Skin Health

Hi everyone

Yesterday, I was at my Old Girls Alumni Association meeting. One of the highlights of the meeting was a health talk by a concerned beloved sister including skin health. We readily discussed the issues of skin bleaching with despair. Auspiciously, I came home to get a post on my Whatsapp page on a lady who fell into coma after using skin bleaching creams. Bleaching of the skin has become a menace in our society.

In view of this, we will be looking at SKIN HEALTH this week.
You are Welcome

Skin bleaching is also known as skin whitening, lightening, brightening, toning and glowing. It involves the use of substances, mixtures or physical agents to lighten skin colour.

Skin colour is determined by the race, genetics and exposure to sun. Skin bleaching can actually be traced to the Elizabethan age of powder and paint. Painfully, skin bleaching is very common among the African communities including Nigeria. In fact, I have had issues in recognizing people that I once knew because of the dramatic change in their skin colour. Am I alone in that? I don’t think so.

Reasons for Skin Bleaching
There are many reasons for skin bleaching including the following;

1. Enhancing pleasantness and attractiveness of skin. Though beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, it is commonly believed that the fair skin is the more attractive skin colour: I actually AGREE. Many people therefore believe that they look more beautiful (Yes some do) with a fair skin. This may stem from the European- American concept of beauty popularized by the fashion magazines and models. The presence of Black African models particularly Alek Wek changed this concept of beauty being synonymous with the fair skin. Many black African women have cited her influence on perception of beauty. Black is beautiful is a ‘New Concept’.

2. Enhancing opportunities in life, particularly job opportunities. It is also commonly believed that the fair skin may improve one’s opportunities especially in the fashion and entertainment industry. This belief is boosted by the number of actresses and fashion icons that have fair skin: either natural or bleached.

3. The desire to be attractive to others. A lot of women believe that fair girls get more masculine attention. Some girls swear that bleaching their skin improved their love lives and improved their chances of bagging a prosperous suitor. Men that bleach their skin also believe that they get more feminine attention.

4. Complying with peer pressure. The impact of peer pressure on the youths and young adults cannot be overemphasized. Many young people just want belong and be like others. Hence if the ‘happening people’ are bleaching their skin, then bleaching is it.

5. Marketing pressures. The marketers of these bleaching agents huge role as they market their wares. They go a long way to convince people to purchase their products. Even when people notice adverse effects, they are convinced to purchase other ‘ORIGINAL’ version that cause more harm.

Granted, there reasons may actually be tenable but are they worth it on the long run? Lets find out tomorrow.
Thanks for Reading

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PREVENTION and CONTROL of SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Hi everyone,
Welcome

Yesterday we saw the menace of substance use and abuse in the individual, family, community and the society at large. In view of that control and more importantly prevention are of paramount importance.
Control of Drug abuse is being implemented by the authorities in all countries worldwide considering the laws against drug possession and trafficking.
However, the most important aspect in my own understanding remains the impact and influence of the family. Regrettably, most parents and guardians are terribly naive in the matters of substance abuse. I learnt of a young man who admitted to his parents and school authorities that he started abusing drugs at the age of 12 years while in junior secondary school in Nigeria. The mother collapsed when she heard that her ‘innocent’ son had become drug dependent under her very nose. Please do not think that it cannot be your children; IT IS NOT YOUR PORTION!!
I honestly do not want it to be your portion but please take all the necessary precautions.
Prevention of substance abuse (including drugs and alcohol) therefore should start at home. Bonding is the bedrock of all relationships including in the family. In recent times, a lot of parents are busy in the rat race. They provide good food, clothes, good schools and expensive toys. However they do not provide one of the most important ingredients in child rearing: Enough Time. ALL CHILDREN NEED TIME AND ATTENTION.
In addition the use of smart phones, IPADs and laptops have worsened the unavailability of parents. Most parents are bent over one device or another when they finally get home. This further reduces the time they have to talk and LISTEN to their children.
All parents should make time to talk to their children and explain the dire consequences of substance to them. It is better to start talking to young children. The parents are able to influence their children as they teach their children the boundaries.
Create a healthy environment for the children. Components of the environment include humans, the school environment, social network, television ETC. CHILDREN SHOULD BE CONSTANTLY UNDER SUPERVISION. This includes in schools. There should be adult chaperones in school parties and outings.
Parents are role models for their children and should please ensure that they do it RIGHT at all times. Actions speak louder than words. The parents should be accountable to the children thereby teaching them to also be accountable to them. In this way, the parents always know where the children are and what they are up to. They are therefore able to foresee, guide and correct early misdemeanours. Many teenagers experiment on drugs without knowing the dire consequences. Such children and adolescents can be identified and stopped very early.

