What is Hang Gliding?

For people who don’t have the fear of heights, one of the most interesting and exhilarating sports you could try is hang gliding. Hang gliding is gaining in popularity around the world especially in the US, particularly in the western part of the country especially California.

Hang gliding has similarities with paragliding in that it also utilizes an unpowered aircraft. However, hang gliding is more complex in technicalities compared to paragliding. Hang gliders could try tandem or solo flights which can both be thrilling or invigorating especially for first timers.

As a sport, hang gliding was first introduced in the 1970s. Since then, it has developed into a relatively safe sport using a glider with a simple design and built from aircraft aluminum, carbon fiber and sail fabrics. Launchings are normally done on top of a hill facing the wind. However, it can also be done in the flatlands by towing from a motorized winch or a microlight aircraft. The objective of this sport is very simple: that is to stay aloft for as long as you can.

Although considered as a safe sport, hang gliding can also be a dangerous activity for the inexperienced pilot. Experience and training are both important to help a person get accustomed to controlling the aircraft. Knowledge of geographic conditions and weather are also vital to ensure a safe flight. And if you like to stay longer in the air, you need to also learn about wind and thermal currents which can serve as your aircraft’s power sources. There are certified schools around the world that teaches all you have to know to give you confidence on your first flight.

Hang glider aircrafts normally have a harness attached to the kite for more stability. The pilot is suspended in the harness during the entire duration of the flight until landing. The pilot will have control over the aircraft through a control bar which can be used for turning and pitching the aircraft. Once in the air, the aircraft can stay afloat by taking advantage of the wind and thermal currents. To land, the pilot simply has to pull the glider upwards toward a stall position so that it will float back to the earth.

For an inexperience individual to train hang gliding, it normally takes about ten days to attain the Club Pilot level which is the minimum standard requirement for unsupervised flying in a recreational club. With continuous training, you could advance to become an experience pilot and be able to maneuver your aircraft and stay afloat for several hours. Among the most important things you can learn from formal school is about rigging and inspecting your aircraft before each flight.

If you are interested to take your first hang gliding flight, you should know that there are some places in the US including national parks except Yosemite that have certain restrictions when it comes to flying a hang glider. You cannot also just launch or land anywhere because there are only designated areas where you may do them. Following these designated areas will give you a better and safer hang gliding experience.

Basic Hang Gliding FAQ

Seeing hang gliders in the sky sparks curiosity in many people. A lot of questions come to mind. How can they fly without a motorized aircraft? How far or high can they go? Is it not a dangerous sport? Some people are just curious while others are curious because they are interested to try it out. But regardless of which group of people you belong, here are some basic FAQs about hang gliding which may answer your questions:

1. Do I need certification to be a hang glider?

No. Hang gliding is a sport that is self-regulated and there are no official certifications required in order for a person to own or fly a hang glider. However, most sites for launching and landing should be certified by the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA). Before flying, it is best to always check the certification of the site you intend to launch or land.

2. How can I learn hang gliding?

There are groups that offer hang gliding lessons for an average cost of $70 and $150 per lesson, which is normally inclusive of equipment rental. You can search them out online or through a local club.

3. How much does a glider costs?

Used gliders may cost as low as $300 but quality used gliders normally cost around $1,500. New gliders cost $3,000 and above.

4. I like to try hang gliding, where can I go?

It is best to take a tandem flight on your first try. You can check the USHPA website to look for an instructor and hang gliding site nearest you.

5. Is it okay to fly my hang glider anywhere?

No. There are places where hang gliding is explicitly prohibited like in national parks except in Yosemite Park. You may not also fly in private lands unless you have permission. It is not also allowed to fly over congested areas and in controlled airspaces.

6. How do I launch my glider?

There are three ways to get your glider to the air. The most common of which is through foot launch from a cliff or hill. Another is by towing by an ultralight airplane, boat or truck. You may also launch through a winch.

7. How high can gliders go?

In the US, you can go as high as 17,999 feet above sea level. However, most gliders feel safer below 1,800 meters.

8. How long can you fly?

You can fly for as long as you can. You can take advantage of thermals and ridge lifts to remain aloft. The world record for the longest hang gliding time is more than 24 hours.

