Spring is peak time for chicken pox (nhs.uk/conditions). Although a mild and common childhood illness, the spots can be very itchy. Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends PoxClin Cool Mousse (£10.80), which promises fast relief from itching, helps to prevent scars and promotes healing. Or try all-natural multipurpose Kiddy Balm (£4.05), which one mum reports calmed her three-year-old: ‘For the first time in three nights he slept through without scratching and crying.’ Both from Victoria Health, tel: 0800 3898 195, victoriahealth.com.
We store tension in our faces, particularly our jaws, which can be painful and ageing. Simply massaging your face and scalp with your fingertips helps relax muscles and dispel tension. Work in circles over your head from hairline to nape. Then stroke some facial oil (such as Argan Organics Regeneration Anti-Ageing Face Serum, £15.99, from Victoria Health, see above) on your face, working upwards, and see your rosy relaxed reflection beam back at you in the mirror.
WHY KARREN SUPPORTS LIFE AFTER STROKE
Although Karren has not suffered a stroke, in 2006 she discovered she had a cerebral (brain) aneurysm, which put her at high risk of a brain haemorrhage or stroke. The aneurysm was revealed in a routine MRI scan, part of a comprehensive medical screening at the Preventicum Clinic in West London.
‘An aneurysm is a swelling in the wall of an artery. A cerebral aneurysm occurs on one of the small blood vessels supplying the brain with oxygen,’ comments Dr Garry Savin, now the medical director of Preventicum. ‘Cerebral aneurysms can develop over time without any symptoms. If an aneurysm ruptures, it causes a bleed or haemorrhage. This can lead to a stroke and in severe cases can be fatal.’
Karren, then 36, was told she needed to see a specialist immediately. ‘It was a miracle I had managed to survive the physical strain of giving birth to my children Sophia and Paolo [now 16 and 14].’
She was given two alternatives: open brain surgery, where the surgeon places a clip over the aneurysm to seal it, or coiling, where after the precise size, shape and location of the swelling is mapped, a fine catheter is inserted through an artery in the groin and fed up to the brain so tiny metal coils can be dropped into the aneurysm to seal it off from the inside.
Karren opted for coiling, which took five and a half hours of surgery. Now she has regular brain scans. ‘My doctor says the results are as good as they could be. The swelling on the artery has sealed up. But being faced with this made me realise how lucky I am.
‘I’m still at high risk and I know how frightening the condition can be. The Stroke Association is doing great work supporting people affected by it.’
The Stroke Association, tel:0303 303 3100, stroke.org.uk. Preventicum UK Ltd London Centre of Preventive Medicine, tel:020 7605 6900, preventicum.co.uk.
Black labradors Juno and Glue, my canine testers, approve enthusiastically of new Lily’s Kitchen Breakfast Crunch, which offers a vet-approved natural mix that includes chicken and turkey, oats, bananas, apples, salmon oil, probiotic yoghurt and flaxseed. £7.99 for 800g, from Waitrose, organic food shops and lilyskitchen.co.uk.