Students! This Will Help Your Studies & Your Well-Being

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This Will Help Your Studies and Your Well-Being






COLDS and infections are inevitable ~ you shall be picking up all the new common cold viruses, all year, as brought to school, college or university, by other students and staff.  Make sure you eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, drink lots of water, including especially foods that boost your immune system (see Section below).  


DEHYDRATION can slow mucus production, which makes it harder to clear viruses.  This happens more in summer or in hot, airless, classrooms.  Sip plenty of water throughout the day.


WASH your hands regularly and properly.  Most colds are passed on when you touch the hand of an infected person, or a surface contaminated with the cold virus, and then touch your eyes or nose, transmitting the infection to yourself.  Therefore, if you wash your hands regularly and thoroughly through the day, you cut your risk of infecting yourself.


SLEEP ~ Getting nine to ten hours sustained sleep a night helps maintain your immune system and prevents you catching a cold.   But it’s not just going to bed on time that counts; you need good quality, sustained, sleep.  

Please see my Post, Beware the Light!! and the details on the deleterious effects of late night and / or long-term use of electronic devices emitting the blue-violet light spectrum ~ televisions, laptops, iPads, Kindles, Tablets, mobile phones, no matter how small the screen.  


The evidence is mounting on the lack of attainment and failure to achieve expected results for students, and everyone in the workplace, due to over-use of blue light emitting devices.



It is understood that 90 per cent of bone growth takes place at night.  Nine to ten hours of good quality, sustained, sleep are required by all teenagers and young people for adequate rest.  The human growth hormone is released during this time, resulting in growth spurts.  Sleep is essential for the body to rest, and adequate rest means better physical growth.  Sufficient Magnesium in the diet is an outstanding contribution to maintaining a balanced sleep regime.  (See below.)


SLEEP is also essential for physical recuperation, the development of the immune system, brain development, learning, memory, and information processing, as well as many other systems of the brain and the body. 

Studying into the late hours with a screen can be counterproductive because the material read is less likely to be remembered.


Sufficient Magnesium in the diet is essential to help gain and maintain good quality sleep.  If you have difficulties getting to sleep and staying asleep, you may wish to consider taking  a Magnesium supplement.  Please discuss this with your GP.  There are high potency, much improved uptake Magnesium supplements which are of great benefit to those of us who have difficulty absorbing Magnesium from our normal diet. Some people CANNOT absorb Magnesium from their food.  Epsom salts baths may be necessary for some.



STAYING ACTIVE  can help protect you from cold bugs.  Aim for 30 minutes daily of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, to keep your immune system ticking over.  There is new evidence that 30 minutes brisk walking daily has great general health benefits.  Such daily walking regularly from today, and into older years, is one of the best shields against dementia!   (  /


As the academic year progresses, self-care becomes even more important, because the examination and / or assessment requirements are building.  TRY NOT TO SLIP  from your daily habits of good food, lots of water, plenty of sleep, and a reasonable exercise regime ~ you're not necessarily trying out for the Olympics!


CONSIDER having an annual Influenza Vaccination.  I know some people disapprove of this.  However, you are not just considering your own health, you have to consider your wider family, including older people, pregnant women, and members who may be frail, fellow students and staff, and those who would find fighting influenza problematical.  Antibiotics are useless against influenza or any viral infection.  Visit for further information on when antibiotics may be required, and when they have no benefit.


The GERMAN MEASLES (Rubella) virus is making an alarming come-back in Western Europe, and is endemic in parts of Eastern Europe.


According to a special report, "Should we be worried about measles?", dated Thursday 16 November 2017, on 'Prime Time' the flagship current affairs programme of RTE, Ireland's national broadcaster, "the World Health Organisation warned cases in Europe have jumped by up to 50% in the first five months of the year due to low uptake of the vaccination".


There is a requirement of 95% vaccination cover to give a 'herd immunity' which is required to stop the disease from spreading.


The Health Service Executive (HSE), which is the National body in Ireland governing the Country's health care, has an Integrated Care Group for Children, and Dr Kevin Kelleher is on its  Steering Group, and is also Assistant National Director for Public and Child Health.  Dr Kelleher was interviewed on the subject of outbreaks in parts of North Dublin and an adjacent County.  He reported the outbreaks are because around 8% of babies nationally do not get the vaccination, and 13-15% of babies are not vaccinated in North Dublin.

There is no reason to think this profile is not replicated all over the 'Developed World'. 



Measles had previously been almost completely eradicated in the 'Developed World' according to the programme.


