Students! Help Your Studies & Your Well-Being

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Help with Your Studies & Your Well-Being for the rest of this Academic Year and beyond


See Sections below ~  


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.

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.  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. This system 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 will be uplifting.  

Be careful that the water containers are safe from being knocked over, and should never be put near electric heat sources. 


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.  See below for further information.


Please see my updated  Articles ~


These cover the deleterious effects of late night and long-term use of electronic devices emitting the blue-violet light spectrum ~ and how to manage them successfully ~ 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.





Sleep hygiene is about promoting healthy behaviour and following steps to increase the likelihood of achieving regular, restful and healthy sleep.

Your inner body clock, the circadian rhythm, works on a 24 hour day / night cycle.  Keeping this rhythm regular is necessary.


 How do I know if I’m getting enough sleep?

Most adults need somewhere between 7 and 9 hours sleep every night, but this varies.  Depending on your age, lifestyle, diet, and other personal elements, you may need more or less sleep.  Some people cannot function without at least 10 hours, whereas other people are fine with 6 hours.  Only you can really decide if you’re getting enough sleep or not.


Answer these to measure if you’re getting enough sleep:

 Do I struggle to get up when my alarm goes off?

Do I lie in on the weekend to catch up on sleep?

Do I feel moody and sleepy during the morning?

Is it hard to concentrate and focus during the day?

Is it hard to remember things?

If the answer to any of these is YES, you may not be getting enough sleep.


1.  Try to get up and go to bed at the same time daily, including weekends and holidays.

2.  Sleep long enough to feel well-rested most nights and try to establish regular times for meals, exercise, housework, and study.

3.  Avoid daytime naps.  Naps can be energy boosters during the day but try to have them before lunch and limit them to 20 minutes. If you have a consistent problem getting to sleep at night, cut out all naps.

4.  Your bed is ONLY for sleeping.  Avoid using it for watching television, eating, working, and reading.  Otherwise, you begin to associate your bed with these activities rather that its proper purpose ~ sleep and sex.

5.  Develop a bedtime routine to help turn off the stressors and distractions of the day.  Find a  way of 'parking' the worries of the day before trying to sleep.  You need to unwind ~ ten minutes of relaxation techniques, meditation or mindfulness would help.

6.  A technique to reduce worries is to write them down in a notebook, kept beside the bed, as they arise in the night. The mind can be very active and needs help to calm down and enable sleep. Write down ideas that come during the night so you don't have to try to remember them.  Old-fashioned pen and paper is best as turning on a device introduces the very light you need to avoid just before getting to sleep.

7.  In the evening, avoid conversations which cause distress, stress or raise emotional issues.  It's perfectly reasonable to ask if a conversation can be had at another time.

8.  If you just can't sleep, get up.  Try sipping hot milk, maybe with with cinnamon, or a cup of camomile tea.  Read a magazine or something light while sitting in a chair, keeping the light levels low.  The aim is to help you associate bed with sleep, and to stop associations of lying awake in bed, frustrated or anxious.

 9.  Caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, energy and sports drinks, chocolate, hot chocolate, and some over the counter medications) should be avoided within 4-6 hours of going to bed.  Caffeine can stay in the system for up to 14 hours, having a serious negative impact on quantity and quality of sleep.

If you decide to reduce your caffeine intake, reduce it slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as headaches.

 10.  Alcohol can definitely make you sleepy, but it can also interfere with sleep, so that you never get proper deep sleep.  Avoid nicotine and alcohol for a few hours before bed. 

11.  Nicotine is a stimulant and will affect negatively your quality and quantity of sleep.  Nicotine increases your heart rate and alertness, so you feel more awake when you’re trying to fall asleep.  If you are addicted to nicotine, as most smokers are, you’re likely to experience withdrawal symptoms as you sleep – to the extent that your brain will wake you up to get more nicotine, and thus interrupt your slumber.

Does vaping affect sleep?   Yes.   While you avoid some of the health risks of smoking by switching to e-cigarettes, vaping still delivers nicotine to your body and interferes with sleep.

 12.  Avoid vigorous exercise within 4-6 hours prior to going to bed.  Your adrenaline levels may still be high, impeding sleep.

