Alcohol is a depressant and can affect the way your brain functions, so it’s important to take a measured approach to how much alcohol you drink regularly. Alcohol may give you a temporary ‘high’, but if you don’t drink sensibly, or you drink heavily over a long period of time, you may be at risk of developing mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.


It’s not possible to be precise about how much is safe for individual men and women to drink. Current guidelines, however, recommend not regularly drinking more than three or four units a day for men and two or three units a day for women. Although ‘Regularly’ means every day or most days of the week, it’s a good idea to have at least two alcohol-free days a week so you don’t go over the limits. So over a week, men shouldn’t have more than 21 units and women shouldn’t have more than 14 units.

This doesn’t mean you can save up all the ‘allowance’ for a weekend binge. A drinking binge is generally defined as drinking double the daily recommended units in one session.

A large 250ml glass of standard strength wine (13% ABV) can be as much as three units, while a pint of standard strength lager (4% ABV) is more than two units. But don’t ‘save up’ your allowance for a one-night binge as this has a bad effect on your liver, which will leave you feeling worse too.

Is it safe to drink alcohol and drive?
No. Alcohol use slows reaction time and impairs judgment and coordination, which are all skills needed to drive a car safely.  The more alcohol consumed, the greater the impairment.

How do I know if I have a drinking problem?
Drinking is a problem if it causes trouble in your work, relationships, in school, in social activities, or in how you think and feel. If you are concerned that either you or someone in your family might have a drinking problem, consult your health care provider.



Travel Sickness

Travel, or motion, sickness is a condition where people feel sick, vomit or feel dizzy when travelling.


Travel sickness can be reduced or even prevented by taking certain medicines before travelling.

Travel sickness can happen during any form of travel but common examples include car or sea travel. You can also get it on train journeys or planes as well as on fairground rides and swings. You can even get it when you aren’t moving at all, such as when taking part in virtual reality games in amusement parks.

Symptoms of travel sickness

If you have travel sickness you may have several symptoms, including:

  • feeling sick
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • a headache
  • sweating
  • looking pale
  • rapid breathing
  • drowsiness

Your symptoms will get better when the motion stops

Causes of travel sickness

The exact reasons why you may develop travel sickness aren’t fully understood at present. However, research suggests that it’s caused by movements when travelling, such as tilting and shaking, which can confuse your brain.

Normally, your vestibular system, which is located in your inner ear, keeps track of your body, head and eye movements. This helps you to change position and control your balance. However, during travel, the motion your vestibular system senses doesn’t match what you see. This conflict between the senses is thought to cause travel sickness.

Anyone can get travel sickness and no one knows why some people are more sensitive than others. People who are at higher risk of getting it include:

  • children between the age of 2 and 12
  • women – especially when pregnant
  • people who get migraines

Treatment of travel sickness

There are many over-the-counter medicines available from a pharmacy.


  1. Hyoscine hydrobromide

Hyoscine hydrobromide is one of the most effective medicines for preventing travel sickness. It works by blocking the confusing nerve signals from your vestibular system. You can buy hyoscine tablets (eg buscopan, bispanol) over-the-counter at a pharmacy. You need to take them about 30 minutes before you travel and their effect lasts for about six hours.

Hyoscine may cause side-effects such as a dry mouth, drowsiness, blurry vision and dizziness.

  1. Antihistamines

Antihistamines (eg cetirizine and cyclizine) can help reduce travel sickness. You need to take antihistamines about two hours before you travel. Some antihistamines can cause drowsiness.

Complementary therapies

  1. Acupressure

Some people find that wearing bands that apply pressure onto your wrist – at an acupuncture point called P6 – can help with travel sickness.

  1. Ginger

Ginger is a traditional herbal remedy for travel sickness.

Prevention of travel sickness

As well as the methods listed under our treatment section, there are several things you can do to help prevent travel sickness.

  • Your position can affect your chances of getting travel sickness – wherever possible, drive a car instead of being a passenger, sit in the front seat of a car or bus, sit over the wing in a plane, or sit in the centre of a ship or on the upper deck.
  • Keep your eyes fixed on the horizon.
  • Keep your head still.
  • Don’t read – try listening to story tapes instead.
  • Open a window to let fresh air in.
  • Don’t smoke before or while travelling.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before or while travelling.
  • Try to distract yourself – play travel games or listen to music.

Close The Gap – World AIDS Day




Are there any early symptoms of HIV?
Around seven to ten days after HIV infection takes place, symptoms can occur which is the result of the body reacting to HIV infection clinically referred to as ‘seroconversion’).