All children should be guided in making wise decisions, in their habits, choice of friends and interests. However, this emanates from having trusts in their parents very early in life. This two-way communication should continue for years. In this way the children should be able to trust their parents such that even when they are outside the home, they remain accountable to them as a matter of habit.
It is wise to involve children to developing and enforcing policies/values in the home against substance abuse. There should be praise and rewards for appropriate behaviours.
All parents, guardians, teachers and in fact all adults should be educated on substance use, abuse and the horrific consequences. Pharmacist should endeavour to insist on drug prescription for prescription drugs that are commonly abused.
In essence, all hands should be on DECK
Finally, we should all keep praying.

Thanks for reading.

Substance Use and Abuse

Hi everyone
In concluding this week for mental health awareness, we will be looking at a common public health issue: Substance use and abuse.

Definition
The World Health Organisation defines substance abuse as the harmful and hazardous use of psychoactive substances including Alcohol and illicit drugs.

Substances abused
There are so many substances that can be used and eventually abused. Commonest are Alcohol, Tobacco (Cigarettes, snuff), Marijuana, Solvents (glue, gasoline, aerosols, even correction fluid), Opiods like Heroine, Tramadol, Codeine. Others are Cocaine, cough syrup, Caffeine, Cocaine (Powder and Crack) ETC
The issue with substance use is that not all of them are illicit drugs. Some of them are legal medications especially pain relievers like Tramadol, Codeine. Some are substances that have other uses like glue, gasoline and aerosol.

Risk Factors
Those who are more likely to succumb to substance abuse are as follows:
Children and adolescents who went through child abuse
Children and adolescents living in drug laden environment and those who had early exposure to drugs
Children and adolescents with poor or lack of parental supervision
Children and adolescents who are curious as well as involved in risky behaviours
Children and adolescents who are under peer pressure to belong
Children and adolescents who are under the influence of the social media
Others are those with some internal factors like poor self esteem, stress, excruciating pain, poor social skills and those with mental disorder.

Dangers of Substance use and Abuse
there are many dangers of substance abuse. The most important are as follows:
1. Dependence
Use and abuse can lead to dependence characterized by
A strong desire to take the substance
Persistent use in the presence of harmful effects
Higher priority over every other activity

2. Behavioural effects
The effects on the behaviour on the person include loss of self control, being paranoid, seeing strange things, aggression, impulsiveness and impaired judgement. Others are loss of productivity and loss of labour: since most of them are youths.

3. Diseases
Drug abuse weakens the immune system leading to diseases. Some of the associated diseases include HIV, diseases of the heart and liver, stroke dementia, convulsions, mental illness ETC

4. Crimes
Crimes that emanate from Substance use and abuse include the following:
Drug possession and use
Drug trafficking
Armed Robbery
Prostitution and other sex crimes
Terrorism

The dangers and negative effects of substance and substance abuse cannot be overemphasized. Anyone that is involved will need to see a Mental health specialist for withdrawal and care.

Thanks for reading
Let’s talk about prevention tomorrow….

FOCUS on SUICIDE PREVENTION

Hi everyone
Welcome
Today October 10th is the World Mental Health Awareness day. The theme for the this year 2019 is FOCUS ON SUICIDE PREVENTION
In view of that, we will be discussing suicide Today!!!