Dr Kelleher was asked why there was not full uptake of the vaccination (it is free in Ireland), he said that there is "a very stubborn group of people who are very anti-vaccination" and "who put out stories" via the internet, media, social media, which put people off having their children vaccinated.


People who do not have their babies vaccinated at 12 months as part of the MMR, and the booster vaccination when they start school, are not just risking the health and possibly the life of their babies, but they risk the health and welfare of all who come in contact with their babies and children.


Dr Kelleher told of of his experience of treating babies with measles when he was a young doctor, and ended by stating the following vehemently.

"Let nobody ever think measles is a mild disease.  IT IS NOT."


He mentioned the group of people in the population who have not been vaccccinated, especially in the "nadir" years 2001 / 2002.


Do you know for certain if you were vaccinated as a child?   Many young people have not been vaccinated due to an unsubstantiated scare over the three-in-one vaccination causing autism.  The MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), can be TAKEN AT ANY AGE if a GP immunity test shows you have no immunity. (Visit  / 

For your female friends who are pregnant or have had a baby, the 6-in-1 vaccine protects a baby against six diseases:  diphtheria; hepatitis B; haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib); polio; tetanus and whooping cough.  Visit the above mentioned links for further information. 


Sharing information is the best way for you and your friends to keep well, caring for each other.




A digest of the Study

"Common Arguments Against Vaccination, And The Answers to Them"

by Dr Ramesh Manocha, can be found in the

last Section of this Post.




Of course, your health is very important, but so is that of your fellow students, teachers, family, older or frail people in your life, most especially pregnant women, and any women you know who may be planning a pregnancy, and their partners or husbands.  Catching RUBELLA in early pregnancy carries a risk of miscarriage.  Nine out of ten babies WILL HAVE major birth defects such as deafness, blindness, brain damage, or heart disease.


The first signs of German Measles are a high temperature and a sniffy nose ~ just like the common cold.  In fact, some have no symptoms at all.  By the time the telltale red splodges appear, two to three days in, you have already infected others.  Proximity is enough to infect another, so being in the same room is sufficient to pick up or spread the infection.   If you feel you have the sniffles, do not go out.


PLEASE visit your GP as soon as you can to discuss any of the subjects that arise in this Post and affect you.  This is an important HEALTH ISSUE for you, and all others around you.  Please take time to visit for further very important information on immunisation in general.


Pregnant women may need to learn about getting the WHOOPING COUGH (pertussis) vaccination while pregnant to protect the foetus in the womb and during the first few months of life.  PERTUSSIS is a highly contagious disease that can be life threatening and is most serious in children less than six months of age ~ possibly resulting in hospitalisation for pneumonia and brain damage.  PLEASE see your GP if you are pregnant, hoping to be pregnant, or studying and possibly working also in an environment with women of child bearing years, for their sake and for your own.







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Taking care of yourself should optimally include the following



Some people require the addition of vitamins and other substances in food supplements. These can be fairly inexpensive to very expensive and could make a difference, even starting today, to how you manage your resistance to infection, supporting energy and sleep levels, during the pre-exam and exam seasons, any time of stress, or just as part of your regular regime.


If you are buying folic acid tablets, for example, buy Folic Acid BP ~ much cheaper than branded versions. Always ask for a generic brand of any supplement or vitamin you choose to buy. 


As with every product, check the contents to see what percentage of what you want is included, and what percentage is filler.  See below for folic acid rich foods.





GARLIC ~ Research has found that people who eat fresh garlic are two-thirds less likely to catch a cold.  This is because it contains allicin, which fights infection. Odour-free garlic products are available; I do not know if they are equally beneficial.  The potent sulphur compound in garlic, allicin, is responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity of this plant.  You can increase the activity of allicin by letting garlic sit for about 10 minutes after crushing or chopping it before adding to ingredients or heating it.  Add the garlic towards the end of cooking to retain nutrients.



MUSHROOMS ~ Many modern medicines come from fungal extracts.  Mushrooms contain Vitamin D, and are great at combating viruses.  They are also a handy source of Vitamin B12, an essential Vitamin which helps with mending cells and with eye care, especially in relation to the maintenance of the essential eye mucous.  Vitamin B12, other than in mushrooms, is difficult to source in ordinary food.


Ordinary white button mushrooms, brown caps, large flats, or breakfast mushrooms, are all good sources of Vitamin B12.  Don't imagine you need to spend a lot on special, expensive, mushrooms for your Vitamin B12 requirements.


Without sufficient Vitamin D, your body’s T-cells lie dormant, and these are what help fight infections.   