The most common symptoms of recent HIV infection are severe flu-like symptoms, including a sore throat and fever, and a rash on the chest. Other symptoms can include fatigue, nausea and diarrhea.

Around 70-90% of people recently infected with HIV experience these symptoms, and they are unusual in otherwise healthy people so should indicate the need for an HIV test if they occur within six weeks of sex without a condom (especially with a new or casual partner).

After two to three weeks these symptoms will disappear, and even if you see a doctor they may fail to recognize the signs of early HIV infection. A person with HIV may then live for many years without any further symptoms or indications that they are HIV positive.

What should I do if I experience these symptoms?
If you experience these symptoms of early HIV infection and you have recently put yourself at risk (had sex without a condom or shared injecting needles or drug equipment) then you should have an HIV test.

Are there any other symptoms of HIV infection?
The second stage of HIV infection is the ‘asymptomatic’ stage, and as the name suggests there are generally no symptoms, often lasting for as long as ten years.
The third stage of HIV infection is the symptomatic stage, where the body’s immune system has become so damaged that it becomes susceptible to a range of ‘opportunistic’ infections that would normally be prevented by the body’s natural defenses (‘opportunistic’ means the infections take advantage of the weakened immune system in a way they wouldn’t normally be able to in an otherwise healthy person). These infections include bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and blood poisoning, fungal diseases such as oral thrush, and viral diseases.

An AIDS diagnosis takes place at such a late stage of infection when one or more of the most commonly experienced illnesses linked to HIV occur (known as an AIDS-defining illness).

Highly effective HIV medication will prevent the HIV infection from damaging the immune system so severely and can stop opportunistic infections or AIDS-defining illnesses.

If I don’t have any symptoms, can I assume I don’t have HIV?
No. If you have put yourself at risk, then you should still get tested for HIV and other STIs regardless of whether you experience symptoms.

Alcohol and Medication Interactions

Alcohol often has harmful interactions with prescription medications, over-the-prescription-and-alcohol-abusecounter drugs, and even some herbal remedies. Alcohol interactions with medications may cause problems such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Loss of coordination

Mixing alcohol and medications also may increase the risk of complications such as:

  • Liver damage
  • Heart problems
  • Internal bleeding
  • Impaired breathing
  • Depression

In some cases, alcohol interactions may decrease the effectiveness of medications or render them useless. In other cases, alcohol interactions may make drugs harmful or even toxic to the body.

Even in small amounts, alcohol also may intensify medication side effects such as sleepiness, drowsiness, and light-headedness, which may interfere with your concentration and ability to operate machinery or drive a vehicle, and lead to serious or even fatal accidents.

Because alcohol can adversely interact with hundreds of commonly used medications, it’s important to observe warning labels and ask your doctor or pharmacist if it’s safe to use alcohol with the medications and herbal remedies that you take.

Alcohol Interactions: A Significant and Increasing Danger

According to the CDC, about two-thirds of adults over age 18 at least occasionally use alcohol. Of these, 52% are current regular drinkers (defined as at least 12 drinks in the past year), and 14% are infrequent drinkers (defined as up to 11 drinks in the past year).

Use of prescription and non-prescription drugs, as well as herbal remedies, also is extremely prevalent. Partly because of the obesity epidemic and sedentary lifestyle, Kenyans of all ages are taking more drugs to control chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol. Because the incidence of chronic conditions increases with age, older Kenyans are especially likely to take prescription medications  often as many as 10 per day many of which likely react adversely with alcohol.

As the population ages, the problems associated with mixing alcohol and medications are certain to increase.

Older Kenyans Are at Special Risk of Alcohol Interactions

In older adults especially, alcohol use may increase the risk for falls, serious injury, and disability related to balance problems. Alcohol use also may trigger or worsen certain medical conditions.

When alcohol use is combined with multiple medications, it may magnify these problems. Older adults don’t metabolize alcohol as quickly as younger adults do, so alcohol stays in their systems longer and has a greater potential to interact with medications.

Even though most people over 65 drink less than the maximum recommended amount, this drinking is still considered harmful in over 50% of them, due to their general condition, medical problems and medications.

