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Ahhhh. The sounds of summer: the crash of ocean waves, the crackle and bang of Fourth of July fireworks, the sizzle of burgers on the grill.

Unfortunately, the sounds of summer also include the whine of pesky mosquitoes. But there’s plenty you can do to turn down the volume of that buzz so you can enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer.

Learning how to kill mosquitoes naturally is important beyond ensuring a comfortable backyard cookout. Mosquitoes present a health risk to everyone in the family — even Fido. Mosquito-borne diseases — which kill one million people worldwide every year — include malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis and, more commonly in the United States, West Nile Virus. Mosquitoes also carry heartworm, a life-threatening disease for dogs.

So, it’s worth the effort to control and kill mosquitoes around your house and to reduce your risk of getting bit. Here are some tips for mosquito control:

Don’t give mosquitoes a nearby place to breed

Most mosquitoes can fly no more than one to three miles, and some mosquitoes such as the Asian tiger mosquito have a flight range of just 100 yards or so. So they’re always looking for a place to land or a place to lay eggs, and water is an attractive option.

Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed by emptying the saucers for plants, hauling off old tires, cleaning rain gutters and frequently changing the water in birdbaths. Don’t leave pet bowls filled with water outside when your pets are indoors. Look out for water that gathers in pool covers, buckets and trash cans.

Walk around your property with an eye for puddles. Fix the problem, and mosquitoes won’t have a place to lay eggs.

Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito fish that eat the larva or treat them with larvicide mosquito rings sold at home and garden stores.

Don’t give mosquitoes a place to hang out during the day

Like their fellow bloodsuckers, vampires, adult mosquitoes rest during daylight. Mosquitoes spend daylight hours hiding among vegetation. Reduce mosquito shelter in your yard by trimming weeds and keep the grass short.

Spraying the lower limbs of shade trees, shrubs and other plants with home-use products containing deltamethrin and lambda-cyhalothrin can reduce the adult mosquito population, according to the American Mosquito Control Association.

Plant some natural repellents

You can grow a garden full of your own pest control by choosing plants that naturally keep mosquitoes at bay. There are all sorts of lovely herbs and flowers that look great but also have powerful repellent properties. An added plus: most of these plants also fight back against flies, gnats, no-see-ums and other pesky insects that make being outdoors not so fun in summer.

Some herbs to consider: basil, lavender, lemongrass, lemon thyme, mint, rosemary and lemon balm. If flowers sound more appealing, try marigolds or common lantanas.

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One discovery being backed by science is that bitter leaf and scent leaf combined with normal routine diabetes medications drastically reduce sugar levels in people with diabetes.

In a new study, researchers found that the combination of these extracts with normal routine medications had better sugar level control when compared with only routine medication usage. Aside this, the use of two herbs also seemed to mitigate some symptoms of diabetes.

The study indicated that patients on both bitter leaf and scent leaf extracts had better blood sugar control when compared with those that had only one extract administered or those that served as controls and didn’t receive the extracts.

For the study, a total of 38 diabetic patients were enrolled within the Rumuepirikom community in Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State for the study done over a four-week duration

Disease duration in each patient was roughly estimated from the time the disease was clinically diagnosed by medical personnel and all the patients had some basic investigations carried out before the commencement of the study.

Each patient was assigned to one of six groups based on age of onset of the disease, disease duration in the individual and the severity of the disease in the patient.

Their daily fasting blood sugar levels were monitored and extracts of both leaves daily obtained naturally by water extraction were administered to them accordingly.

Some groups had the extracts administered alone; some had the extracts given alongside their routine anti-diabetic medication while some served as control.

The 2018 study, published in the International Journal of Chemistry and Chemical Processes, involved Udeh Winifred and Mene Alexander at the University of Port Harcourt.

The study showed that patients on both Bitter leaf and scent leaf extracts combined had better  blood sugar control when compared with those that had only one extract administered solely or those that served as control and didn’t receive the extracts at all.