Mushrooms also have powerful bioactive components that reduce inflammation.  Try a stir-fry dish, including a choice of mushroom varieties plus, maybe, some maitake, enoki, or oyster mushrooms. 


Recent research has shown the many health benefits of Maitake mushrooms, including their ability to boost the immune system.  This is due to maitake’s beta glucan content.  Beta glucane is a complex sugar that activates and increases the activity of the immune system to help the body fight illness more quickly and efficiently.  Studies show that beta glucan may also trigger cancer fighting cells,  possibly making chemotherapy more effective. 

In addition, maitake mushrooms have been SHOWN to decrease the negative side effects of anti-cancer drugs, including nausea, vomiting, and hair loss, when consumed during treatment.


Enoki mushrooms have a somewhat sweet flavour, and are frequently used in soups and dishes like nabe and sukiyaki.  Similar to the shiitake mushroom, enoki mushrooms are low in calories, low in fat, and sugar free.  In addition, like other mushrooms, enoki is high in B Vitamins; it’s particularly rich in niacin, which helps support adrenal functions and is necessary for metabolism.  In a single cup serving, enoki mushrooms offer 23% of the daily recommended value of niacin.  This can help reduce the potential for heart disease and may be useful in preventing second heart attacks in those who are at risk.


The Eryngii (King Oyster) mushroom is the largest species of the oyster mushrooms.  It has a thick white stem and a meaty texture and can be thickly sliced and grilled like steak.  Eryngii has naturally occurring antioxidants, including the amino acid ergothioneine, which protects the body’s cells against free radicals (harmful damaged cells), thus reducing the risk of chronic disease.  Ergothioneine, an antioxidant found in eryngii mushrooms, is not reduced by cooking.  Eryngii also contain a disease fighting compound called Lovastatin, which helps clear cholesterol from the body’s circulatory system, improving blood flow.  They also contain significant amounts of zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and folic acid.  They're an excellent source of the essential mineral selenium, and easier to absorb than the inorganic selenium typically found in dietary supplements.




GRAPES ~ Grapes have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruit.  These antioxidants are largely concentrated in the skin.  Anti-inflammatory properties of grape skin have been demonstrated.  Grapes have also shown to have anti-microbial, anti-cancer, and anti-allergic activity.  Freeze them and use them in place of ice cubes.  Add them to all your salads.  Add them in the last few minutes of cooking to any sauce for sweet bursts of flavour.




DILLISK ~ is a seaweed found spread widely in the oceans of the world.  The Dillisk I get comes from the West Coast of Ireland, and is about as pure as one could get.  Dillisk contains astonishingly high levels of B12, plus calcium, and other vital trace elements.  It is very beneficial in reducing inflamation.  I go to Wild Atlantic Seagarden <> for my information on the many benefits of the numerous, various, seaweeds.



CARE FOR YOUR EYES ~ for further information on eye care please see my Post, Beware the Light!!



CINNAMON ~ A generous sprinkle of cinnamon will help expel toxins from the body.  It is antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal: A TRIPLE SHIELD against illness.  Some people cannot bear the taste of cinnamon, so try adding a couple of spoonfuls regularly to curries or to robust, well-flavoured casseroles full of herbs and vegetables, or other strong tasting dishes.



FOLIC ACID ~ Spinach is rich in folic acid, a key ingredient for repairing cells, this SUPER-FOOD is also a great source of Potassium and Vitamin C, which help keep you healthy.  Young spinach leaves are very good in a salad, and you are retaining all the vitamins. 

Kale, and other cruciferous vegetables should be consumed at least five times a week because they are rich in sulphoraphane, which helps eliminate harmful toxic compounds in the body that might otherwise promote inflammation.  Kale stands out among this stellar group, because it is one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet.  Try kale in salads, smoothies, soups, casseroles, and stews.  Mix it into pasta dishes and into casseroles and stews, near the end of cooking, well chopped and well mixed in.  Bake them in the oven to make kale crisps.  

Also, incorporate other cruciferous (brassica oleracea) vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts into your diet.  These vegetables are related to each other and are all rich in folic acid. 


The shorthand version is green leaf vegetables all contain folic acid, these include rocket and other salad leaves.



There is an increased risk of the foetus developing a serious birth defect, known as a neural tube defect, if the mother has a poor folic acid intake before and during pregnancy. The neural tube is a narrow channel that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord. 


Examples of neural tube defects include:

Spina Bifida – where the baby's spine does not develop properly; 

Anencephaly – where a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull; 

Encephalocele – where a membrane or skin-covered sac containing part of the brain pushes out of a hole in the skull.