9. How can you control the hang glider?

Hang gliders are easy to control using weight shifts which require balance and a light touch. It may require constant practice to master but it can become your second nature once you learn it.

10. Is hang gliding a dangerous sport?

Hang gliding is generally a safe sport. Gliders are secured by a strap capable of holding up to 10 times the weight of an average person. The aircraft is also sturdy and made of aircraft aluminum. It is unlikely that you will fall down unless you are not properly strapped or your aircraft has some structural defects which you did not take notice.

If you are interested in hang gliding, these FAQs can help you make an intelligent decision about engaging in this sport.

Urinary Tract Infection

Abnormal tastes in mouth are usually a symptom of a greater disease. It can be either salty or metal taste in mouth. Salty taste in mouth has been an on and off condition of mine for years now. The reason behind it is that I don’t drink much water to sustain me for the day. I prefer refreshments with flavor like sodas, coffee, iced tea, and the likes. On my last checkup, my doctor lectured me for an hour about the benefits of drinking water everyday.

Last week, I had a hard time peeing as I can’t continuously pee. I also have a recurring lower back pain. I told my mom about it and she thought I had Urinary Tract Infection although I still need to see a doctor to be safe. I saw my doctor, the one who lectured me for an hour and he just smirked at me then told me I needed a blood test and urinalysis to confirm. I told him I can’t pee but he insisted I do it. It was one of the hardest 10 minutes of my life inside a cubicle in a hospital.   The laboratory technician told me I can get my results in a few hours. My mom and I ate in a cafeteria inside the hospital. She told me to take better care of myself when she was giving me bottled water. She asked me to promise to try to always drink water instead of sodas. I nodded while sighing, I know that it was my fault.

Few hours gone by as we were hanging out in the Café, we decided to come back to the hospital’s laboratory to get my results and then get a prescription from my doctor. He told me to lay off chips, drinks with caffeine and drink water every hour even if I’m not thirsty. I was prescribed with a week’s worth of antibiotics, a couple of pain relievers and diuretics to ease up my peeing.

Urinary tract infection is a disease wherein there is an inflammation between kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. Urine cannot properly pass through because the inflammation impedes the normal flow. Women are more prone of having UTI than men because of anatomic differences. Some of the signs and symptoms of UTI include fever, back and side pain, shaking and chills, burning sensation when urinating, and blood or pus in urine. Urinalysis and blood test are some of the tests needed to confirm such disease.

Treatment is normally a week’s worth of antibiotics depending on the gravity of the case. After the complete course of antibiotics, patients needed to undergo another urinalysis to check if the bacteria are gone from their system. Patients are advised for more water intake and never to hold pee. Drink a glass of water every hour even if you’re not thirsty to expel toxins contained in the urine from the body. They also need to eat less salty food and drink less caffeine rich products. For women, they are encouraged to wipe front to back as bacteria from the anal region may spread to vagina and urethra.

Be Wary of any Pain in your Body

Any pain that we feel in our body needs to be given its due attention and it is recommended that we get to the source of whatever pain that we are feeling posthaste, or risk suffering from other more debilitating illnesses because of it. The saying that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure rings true to these kinds of situation as it is better if we dealt with the simple things immediately and not wait for it to blossom into something more out of our control.

There is no better example of this that what my dad has experienced a couple of months ago. An event that started from a simple thing that was very easy to overlook and pass off as ordinary wear and tear from everyday living. Good thing mom is always there for us, suspecting everything unusual as she is wont to do. Fortunately for dad, this time she was also right. Nothing beats the urgency of knowing about an illness, and the bad things it could eventually bring, especially when it hits close to home.

Dad is always such a busy bee around the house, tinkering with things, gardening, repairing broken things, name it and most probably he’s done it. That day he was out in the sun repairing one of the gutters which somehow become clogged, probably of leaves, which probably was what caused the rainwater to backflow into the ceiling of our bathroom.

Dad finished his repairs eventually and came down clutching at his waist and complaining about lower left back pain. He said that what caused it was the awkward position he was in, the whole time he was on the roof and just let it at that. Mom just gave him a towel for his sweaty head and a glass of water for his efforts.

