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The Ultimate Checklist of Things to Consider When Travelling with Children

Travelling with children in tow can prove to be challenging at times, but with careful planning and early preparation, your family holiday can turn out to be an enjoyable experience for all in the family. Here are some things you can do before and during the trip to keep your children safe and healthy: Travel Vaccinations Among the list of to-do’s to take care of before the trip, getting the required travel vaccination should take the top spot. Do make an appointment with your doctor around 4 to 6 weeks before your departure to find out if you or your child require any travel for protection against diseases during your travel. Some common travel vaccination that doctors recommend include: Typhoid Influenza Hepatitis A and B Rabies Japanese B Encephalitis You can get your travel vaccination done at most family clinics such as MindChamps Medical – click here to book an appointment at a clinic nearest to you. Travel Medicine and Kit If your child has a medical condition and/or needs to bring along medications during the trip, do get a letter from the doctor with all the relevant details clearly stated. Some airlines have strict regulations on medication, so having a memo from your doctor would help to make the check-in process smoother. In addition to the prescribed medication, it is also wise to pack a travel kit filled with basic first aid items such as: Antiseptics Bandages Sunscreen Insect repellent Thermometer Fever and flu medication Oral rehydration salts and diarrhea medication Motion Sickness Some children may be prone to motion sickness, which involves symptoms such as nausea, vomiting... more ›

Get These Travel Vaccinations Before You Jet off on the Next Family Holiday!

While most families in Singapore enjoy travelling all year round, the school holiday period in June and Nov/Dec are when most trips are planned for. As you make the necessary preparations for your family holiday, be sure to slot in an appointment for everyone in the family to get their travel vaccinations as well. The last thing you’d want to deal with during your trip is to have either you, your spouse or children fall ill from simple things like a mosquito bite or consuming contaminated food – all of which could have been avoided by getting vaccinated. Here are some common travel vaccinations you should consider before your trip: Hepatitis A Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that is prevalent in developing countries. It is usually spread when a person ingests faecal matter through objects, food or drinks contaminated by the faeces of an infected person. The vaccine is near to 100% effective in protecting you against the disease, and can last for decades. The Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for healthy international travellers aged 12 months or older and is given in 3 doses over a course of 6 months. Seniors and persons with chronic medical conditions such as liver disease may be given a shot called immune globulin (IG) as well if they are travelling within 2 weeks. Hepatitis B Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen or other body fluid infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person. Those infected with the virus may take several months to recover from the symptoms. Many people with chronic hepatitis B virus infection... more ›

5 Essential Ways to Stay Safe While Travelling with Your Family

Family holidays are yearly affairs that everyone looks forward to, for they offer the perfect opportunity for all in the family to bond and spend time together. While planning the daily itinerary that would keep everyone in the family happy remains one of your top priorities, it is also worthwhile to take a moment to consider the various factors that could compromise the health and safety of your family during the trip. After all, the last thing you’d want to do is to spend time and money on medical treatment in a foreign land far from home. Here are some precautionary measures you could take to stay safe and healthy during your family travel: 1. When in doubt, opt for bottled water While we might have access to clean water supply in Singapore, this may not apply to the country that you will be travelling to during your family holiday. This is especially apparent in certain developing countries where the water supply might contain microorganisms that will compromise your health, making it unsuitable for consumption – either directly from the tap or after boiling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a set of guidelines for safe water consumption for travellers. As a whole, it is highly recommended that travellers rely on bottled water for consumption and other uses such as brushing teeth when travelling to developing countries. 2. Be wary of the food you eat One of the highlights of a holiday trip involves trying the local cuisine – be it in a restaurant or at food street stalls. Regardless which ones you choose to go... more ›

Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms & Complications

According to a survey conducted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) last year, approximately 10.5% of Singapore’s population suffers from diabetes. This figure is the second-highest among developed nations, behind the United States (10.7%). A National Health Survey done by the Ministry of Health in 2010 shows that 1 in every 9 Singaporeans between the ages of 18 – 69 are affected by diabetes. Diabetes is also among the top ten causes of death in Singapore, leading to more than 2% of total deaths every year. What is diabetes? A condition whereby our body is not able to produce enough insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas), diabetes leads to a higher than normal level of glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. In order to function optimally, our body will need glucose which comes from the food we consume. When the food we consume is turned into glucose, insulin is released to help transport glucose to the cells. For those with diabetes, the body, owing to various reasons, stops making or using insulin properly, thereby resulting in having too much or too little glucose in the blood. If not treated properly, diabetes can lead to several other severe conditions like blindness, infections, kidney disorders, heart disease, and leg or foot disorders. Symptoms of diabetes Symptoms of diabetes include but are not limited to: Weakened eyesight Frequent urination Constant fatigue or weariness Increased hunger and thirst Slow healing of wounds Fast and unexplained loss of weight Fungal infections that make the skin dry and itchy Numbness in limbs Nausea It is highly recommended that you see your doctor if you are... more ›