Please go to the following site, from which I quoted above on neural tube defects, for further information on infertility due to a lack of folic acid in the diet and other matters



VITAMIN C ~ Taking a high dose of Vitamin C could help shorten a cold if you take it at the first sign of symptoms.  It is not just found in citrus fruit, but in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables.  It could also cut your risk of the common cold in the first place.  However, a good diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables, or those speedily frozen from picking, is an excellent source of all the vitamins and trace elements we require.  

Most vitamin supplements will not give you the essential trace elements found in fresh fruit and vegetables or quickly frozen vegetables and fruit.



MAGNESIUM ~ Taking Magnesium daily helps to regulate your sleep patterns and is helpful in keeping mental well-being in balance.  Any time of stress can cause some people to lose control of their sleep regime, starting to worry, and thus beginning a cycle of poor sleep. Start a Magnesium supplement now and and it will help in the coming weeks and, indeed, years.  Some of us cannot uptake Magnesium from our food and need extra support.


Prepared products containing mixes of various vitamins and supplements are usually expensive and often do not contain sufficient of any of the ingredients listed to have a specific effective impact.  A judicious selection of the basics would be much less expensive and have more impact.



BANANAS ~ Using bananas as your snack of choice while having a break during study, research, tutoring other students, gives you a supply of trace elements not found in any other fruit or vegetable. They are very easy on the digestive tract, and if you add a dribble of honey now and then, between them they will keep your gut active and calm, and help reduce gastric upsets which are common at times of stress. Unripe bananas have a higher starch content.  As they ripen, the starch is converted to sugar (and the fruit becomes sweeter).  

Green bananas are also a good source of pectin, which is a type of dietary fibre found in fruits and helps them keep their structural form.  Pectin breaks down when a banana becomes overripe, which causes the fruit to become softer.  

Bananas are loaded with valuable micro-nutrients, especially potassium.  Potassium is one of the most important electrolytes in the body, helping to regulate heart function as well as fluid balance – a key factor in regulating blood pressure.  The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, in lowering blood pressure and protecting against heart disease and strokes is well accepted and bolstered by considerable scientific evidence.  

Bananas are soothing to the gastrointestinal tract due to their high content of pectin – as soluble fibre that not only lowers cholesterol but normalises bowel function.  The high fibre content of bananas promote satiety (feeling of fullness).  However, as a tropical fruit, bananas are higher in sugar and aren’t a great choice for diabetics.  The resistant starch in bananas also has a prebiotic effect, helping to keep gut bacteria happy by increasing the production of short chain fatty acids for digestive health.



HERBS & OILS ~ Echinacea and Pelargonium herbs are both immunity super-boosters, and can help reduce the number of colds you get if you take them throughout the cold season. These are available in various sources from capsules to powders.  Echinacea is a vital source of Omega 3, 6, and 9, especially for vegetarians and vegans, as it is plant derived, rather than the usual fish oil sources, and so there is no after-taste of fish.

However, halibut and cod liver oil capsules are excellent value, and easily available sources of Omegas.  A regular fish element in your diet, two or three times a week, would give you all the Omega you require, and it is low in cholesterol.  Less expensive fish rather than the usual salmon, sea trout, cod, and tuna, are equally beneficial nutritionally.  Some may be lacking the flavour of the above mentioned species, but that can be helped by using a strongly flavoured marinade of  dried chilli, garlic, mustard seeds or powder, or whatever you like, plus a tablespoon of rape seed oil, either all mixed in a blender or in a pestle and mortar.  Add more oil if required to coat the fish well. 

Go to a real fishmonger and ask for advice on what types of fish stay together if sealed on the pan and added to a casserole; which ones fall apart easily if fried; which can be added straight to a sauce or casserole without requiring sealing first.  Also, ask for fish carcasses which you let simmer very gently in a pot of water from cold, along with a couple of yellow or brown skin onions cut in quarters, with the skin left on (the skins give a rich colour to your fish stock / liquor), a bay leaf or two, and a good pinch of salt. 

When your onions have come apart and the flesh comes away from the fish bones is in the water, your liquor is cooked.   


Adding your fried-off and sealed fish chunks to a gently simmering casserole near the end of cooking process gives it a great lift and helps the fish keep moist.  Please don't use olive oil for frying fish, it burns at too low a temperature; stick with corn oil or preferably organic rapeseed oil. 


As soon as you have strained your fish carcass, wrap all the leftovers, including onion pieces, in newspaper and add to your composting bin or waste bin, according to your local rules.  

