turn external corners by about 2.5 cm/1 in. Brush the paper on to the next wall, making small cuts so that it lies flat.

2. Carefully tear off a narrow strip of the wall covering along the turned edge to leave a ‘feathered’ edge that will not show through the next length.

3. Mark a vertical line on the next wall surface, at a distance from the corner equal to the width of the wall covering plus about 6mm or 1/4 in.

4. Hang the next full length to the marked line, with its other edge overlapping the feathered edge of the strip turned from the previous wall

5. Brush this length into position, trim it at the top and bottom as before, and run a seam roller down the overlap(do trot do this on embossed or textured wall coverings).Again, use a special overlap adhesive with washable and vinyl coverings.

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.

Stingray Sting

Symptoms A jagged wound that is immediately and intensely painful; the worst pain occurs after about an hour and then gradually subsides over a period of up to two days.

Treatment Stingray venom breaks down when warm but is stable and persistent when cool. First aid consists of applying hot water from the faucet, as hot as one can tolerate without causing a burn to the affected area. This will promptly decrease the pain, but discomfort will recur as soon as the area (generally the leg or foot) is allowed to cool. Frequent heat application is necessary for a day or two to control the pain.

Infection may occur if the venom and barb fragments (or the entire spine) remain in the wound. Usually these are removed by irrigating with hot water, though most wounds do not become infected. A tetanus booster is recommended if none has been given during the previous five years.


Stingrays partially submerge themselves in sandy shallow water in sheltered bays, lagoons, and river mouths. The animal’s whip like tail has several (one to four) barbs (spines) that are covered with a mucous venom. The tail reflexively whips upward when the ray is touched.

To prevent being stung, bathers should shuffle (not step) when walking in shallow water. This disturbs the stingray, and it will flee before one has a chance to step on it.

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.

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.

Wall Papering Stair Wells

Paperhanging in stairwells is no different in principle from work in any other room. However, the job is made more difficult by the need to handle longer lengths of wall covering, and also because access to the higher reaches of the stairwell walls can be awkward. It is a job that requires careful planning, and is best tackled with the assistance of a second person.

First of all, work out the starting point. It is best to hang the longest drop – the one that reaches from landing ceiling to hall floor — first of all. Mark its position and check that other joins will not fall awkwardly round the rest of the stairwell, especially if it has a window opening onto it. Adjust if necessary.

The next thing to do is to work out how to gain access to the various wall surfaces involved without obstructing passage up and down the stairwell or blocking off the walls themselves. On a straight flight it may be possible to use components from a hired slot-together scaffold tower to make a suitable working platform. On flights with quarter or frail-landings it will probably be necessary to tailor-make an assembly of ladder sections, stepladders, homemade supports and scaffold boards; two typical arrangements are shown below. Nail scrap wood to stair treads to locate ladder feet securely, and lock scaffold boards together by drilling holes through them where they overlap and dropping a bolt through the holes (no need for a nut). Note that ladders or steps shown resting against wall surfaces will have to be repositioned as the work progresses

Aim to start work by hanging the longest drop first. Then work along the stairwell walls in sequence, turning along the stairwell walls in sequence, turning corners and tackling obstacles as for other rooms.

1. Fold up long lengths of wall covering concertina-fashion with the top end of the length uppermost, and carry them to the end of the length on the stairwell wall

2. Get a helper to support the folds of wall covering while positioning the top end of the length on the stairwell wall against a vertical line

3. When measuring lengths that will meet a dado (chair) rail or skirting (baseboard) at an angle, remember to measure the longer edge of the length.

4. Where the bottom edge of the length nests a shaped skirting, make small release emits in the edge and trim it to allow the curve.


Use a selection of ladders, steps, scaffold boards and homemade supports to construct a platform that allows access to all the wall surfaces being decorated without obstructing the stairs themselves.

Where the end of a handrail fits flush with the wall, cut the lower part of the length into two sit-ups so their edges can he trimmed around the rail and joined edge-to-edge beneath it. Use a similar technique to hide the wall covering around a flush newel post.


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.