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Teeth are an important part of physical appearance for many people, and they want to show a bright white smile. However, a new study reveals that many tooth whitening products can damage the teeth.

New research reveals why we should treat tooth whitening products with caution.

Studies have shown that most human teeth are not naturally pearl-white. In reality, most teeth are different shades and hues that tend towards yellow. Nor are teeth uniformly colored.

Despite this, there is an idea — which is especially prominent in North American societies — that perfectly white teeth are a symbol of beauty and self-care.

For this reason, many people opt to whiten their teeth, either on their own or with the help of a cosmetic dentist.

Statistic reports indicate that about 40.5 million people in the United States used tooth whitening products in 2018.

Various studies now show that whitening teeth with bleaching products that contain hydrogen peroxide can endanger tooth health.

Researchers from Stockton University in Galloway, NJ, aimed to find out exactly how hydrogen peroxide harms the teeth, and which part of a tooth it attacks.

The research — which was led by Kelly Keenan, an associate professor of chemistry at Stockton University — will feature at the Experimental Biology 2019 meeting, which is part of the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Orlando, FL.

Bleach attacks sensitive tooth layer

Specifically, the researchers looked at how whitening strips, which people can buy over-the-counter, damage one of the teeth’s three layers.

Dental whitening strips typically contain hydrogen peroxide as the main active ingredient. This substance is an oxidizing agent that some people use a sterilizer, although more people may know it as a color-lightening agent. This is also the main substance that people use to bleach hair.

If a person overuses or uses too much of this substance to lighten hair color, it can cause “significant damage” to the hair and scalp.

Now, Keenan and team have discovered how hydrogen peroxide damages dentin, the “middle” layer of teeth. A tooth contains three different layers: a shiny enamel external one, a dentin layer in the middle, and an inner layer that is mainly connective tissue, which helps keep the tooth safely in place.

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I am a 40-year-old school teacher with three children. My problem is that I find it difficult to sleep at night. This makes me too tired to carry out my duties in the school. Kindly let me know what is causing the problem and what to do to change it?

Getting enough sleep is not to be underestimated. Unfortunately, given our busy lives with work and family and other obligations, many of us do not get enough sleep. Fortunately, there are behaviour modifications that you can make that will improve your ability to get a good night’s sleep and feel less tired. We call this “sleep hygiene,” and it includes the following behaviours: Trying to go to bed and wake up at the same time every night, regardless of whether it is a weekday or a weekend day. Avoid caffeine at least after 6 pm, if not earlier. Limit your alcohol intake.

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Is it true that many nail polishes contain formaldehyde and can cause cancer. Is it safe for my daughters to use it?

Formaldehyde is associated with increased cancer risk. Many nail polishes, fragrance, lipsticks and conditioners do contain formaldehyde and other potential cancer-forming chemicals. Although individuals who work in the nail salon and cosmetics business may have an increased risk of cancer because of their exposure, it is not clear if an individual’s use of nail polish and other beauty products will increase cancer risk.

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The popular delicacy Bole is a very delicious meal known to most cities in the South-South particularly Port Harcourt. Different cities have their various ways of preparing this meal -for the easterners it is the normal roasted tuber of yam and palm oil, for Lagosians it is the roasted plantain accompanied with groundnut and for the PH people it is the roasted yam, plantain, fish and Palm oil sauce, lately we have the sweet potato added to this lovely meal. However, you choose to enjoy this delicious meal is not the center of our discussion, but to know how healthy this meal is. Speaking with a Medical practitioner in a short interview on the nutritional value and health effect of this delicacy.

The local delicacy Bole (roasted plantain), which is now used as an umbrella term for roasted plantain, yam and fish, is a healthy meal especially when prepared right. PLANTAIN is a very good source of starch and energy. It contains a high amount of fiber, which aids bowel movements and reduces constipation. It is also a rich source of Vitamin A, C and B complex including folic acid. Vitamin B and C are very good antioxidants helping to repair damaged tissues and boost body functioning. Plantain is also high in essential minerals as Iron, Magnesium, potassium and calcium. Calcium aids the development of strong bones.