You really want to get the fish detritus out of the kitchen promptly, at any time of year.  Your fish liquor can be reduced to the quantity you require for the liquid in your soup, chowder, sauce, or casserole.



Tins of sardines in olive or sunflower oil can be kept in the larder for a good while, always available for breakfast on toast, lunch, or supper.  Rich in Omega 3, this is a very good value, very handy source, especially for those living alone, or snacking while studying. 




PLEASE consider where your fish is SOURCED.  I would never buy fish taken from the Irish Sea, for example, as it is described as a 'sewer' by marine biologists, given its contributions from the nuclear power plant, Sellafield, in Britain, and the untreated sewage pumped out of Irish towns and cities along the coast.



HUMIDITY ~ Normally, tiny hairs in your lungs waft germs and mucus into your throat, where you clear them by swallowing.  But very cold air slows this movement, giving viruses longer to take hold in your lungs and cause an infection.


FEW can invest in humidifiers!  So, I suggest keeping containers of water (changing the water daily) beside every heater, radiator, or heat source, in your home.  Keeping humidity levels between 40-60% using a humidifier reduces the period viruses survive in the air, and keeps your respiratory system warm and moist.  Now, the system I suggest is clearly not so scientifically accurate, but it will help.  If you added essential oils of lemon, sweet orange, bergamot or lime to the water, the atmosphere should be more relaxing and uplifting.  Be careful that the water containers are safe from being knocked over, and should never be put near electric heat sources.



PORRIDGE ~ Trinity College Dublin has recently come out with even more good news on the benefits of porridge.  We already know a bowl of porridge for breakfast reduces random, unhealthy, snacking, it fills one until lunchtime; it is very good for the skin; and now we hear that the active parts of the oatmeal work to breakdown cholesterol build-up, and plague build-up in blood vessels.  It assists in weight loss; and of course it is a very good value food ~ considerably better for us than the processed breakfast cereals claiming to contain seeds and fruit which are hugely more expensive, with their frequently added sugar / sugar-types and salt. Please don't soak your porridge oats overnight, to speed up cooking in the morning, as this reduces some of the benefits of the oats.  We can add our own, in season, fresh fruit, as we like!


For example, LINSEED (flaxseed) cannot be digested by the human system as the coating is too dense for our digestive juices.   Also, bought milled linseed is of little value, except maybe as a very expensive contribution to roughage consumption.  Linseed is very rich in Omega, and should be milled as one has one's breakfast or whenever one plans to use it, as it loses it nutritional value within twenty minutes after milling.



LENTILS, BEANS, PEAS, etc ~ Lentils, chickpeas, beans, and split peas of all sizes and colours are an excellent, very inexpensive source of protein, which comes without the bad cholesterol of meat. 




I have found the best way for me to have a good, readily available, mix of varied lentils, beans, and their friends, is to put the largest dried ones you have soaking overnight in cold water, this definitely includes chickpeas which, I think along with cockroaches, will be the only survivors of the nuclear holocaust!  

Packets of dried lentils, beans, etc, are much cheaper than the tinned varieties (and the tinned ones frequently get mushy very fast when added to a dish one is cooking).  The next day when you have time to spend checking on the saucepan, you can build up a wide-ranging collection of cooked protein. 


Having rinsed them from their soaking water, add the largest, toughest, lentils, or beans to unsalted, gently boiling, water to which you have added a good dash of olive oil or rape seed oil; chickpeas go in first, alonefor ages.  Don't put the lid on, and stir regularly.   As the larger ones soften, add the smaller beans and lentils, etc, down to the tiny ones at the end, keeping an eye on the water level all the time. 



You want to end up with enough water so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the saucepan, but not too much because you will be reducing the liquid quotient as much as possible at the end of the cooking process.  When you are happy everything is heading to nearly cooked keep an eye on the saucepan as you wish to reduce the liquid level to a loose coating of the lentils, beans, peas, etc.  Then turn off the heat, put the lid on the pan, and let the contents cool. 


You will need some of those 1 litre and / or 3 litre ziplock type freezer food bags.  When your lentil / bean etc mixture is cold, spoon it into your ziplock bag with a table spoon, having folded back the opening of the bag by one-third so that the zip closure remains clear of your mix; lay the half-filled bag on a cutting board, and flatten the mixture as thin as you can get it, squeezing it into the corners, expelling any air, and then closing the zip. 


Fills as many bags as you have mixture, and when they are all flat as boards, put them in the freezer, on the cutting board, to harden. 

