Category Archives: Health

Health care providers all over the world: help to find, add and rate them

Many internationals struggle when relocating, to find a proper health care provider and this being one of the basic needs one really wants to be met, I was really glad when, a follower of this blog, Jeroen van de Velde, recently offered to write a post about health care providers all over the world Medihoo.com.

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With more than 230 Million people living outside of their country of origin one could say the expat-community is the 5th largest imaginary country in the world. For most of these people having access to good quality care is on the top of their priority list, yet finding it seems to be somewhat cumbersome.

  • Where do I find addresses of health care providers in a language I understand?
  • Which of these providers are close to me?
  • Which of them are recommendable? …are just some of the questions many expats pose themselves.

Looking in local listings in a foreign language or getting recommendations from local population is often not really what the expatriate requires.

Medihoo believes that every expat should have easy access to quality care around the globe. Therefore an easy to use health provider search tool has been created under http://www.medihoo.com/search. Here the expat can find, add and rate more thatn 4 million health care providers with more than 1000 different types of health care providers like physicians, opticians, dentists, physical therapists, transport services and many more around the world.

But it is more than just a search tool, it is a health community where expats help each other to find good health care providers around the world. Hence Medihoo’s appeal to the Expat community:

  • Help others to find a good doctor, hospital, nurse, optician or any other kind of health care provider.
  • Share you experiences! Make your favorite health care provider visible to the world.

BECOME PART OF MEDIHOO’S COMMUNITY Improve transparency, accessibility and quality of health care all over the world: • Add good health care providers in your region. • Support good providers by giving them a positive rating. Family, friends, colleagues but also other citizens, expatriates, travellers from all over the world will be interested in providers YOU recommend.

Millions of people use the internet each day. In your country several thousand people will use internet today to find a good health care provider! Help them to choose!

Medihoo’s Motto: Let’s Share Good Care

(this post has been published also on my “other” blog)

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Do you find it hard to get back to your (family) routine in 2015?

If you find it hard to get back to your family routine, the main reason is the “time”. During holidays we tend to be less strict with our time schedule and getting back to “normal” feels difficult. Especially in the morning. Therefore getting back to our routines focusses mainly on the morning hours.

 

Routine is “a set of customary or unchanging and often mechanically performed activities or procedures“, therefore time and stress managment is crucial. Like with all kind of routines and schedules, it’s good for most people to have time under control. This gets obviously more difficult if more people are involved in our routine. Therfore families do well to set strict(er) rules.
In my latest post on AngloInfo about “5 tips for getting back into routine after the holidays” I mention things like setting the clock a bit earlier in the morning, preparing things in the evening before and generally trying to be earlier in every activity that needs to be done, because it saves us precious time in the morning, or as my mother used to say:

Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen.

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today (or: A stich in time saves nine)

What do you do to make your morning or after-holiday routine feel easier?

How stress can become healthy or how to get better at stress…

We’re all stressed and overwhelmed trying to juggle work, family, school, social life etc.

I recently read a few articles about stress and I particularly found a TEDx talk by PhD, health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, Kelly McGonigal quite game-changing about this topic.

In her talk, Kelly McGonigal explains the interactions between the mind and the body when we’re stressed. We all are told that stress is harmful for our lives, “that stress leads to immunosuppression and therefore increases susceptibility to infection and delayed healing. Hormone changes lead to PMS and increases risk of cardiovascular disease in those reporting higher levels of stress” or that stress makes us “sick, that it increases the risk of everything from the comming cold to cardiovascular disease” (1:10).

We are all aware of stress’s physical effects on us: it makes our heart pound, our breathing quicken etc. In the last years, stress has been made into a public health enemy. But new research suggests that stress “may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case”.

In her speech, Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as positive and introduces us to the mechanism for stress reduction: “if you change your mind about stress, you can change your body as response to stress” (3:19 sgg).

All this is not really new. Since Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson’s study (in 1908) about levels of arousal, we know about the potential benefits of stress. Their Yerkes-Dodson Law “outlines the correlation between levels of physiological and psychological arousal with performance”:

The Yerkes-Dodson Law

Arousal is part of the stress response – cfr. the “Fight or Flight” response – and in the picture above we can see how useful its intensity is for a strong performance (on a short term!).

Others use the terms, eustress and distress, respectively “good stress” and “bad stress” (cfr. by endocrinologist Hans Seyle), eustress making us feel great and healthy, whereas distress makes us feel miserable, overwhelmed.

It’s mainly because stress is commonly considered our enemy that many people (therapists, medical doctors etc.) did encourage to avoid or even prevent stress. But honestly, is that really possible? When we work, have children, a social life etc., stress is on our daily meal plan.