 13. Don't go to bed hungry,  have a light snack of carbohydrates and milk, no protein.  Avoid large meals which can interfere badly with your sleep and may lead to gastro-intestinal problems if had regularly.

 14. Have your bedroom quiet, dark (maybe with blackout curtains), and at a comfortable temperature but not too hot.  In the evening time, try to keep the lights low and avoid exposing yourself to harsh light.  Avoid looking at your phone or computer for at least one full hour before bed and keep your actual bedroom as dark as possible. That means unplugging any bright alarm clocks.  A bed with good support for your back aids sleep.

 15.  Year round, exposure to natural sunlight has a positive impact on your body clock and mood.   A daily walk would be a positive part of your sleep hygiene regime ~ Vitamin D plus exercise.


Still Having Sleep Problems?

If your sleep problems persist, you should go to your doctor to discuss it.  Sleep problems are very common and normal and your doctor will be able to advise you on what you should do.


 Ten Benefits of Regular Sleep

 1.  Sleep helps reduce stress

If your body doesn’t get enough sleep it can react by producing an elevated level of stress hormones, which are a natural result of today’s faster paced lifestyles. Deep and regular sleep can help prevent this.

2.  Sleep can improve your memory

Have you noticed that when you’re really tired it’s harder to remember things?  This is your brain telling you that it’s not getting enough sleep.  When you sleep well your body may be resting but your brain is busy organising and storing memories.  Getting more quality sleep will help you remember and process things better.

3.  Sleep can lower your blood pressure

Higher blood pressure increases your chances of heart attacks and strokes but getting plenty of restful sleep encourages a constant state of relaxation that can help reduce blood pressure and generally keep it under control.

4.  Sleep helps your body to fight back

While you’re sleeping your body is producing extra protein molecules that can strengthen your ability to fight infection.  If you’re feeling a bit run down and you don’t want it to turn into a full-blown cold, go to bed early and get lots of rest.

5.  Sleep can help you control your weight

Sleep won’t directly make you lose weight but it can help you keep it under control by regulating the hormones that affect your appetite and reducing your cravings for high calorie foods.

6.  Sleep puts you in better mood

Lack of sleep can make us more agitated, so we’re more likely to snap at the classmates or be grumpy with friends.

The better you sleep the better your ability to stay, calm, controlled and reasonable.

7.  Sleep may reduce your chances of diabetes

Research studies have shown that not getting sufficient sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by affecting how your body processes glucose.  It’s not conclusive, but it’s another indication of how important the benefits of sleep can be.

8.  Sleep helps keep your heart healthy

A regular sleep pattern can help to lower the levels of stress and inflammation to your cardiovascular system, which in turn can reduce your chances of a stroke or heart condition.

9.  Sleep can help reduce pain

If you’re suffering pain from a recent injury, like a sprained ankle, getting plenty of sleep can reduce the pain level.  Many studies have shown a link between sleep loss and a lower pain threshold.  Basically, the more sleep you get the less pain you might be in.

10.  Can sleep make you smarter?

Along with a good night’s sleep, taking a quick nap before lunch can contribute to making your brain more effective and productive.  You may feel sharper, more attentive and focused throughout the day.

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 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.  

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.

Spray-on Magnesium oil or lotion is a very beneficial and speedy way to prepare for or recuperate from strenuous activity, as well as for normal absorption of Magnesium.  Some contain lavender and are lovely to use just before bed.  


Email, and details gathered from other sites including HealthUnlocked Quit Support forumStop Smoking Center,

See for further facts and notes.


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 have excellent general health benefits.  Such daily walking regularly from today, and into older years, is one of the best shields against dementia!   

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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 the annual Influenza Vaccination.  You are not just considering your own health, you have to consider your wider circle, including older people, pregnant women and people who may be frail, fellow students and staff, and those who would find fighting influenza problematical. 


Please see the additional information at the end of this Section from Dr Muiris Houston's article on ‘Truth Decay’.  It is up to us to challenge false health stories.


Some of the anti-vaccination scaremongering is coming from Russia, as part of its attempt to undermine social cohesion and confidence in our medical professionals in the EU and the USA amongst other places.