Later that evening, the pain that dad was feeling somewhat transferred to the other side of his body and now he was complaining of right side back pain. Mom got a little bit worried about it as she said that it was not ordinary for pain to just transfer to other parts of the body, not unless there is something there that is causing all the trouble, and she was right.

Right side back pain are a symptom to a whole list of ailments and conditions, some more serious than others, but all of them warranted immediate attention. Typical causes of right side back pain, to name a few, are urinary tract infections, herniated discs, kidney stones, scapular fracture, spinal stenosis, lumbar muscle strain, slipped disc, sciatica and to top it all off, gallbladder problems.

Dad experienced fever and chills that afternoon which necessitated a quick trip to the emergency room, and after a couple of imaging tests and of dye injections to his system, gallbladder stones was eventually diagnosed. Good thing the stones were just small in size as to require general surgery to remove the gallbladder and stuff. Laparoscopic surgery was instead performed to get rid of the offending stones. Dad was up and running in no time.

Bananas Are Good for You

Bananas are very nutritious food because it is loaded with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin b12, potassium, manganese, magnesium and soluble fibers. Recent studies have shown that eating bananas may reduce the risks of colorectal cancer, renal cell carcinoma, breast cancer, kidney cancer, protects the eyes against mascular degeneration and helps build stronger bones by increasing our bodies’ calcium absorption. It acts as a probiotic, a substance that stimulates the growth of microorganisms, especially those with beneficial properties such as those of intestinal flora. It’s also a natural antacid which provides relief for acid reflux, heartburn and gastro esophageal reflex disease.

Bananas give instant surge of energy as it is rich in natural sugars that’s easily converted to help us deal with strenuous activities. Proof of this is seeing tennis professional players eating bananas after sets to help them keep up with the demand of keeping their energy up to be at their competitive level. It also helps lower high blood pressure and cholesterol thus decreasing risk of stroke. They even help quitting smokers to deal with withdrawal syndrome. We all know that there are tons of benefits that we, humans can get from bananas. I am also certain that it will also be good for animals. However, this particular question has been bugging me lately, Can dogs eat bananas?

I have a pet dog named Sasha and she always eats foods that I put in her eating pan. One time, I put a whole banana on his pan, she just smelled it and walked away.  I also tried cutting it into smaller pieces and evenly distributed it with her dog food but she just finished her dog food. I’ve heard of people sometimes feeding their dog some bananas but I am not successful. I’m thinking it’s really an acquired taste. I wanted her to eat bananas to also get the benefits that I get from it. Currently, she’s having some skin and shedding problems. Her veterinarian prescribed her fish oils for dogs.

I’d rather want her to eat unprocessed foods but unfortunately, I won’t and can’t feed him fresh fish as she can develop bad allergies from it. Fish oils are derived from fishes rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as mackerel, tuna, halibut and seal blubber. Vitamin E is normally combined with fish oil to prevent spoilage. It is used mainly for people as a vitamin supplement to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Advanced research and case studies also shows that it renews energy, protects us against auto immune diseases like lupus, has an anti-inflammatory properties and it reduces joint discomfort. It is also rich in anti-oxidants, the substances that are able to neutralize free radical damage in the body, that is beneficial to our skin and body that’s why Sasha’s veterinarian gave it to her. I was actually hoping for Sasha to eat bananas to not make him take fish oils but that wasn’t the case. It’s taking a toll on her as she was always active before having skin problems. I hope her skin allergies will clear up soon as I’m really worried about her.

All About Cats

Cats are one of the most popular pets around the world.   They belong to the specie of Felis Catus. They go a long, long way back as they were domesticated by the Egyptians 4000 years ago as seen on the drawings and writings on the walls in their tombs. They Egyptians even mummified them with their masters believing that they will still be together in the afterlife. They are often bought for companionship and their ability to hunt and spook rodents around the house. They are highly intelligent, agile and curious. Although, they have different personalities; some are snobbish, some are carefree, and some are cuddly and sweet.