YAM is a very good source of complex carbohydrates and energy. It also contains large amounts of Vitamin B. Other vitamins found in yam are vitamin C and vitamin A. Yam has been found to be beneficial in the development of healthy looking skin and hair. It is also said to support the female endocrine system and balance the female hormones. Yam has been found to aid fertility as research has shown a high incidence of twinning in areas where yam is well eaten. Yam has a low “glycemic index” so diabetics can enjoy it, in reasonable proportions. Yam is said to improve cognitive ability, and is also said to prevent cancers such as cancer of the colon. It contains essential minerals necessary for good functioning of the body.

FISH is a low fat, high quality protein, rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (good fatty acids). It is also rich in vitamins A, C and B. Omega 3 fatty acids are not produced in the body so must be gotten from what we eat and fish is a very good source. Omega 3 fatty acids help in the maintenance of a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of sudden death from heart attack, and strokes. They also aid brain function and good vision. It also has been found to decrease the risk of depression, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and arthritis. Fish helps in the maintenance of a good skin, by keeping it supple.

A balanced diet means getting the right types and amounts of food to supply nutrition and energy for maintaining proper body functioning, and support growth and development. Looking at the nutritional contents of this delicacy, it can be seen to contain the necessary types of food groups recommended, though the proportions and the amount per serving would determine if it is a balanced meal or not.

Roasting is a healthy method of cooking, as it limits fat and calorie intake since not much oil is required for roasting. Hence it is highly recommended in weight conscious individuals who wish to maintain a healthy weight. This method of cooking also preserves essential nutrients necessary for body function, without losing the flavor of the food.

‘Bole’ being a healthy meal may also pose other health challenges. These could be due to the food themselves, the mode of preparation or the condiments and spices used. Obesity may arise from frequent, excessive consumption of large portions of this delicacy, due to the high starch contents of the foods. Roast foods have been linked to the development of some cancers including pancreatic and colon cancers. Research has shown that blackened or charred areas on roasted foods have been found to contain chemicals such as acrylamide, which may predispose to cancer by damaging DNA and causing mutations. Also since it is usually eaten with an oily stew or sauce, it could lead to hyperlipidemia (abnormally high levels of fat or cholesterol), which could lead to fatty deposits in arteries and lead to the development of arteriosclerosis (Hardening of arteries due to deposition of fats) and its complications. Large amounts of pepper in the stews or sauces may aggravate existing peptic ulcer disease, while high salt may worsen or contribute to development of high blood pressure. Diarrhea diseases and food poisoning may also occur from unhygienic handling or preparation of the foods especially poor cleaning and preparation of the fish. The smoke from roasting could also lead to conjunctival (eye) irritation, environmental pollution, and respiratory tract irritation which may lead to infection from superimposed micro-organism invasion. Also long term inhalation or exposure to the smoke may lead to chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
People should insist on good hygiene in the preparation of the meals. The accompanying stews or sauces should be served with moderate amounts of oils, pepper and salt. The serving portions should also be moderate so as to maintain a healthy weight, good hygiene and good sanitary conditions is very important to avoid food poisoning. Avoid eating the charred, blackened areas of the roasted foods. Such areas should be scraped off before eating. Avoid long exposure of the foods being roasted to intense heat, so cook with less intense heating and use thinner cuts for faster cooking. As much as possible do not roast directly over the coal, shift the foods to the sides. People who prepare these meals and are constantly exposed to the smoke may wear protective glasses and nose masks to minimize inhalation of the smoke. People roasting this delicacy may keep a reasonable distance from the fireplace when it is not necessary to be there. Electrical and newer combustion fuels with less pollution are being introduced; they should be considered as alternative methods of roasting.

As delicious and interesting the meal ‘Bole’ is, Moderation is the word for everything just like the Holy Bible urges. We s h o u l d e a t moderate quantities and avoid having the burnt part of the fish, plantain, yam or potatoes to stay healthy and alive to keep enjoying this delicacy.

By Ayodeji Faleye

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