6 Rules for Keeping Your Diet Heart-Healthy

Maintaining a healthy diet not only does wonders for your waistline – it has been proven to be good for your heart too. Although there are medications that can be prescribed to address issues of heart disease, leading a healthy lifestyle and eating right are key to looking after your heart, protecting you against the risk factors. Here, we present some simple things you can do to keep your diet heart-healthy: 1. Watch your cholesterol intake When your body produces cholesterol in excess of what is needed, this will result in a high blood cholesterol condition which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Understanding the function of cholesterol in your body and making some changes to your lifestyle can help to bring down your blood cholesterol to an optimal level. This includes limiting your intake of high cholesterol food and keeping a close watch of the fat content in your food (refer to next point for more tips on this). 2. Reduce the fat content There are different types of fats in our food and not all fats are created equal. While saturated fat is mainly found in animal, trans fat is found in deep fried and baked food. On the other hand, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (also known as the “good” fats) are found in vegetable oils (i.e. olive oil and canola oil), nuts, seeds and oily fish. To keep your diet heart-healthy, it is important to reduce the saturated and trans fat content in the food you consume. Here are some simple tips to help you achieve that: Try to use less oil when cooking... more ›

10 Important Things You Must Know About Heart Disease

Heart disease involves a range of conditions that affect the heart, and is often linked to the term “cardiovascular disease”. As a whole, heart disease includes conditions that affect the blood vessel such as coronary artery disease and congenital heart defects, while cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels, leading to heart attack, chest pain or stroke. When it comes to heart disease, prevention goes a long way in helping you beat this condition. Thus, being aware of the risk factors and leading a heart-healthy lifestyle is a good starting point to help you achieve that. Read on for some important facts and tips about heart disease: 1. It is not only the men who get heart disease Before menopause, the risk of heart disease is significantly higher for men compared to women. This will even out as women reach their menopausal years (typically at age 54) due to a decline in the natural hormone estrogen, which is believed to help keep blood vessels flexible to accommodate blood flow. In addition, other unhealthy lifestyle habits that one adopts before menopause (e.g. smoking and a high-fat diet) also play a role in increasing the risk factor for heart disease. 2. Heart disease may cause different symptoms in women Generally, the main symptoms of heart disease include chest pain, nausea and sweating. However, women are more likely to experience symptoms that are out of the norm such as: Unusual tiredness Heartburn Breathing difficulty Anxiety Paleness A general feeling of discomfort or weakness These symptoms may present themselves up to a month before a heart attack... more ›

Executive Functioning Issues in Children: Useful Information for Parents

Executive function refers to the mental skills that help the brain to organise and act on information. This set of skills is the building block that enables us to plan, organise, remember things, prioritise, pay attention and get started on tasks. It also empowers us with problem-solving skills as we go through the tough moments in life. What are executive functioning issues? While executive functioning issues are not considered a type of disability, they are a form of weaknesses in mental skills. Executive functioning issues often appear in children with learning and attention issues. Children who have executive functioning issues are known to struggle with tasks that require this set of skills, including: Keeping track of time Making plans Making sure work is finished on time Multitasking Applying previous information to solve current problems Analysing ideas Looking for help or more information when needed How executive functioning works One of the ways to help you better understand the difficulties that children with executive functioning issues go through is to see how the executive functioning works. The steps below show an example of the executive functioning process: Analyse a task and figure out what is to be done Plan how to complete the task Plan in a series of steps to reach the goal of completing the task Think of how much time that needs to be set aside to carry out the plan Make adjustments to the plan if necessary Finish the task within the allocated time For individuals carrying out simple tasks and whose executive functioning is working well, the brain would be able to go through these... more ›

Prostate Cancer Symptoms You Cannot Ignore

Affecting 3,694 men from 2010 to 2014, prostate cancer is the third most common cancer among Singapore men. It is also the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths locally. In this interview, we talk to Dr William Tan, neuroscientist, end-stage leukaemia survivor and Medical Director of MindChamps Medical, to understand more about the disease.

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Fidget Spinners; Yay or Nay? An Expert Gives a Rundown on the Gizmo

What are fidget spinners? Fidget spinners are small, flat, ball bearing devices that the user can rotate between his fingers. Fidget spinners are meant to be a therapy tool, or a stress relieving tool, similar to therapy dough, a sensory bracelet or a stress ball; meant for providing sensory and movement input.   Why and how are they used for therapy? Fidget spinners are used to help individuals to manage stress or anxiety, or to improve focus. However, this is subjective and varies among individuals. It provides tactile and visual stimulation briefly, without the child having to get off the seat in a classroom setting. As the attention of a child with ADHD starts to drift, the small movement may help him/ her to regain attention.   Have you prescribed the use of fidget spinners before? If yes, how effective do you rate them? If no, why? Personally, I have not prescribed them before as it can potentially be misused (as a toy) and be more distracting for the child (and peers) rather than providing the targeted sensory stimulation. The other children (in class) are likely to be looking at the fidget spinner rather than focusing on what is being taught. There are other tools that can serve similar purposes and are less distracting. Gross motor movements are also important for stimulating the frontal and prefrontal cortex, the brain areas responsible for sustaining attention. This can be achieved by standing, walking, stretching and carrying out simple tasks such as distributing a stack of books.   In what circumstance would you prescribe the use of fidget spinners? I would prescribe... more ›

Note: Health information available on this website should not take the place of a bona fide consultation with a qualified medical professional.

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