Author: Elizabeth

Friedrich Gerhard Rohlfs: From Medicine To Exploration In Africa

Friedrich Gerhard Rohlfs was born to a middle class family in Vegesack, now Bremen, Germany in 1831. He early life was spent trying to escape from home to become an explorer. Rohlfs was forced by his family into the field of medicine, but he decided to join the Austrian Army. Upon leaving the Austrian Army, Rohlfs joined the French Foreign Legion in 1855. While in the Foreign Legion, he was a medic and won the Légiond’honneur.

Home is Morocco

Once Rohlfs left the French Foreign Legion, he found himself in Morocco. To blend in, he learned Arabic, grew a beard, learned the cultural customs, and made up a background story of being a convert to Islam. While living there, he continued to practice medicine. With a letter of recommendation from a local governor who was also a good friend in his area of Ouezzane, he obtained rank as personal doctor to the Sultan of Morocco.

Even with protection from the Sultan, being a European was dangerous in North Africa. His first journey into the desert was a disaster. He was robbed, beaten and left for dead by his own bodyguards.

He voyaged a second time out into the Sahara in 1862, and then again in 1864. His third trip was alone across the Atlas Mountains to villages in Touat. Rohlfs focused on traveling from oasis to oasis throughout North Africa.

With that goal in mind, Rohlfs found himself at the Ghadamis Oasis, which is in the middle of the Libyan Desert. For half a year, he remained living there due to an illness.

Oasis-Hopping in Africa

Rohlfs was finally able to leave Ghadamis Oasis in 1865, and continued onward toward Murzuq. He then gathered a caravan and traveled to Lake Chad. In that area, he was welcomed by the Sultan of Bornu.

He then made a new caravan and crossed what is present day Libya. While traveling in 1868, he lingered in the Siwa Oasis, where the fabled Alexander the Great was said to have visited hundreds of years prior to that. For this trip he was awarded the Patron’s Medal by the Royal Geographical Society.

After the war in Egypt in 1873, Rohlfs was given lead to a scientific expedition to Kufrah Oasis by Ismail Pasha. His job was to track dried river beds of the Nile. Having too large a caravan, Rohlfs was forced back to Siwa when he found an impassable desert stretch between the oases. Some time later, Rohlfs attempted the push to Kufrah a second time and succeeded.

Check Also: Reduce Stress Anxiety By Limiting Multi-tasking: Coping With Stress By Slowing Down.

Rohlfs made several expeditions into the deserts of Africa from 1873 to 1878. His last expedition was with the German East Africa Society, with Dr. Stecker. While traveling from Tripoli to Kufra, the trip was smooth. From Kufra towards Wadai, the caravan had to deal with hostility from the Bedouin communities, as well as a freak rain storm. This forced them to retreat.

The caravan finished up the trip without reaching Wadai, and Rohlfs returned to Germany where he married. His wanderlust began again, and during the war between Europe and Africa, the Prince of Bizmark made Rohlfs consul in Zanzibar.

He was not well trained in diplomacy, and due to failures in politics with Britain, was recalled to live the rest of his life in Rungsdorf, near Bonn, Germany, where he died in 1896. Historically, he is known as the first European to cross Africa from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Guinea.

Reduce Stress Anxiety By Limiting Multi-tasking: Coping With Stress By Slowing Down

With the demands of full time jobs, household chores, parenting, and maintaining healthy relationships, sooner or later many people begin to loose the battle against stress and head for burnout. To pack more into every day, they take shortcuts: they “talk” to friends via Facebook, answer the phone whilst typing emails, eat fast food rather than home cooked meals.

This leaves more time for a multitude of tasks but, in the long term, the constant juggling results in problems with concentration, difficulties in making decisions and inability to relax. Although they take a bit of effort and may not work every day, these tried and tested techniques can help beat stress in daily life.

Prioritise

Getting up earlier, starting work without delay and avoiding distractions can help beat work related stress. Starting with urgent, larger tasks rather than putting them off till later is important, as it is easier to concentrate and make the right decisions when well-rested. If there are several of these planned for the day, focusing on the tasks that can be finished today gives a real sense of accomplishment.

Equally important is distinguishing between what must be done and what should be done, and moving tasks that are not crucial to the bottom of the to-do list or even purging them.

Turning off emails for the day or not looking at them till the end of the day can help, too. Similarly, letting all calls go to voicemail for a few hours will not cause the world to end.