Cats have a wide array of breeds and colors to choose from. The more popular breeds are the Siamese cats or Meezers, Siberian cats, Persian cats and the American Shorthair.

Siamese cats are very sleek and athletic. They came from Thailand, then Siam. Most people don’t know they are actually born white and that the darker portion of skin appears later as it grows older. This breed is also known for its wild temperament. Siberian cats, on the other hand, came from Russia that’s why it has thick and long coat. They are active, playful, loving and very attentive to the owner. Meanwhile, Persian cats are the most favorite cat among all pedigreed breeds. They are also from Russia and they are known to be quiet and docile creatures. They are ideal for first-time cat owners and families with children. Lastly, the American Shorthairs originated from Europe. They are gentle and quiet cats so it’s also ideal with families.

Whatever the breed, all of them gets the same disease. One of the most common is roundworms in cats because they have the habit of licking off their feet after walking wherever their feet take them. Stray cats are mostly proned with contaminating roundworms because they feed on infected vermins out in the streets. Signs and symptoms include failure to gain weight, weight loss, dull hair coat, pot-bellied appearance and coughing due to parasites infesting in their lungs. To diagnose, stool of the cat must be observed under a microscope. The process is called fecal flotation. Treatment would be deworming the cat every two weeks for the next 6 months and for prevention, deworming every year. Deworming medicine such as Ivermectin comes in powder and syrup form to be mixed with food and in syringe form to be injected into the subcutaneous part of the cat normally in the neck.

Pancreatitis in cats, however, is a more serious type of disease. One of its symptoms is lethargy. It regularly develops rapidly, but can often be treated without any permanent damage to the organ. However, if pancreatitis goes long-term without medication, other organs such as brain, liver and kidney may also fail. A full blood work up, x-ray, ultrasound and needle biopsy are needed to confirm the disease. Treatments depends on the severity of the disease, it may include fluid therapy and electrolytes, Vitamin B12 and anti-emetic drugs. There are no really ways to prevent your cat to have pancreatitis, a regular checkup is always necessary to always check your pet’s condition.

Life Defined, Unsuccessfully

You shouldn’t really take your health for granted no matter what the cost as you really only live once and everything that you do reflects to it. You are either adding to your time or decreasing it, but it seems to be lost on most people, the gravity of the situation that they are in. We were all born already dying and we wouldn’t really want to hasten the process, or do we? So how do we live our lives?

Would life become pretty much boring and uneventful if we adhere to the goal of prolonging it to its fullest potential? Do we really “live” if we are always afraid of getting sick or injured, or dead for that matter?

It may vary upon each one of us as we all have our own definition of living. But of course we ideally want to live our allotted days to the fullest, always making sure each day counts and such, as we are already dying anyway right? We really want to experience as much things as possible while we live, to really live our lives. So which is which?

Maybe the trick is in finding the balance between the two. We get to do whatever we wanted to, but at the same time being always careful if it would do us harm in any way. Sounds very easy to do, but the crux of the matter is in its execution and maybe in its interpretation too. For example, are we really being mindful of ourselves when we bungee jump? Do we really take care of ourselves when we eat junk food? Maybe we need to consider another thing.

Let’s say we are just living our daily lives routinely uneventful, when all of a sudden, and from out of nowhere, we experience pain in right arm as describe by experts at healthyarms.net. We then don’t think anything of it and just brush it aside thinking of it as just a fluke or some random thing that has to happen. What could possibly go wrong when you are all around healthy and have no vices to speak of because you value your life highly? It eventually passes and we then tend to just forget about it.

When suddenly another day comes and you felt numbness in left arm without any reason for it to be occurring, you begin to worry a little as you know that pain in the arms coupled with numbness in either of them is a sure sign of heart disease among other things. You then find yourself lost and disoriented.

You ask yourself of what happened to the healthy living that you espoused so vigorously, of all the time spent doing exercises, of all the food you never ate because they were “not good” for you, and all the other happy things you sacrificed and had never done because it was bad for the body. Why is it then that you have this sickness now?