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.  Viruses are sneaky, they can change a little and make the innoculation considerably less potent.  The advice on self-care during a cold also applies to influenza.  It will last around seven to ten days, depending on the strength of the virus.  Rest, sleep, keep warm in bed, and also leave a window open to air your bedroom.   Drink lots of liquids, especially water, and eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.  See the Section below, EAT YOURSELF STRONG.


GERMAN MEASLES (Rubella) and SHINGLES viruses

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

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.


Both Rubella and Shingles have made a resurgence.


The World Health Organisation warned cases of some infectious diseases, including Rubella, in Europe have jumped by up to 50% 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.

Dr Kevin Kelleher is Assistant National Director for Public and Child Health for the Health Service Executive (HSE), the National body in Ireland governing the Country's healthcare.  

 Dr Kelleher was asked why there was not full uptake of the vaccination, 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.


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.

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6-in-1 Vaccine

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



‘Truth Decay’ – it is up to us to Challenge Fake Health News

 We must future-proof the next generation by upping their education in risk and critical thinking.


"The granddaddy of fake vaccine news was the 1998 research alleging a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.   Disgraced gastro-enterologist Andrew Wakefield was guilty of research fraud and struck off the medical register."

The false news about MMR safety caused immunisation rates to plummet; its effects are still felt today, with current measles outbreaks in Limerick and Dublin linked to lower than optimal levels of vaccination.

The HPV vaccine to prevent cancer of the cervix in women has been a target. It started with false news linking vaccination with promiscuity by the religious far right in the US. Emotive false stories continue to cause unwarranted parental anxiety.

"The flu vaccine hasn’t escaped fake news either."  False news stories have linked the flu vaccine with a risk of miscarriage and alleged it made recipients vulnerable to a host of other respiratory viruses.

"Anti-vaxxers have been especially influential because of their use of visual memes*. Subversive and designed to provoke a reaction, these memes press all the right media buttons to ensure disproportionate impact".

 " ... we must future proof the next generation by upping their education in risk assessment and critical thinking skills."


The above in quotes was taken from Dr Muiris Houston's regular column in The Irish Times, Health & Family Section.


Go to for advice on managing everyday illnesses at home and when you need to see your GP.






A regular. very varied. mix of fresh vegetables and fruit is essential for your physical well-being and fighting off infection.

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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; but 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 20 minutes after crushing or chopping it before adding to ingredients or heating it.  Add the garlic about ten minutes towards the end of cooking to retain its 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, a few 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 and 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 percent 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, stir-fry, casserole or stew 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 Vitamin B12, plus calcium, and other vital trace elements. 

It is very beneficial in reducing inflammation.  I go to Wild Atlantic Seagarden <> for my information on the many benefits of the numerous, various, seaweeds.  Don't overdo the quantity used, as Dillisk is so rich in B12 it remains, for a week and more, in the system after the last dish containing it has been eaten.  It could appear as a spike in any blood test results soon after taking it.

CARE FOR YOUR EYES ~ for further information on eye care please see my updated Aricles,


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 near the end of cooking, well chopped and well mixed in.  Bake them in the oven to make kale crisps.  Please see below for further information.

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.   

Broccoli and cauliflower are great in stir-frys and curries. 

Curried potato and cauliflower with yoghurtis one of my top comfort foods.   

 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.  Potatoes are high in Vitamin C which lies just under the skin ~ scrub your potatoes well however you plan to cook them, and don't peel them.

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 would not give us 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. Magnesium oil or lotion spray for applying to the body helps those who cannot uptake via diet, and these sprays reduces cramps greatly,which is a constant curse for those with Magnesium deficiency.  

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 – a 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, Pelargonium herbs and Ahiflower oil are all 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 and Ahiflower oil are 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 good 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. 

Adding your fried-off and sealed fish chunks to a gently simmering casserole near the end of the 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. 



Even though they don’t make headlines, many of the foods that are actually super are very cheap. Sarah Keogh is a no-nonsense Dublin-based dietitian and nutritionist, and is dismissive of the whole notion of superfoods. “I don’t think there is anything that is really a superfood, although some foods do have more nutrition then others.”

“ ... kale is full of nutrition and probably deserves the title of a superfood ... so do almonds ... carrots are brilliant and very high in vitamin A.