Mark the bags previously, with indelible marker before filling them, and let the ink dry; mark as 'mixed cooked lentils, beans, peas, etc', and add the date.

We all think we'll remember what's in freezer bags, but we don't 95% of the time.   Most bags of frozen something look like asteroids.


Because you've added oil to your cooking mix, it will be easy to break off chunks of frozen lentil / bean / split pea mixture, to add to any dish you are cooking.  If you are planning a stir-fry, break off your lentil mixture the night before and put in a bowl in the 'fridge to defrost.  It's like breaking chunks off a slab of chocolate!  You've done the work, and can feel suitably virtuous.


Even if you are cooking a meat based stew or casserole, adding some of your lentil / bean mixture adds to the protein level and the roughage content.


Just remember to keep all your lentils, beans and split peas, etc, in airtight jars.  Please cut the name of the lentil, etc, off the packing or bag, plus any particular cooking instructions you think would be useful, and put those in the jar facing out, followed by filling the jar to keep the labels in place; we think we'll remember which is which, but we don't! 


Empty mayonnaise, instant coffee, pickle, and jam jars are all great for storage.  Sterilize jars and lids before use in a diswasher or in a pot of rolling boiling water for 10 minutes minimum, after washing well.  Let them dry fully on a sunny window sill, not in the oven.  Plactic lids don't survive that second sterilizing option!







A good skincare routine doesn’t just help keep skin problems at bay, it can also gives you healthy, fresh, glowing, skin.   

From cleansing basics to your diet, here are some useful skincare tips to keep your skin in good condition.  This isn't about vanity, a bright, fresh face, gives one confidence, making one more approachable in all kinds of situations - college, work, clubs.



1.     Eat a balanced diet.  A healthy diet packed with fresh, in season, fruit and vegetables, with essential vitamins and minerals, will enhance your complexion from the inside out.  Drinks lots and lots of water, 2-3 litres minimum daily.



2.    Don’t use too much rich moisturiser.  All skin types need moisturiser, but rich, heavy, creams can sit on the skin’s surface and block pores.  It is also a waste of cream!  Use easily absorbed creams and lotions, or water-based products for oily or combination skin.  Don't stop moisturising at the jaw line, for young men and women, go down your throat and to your décoletage.  The skin there is very fragile as it produces less oil than the face, and needs attention from a young age.  Do moisturise your body regularly after showering - it helps keep the skin elastic, and reduces severity of scrapes and nicks, which might be experienced during matches, games, or trekking.



3.    Don’t ignore your skin type.  If you have oily, sensitive, combination, or dry skin, tailor your routine to your skin’s needs and choose specially designed products.  Pure, distilled, rose water is a very inexpensive, gentle toner and light moisturiser, and dribbled on your hair, it makes a great conditioner.  If you are inclined to break out in spots, old-fashioned, very inexpensive, Witch Hazel is good for drying out spots, without you ending up with sore and very dry, tight-feeling, skin.  Squeaky clean skin is over-cleaned!

You should try to avoid the products that promise fast and forever cures.  The idea that oily or combination skins are able to take more abuse from products is nonsense.  Oily and combination skins are just as sensitive as any type.  Please be kind to your skin!



4.    Take care in the sun.  Wear a hat to protect your hair, or alternatively one of those leave-in conditioners that promise to screen hair from UV (ultra-violet rays), protecting colour, and shine.  The sun’s  (UV) rays are the main cause of skin ageing and cause skin cancer. 

Most sun skin damage resulting in cancer happens in the first few years of life.   


Infants and young children need to be protected from head to toe.  If you’re out in the sun at any time of year, protect your skin with a minimum SPF15.  Fair, pale, freckled, Irish, Celtic skin-types may need SPF50 protection Winter and Summer.   If your Dermatologist has advised a SPF50 strength sun block all year round, ensure you take a Vitamin D supplement, as we get most of our Vitamin D from sunlight. 


The Australians take a very serious and sensible attitude to skin cancer prevention.   It is the commonest form of cancer in Ireland.  Don't think because you have dark skin it doesn't need protection, it does.



5.   Do Not Smoke.   Smoking may lower the elasticity of the skin by causing the breakdown of collagen.   It’s also thought to reduce blood flow to the skin so it gets fewer nutrients and less oxygen.   It causes early wrinkles around the eyes and the mouth.   The skin looks grey and tired, with no glow.  It's easy to tell a smoker of some duration by the lack of glow.  When one gets closer, the smell of nicotine from the hair and clothing tells the tale.



