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6 Must-Read Tips to Protect Yourselves from Zika Virus

6 Must-Read Tips to Protect Yourselves from Zika Virus

Mosquito Bite

    Are you suffering from a fever after many days? Are you also facing skin rashes, pain in the joints and muscles and headaches along with the fever? If yes, then there may be a chance that you are suffering from the Zika virus. Caused by the daytime active mosquitoes – Aedes – this virus was originally found in monkeys. Infected Aedes mosquitoes (those mosquitoes that bite the animals having Zika virus) are the primary carriers of this virus to the humans.

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    Zika virus is mainly caused by the mosquito bite, but this disease can also be transferred by sexual intercourse and blood transfusion. Symptoms of this illness are very mild and prevalent ones, like fever, red eyes, rashes and joint pain, which can last for two to seven days.

    People who are infected by the Zika virus are more prone to the syndrome called Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), according to some studies which connect the two. This disease weakens the immune system, and it becomes one’s enemy. A person’s immune system can damage their own nerve cells which results in the weakness of muscles and, in the worst case scenario, it can cause paralysis. Apart from this, this virus can harm the upcoming generation too. If a pregnant lady is suffering from this disease, then there is a high risk of severe congenital disabilities in the offspring and it can be transferred from the mother to the child.

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    So in all, this virus can affect you and your upcoming generations if not cured on time. Even now, no effective solution for the treatment of this disease has been discovered. Scientists are still working on the medicines and vaccines for killing the Zika virus. So in this situation, it would be best to take some steps to protect yourself from Zika virus, rather than regret later. Below are six important steps that can protect you from Zika virus.

    1. Avoid mosquitoes with your clothes

    The first and the most common door for the Zika virus to enter in your body is the mosquito bite. An effective way to keep mosquitoes away from you are your clothing patterns. To avoid mosquitoes and their bites, try to wear full and light colored clothes. Mosquitoes are more attracted towards dark colors as they are clearly visible. So fully covered clothes can absorb the heat and light colored clothes can help you to avoid mosquitoes.

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    2. Use insect repellent

    Another way to keep these little creatures away from you is to use insect repellent products. Neem extracts are found to be useful to stave away these insects and nowadays the market is full of different varieties to choose from. Use any one of them according to your skin type. Apply them after body lotion or sunscreen to the exposed parts of the body and do consult a doctor before using them on a newborn child.

    3. Keep the environment clean

    Another effective way, and probably the most convenient way, to keep this deadly disease away from you is keeping your surroundings clean. If the environment around you is dry and clean, then there are fewer chances of breeding of mosquitoes. Insects are highly attracted to dirtier places, and especially as disease-carrying mosquitoes reproduce in piled up water. Keep the place around you neat and clean and try to remove all the potential mosquito breeding grounds. Standing water in used tires, pots, gutters, etc. are some of the most common mosquito breeding sites.

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    4. Avoid Zika affected areas

    The next important thing to avoid Zika virus is not traveling to the Zika virus-affected areas. Avoid the places affected by Zika virus as much as possible. If still, you are traveling to those locations, then take the other mentioned necessary precautions. It could prevent you from getting infected. Also, avoid going to places full of mosquitoes. Aedes mosquitoes are highly active in the morning and the afternoons, so it will be better to stay at home at these peak times.

    5. Practise safe sex

    Use safety measures before sex to avoid Zika virus. Zika virus can also be transferred from sexual intercourse, so stick to suitable contraceptive methods to have safe sex. Use condoms and avoid sharing sex toys. Pregnant women should take more precautions in such conditions. They should avoid going to Zika affected area as much as possible and if urgent, should consult their doctor once.

    6. Use mosquito nets

    Last, but not the least, use mosquito nets to prevent mosquito bites. Pre-treated mosquito nets will be more effective at keeping the insects at bay.

    As already mentioned, there is no vaccine or medicine developed yet to kill the Zika virus. So, it will be safe to take these preventive measures beforehand rather than regret it later.

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    Last Updated on October 23, 2018

    Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

    Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

    My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

    Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

    The Neural Knitwork Project

    In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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    While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

    The knitting and neural connection

    The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

    More mental health benefits from knitting

    Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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    “You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

    Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

    Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

    She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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    “People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

    The dopamine effect on our happiness

    Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

    There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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    “Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

    If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

    Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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