Maybe it was never the balance in living that is the answer to life in the first place. Maybe it’s all just plain luck that some people get to live long yet enjoy their lives, while some others who are very careful with themselves live cruelly short lives. Maybe it’s really a combination of all known things and more, definitely more that we can ever imagine. So how do we really live our lives? Well, your guess is as good as mine.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a popular test wherein one has to answer questions to determine his personality type. Katharine Cook Briggs and daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers developed it basing on the typological theories of Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. The mother and daughter tandem aimed to breakdown and evaluate how a person view the world with a series of questions and to identify people based on four contrasting dichotomies relating to work and in relationships. The four dichotomies include Extroversion and Introversion, Sensing and Intuition, Thinking and Feeling and Judging and Perceiving.

Extroversion and Introversion are the two key personality traits that are often considered major dimensions of someone’s character. Extroverts and Introverts are highly energized by social interactions but the difference with them is Introverts need time alone to rest and recharge after the party. Extroverts are typically the people who are outspoken and outgoing while Introverts, by contrast, are quiet and reflective. Extrovert characteristics include assertiveness, expressive, enthusiastic, talkative and sociable while Introvert characteristics include private, deliberate and independent, enjoys solitude, thinks before speaking and prefers smaller groups.

Sensing and Intuition refers on how people process data. Sensing people focus on the present while Intuition people focuses more on the future and other possibilities. Sensing characteristics include practicality, always aware of his surroundings, realistic and factual, in contrast, Intuition characteristics include inventive, imaginative, idealistic, abstract, theoretical and complicated.

Thinking and Feeling meanwhile is complete opposite on their preferences. It refers to how people make decisions depending on thinking with the brain and feeling by heart and conscience. Thinking people judge situations and others based on sense and rationale and in contrast, Feeling people judge situations and others based on perception, sensitivity and justifying reasons.Thinking characteristics include logical, objective, critical, rational, driven, firm and impersonal while Feeling characteristics include passionate, warm, caring, gentle, easily hurt and empathetic.

Judging and Perceiving is the inclination and desire that is seemingly visible to the naked eye. Judging people likes methodology, frameworks and always think in sequence. They like to have things outline, determined and settled while Perceiving people are flexible, they always like to keep their options open and thinks at random. They also like to act without thinking it all through; they are always ready, open and embraces change. Judging characteristics include decisive, controlled, structured, organized, and good in finishing while Perceiving characteristics include procrastination, care-free, relaxed, adaptable, and always flexible.

In hindsight, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator maybe popular the billions of people take the personality test every year but psychologists don’t bother using it. I find it odd that peers have so much negative things to say about the test. On the contrary, most businessmen listed in Forbes Magazine are fond of using them. My friend and I answered the questionnaires; we got the results of infj relationships and infp relationships respectively. I personally don’t believe on such personality tests as I find it unstable, insufficient and rarely usefulTaking the exam was like talking with a fortune teller. I find the nomenclatures of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicatorvery hazy, dubious and generic.


My best friend Kath

There is a question that keeps ringing inside my head today. My best friend, Kath asked me how to get over someone. Point-blank, I really didn’t know the answer because I didn’t want to give her common, cliché answers such as get a new guy. She deserves a better answer than that because, after all, she is my best friend.

I’ve known Kath since we were still in grade school. We used to hate each other, well, you know kids, always trying to annoy and tease each other. We ended up being friends when we were in detention for 3 months. She put gum on my head and I retaliated bad. I thought it was going to be really the worst 3 months of my life but it was all good. We both realized that we have something in common such as we’re both the only girl among our siblings, we’re both adventurous people and we love pizza a lot!   We can eat pizza three times a day for week. We often go out on road trips and camping with our other friends

When Kath asked me that question, I wanted to help her so I asked what happened. I let her go through all the details. They met in college; he is a friend of a friend of hers.   They started out by having group dates every week then dated solo. They started fresh, just chilling but as they go on, everything fell out. She has a very controlling boyfriend who always needs to get a hold of her. She always needed to tell him wherever she goes even if it’s just around her neighbourhood or when she goes out with friends. She felt suffocated at times but she loves him deeply. The last straw was when he didn’t want her to go out with her parents for no reason at all. He made her choose between him or her family so she chose the latter.