6.   Don’t wear make-up to bed.   Leaving make-up on your skin can clog your pores leading to breakouts, so use a make-up remover before cleansing every night.  



7.   Cleanse your face properly.  Avoid soaps, and stick to soap-free washes or cream cleansers; wash dirt, oil, and make-up, from your face every night before bed.   Rinse off your cleanser using tepid water while massaging your skin gently in a circular movement with a soft facecloth or muslin square, to improve circulation and remove dead skin.   Use a clean cloth every day. 

[I always have a Laundry Bucket on the go, into which goes the daily face cloth, muslin square, kitchen scrubbies, pillow slips - which should be changed two to three times a week - (you do want to sleep on clean linen), dish cloths, and kitchen towels - they are all added to a mix of non-bio detergent, a good slosh of Dettol or Savlon, and a few of kettles of boiling water.  I give it a stir every day or so, adding more boiling water as required - it keeps going for a week, and when a hot white wash is going on - sheets, towels, table napkins, linen, etc, the contents of the Bucket go in the washing machine also.  The antiseptic helps to sterilize the contents, and also to maintain a good, clean, smell from the Bucket.]



8.   Please don’t pick pimples or blackheads.  Bursting or squeezing spots can cause infection or scarring.  Instead, use acne or blemish creams, gels or lotions, to combat spots.  Good old-fashioned Sudacream is great at curing spots quickly.  Ask your pharmacist for advice.  All skin needs moisturising.  Use a water-based moisturising cream, which will help keep excess oil at bay.



9.   Limit alcohol intake.  Alcohol has a dehydrating effect which can lead to tired looking skin, and causes small blood vessels to burst in the cheeks and around the nose, and they start leaving tiny red webs.



10.   Exfoliate at least once a week.  Use it around your mouth and on your lips too, massaging gently, to give soft, smooth, lips.  It unclogs pores, helps prevent blackheads, and removes dead skin cells for fresh, radiant, skin.   Always close the pores afterwards with cool water.  Really cold water can cause damage to the skin.  If you live in a city, two light face packs a week may be required.   Look at the colour of your cotton wool after the first round of cleansing to tell you how dirty the ambient air is! 

If you are using one of those good quality Argile clay face packs, please don't let the face pack dry completely because removing it can involve using facial scrubs, and you might end up with a sore, sensitive, face.




The above information is based on my own Montessori Training including nutrition and general healthcare; my keen interest in good quality, good value food; the Health Section of the 'Sunday Times Magazine';;   the Holland & Barrett website;  plus advice from a Local Authority Dietitian regarding stress management, and continuous reading of up-to-date research.





Copyright: <a href=''>antonioguillem / 123RF Stock Photo</a>





Please bear in mind, that if you are sitting a State exam, or any important exam, are inclined to be a perfectionist, or a very hard worker, stress can arise at any time, creeping up without notice.  


Please prepare from the beginning of the academic year to reduce the potential for stress levels increasing by having a good sleep, nutrition, and exercise regime in place, and ensuring time for relaxing and being with friends.



If your School / College / University has a Counsellor, and if you feel stressed seek help immediately. 

Stress is NOT shameful, it IS manageable, and it should be TALKED about.



If every evening and all weekend end up being spent on research, preparation, and composition, your work has run away with you, and you need to get back in charge.   Please see my Post, Beware the Light!! on how over-working with a computer screen, especially late in the evening, can harm your health, and affect negatively your sleep patterns.



PLEASE GET HELP as soon as you feel under pressure; when sleep is becoming erratic; when you're beginning to miss deadlines; when your laundry regime has fallen apart; when your mealtimes become hit and miss; when your usual schedule for chores, shopping, cooking, returning books to the library, collecting dry cleaning, and meeting friends, just do not happen any more; when you feel out of control ~ YOU REALLY NEED HELP IMMEDIATELY!



Below is listed a number of links for help or advice on many of the subjects that can worry any of us, at any time.  If a friend has clearly become very stressed, upset, or over-worked, it's up to you to find out what help is available for her or him.  She or he is not necessarily currently in a position to search for the help needed.


This link was launched on week commencing 18 September 2017,, focused solely on 16 to 19 year-olds.