"Tomatoes are excellent and very high in lycopene, which can help in reducing heart disease.   Even the poor banana is great and is a very good source of potassium.”

She also points to dairy products.  “Many people have turned away from dairy products such as milk and yogurt and most of the time people are avoiding them unnecessarily, and I fear that we will have serious problems with our bones in the next 20 years or so.”

She says studies have repeatedly suggested that not only does dairy not cause cancer, but the people who consume it get less bowel cancer.

When it comes to POTATOES, they are also full of nutrition, especially Vitamin C, as long as the skin is eaten.

Keogh says that to get the best out of food, people need to eat fruit and vegetables, oily fish – particularly mackerel and salmon, with tinned varieties being almost as high in nutrition as fresh fish – nuts and seeds and wholegrains.


MACKERAL ~ An oily fish loaded with protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, selenium and iron.  

SALMON ~ Another oily fish that even those who are not mad about fish can eat. It is high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids and loads of B vitamins and selenium and more besides.  It is good for the brain and the heart. 

Tinned salmon is almost as nutritiously rich as the fresh variety and costs much less.

ALMONDS ~ This nut is a real superfood and one that is high in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, copper, magnesium and protein. They also have high levels of bioactive molecules such as fibre, phytosterols, vitamins, other minerals and antioxidants.

KALE ~  This contains Vitamins A, K, C and a range of the Bs.  It also has manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, iron and phosphorus. It is high in beta carotene, antioxidants, great for all round organ health and particularly the heart.  It is good for the skin and mind and a kilogram of kale costs less than a fiver.

CARROTS ~ The humble carrot is loaded with vitamin A, antioxidants and other vitamins, minerals and fibre as well as beta carotene. They are one of the cheapest superfoods on the market.

PORRIDGE OATS ~ Trinity College Dublin has 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 and an excellent source of fibre, 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, pulses, 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, alone, for ages.  Don't put the lid on, and stir regularly and gently. You may wish to add a couple of bay leaves to the water.   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 cool, spoon it into your ziplock bag with a tablespoon, having folded outwards 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 top of each other on the cutting board, to harden. 

Mark the bags, before filling, 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 90 per cent 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 the thin frozen lentil / bean / split pea mixture, to add to any dish you are cooking, it's like snapping off a piece from a bar of chocolate.  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, and to collect the defrosted water / oil mix, which you may or may not choose to use.  If you choose to benefit from its strength of protein, use it early so that it may reduce as much as possible and also help avoid steaming and making soggy the vegetables.  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 increases the protein level and the roughage content.  You might choose to reduce the quantity of meat used, and so reduce the cost.

Please 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!


The above information is based on my general research and my Montessori Training including nutrition and general healthcare; my keen interest in good quality, good value food, skin, and general physical and mental welfare; 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. Conor Pope, Consumer Affairs Correspondence, The Irish Times.



Skin and Dental Care for Everyone







A good skincare routine doesn’t just help keep skin problems at bay, it 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 - school, college, work, clubs, and societies.


Your skin is the largest organ of the body, designed to be a temperature regulator, to expel toxins, and a barrier against infections amongst other things.  It, in turn, needs to be cared for and protected.


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 décolette / upper chest.  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 after showering or bathing - it helps keep the skin elastic, and adds a layer of protection when playing matches, games, or trekking, and can help reduce the severity of scrapes and nicks received.

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.  On a hot day, just sprinkling it all over is a joy!

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

Don’t overlook mildness in search of effectiveness~ good cleansers combine both. Harsh cleansers or over-cleansing might lead to dehydration ~ simply because over-cleansed skin is forced to produce more sebum trying to restore its moisture and protective layer. 

This is often an issue for people with oily or combination skin, who tend to choose aggressive products to control the oiliness.  The more they try to dry out their skin, the oilier it gets.

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.  

4. Regular and scrupulous cleansing is necessary, morning and night. We are surrounded by pollutants and general dirt in the atmosphere everywhere we go.  Please do not use skin cleansing or refreshing wipes on your face. They are very harsh on the skin, block lavatory pipes, and are non-biodegradable.  There's really no good reason to use them!

Avoid soaps and foaming facial washes (they over-strip the skin), and stick to soap-free, scent-free, washes or cream cleansers to wash away dirt, oil, and make-up.