In the case of those who are normally task-orientated, when a situation demands choosing between a “person” and a “task”, it is mentally more rewarding to choose the person. Whether that person’s child is ill or she is a colleague who needs help at work, making them a priority for the day helps improve the general sense of well-being, which in turn helps reduce stress.

Delegate

Even perfectionists do not have to do everything by themselves, whether on the job or at home. When faced with two tasks, which seem equally urgent and important, it is key to question which is critical. Dealing with this task and asking for help with the other reduces undue workplace stress and can also be applied at home. Whoever helps may not do it perfectly well but it still gets done, the urgency goes away and any loose ends can be tidied up later.

At work, most people want more responsibility and want to feel useful, and taking the time to explain the tasks will pay dividends in the long term. The same thing holds true when delegating tasks at home.

Relax

Starting the day with a relaxing ritual such as meditation or yoga prepares the mind and the body for the day ahead. Both are proven techniques for relieving stress and help to concentrate on what is important.

It is not necessary to be productive 24/7. Snatching moments during the day to do nothing, or at least to do something aimlessly, is healthy for the mind. So is staring out of the window on the train rather than answering emails. Going for a walk without actually aiming to get somewhere is an exercise both for the body and the mind.

Being creative, taking up a hobby or simply having fun help put life into perspective and are powerful antidotes to stress.

Check More: The H1N1 Virus Facts: Symptoms And Simple Home Remedies.

Downtime – reading, taking a nap, or even taking a long bath rather than a quick shower – helps recharge batteries and diverts the mind. And when the mind wanders back to urgent matters, there is always tomorrow.

It is impossible to function at full speed all the time every time without heading for burnout. Slowing down or speeding up depending on what circumstances demand is a recipe for coping with stress.

The H1N1 Virus Facts: Symptoms And Simple Home Remedies

Sure enough, everyone has heard about the H1N1 virus, but how does one define it? It’s a pandemic, respiratory disease known to affect pigs, birds, and people. It often results in nasal secretions, coughing, loss of appetite amongst all other flu-like symptoms. H1N1 is like the flu, but even more severe, affecting mostly children under the age of five.

Why is H1N1 called the “Swine Flu”? This virus was discovered as early as 1930 on farms throughout the US. It’s an influenza virus that passes from one pig to another and most any person that handles these animals. The swine flu was detected by pork producers, veterinarians, and other commercial experts that came in contact with them. In April of 2009, the H1N1 virus was found to spread from one person to another in countries as Canada and Mexico.

How did H1N1 get this name? Investigators found that it primarily affects people and contains two substances that are foreign to the human body, causing reactions to the immune system. “H1” means the hemagglutinin type and “N1” means the neuraminidase type. These are terms representing antigens as bacteria, viruses, or other contaminants causing influenza type symptoms.

How H1N1 Spreads

Many believe H1N1 is spread by foods, especially pork products, or water. Recent laboratory tests prove this is not true. All food is safe as well as tap water disinfected through conventional processes.

H1N1 spreads in the same way a regular cold or flu spreads, through the air or by physical contact. Anytime someone infected coughs or sneezes, that person sends tiny particles through the air from their nose, throat, or lungs. Anyone breathing these antigens in is prone to developing the H1N1 virus. Being in a crowd will increase one’s likelihood of catching it. Most any type of environmental surface can spread it in two to eight hours after the contaminating agent has been deposited onto it. Someone touching the tainted surface then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth is highly likely to transmit the virus to themselves.

Read Also: The National Health Care Debate: Will Americans Finally Have A Public Option?

The Symptoms of H1N1

In adults, H1N1 will affect one’s respiratory system resulting in coughing, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, a sore throat, a runny nose, or abdominal or chest pain. Other effects are pain in the muscles or joints, fatigue, chills, abrupt dizziness or confusion, and headaches. Symptoms that affect children to a high degree are blue or gray lips or skin, dehydration, seizures, excessive sleeping, rapid breathing, or becoming irritable when being held in the arms of a parent. Both children and adults may experience diarrhea, severe or persistent vomiting, or fevers.

Anyone who feels they may have the H1N1 virus must see their family physician. Only a medical expert can determine whether one has the virus or just has the flu. A doctor will need to take a blood sample, a nasopharyngeal test (nose to mouth), and a throat swab from the patient and send it to a medical lab for further testing.

Common Remedies for H1N1

Remedies for the H1N1 are similar to the regular flu. Aspirin works well to kill pain and aid fevers but is not recommended for children or teenagers. Over-the-counter medications help ease the symptoms but do not kill the virus. Two antiviral drugs are recommended for those who’ve become severely ill: Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and Zanamivir (Relenza). Both are highly effective since they disable an enzyme needed to help the virus grow and spread.