Suicide is when a person takes his or her own life intentionally. You will recall that in recent times there have been issues of persons who drank ‘Sniper’ or jumped into the lagoon and drowned. Those are cases of suicide. Careless accidents or accidental poisonings are not considered suicide.
The World Health Organisation estimates that as much as 800,000 persons die by suicide every year. More so there are so many others who attempt suicide but do not succeed.

Those who have attempted suicide are more likely to successfully commit suicide. Suicide is commoner in low and middle income earning countries. It is also commoner in the young. In fact suicide is the second leading cause of death globally in persons between the ages of 15 and 29 years.

Causes of suicide
Most person commit suicide impulsively because of their inability to handle life stresses: financial, social, academic, relationship problems and otherwise. Suicide is common among people with mental illness (especially Depression) as well as persons who experience discrimination in one way or the other.
Commonest methods are the ingestion of insecticides like sniper, ingestion of overdose of medications, hanging and use of firearms.

Prevention
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognizes suicide as a major public health issue. There are therefore steps taken to reduce the rates. This involves Countries, communities, individuals, churches and other non Governmental organisations.

Measures that are important for individuals to take in the prevention of suicide include:

1. Early identification, treatment and care of people with mental illness, substance use and acute emotional stress. Please note that we all have our individual differences; hence we may not react the same way to the stresses of life. We have seen cases of persons who committed suicide after failing examinations. People who have severe acute life stress should be identified and given proper care.

2. Treatment and Care; Treatment and care of persons who are likely to commit suicide is of paramount importance. This is especially so in those who already have mental illness. Persons who are depressed usually need medications by the Mental Health Specialists. Persons who are isolated and lonely may just need visitation and relationships to pull through.

3. Avoid social discrimination: Suicide is common in people who experience discrimination. These persons are made to feel worthless in the society. Often times the only option they think that they have is taking their own live. Learn to relate and live with persons who are not exactly like you; you may be preventing one suicide.

4. Reduction of access and means; It is important to reduce access, means and opportunity to commit suicide. Hence the person who is depressed or going through a lot of stress should not have access to insecticides, certain medications, firearms or sharp objects. Such persons should not be left alone; being alone gives them the opportunity to succeed.

5. There are other measures thatthe government and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) can implement like policies on Alcohol, school- based interventions, training of both Health workers and non Health workers, follow up of persons who had attempted suicide ETC. All hands need to be on deck to reduce the rate of suicide in our communities.

6. Most importantly PRAY; God answers prayers.

Finally, if there is anyone out there who thinks that it is over, please note that it is not over for you. Once there is life, there is hope. I may not understand what the issues in your life are. However, believe you me people have been through similar things or even worse. Cling to God and cling to Hope.

GOD WILL SURELY SEE YOU THROUGH!!!

Have a great day

Mental Illness; Debunking the Myths

Hi everyone
Thanks for reading

There are many myths about mental illness. This is the reason that persons with mental illness and their families suffer from stigma. Hence such persons do not get the kind of medical care they require.

In view of that , will take time to debunk these myths today . You are Welcome

Myth 1 Mental illness is not in my family; so it will never affect me

This is the commonest myth. Most of us think that we are above mental illness. The truth is that ANYBODY and I mean anybody can suffer from Mental illness. Some cases arise from head injury, brain tumour, substance abuse, alcoholism and even Vitamin deficiencies. In addition some persons may go into depression or suffer from post traumatic stress disorder after a bad/traumatic experience like, wars, road traffic accidents, fire outbreaks, rape, sexual abuse, kidnapping ETC. Granted there are few cases where a family may have a medical condition that predisposes them to abnormal behaviours or mental illnesses. Anybody can suffer from a mental illness.