Kath still loves him but she doesn’t want to go through all that again. Her boyfriend John, haven’t contacted her since, maybe he’s still pissed off at her for choosing her family. I told Kath that there’s no easy way to get over him and it’s not wise to find somebody for a rebound relationship. It’s just going to make things more complicated. I told her she has to take it one step at a time; she can’t magically forget all the memories she had with him because truthfully, you can’t. The past will always be a part of you. What I can only do is listen and always be a good friend. Lately, I always make her come with me on photo shoots and errands. She used to love photography so I’m trying to get her to be hooked again to maybe divert her depression to her old hobby. This week, we’re going camping with my photography club. I told her she can come as I have a spare DSLR to lend her. I hope she can get back on her feet soon; I miss the old goofy kind of Kath who always makes me laugh.

Never Ending Injuries

I have a close guy friend who is a varsity basketball player, named Jared. He dreams of getting into the National Basketball Association like most high school and college players in the country. Unfortunately, he got injured 4 months ago and a recurring one at that. He’s had an ankle injury that has been hounding him on and off and most recently, a sprained foot he got when we was practicing his shooting because he disobeyed his coach who advised him to rest his ankle.

We were just hanging out inside the court and someone asked to shoot with him. He happily obliged as he haven’t played a single game for 4 months and counting. He just made a jumpshot above the freethrow line then when he came down, he had a bad fall. I quickly ran off to the canteen to get him some ice for his sprain. When I got back, the coaching staff were reprimanding him. He was told to rest his injury and now, he’s got a new one.

Good thing, the team’s physical therapist was within the school so he was there to check his injury. He asked Jared if there’s something he was feeling besides the pain of the sprain. Jared told him he’s got tingling feet even before he got the sprain. The physical therapist said it is connected with his prior injury.

Foot sprains occur naturally in sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball, football and gymnastics. Sprains happen when the foot lands awkwardly thus, causing some ligaments to stretch and tear. Some common signs and symptoms of sprain includes bruising and swelling of foot, pain and tenderness of the arch of the foot and not being able to walk properly as the feet can’t bear the weight of the body. Athletes are often required to take tests like an X-ray or an MRI to see the condition of the injury. Normally, sprains heal within 3 to 8 weeks depending on the severity of the injury. They may also use crutches if the need arises. Some sprains need casting, splints or worst, even surgery.

Whenever you get a foot sprain, remember to ice it right away within the 24 hours of acquiring it. Don’t apply the ice directly to the skin as you can get burned. Use a towel in between your skin and the ice. Try to keep the affected foot elevated to have a better blood circulation for a quicker recovery. Take non steroidal inflammatory drugs after eating for a better pain management. Use hot compress if it’s already past 24 hours. Don’t apply it directly to prevent burning of skin. It helps on relieving pain and promotes better blood circulation.

Jared felt bad that he defied his coaches’ wishes. He could have been healthy and playing now but instead, he’s resting his new injury. I can’t blame him though as he was excited to compete again. He really has that competitive edge that will make him a great player soon. I look forward to seeing him don an NBA jersey.

Baking Soda as Shampoo

I have read about some stuff on the internet the other day about hair care and it got me quite interested to say the least. It was about the supposed benefits of stopping the use of commercial shampoo on your hair and using water diluted baking soda on it instead.

They said that shampoo contained various manufactured chemicals in it that was actually dangerous to the hair as well as to the human body as a whole. Certain chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulphate, fragrance enhancers, cocamide are among a whole plethora of chemicals used in making shampoo, and that some of them might even be carcinogenic according to some studies. The entire content of a shampoo bottle do consist of chemicals if you really think about it, and water may be the only thing natural in there. Who knows, maybe it’s also quite different from the water that we are accustomed to.

Anyways, the entire process of using baking soda as your shampoo is a simple one. You dilute 1 tablespoon of baking soda to about a liter of water and then applying it to your wet hair, as you do with regular shampoo, and let it sit for about 2 to 3 minutes.

The next step in the process is you would rinse your hair thoroughly with water and then rinse it again with a vinegar solution which consists of 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in a liter of water. After that, a final rinse with cold water completes the procedure. They say that baking soda’s alkalinity opens the pores in the head thereby cleaning them deeply, while the acidity of the vinegar then closes the pores shut to prevent debris from coming in.