Instead of looking at stress like at something that is haunting us and ruining our lives, we’re better off to consider it like something we can get a real boost from. If we look at it in the right way, it can be good for us. Of course, there is the “fight and flight” feeling in stressful situations, but we don’t have to fight and flight from it.

If we interpret the physical signs mentioned above (like pounding heart, faster breathing  etc.) not as “anxiety or signs that we aren’t coping very well with the pressure” (5:11), but instead as an energyzing of our body and that he was preparing us to meet the challenge. This is exactly what participants in a study at Harward University were told to do. “The pounding heart is preparing us to action, the faster breathing is not a problem but it’s getting more oxygen to our brain! “Participants who learned to view the stress response as helpful for their performance, they were less stressed out, less anxious, more confident” and the most fascinating finding: their physical stress response changed: see the explanation at 6:00 sgg on the speech).

The involvement of oxytocine (8:40 sg), which is also released when we hug someone. “When oxytocine is relaesed in the stress response, it is motivating us to seek support” (9:00 sgg). When life is difficult, our stress response whants us to be surrounded by people who care about us (9:30).

Knowing this side of stress helps us to be healthier because knowing that our oxytocine is released: it helps strengthen our heart. And all this is enhanced by social support. By reaching out to others when we are under stress, either to seek support or to help someone else, we release more of this hormone, our stress response becomes healthier and we recover faster from stress.

Stress response has an inbuilt mechanism for stress resilience.

In this post I include some quotes from “Stress your friend

We can all try to get better at stress with Kelly McGonigal’s tips about how to change our distress into eustress, but if we are under constant pressure and stress, we really need to search for (professional) help. You can read more about what long term stress does to your body here, in order to recognize if your type of stress is already an illness or not and if you need more help with it. You can also download this free ebook about stress management.

How good are your First Aid skills?

I always wanted to become a medical doctor and was always aware of the fact that there are some basic skills everyone should know and I did renew my First Aid skills regularly. Especially since I’m a mother.

We all know that it’s important to know First Aid because we never know what happens next in life. Unsuspected situations can happen every minute. Some might try to ignore it, hoping that it will never happen to them, but things do happen… It surely doesn’t harm (never!) to learn First Aid skills. Especially when we have children, we should know at least the basics.

Those who know me, know that I’m always carrying a First Aid kit with me when I’m out and about (especially since I have children) and I did have to use it quite often and unfortunately not only for minor bruises…

I did teach my children some First Aid basics and they know exactly what is dangerous in the house. But as all children, they are keen to learn to be more and more independent and responsible also for more dangerous tasks – but usually do them when I or my husband are around. Nevertheless things can still happen to them as they can happen to us adults too…

Yesterday, my daughters did get up pretty early and wanted to make a big surprise for mum and dad by preparing the breakfast. This included also a nice cup of tea. My husband did put hot water in a thermos before leaving for his morning run and one of my girls did pour us a nice cup of tea. She did it very carefully and everything was fine. But it happend when she tried to close the mechanism of the thermos: hot water spilled over her wrist. She didn’t say anything, she didn’t cry, she tried even to hide it from us. When I came downstairs a few minutes later we realized that she must have burnt her wrist and I hold her wrist under cool water for almost 20 minutes. I then put a ice pack on the wrist and applied some burn gel on the wound several times until I thought that the wound was fine (the skin was still intact) and did add some special cream. Everything seemed fine for the whole day. The skin was intact and she didn’t have any pain.

Until this morning. She was playing outside when the wound all of a sudden did burst. I knew that an infection could be dangerous and so we went to the hospital, where they had to remove a piece of the dead skin,  disinfect the rest of the wound, put on a special medication and apply a bandage.

Burn

Did I do anything wrong? Well, not for the “First Aid”, but afterwards I should have seen that the wound needed a bandage. The wound was bigger than a 2 Euro coin and it was dark red… The nurse in the emergency room said that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I remembered know that I should have known better…

Even if we do refresh our First Aid skills regularly, there are always small parts that we can miss. I do feel guilty for omitting this bandage-part but I’m incredibly glad that she will be fine soon, that she doesn’t feel any pain. – The next time I’ll go to the doctor earlier, that’s for sure, and I’ll definitely refresh my First Aid skills as soon as possible.

I wish you all a safe summer. xxx

If you live in the Netherlands, at the EHBO site you can find plenty of advices – and just sign up for your course!

Here you get medical advice online by professinal people Medicinenet, JustanswerWebmd.