Myth 2 Children do not have Mental illness

Again, this is wrong. Some children do experience mental illness. These symptoms may be seen even in children very young (particularly those with developmental issues). In addition children who suffer from abuse: physical, sexual or otherwise may have mental illness from very young age. It is therefore important to find out whether your child is being abused if the child becomes withdrawn, sad, stubborn, difficult to relate with and lacks motivation. All parents should please be watchful!!

Myth 3 Persons with Mental illness cannot be educated or achievers

Persons with mental illness when diagnosed and properly cared for can be great achievers. The 1994 Nobel Prize winner in Economics; Prof John Nash from Princeton University had mental illness. He is referred as ‘A Mathematical Genius’ by his colleagues. The film known as ‘A Beautiful Mind’ is based on his story. There are others: Doctors, lawyers, Engineers, athletes ETC who have achieved great heights despite having a mental illness. It then means that persons with mental illness can be educated and excel in their chosen profession. They do not have to be condemned to the dust bins or tied and hidden; they can be treated.

Myth 4 People with mental illness are Violent

Most persons with mental illness are not violent in any way. In fact they are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than to be the perpetrators. In addition, they are also more likely to harm themselves. They should therefore relate with other people in the community or at work as far as they are on their medications. Granted, there are cases where those who have severe mental illness (especially those who are not on medications) have harmed their relatives and neighbours.

Myth 5. Those with mental illness have a character flaw and will never get better

Mental illness can be caused by a lot of factors as earlier noted. Hence it is not the fault of the person who is ill. Mental illness can be treated in the hospital such that the persons get much better and continue their normal everyday life. In some cases, there is TOTAL Recovery.

Myth 6. There is nothing that I can do for a person with Mental illness

There is so much you and I can do for persons with mental illness. Persons who are mentally ill need the same as all persons who are ill: LOVE, SUPPORT AND CARE. Relatives, friends and loved ones make ‘A World of Difference’. The first step is to take the person to the Doctor like every other person who is ill. Thereafter, buy their medications, send them to school and ensure that they have a wholesome life just like every other person. They should be supported to achieve great things; treat them with respect. Do not label them with the diagnosis. In addition, learn and share important facts about mental illness.

I have done my own part in writing this piece, what about YOU?
Please share if you like it and the ALMIGHTY GOD will surely bless you.

See you tomorrow.

Symptoms of Mental Illness

Hi everyone
Today we will take a step further in the Mental Health Awareness. Like I said yesterday, there are persons in our everyday lives whose ‘unusual’ behaviours are overlooked or condoned.Some of these unusual behaviours may actually be symptoms of mental illness.

Some of the common symptoms of mental ill health are as follows:

1. Excessive worry and fears: Mental illness may present as excessive worries and fear. In fact, a person who never seems to relax may actually be ill. Such persons exaggerate normal everyday issues; making mountains out of moles. Granted there are everyday causes of anxiety, the person with excess needs medical attention.

2. Irritability or Excessive anger: We all get angry as human beings over misdemeanours by others. However, a person with mental illness may be persistently irritable over non issues or has anger that is considered unreasonable considering the circumstances. Most of such persons are considered ‘DIFFICULT’ since it is not easy to relate with them.

3. Unusual or Illogical thoughts: The person may have beliefs that are just crazy. He may think that he is the President, Army general or even God. Some may become accusatory: accusing their relatives of trying to harm or kill them. Some may accuse their spouses of marital infidelity. In addition, the persons thoughts may be illogical, never making sense. They may lack concentration and be unable to follow a conversation; veering off the topic while speaking, adding irrelevant details ETC.

4. Low mood and lack of motivation: Another common feature of mental illness is a low mood( never happy, never smiling) and lack of motivation. The person may not derive please from the usual activities that give him or her pleasure like singing, dancing, watching movies ETC. Such persons may just prefer to eat and sleep while some may barely eat. They may withdraw and hide from people. These are features of depression. These symptoms can worsen to feelings of worthlessness and having suicidal thoughts. Regrettably, some may attempt or successfully commit suicide.