A friend, who has very dry skin, finds Avocado Oil an effective and gentle cleanser.

Rinse off your cleanser using tepid water while massaging your skin gently in a circular movements with a soft face cloth or muslin square, to improve circulation and remove dead skin.  Use a new clean cloth every day.  Have around ten of them, andthey should always go in a boil wash to kill off any bacteria.

Don’t scrub.  Always massage the cleanser into your skin in slow, circular, motions this will help to dissolve impurities, oil, and any makeup leftovers in the gentlest way.  Direct your motions upwards ~ against gravity. 


This can be done Mindfully at the end of the day, as you relax and prepare for sleep.


It's important to wash your face and throat well. Set the alarm on your mobile / cell phone for 60 seconds, wet your skin and gently apply in circular movements the cleanser of your choice.  You may think one minute is no length but you may be surprised to find you think you have finished the job well before the alarm rings Keep going!  Rinsing well is very important, using tepid water.  

Try hard not to wear your make-up to bed.   Leaving make-up on your skin overnight can clog your pores leading to breakouts, therefore, use a make-up remover before cleansing every night, and be sure to rinse thoroughly, as any leftover molecules from rinse-off cleansers might potentially contribute to skin irritation and dryness.


Your skin is repairing itself actively while you’re asleep, and this process  includes oil and toxin secretion. Therefore, it’s best to start your day with a refreshing splash of water!  If your skin is normal or dry, a gentle cream cleanser well rinsed is enough.  If its combination or oily, it will feel and look better throughout the day after a more intensive clean, rinsing well, and using Rose Water as a toner and light moisturiser or Witch Hazel to dry spots, if necessary.


Use a gentle homemade cleanser such as olive or coconut oil with some sugar or sea salt mixed in as an exfoliation once or twice a week.  Oil attracts oil.   When you rinse your face and throat, you skin should feel very soft and smooth.


Too hot water can be too harsh for your skin – especially when used regularly.  It can leave your skin dryer, pores more visible and can potentially damage skin capillaries.

Too cold water, may not be warm enough to allow your cleanser to work to its fullest, and can also damage capillaries. 

5.   Take care in the sun. Wear a hat to protect your hair, your face and the back of your neck, and / or one of those leave-in conditioners that screen hair from UV (ultra-violet rays), protecting colour, and shine, especially if you have coloured hair.   Protect your skin, from an early age, and it will thank you by looking fresher and less weather-beaten as you age. The sun’s (UV) rays are the main cause of skin ageing and cause of skin cancer.  See below on the range of SPF sun screens.


 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 outdoors use a SPF50+ protection Winter and Summer.  All dermatologists and other medicos advise Irish people to wear a SPF50+ strength sun-block, daily, all year round under moisturiser, and to ensure we take a Vitamin D supplement, as we get most of our Vitamin D from sunlight.


At any time of year, protect your skin with a minimum of SPF30+; children need SPF50+ protection. 


Fair, pale, freckled, Irish / Celtic skin-types also need year round high level protection.

I have been told by my Dermatologist that money spent on SPF50+ sun-block used daily is the premier skin care and protection purchase.  Other skin care moisture serums and creams, applied over the SPF50+ screen, are secondary in importance.  

Always remember to spread the protection to the throat, neck, ears, back of your neck, and décolette / upper chest.


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.


6.  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.   Sudacream is great at curing spots quickly - it can be found in the baby care section of supermarkets or pharmacies. Ask your pharmacist for advice.   All skin needs moisturising.  Use a water-based moisturising cream, which will help keep excess oil at bay.

7.  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 certainly causes earlier wrinkles around the eyes and mouth.   A smoker's 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.

8.  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; they start leaving permanent tiny red webs over time.

9.  Exfoliate at least once a week.  Use it around your mouth and on your lips too while avoiding the eye region completely, massaging gently, to give soft, smooth, lips.  It unclogs pores, helps prevent blackheads, and removes dead skin cells for fresh, clear, skin.  


If you feel your skin is too sensitive for the above, mix your exfoliator with cream cleanser, and apply that mix to your face and throat, massaging in upward circles. Rinsing well in lukewarm water so that your skin is free of all cleanser and exfoliator finishes the job well.  Rose Water makes a gentle, freshly scented moisturising toner to the skin.