I find it to be quite an interesting thing and that I might even try it one of these days, as I have been looking for ways to get this itch out of my head for a long time now. It started when I switched shampoos because my hair is getting a bit dry from using my old one. The new shampoo didn’t help any and I was beginning to think it is not the shampoo that is at fault.

Several shampoos later, coupled a nasty bout of scalp folliculitis and I was ready to try anything. I even have scabs on scalp to prove it, and although I’m not very proud of it, it serves as a reminder for me to get to a solution fast or risk getting bald. Believe me you wouldn’t want to see me bald.

Scalp folliculitis is no laughing matter as it is a serious disease. It forms when bacteria enters the skin through hair follicles and multiply uncontrollably when left untreated, usually leading to an outbreak of sorts. You see them as red swellings that are often inflamed and quite very itchy. Sometimes they contain pus, blood, or both at the same time and may also induce a burning feeling in the areas affected.

Okay, I’ve made up my mind and am trying this thing tomorrow. There’s nothing to lose anyway as baking soda and vinegar are natural and organic things really, so what could possibly go wrong right? I’ll keep you posted.

One Effect of Smoking

Bronchitis is defined by the American Medical Dictionary as an inflammation of the airways particularly those in between the lungs and the nose. It affects different structures in the air passageways, especially the trachea and the bronchi, the biggest tube that brings air into the lungs. Bronchitis may either be acute (short period) or chronic (long term) and is customarily triggered by both viral and bacterial infections.

Acute bronchitis is usually caused as an aftereffect of the common cold or other less serious respiratory infections and can be treated easily without any lasting complications. Chronic bronchitis on the other hand is a more serious form of the sickness wherein constant inflammation of the respiratory system is observed. It is often caused by smoking and is generally a sign of serious lung problems. Chronic bronchitis has no known cure yet and all that can be done is to slow the progression of the disease. Chronic bronchitis is also part of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases), the broad term used to group such diseases that gravely affects human respiration.

Typical symptoms of both acute and chronic bronchitis are as follows:

  • Cough that is either dry or productive
  • Creation of mucus which may vary in color depending on severity of disease
  • Constant exhaustion and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath. Wheezing is also sometimes present
  • Fever and its corresponding chills
  • Chest trouble, chest pains

Bronchitis remedies include the use of broad spectrum antibiotics, cough medicines and other medicines which are good against the constriction of the air passageways of the body, and also by pulmonary rehabilitation therapy, wherein one undergoes series of breathing exercise programs that aims to promote easy and pain-free breathing.

Other natural and alternative things that is used to fight and cure bronchitis:

  • Holy Basil, hugely popular in India for treatment of lung infections
  • Malabar Nut, leaves are usually chewed but liquid concentrate already available on specialty stores
  • Turmeric, known for its anti-inflammatory agents and widely used in Ayurvedic medicine
  • Umcka, an African herb which is particularly useful against bronchitis and sinusitis
  • Yoga and Meditation, primary focus will be on deep breathing to strengthen the lungs and other organs

Now if only my father can read what I have written then he might hugely benefit from it. I have been bugging him for such a long time with regards to his bad habit of smoking and the effects it has on the human body, not only his but also of the people that are around him. He suffered pneumonia once because of it and still he persists in continuing with his smoking. I told him bronchitis would be next and still he would hear nothing of it.

Bronchitis vs. pneumonia, so what will it be, I often ask him that question to somehow scare him a bit into quitting. Hopefully not emphysema or lung cancer as that would really be the end of him. Maybe it’s truly hard to quit smoking especially when he is already decades into it, but how we wished he would do it for us.

Pictus Catfish for our Aquarium

We always had an aquarium inside our house ever since I was young. I think it was the same aquarium because I clearly remember it being so big that I can in fact, fit in it, as was the case when my father jokingly put me in it when it was first bought years ago. He said that I was a mermaid and the aquarium would be my new home. I fancied the thought and I have been in love with that aquarium ever since.