The theme for this year is FOCUS ON SUICIDE PREVENTION

5. Hearing voices: Some may hear voices which no one else can hear or see things that no other person can see. Regrettably, these voices may command them to commit crimes or some other abominable acts.

6. Poor performance at school or work ; Mental illness causes a lot of poor performance because of the lack of focus, lack of concentration , hearing of voices. This makes them unable to take up responsibilities at work or in the home. They are unable to hold down jobs: make unreasonable or unrealistic decisions. They also have poor personal hygiene and relationships. In fact persons who regularly loose their jobs or have issues with most colleagues may need to see a Mental Health specialist.

7. Obsession: Some persons with mental ill health may be obsessed with a particular topic or issue. These persons go on and on and on; which most of us will find very irritable. Some may do the same thing over and over again like washing hands repeatedly, cleaning the floor, fetching water ETC

These are some of the common symptoms of Mental illness that you may notice in your environment
Thanks for reading
Lets see tomorrow—

Mental Health Awareness

Hi everyone

This week is the American week for Mental Health Awareness. In fact the 10th of October is the World Mental Health Day. In view of this, I’ll be writing on Mental Health issues.

You are WELCOME

Mental Health is the state of functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustments. The wellbeing of an individual involves the ability to cope with normal life stress and be productive in the community. Cultural differences and beliefs actually affect how one defines Mental Health. Hence what seems normal in one culture may be regarded abnormal in another culture.

It is important to note that mental illnesses are more common than most of the non communicable Diseases. I’m sure that you find this surprising. Some of the poor behaviour we accommodate and condone may be the features of Mental ill health.

Effects and Impact of Menat illness

Mental illness has a lot of adverse effects on the individual, family and society at large.

The effects on the individual include difficulties with Education, low productivity, poverty, vulnerability to abuse and other health problems.

The burden of caring for the mentally ill is HUGE on the family. It makes the family unable to work at a full capacity, leads to decreased production, loss of income, caregiver burn out and social isolation and stigma. It also causes a drain to the family finances, causes poor childcare and a higher rate of divorce. In cases of physical violence, the family members are at a very high risk.

On the society, mental ill health reduces the work force, the productivity. It is also a drain to the society: socially and financially.

The burden of mental ill health is high.

Hence, this week is designated to create Mental Health awareness. Once again, the essence of this blog is to ensure that you take charge of the issues that you can control: if you are involved.

Let’s go……

International Teacher’s Day

Hi everyone
Thanks for reading. You notice that I usually don’t write on Saturdays. However today Saturday, October 5th is the International Teacher’s Day.I therefore want to take out time to honour these UNSUNG HEROES!! out there.I love to introduce myself as ‘A child of Two Teachers’.
This is because I consider my parentage a rare blessing. Teachers stand for everything I believe in: Love for Education, Intelligence, Communication arts, Honesty, Dedication, Accountability, Availability, Discipline, Prudence, Sound morals, being Candid and Straightforward ETC.
I love the compliment of ‘ No Wonder’ whenever, I introduce myself. It makes me feel that my parents got it Right somehow.

Painfully, the qualities exhibited by Teachers are gradually going into extinction.
Instead, some other negative qualities( indiscipline, laziness, truancy, arrogance, disrespect, dishonesty, moral bankruptcy ETC) are being accommodated, honoured: even flaunted and celebrated.
Every one of us can earnestly remember one teacher or another who made a positive impact in his or her life. Teachers spend their time , energy to not only educate but also make impact and change lives. This is the reason that in any country that loves and encourages Excellence, only the BEST teach. Teaching is not supposed to be for ‘those who can’t find jobs’. It is supposed to be the First option of job: only for the BEST.

Poor renumeration in developing countries like Nigeria has made Teaching an ‘Undesirable Profession’.

In addition, teachers have been mistreated and bullied by parents and guardians for carrying out disciplinary measures against their children and wards. All parents should please note that DISCIPLINE is part and parcel of Teaching. Allow the teachers to discipline( within the confines of the school regulations) your children: they are doing you a HUGE favour.