Please don't use exfoliators containing 'beads'. These are usually tiny man-made beads produced from a plastic product and they do not break down in water like apricot or other nut kernels do.  These 'beads' get into the food cycle of fish and as they digest them they feel themselves full while actually starving.  Ireland has recently introduced legislation to ban these 'beads', the first country to do so.


If you live in a city, two light face packs a week may be required.  Look at the colour of your facecloth / muslin after the first round of cleansing to discover 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.

10.  Whenever you wash and peel an orange, keep the orange peel and immediately after you've eaten the fruit, use the pith side of the skin as soon as possible, while it is still moist (the white side) to cleanse / exfoliate.  Gently massage the inside of the peel in circular movements - especially around your chin, jaw line, around your nose, and possibly your forehead, or where you might be inclined to have breakouts. 

Don't rub on spots as you do not wish to irritate the skin or spread a possible infection. Use one piece of orange peel for your chin, another for your jaw line, your nose, etc.  You then rinse off with tepid water to remove loosened facial skin, the pith that has come away from the orange skin, plus the juice from it as well. Avoid getting the rinsing water near your eyes.  You may wish to use a face wash or cream cleaner to wash away the acidity of the orange, but they shouldn't be necessary. A good rinse with water should be sufficient.

This is an excellent, extremely good value mild facial scrub, which is especially helpful for oily skin.  You can then apply some moisturiser, having made sure your hands are well washed, especially before putting on eye cream. 


Your skin will feel much smoother and softer having used your orange peel gentle facial scrub.


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







Chemical cleaning products

Artificial additives

Amines: probiotics; soy sauce; kefir; miso; tempeh; yeast extracts; cheese; wine; avocado; beer; smoked salmon; chocolate.

Glutamate (MSG): flavour enhancer; tomato; broccoli; crisps; Chinese take-away.

Salicylate (pronounced suh-lis-a-lates): natural pesticides; tomato; avocado; citrus fruits; teas; nuts.



 1.                  Mung Bean Sprouts

Mung bean sprouts are an alkalising food which counteracts excess arachidonic acid produced by an Eczema condition.

  2.                 Flaxseed Oil

Use organic flaxseed (linseed) oil in smoothies.

  3.              Red Cabbage

Red cabbage has anti-inflammatory properties, and activates production of collagen for healthy skin.

  4.             Scallions / Spring Onions

These are histamine-lowering; anti-inflammatory quercetin; Vitamin K – vital for healthy skin.  50g of raw scallions (103 mcg of Vitamin K) are nearly double the daily adequate adult intake.

 5.              Fish

Fish contains anti-inflammatory Omega 3 which is good for the brain, skin, and heart.  Go for fish that are low in mercury – flathead dory, hake, and herring.  Two to three servings of fish a week are ideal.  A high intake of fish during pregnancy is associated with a decreased risk of eczema.

  6.              Beetroot

Beetroot has strong alkalising properties which boost liver detoxification of chemicals.  It is a potent blood cleanser – rich in antioxidants, folate, and iron.

7.              Oats

Rolled oats contain more dietary fibre and fibre than other cereals.  They are a source of Vitamin E, zinc, potassium, iron, manganese, and silica ~ which is an essential mineral for strengthening connective tissue in the skin.

8.             Papaya

Papaya provides a range of carotenoids ~ potent antioxidants that can modulate gene activity to protect against inflammatory damage and tumour growth (clinical studies).  The lycopene content helps protect skin from sun damage.

9.              Saffron

Saffron has been used for centuries as a natural antiseptic, digestive aid, anti-depressant.  It has anti-inflammatory properties; is an effective remedy for stomach disorders and coughs – containing compounds of safranal and crorin.

10.          Pears

Pears have a unique combination of insoluble and soluble fibre.  They help reduce inflammatory diseases, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, by binding bile acids to aid removal of toxic waste from the body.  They are good sources of Vitamins C and K, and flavonols ~ potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, with anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties.