Stress (  /  /; 


Use of Street Drugs ( /  /;


Preventing or Stopping Smoking in Young People (  /  /    /  /;


Youth Alcohol Use ( /; 


Pregnancy  (; 


Vaccinations and Immunisations,  HPV Vaccine essential early teenage girl vaccination to prevent cervical cancer ( /; 


Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) (   /  /  /;


Mental Health Advice for Children and Young People

(Teenage Mental Health -‎ /  / / Mental_Health /  Samaritans freephone tel number in Ireland 116 123 /  Email / / www.yourmentalhealth.ie;


Help details for Young People to contact in confidence (Teenage Mental Health -‎ /  / / Mental_Health  /‎  / Samaritans freephone tel number in Ireland 116 123   Email



Clearly, most of the the above sites are Irish, but they should give you basic information, and you could then go to your local Health Authority to obtain links and brochures relevant to where you live.




The following may help you keep a balance, and  you may wish to put it on the noticeboards in the corridors or in the canteens.


A Quote from an Article by Marie Louise McConville on Stress Coming up to Exam Time.


Marie Louise McConville
12 May, 2017 01:00, The Irish News

[Ms McConville became very unwell due to over-studying and becoming extremely stressed before important exams.]


"If you are about to sit exams these coming weeks, take a minute to remember that while results are important, they are not the be-all-and-end-all.

"Exams can be re-sat but we only have one chance at life and living it and enjoying it and really, without our health, what chance do we have?

"So, if you're about to enter that intimidating exam hall or about to hand in that all-important dissertation, take a deep breath and remember, your life will not be determined by this one exam or in this one moment.

"If you're feeling under pressure, it's important you talk to someone.  You are not alone.  Your family and friends love you and want what's best for you and will support you no matter what and you will never disappoint them.

"They want you healthy and happy.

"Remember, it is true what they say, you're health really is your wealth.

"Good luck."




Excerpt from St Patrick's Hospital's Website "Five tips for parents whose children are set to receive their Leaving Cert results" follow.


The following does not just apply to the Leaving Certificate, it applies to all exams a student faces in his or her academic career.   Apply the thinking to yourself, and while allowing it take pressure off yourself, it will help you realize that NO exam result can stop you ending up where you want to be.



It’s easy to think that this is an ‘all or nothing’ scenario and although the Leaving Certificate is important, it is not the only deciding factor in any element of life.  (My underlining.)


CEO of St Patrick’s Mental Health Service, Paul Gilligan, emphasized this point when stating: “Your child will be too close to the event to realise this; but the Leaving Certificate isn’t going to determine their whole life’s purpose (My underlining.)


“It’s essential that you give them the perspective of knowing that if their results don’t go to plan, it doesn’t mean that they can’t achieve their ambition.”   (My underlining.)


The Walk in My Shoes Helpline for 18-25 year olds is a confidential telephone and email service staffed by experienced mental health nurses, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, with an answering and call-back facility outside hours.  You can contact the Walk in My Shoes Helpline service by calling 01 249 3555, or email


The Mental Health Support & Information Service is a confidential telephone and email service staffed by experienced mental health nurses, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, with an answering and call-back facility outside hours.  You can contact the Support & Information Service by calling Dublin, 01 249 3333, or email



Answers to Common Arguments against Vaccination

Copyright: <a href=''>auntspray / 123RF Stock Photo</a>



Common Arguments Against Vaccination,

And The Answers to Them



By Dr Ramesh Manocha



Vaccines are among the greatest inventions in the history of medicine. They have saved countless lives and reduced human suffering by an amount which is impossible to calculate.  However, today there are many rumours and concerns going around about the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations, which have caused many people to reject them.  Here, we will consider their questions and answer them as we can.


Vaccines cause autism.

This is a common refrain, but one that has been thoroughly debunked over and over again.  There is no evidence showing a connection between vaccination rates and the prevalence of autism.  This argument also relies on the idea that suffering the worst effects of these preventable diseases, including death, is preferable to an unsubstantiated increased risk of autism, an extremely controversial idea.


Mercury is dangerous! And it's in the vaccines!

Firstly, that's not quite true: the only thing in the vaccines was Thimerosal, which is not the same as the dangerous mercury you are thinking of. Secondly, the FDA called for (and achieved) the removal of that substance from all vaccines other than the flu shot back in 2001.  And if you like your vaccinations like you like your Jamba Juice (i.e. — a la carte), doses without Thimerosal are available if you are really a stickler for it.



- Scotty Hendricks

Download from 'Generation Next'.


Read More: Vaccination 101: Here's Why You Should Vaccinate | Big Think

Dr Ramesh Manocha | July 10, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Tags: vaccinations | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:




Best of Luck!

Regards, Iseult

Iseult Catherine O'Brien



If you see any errors, typographical or factual, or if you disagree with any of my ideas, I should be very glad to hear from you.   If I have left something out you think should have been included, please let me know.




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