Meanwhile, the H1N1 virus can be treated by drinking plenty of fluids, getting plenty of sleep, and eating soup to help minimize congestion. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables will ensure a faster recovery.

The National Health Care Debate: Will Americans Finally Have A Public Option?

The national health care debate has sparked quite a bit of controversy as well as strong emotions in U.S. citizens. The unemployed, underemployed, and working poor all need accessible and affordable health care. Even those who are already insured have quite a few problems with the current insurance model and are completely for health care reform.

Health Care Reform

Though Americans are closer than ever before to having a more cost-effective and higher quality health care system, there are still obstacles that need to be overcome.

The first obstacle is those few people who are opposing health care reform. The true reason that they do not want this reform to happen is money. It is about the fact that they have investments somewhere in the health care industry and they are afraid of losing money. In their view, if health care becomes cheaper, then their investments will lose value.

However, one can’t help but wonder if this is a truly a reason to keep sacrificing thousands of lives every year. In the United States 101,000 people die each year as a result of the current health care system. These deaths are considered preventable as the people who die have treatable conditions. In a study conducted by Commonwealth Fund involving 19 industrial nations, researchers found that of the health care systems in developed nations, the United States ranked at number 19.

Universal Health Care

Universal health care would not only solve a majority of the issues that citizens are having with the current health care system, but it would also solve several of the economic issues that Americans are facing today.

More than 60% of bankruptcies in the United States are caused by medical bills. Even patients who are insured can become overwhelmed with medical bills due to the fact that most insurance coverage is highly limited.

Another issue that people are facing is the fact that there is no real regulatory authority over the insurance industry. Health insurance providers also face a very limited amount of competition, which is part of the reason that the insurance rates continue to increase as drastically as they do.

Read Also: Facts About Fibromyalgia: Identifying And Treating Chronic Fibromyalgia Pain.

Why is the Health Care Bill Important?

Simply put, the health care bill would be put in place to accomplish two tasks:

  • Create new laws that would regulate insurance companies.
  • Provide affordable health insurance to all American citizens, regardless of their health conditions.

A public option would help drive down costs by competing with insurance companies. There would also be new laws put in place to protect people from being taken advantage of by the insurance companies.

Health care reform is important because it will save lives, improve the economy, and improve the quality of life for all American citizens.

Facts About Fibromyalgia: Identifying And Treating Chronic Fibromyalgia Pain

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder which causes chronic pain throughout the body. It may also cause fatigue and sleep disturbances, which in turn can lead to depression. The National Fibromyalgia Association identifies fibromyalgia as a syndrome rather than a disease. By their definition, a disease has definite symptoms and a specific cause. A syndrome has a collection of symptoms which may cause medical problems, but they are not related to an identifiable cause.

Diagnosing Fibromyalgia

Many people with FM have spent years going from one doctor to another in search of an explanation for the pain they feel, but since there are no specific laboratory tests for fibromyalgia, the diagnosis must be made on the basis of clinical observations. According to Mayo Clinic, the presence of tenderness at specific points over the body is a strong indicator of fibromyalgia and may be sufficient for a diagnosis if other causes of the persistent pain have been ruled out.

Causes of Fibromyalgia

No one knows exactly what causes fibromyalgia, but it tends to run in families. Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men, and the risk of developing it increases with age. It is suspected that infections or trauma may trigger it, but this theory has not been proved.

Treatment of Fibromyalgia

New prescription drugs to treat fibromyalgia pain are available, but drug therapy is only one part of a comprehensive treatment program. Stretching and regular, gentle exercise are key components in managing pain and avoiding stiffness. Getting enough rest is also important. If lack of sleep is a problem, medications can be prescribed to help. Physical therapy, massage, acupuncture and yoga can be helpful adjuncts to standard treatment.

In spite of the help available from the medical community, the day-to-day work of managing the chronic pain of fibromyalgia must be done by the patient. Self help must begin upon diagnosis. Each person has to find the combination of medicines and therapies that work best for him or her. Some changes in life style may be necessary, and a more relaxed attitude cultivated. The support and understanding of family and friends is important in order to avoid the depression which sometimes comes from dealing with a chronic condition.

Outlook

At the present time, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, but it is no longer being ignored or treated as a figment of the patient’s imagination. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved three new drugs for the treatment of FM since 2007, and others are on the way. In addition, there is more research being done on FM now than at any time in the past.