11.           Carob

Carob has used for many health benefits for over 4,000 years.  It soothes and cleanses the throat; alleviates diarrhoea in children.  It’s caffeine-free and sweeter tasting than cocoa.  It improves digestion; has anti-cancer compounds; supplies calcium, magnesium, Vitamins B2, B6, and dietary fibre.

12.          Potatoes

Potatoes are high in Vitamin C.  White potatoes are a rich source of antioxidants, Vitamin B6, and are a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, dietary fibre for healthy bowels and clean skin.  They are also a good source of Vitamin B5.  Lotions, creams, ointments and formulations containing provitamin B5 are applied to and absorbed by the skin, this provitamin is transformed into Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), which has natural broad abilities to moisturise, soothe, heal and regenerate the skin.




Interdenting and brushing your teeth at night is the most important session of your day.  While you sleep, your salivary flow decreases, the protection level drops, and teeth are more vulnerable to decay. 


No matter the temptation, keep your tooth brushing and general mouth care to two session only a day. 


Invest in a cross bristle, pulsating electric toothbrush.  They do the work.  You'll never actually brush again, you'll just hold the electric toothbrush to your teeth, gums, etc, resulting in cleaner teeth and mouth with less erosion.


After brushing your teeth and tongue, and massaging your gums and the inside of your mouth at night using your toothbrush, and having rinsed well, take a small blob of a sensitive gums and protective toothpaste and spread it around your mouth, maybe using a little water if that's easier for you.  Put some of the sensitive toothpaste on any exposed nerves which will reduce the pain and help reduce any inflamation of your gum.   You've put on your barrier for the night!


Interdenting with a dot of toothpaste on the brush is the best way to dislodge food particles from between your teeth.  This should be done once or twice daily and always before bed.  Dental floss can cut the gum if used too vigorously.


Mind your Gums 

If you feel your gums are swollen or redder than usual, try using a mouth wash of a dessert spoon of table salt in a half glass of almost hot water, stirring until the salt dissolves.  Use up the contents of the glass each time, and do it a few times a day.  Use this for about a week, if you feel there's no improvement, you may need to visit your GP or dentist to investigate a possible gum infection.


Never Brush ...

Don't brush your teeth for at least one full hour after eating, drinking wine, fruit juices, or fizzy drinks.  Your enamel is softened by the acid in the food and low pH in the drinks.  If you brush, the friction scrubs the acid into your enamel, softening it further or removing some of the top layer.


Stains on Your Teeth

The worst causes of staining to the outer layer of enamel are black coffee, smoking, red wine, tea (especially green tea), tumeric, and balsamic vinegar.



Try to get into the habit of rinsing your mouth out well with water after a meal or after taking any of the above listed drinks and condiments.  Rinsing washes away the tannins and rehydrates your mouth.  Tap water in Ireland, and elsewhere, contains mineral fluoride which makes teeth more resilient to acid erosin and decay.


Almost all of the above, excepting additional information on the benefit of potatoes,  is extracted and modified based on an article in Natural Health magazine, February 2018 edition, which was based on Karen Fischer’s book, “The Eczema Detox” (   Eczema friendly recipes are to be found on



Copyright: antonioguillem / 123RF Stock Photo



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


Please prepare from now 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 Articles, BEWARE THE LIGHT!!,  PARENTS NEED TO ..., and SMARTPHONES & PGCs 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.


The link is focused solely on 16 to 19 year-olds.


(  /  /; 



(  /  /;



(  /  /    /  /;



( /; 



( / / your GP); 



HPV Vaccine essential early teenage girl & boy vaccination to prevent cervical cancer ( /; 



(   /  /  /;



(Teenage Mental Health -‎ /  / / Mental_Health /  Samaritans freephone tel number in Ireland 116 123, or your local telephone book or online /  Email / /

TeenLineIreland #WELISTEN,, Free Phone 1800 833 634, Free Text TEEN TO 50015);



(PietaHouse,, / / Samaritans freephone tel number in Ireland 116 123, or your local telephone book or online);



(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 armed with information 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

[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"



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 you, 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, +353 1 249 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


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.


Colouring and highlighting of headlines and text above were done by me, ICOB.


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


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FIGHTING DISEASE - Bacteria, Antibiotics & our DNA

Image ID: 103170552 (M)



Best advice in tackling infectious diseases


Bacteria find ways to get around our antibiotics


Dr Kathryn Holt tells Schrodinger at 75 Conference, Dublin.