We had so much fun decorating the insides of it both my older brother and I. First we put small pebbly sand on top of the base apparatus, the one that handles the air distribution and cleaning of the aquarium, making sure it was totally covered as it was ugly to look at when it was exposed. Then we placed the ceramic castle, the treasure chest with air coming out of it and the big rocks wherever we wanted them to be. I was in charge of where to put the little mermaid figurine, well, because it was me.

Dad did the rest of the setting up of the aquarium as it involved vast amounts of tubes and other wirings which we cannot really hope to handle. In come the water after that and also the plants. After about two hours of making sure everything was okay the fishes were brought in.

At first there were just goldfishes but when we saw that there was still too much space for a few more fishes, dad brought us to the local pet shop for us to choose some more fish to put into our aquarium.

What eventually caught my interest among the many varieties of fishes in the pet shop were these small and relatively fast fishes that seem to dart around the bottom of the aquarium. The color of their body was of a strange black, brown and white mish-mash sort of camouflage typical to their species, but what made them stand out from the rest of the fishes there were their two large mustaches on either side of their head.

Dad said that they were Pictus Catfish, a staple of most aquariums because of their uncanny ability to clean the bottoms of aquariums from the excess food particles and algae that are there. They are really gentle kinds of fishes that keeps to their own and generally just stays at the bottom most of the times, dad added. Much to my delight, we eventually did buy three of them.

Everything went well with our aquarium and it was a sight to behold. It really has a calming effect when you get to see it, especially when I come home tired from school. I just sit there in front of it and most of the times it puts me to sleep just by looking at it.

Most of the fishes naturally died with time, and they always sank to the bottom and the catfishes never hesitated to get to the seemingly free catfish bait that fell from the heavens. Those times I hated them because they are eating their friends. I just immediately call dad whenever anything like that happens and let him get the dead fish for proper burial or something.

I still love having aquariums even today. That old aquarium that we had is still there, but now it houses just a few fishes, and large ones at that. And that little mermaid is also still there.

Of Bunions and Shoes

I have been searching a long time for a shoe that is somewhat easy on the feet for bunion sufferer like I am. I know there are several manufacturers out there that make such kinds of shoes. Maybe I’m just not searching hard enough, but I also know that I have to eventually, because these feet of mine are not getting any better.

I have what is known as tailors bunion or bunions that are on the opposite side of the feet. Typically, bunions grow on the joint of the foot nearest to the big thumb but mine grows near the joint of the pinky finger of the foot. It’s very painful every time something gets to touch it, especially shoes that are narrow on that particular area.

This bunion of mine, although having a different name and location to where bunions normally are, has just the same mechanics as those that form near the big toe. What causes bunions really are the movements of the bones of the big toe of the feet, or in my case the little toe, towards the direction of the next toe, the one closest to it.

What causes this sliding of the bone towards the next bone is often attributed to hereditary factors such as the inherent weakness and mechanical faultiness of the bones in the feet. Another aggravating factor to the formation or worsening of bunions is the wearing of ill-fitting shoes that tends to support the bone slide in that general direction, as we all are wont to wear shoes that typically tapers narrowly towards the end.

I have tried many things to somehow ease the pain that I experience with my bunions but it seems that the right kind of footwear is truly the best remedy in my given situation. When I wear shoes, I’ve tried putting pads on the area where the bunion is located. I tried icing my foot for long periods hoping for the swelling to subside. I also tried those so called orthotic devices, largely similar to the pads that I made but more formal looking and everything just seemed to work for a while but after about an hour or so, the pain just comes back.

I was planning about having corticosteroid injection treatment for my bunions but I was afraid to go with it, as I have a great fear of needles. Surgery also entered my mind but I thought it was too invasive to worth contemplating about. Besides, my bunion really does hurt, but not too much to warrant a surgery on it.

The only times that I did not have to worry about my bunions is when I’m at home and just wearing flip flops. They are great on the feet and really does not offer any restrictions, nor cramp my feet, any more than almost wearing nothing at all. It’s too bad I can’t wear them at the office or any place where decorum is needed because I really love wearing them. Best bet really is on finding the right kind of shoes for my feet and everything would just be gravy after that.