Tuesday 12 December 2017

Don't forget your vitamin D

Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Registrar and Deputy President at the launch of the NUI Galway 'Shave or Dye' Cancer Awareness Initiative with John McGuire, Fat Tonys Barbers, President of NUI Galway Students Union Declan Higgins and event organiser Dr Grace McCormack. Photo: Aengus McMahon
Professor Pól Ó Dochartaigh, Registrar and Deputy President at the launch of the NUI Galway 'Shave or Dye' Cancer Awareness Initiative with John McGuire, Fat Tonys Barbers, President of NUI Galway Students Union Declan Higgins and event organiser Dr Grace McCormack. Photo: Aengus McMahon
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The seemingly endless grey days of an Irish winter mean that we are now drawing on the vitamin D levels we stored while out in the summer sun.

We will have to wait until well into April or May before we can naturally stock up on this important vitamin through the reaction of the sun on the skin.

Lack of vitamin D is not just being linked to weaker bones but also higher risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

As many as one in 10 adults can be deficient. So, how can we improve our intake?

We get vitamin D from foods, including eggs, meat and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.

Vitamin D is also added some breakfast cereals, soya products, dairy products, powdered milks and fat spreads.

People who have darker skin - for example, those of African, African Caribbean or South Asian origin, are also at risk of vitamin D deficiency because it takes their skin more time to produce as much vitamin D as someone with lighter skin.

It is important that pregnant and breastfeeding women take a vitamin D supplement to make sure their own needs for vitamin D are met, and so that their baby is born with enough stores of vitamin D for the first few months of its life. An average of one in 10 men and women aged 40 to 80 may be deficient in Vitamin D.

How to handle an epileptic fit

Would you know how to come to the aid of someone with epilepsy suffering a seizure?

Epilepsy Ireland is now starting a new campaign featuring Joe Schmidt, Ireland rugby coach, whose son has epilepsy.

It has developed the handy TEAM acronym setting out the actions needed to help a person with epilepsy.

T - Take care to protect the person

E - Ensure you stay with them

A - Allow the seizure to take its course

M - Move the person on their side when the seizure is over.

Research has already shown 32pc of people would wrongly attempt to put something in the person's mouth during a seizure to prevent them from swallowing their tongue, 12pc would inappropriately restrain the person's movements and 70pc would call an ambulance. The first two actions are completely inappropriate and potentially dangerous.

For more information, see See http://www.epilepsy.ie/go/seizureaware

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