Bacteria are formidable enemies that deploy ingenious strategies for getting around our antibiotics, Dr Kathryn Holt of the University of Melbourne told the Schrodinger at 75 Conference in Dublin.

The better we know this enemy, the more likely we are to save lives from infectious diseases.  The key to more information comes from sequencing bacterial DNA, Dr Holt added.  This approach had already revealed surprising ways that bacteria evolve resistance to our drugs.


“Several hospital outbreaks of drug resistant infections have now been traced to transmission of drug-resistant genes between different bacterial species, rather than the typical scenario where drug resistance strains spread between patients,” Holt said at the event hosted by Trinity College.


She outlined some of the ways bacteria swap resistance genes.  Some bacteria actively steal DNA from neighbouring cells.  We recently learned that cholera harpoon neighbouring cells and reel in their DNA to try it on for size.”  Others swap DNA in mobile plasmids, that can act like parasites, causing bacteria to build tunnels to other bacteria.



Drug resistance genes were just a tiny fraction of the genes that move around between bacteria strains. This created a vast library of genetic diversity that bacteria can tap into.


“If you were to isolate a strain of E coli from my gut and one from your gut, and compare their genomes, on average you find that they share little more than half their genes,” said Holt.  Each strain will boast a few thousand genes that the other lacks.  This only came to light in recent years, due to sharp falls in the cost of DNA sequencing, Holt explained.


There is a vast gene pool available to the species.  Much bigger than the number of genes we have in the human genome, said Dr Holt, who called this the “pan-genome”.  It was a surprise that microbes have so much genetic material on hand.

However, advances in technology are helping infectious disease scientists.  Dr Holt pointed to the development of “third generation” DNA sequencing technology, which threads DNA through a tiny pore in a protein.  This would be plugged into a laptop or phone to give real time DNA sequences.  This will deliver huge gains for infectious disease management, said Dr Holt, revealing when and where new strains of microbes emerge.

This could be taken into the jungle to sequence Zika or Ebola virus or into clinics or hospitals, she said. “The resulting genomes can reveal a pathogen’s most intimate evolutionary secrets.”


Dr Holt predicted that in future such sequencing will become routine in medicine and public health.


Anthony King, The Irish Times, Sunday 09 September 2018.


Colouring, rearranging and emboldening of headlines and text were added by me, ICOB.








Says Trinity College Dublin scientist, Dr Lydia Lynch.


The immune system is recognised as being involved in cancer and depression

The immune system is constantly doing repairs and maintenance in the body and does not sit around waiting for a call to action, Dr Lydia Lynch of Trinity College Dublin and Havard Medical School told the Schrödinger at 75 Conference in Dublin.

Research over the past five years had shown that we cannot ignore the immune system in any disease, Dr Lynch said.

The immune system was now recognised as being involved in cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and even keeping babies warm.

A major advance in cancer therapy came about when it was discovered that cancer cells use certain proteins (known as checkpoints) to stop our immune cells targeting them. Checkpoint inhibitor drugs switch the immune system back on and allow a patient’s own “T-cells” to begin destroying a tumour.



Dr Lynch welcomed the approval by the HSE (Health Service Executive - national healthcare body in Ireland) of a major new immunotherapy drug (ipilimumab) for treatment of cancer in Ireland.

She also spoke about how fat has an immune system itself, confirmed by her recent discovery of immune cells in fat tissue. This year she found a type of T-cell that lies between fat cells, but is rare in the rest of the body.

The cells appear in fat a few days before birth.  Her studies showed T-cells were essential to helping generate body heat. “Who would have thought that these T-cells are in our fat to keep us warm when we are born?” she said.

The immune system, she concluded, had a much broader role than protecting people from nasty bacteria and viruses. “It shapes our personalities, responds to our diet, it protects us from and can cause obesity, it attacks cancer cells and can cause autoimmunity disease, especially when we get old.  And it also seems to protect from, and sometimes contribute to, brain disorders.”


Anthony King, The Irish Times, Sunday 09 September 2018.


Colouring, rearranging and emboldening of headlines and text were added by me, ICOB.