If I have the opportunity to improve the quality of Education in Nigeria, I will improve the renumeration and welfare package of teachers at all cadres!!
The theme for 2019 Teacher’s Day is Young Teachers: the future of the Profession

I encourage any young person out there who wants to impart into lives to go into Teaching! It is Rewarding in so many other ways.

I hereby celebrate ALL TEACHERS for all that you do.

For imparting knowledge

For giving your time
For giving your attention
For spending your energy
For the sleepless nights
For ensuring discipline
For being counsellors
For being Mentors
For all your SACRIFICES!
Happy Teacher’s Day to ALL TEACHERS!! : present, past and future.
Have a GREAT weekend.
Forward this if you like it.

Breast Cancer: Early detection

Hi everyone

Today, we are concluding on the series on breast cancer. You are welcome.

Once again, please note that the main essence of discussing Breast cancer is not to frighten or alarm you but to ensure that you take charge for a healthier you.

EARLY DETECTION AND TREATMENT REMAIN THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS FOR SURVIVAL IN BREAST CANCER!!!

The main principles in early detection are as follows:
1. Self Breast examination
2. Clinical breast examination
3. Breast ultrasound
4. Mammography

1. Self Breast examination should be carried out by every woman.
The steps in Self Breast Examination (https://www.missionrmc.org/Healthcare-Services/Breast-Care-Center/Steps-to-Breast-Self-Examination.asp)

Step 1: LYING DOWN
–Lie down on your back with a pillow under your right shoulder
–Use the pads of the three middle fingers on your left hand to check your right breast
–Press using light, medium and firm pressure in a circle without lifting your fingers off the skin
–Follow an up and down pattern
–Feel for changes in your breast, above and below your collarbone and in your armpit
–Repeat on your left breast using your right hand
These steps may be repeated while bathing using soapy hands.

Step 2: IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR
Look for any changes from normal. Inspect your breasts in four steps:

Hold arms at your side
Hold arms over your head
Press your hands on your hips and tighten your chest muscles
Bend forward with your hands on your hips

2. Clinical breast examination is carried out by a Doctor.

3. Breast ultrasound and mammography are tests that should be carried out by every woman. Breast ultrasound is known to be more sensitive. The new Guideline recommends a first examination after the age of 25 years. Thereafter those with average risk should have a yearly examination after the age of 40 years.

Those who have a high risk of cancer should start earlier; at the age of 35 years.

Thanks for reading

Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Hi everyone
Thanks for being here again
Today , we will be looking at the symptoms of breast cancer. You are welcome.

In most cases, breast cancer is asymptomatic. This means that someone can have breast cancer without having NOTICEABLE symptoms. However, in many cases, there certain symptoms may be noticed as follows;

1. Breast lump: The commonest symptom of breast cancer is a lump or mass in the breast. This is the reason all women should examine their breasts regularly. The lump may be on top /inside the breast or in the armpit. Some women mistakenly consider the lump to be a boil especially when it is in the armpit. The presence of a lump in the breast should make the woman see the Doctor immediately. Please note that there are other causes of lumps in the breast. However, you need to see a Doctor to examine and carry out some tests to ascertain the cause of the lump.

Other symptoms include:
2. Changes in the skin of the breast: The changes could be redness, change in the colour of the breast, swelling, wound or a difference in the feel and look of the breasts.

3. Changes in size, shape of the breast or nipples: In some cases, the shape and size of the breasts may show changes. This also includes noticeable changes in the nipples like turning inwards or having dimples.

4. Nipple discharge; The normal nipple should discharge only milk especially when a woman is breastfeeding. Any other discharge from the nipple should prompt a visit to the Doctor. This is especially important when the discharge is blood stained.

5. Breast pain; Pain in the breast may occur but it is not an early symptom of breast cancer.

There are some other features that your Doctor will detect after examination. Some of these are late features. The essence of this is that you should detect the early features and act fast.
Early detection and Treatment make a World of Difference!!!

Thanks for reading