Drugs Associated With Alcohol Interactions

Hundreds of commonly used prescription and over-the-counter drugs may adversely interact with alcohol. These include medications used for:

  • Allergies, colds, and flu
  • Angina and coronary heart disease
  • Anxiety and epilepsy
  • Arthritis
  • Blood clots
  • Cough
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Enlarged prostrate
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Infections
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea and motion sickness
  • Pain, fever, and inflammation
  • Seizures
  • Severe pain from injury, post-surgical care, oral surgery, and migraine
  • Sleep problems

Alcohol Detox Programs

Alcoholism is a chronic disease. Like other chronic diseases, if left untreated, alcoholism can have serious, life-threatening consequences. Fortunately, there are effective treatment programs for alcoholism. While details vary from program to program, alcohol detox and alcohol rehab programs share certain essential components.Health-and-Rehabilitation

What Is Alcohol Detoxification?

 Alcohol detox is an important preliminary step in the management of alcoholism. It is a medically supervised period of alcohol withdrawal. During this period, a doctor may administer medications to control symptoms, and the individual is monitored by health professionals to ensure his or her safety. In addition to medical care during withdrawal from alcohol, the person usually also receives education about his or her alcohol problem and its treatment.

Medical management of alcohol withdrawal for people who are alcohol dependent is often necessary, because the symptoms of withdrawal can be dangerous. They can include:

  • Sweats
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures

Not everyone has all these symptoms, and symptom can range from mild to severe. Typically, alcohol detoxification takes place in a regular medical ward of a hospital, a specialized detoxification unit, or in an outpatient clinic. Detox, which may last a few days to more than a week, is an important and necessary preparation for treatment.

Kinds of Alcohol Rehab Programs

Alcohol rehabilitation takes place in a variety of settings:Rehabilitation concept.

Hospital- or medical-clinic-based programs. These programs offer both alcohol detox and alcohol rehab on an inpatient basis in specialized units.

Residential rehab programs. These programs can last from a month to more than a year and take place in a residential environment. Often, the treatment is divided into a series of stages that the person goes through. For instance, in the beginning, a patient’s contact with others, including friends and family, is strictly limited. The idea is to develop a primary relationship with the other residents who are also recovering from alcoholism. Eventually, the person will be allowed more contact with people outside the residential community and may even go back to work or school, returning home to the treatment facility each day.

Partial hospitalization or day treatment. These programs provide four to eight hours of treatment a day at a hospital or clinic to people who live at home. They typically run for three months and work best for people with a supportive family and a stable home environment.

Outpatient programs. These are run at hospitals, health clinics, community mental health clinics, counselor’s offices, and residential facilities with outpatient clinics. Attendance requirements vary, and many of them are run in the evenings and on weekends to allow people to be able to continue working.

Intensive outpatient programs. These programs require nine to 20 hours of treatment per week and run for two months to one year. They work best for people who are motivated to participate and who have supportive families and friends.


Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependence

Alcohol abuse means having unhealthy or dangerous drinking habits, such as drinking aaevery day or drinking too much at a time. Alcohol abuse can harm your relationships, cause you to miss work, and lead to legal problems such as driving while drunk (intoxicated). When you abuse alcohol, you continue to drink even though you know your drinking is causing problems.

If you continue to abuse alcohol, it can lead to alcohol dependence. Alcohol dependence is also called alcoholism. You are physically or mentally addicted to alcohol. You have a strong need, or craving, to drink. You feel like you must drink just to get by.

You might be dependent on alcohol if you have three or more of the following problems in a year:

  • You cannot quit drinking or control how much you drink.
  • You need to drink more to get the same effect.
  • You have withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. These include feeling sick to your stomach, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety.
  • You spend a lot of time drinking and recovering from drinking, or you have given up other activities so you can drink.
  • You have tried to quit drinking or to cut back the amount you drink but haven’t been able to.
  • You continue to drink even though it harms your relationships and causes physical problems.

Alcoholism is a long-term (chronic) disease. It’s not a weakness or a lack of willpower. Like many other diseases, it has a course that can be predicted, has known symptoms, and is influenced by your genes and your life situation.

Alcohol is part of many people’s lives and may have a place in cultural and family traditions. It can sometimes be hard to know when you begin to drink too much. You are at risk of drinking too much and should talk to your doctor if you are:1

  • A woman who has more than 3 drinks at one time or more than 7 drinks a week. A standard drink is 1 can of beer, 1 glass of wine, or 1 mixed drink.
  • A man who has more than 4 drinks at one time or more than 14 drinks a week.

Signs of alcohol abuse or dependence

Certain behaviors may mean that you’re having trouble with alcohol. These include:

  • Drinking in the morning, often being drunk for long periods of time, or drinking alone.
  • Changing what you drink, such as switching from beer to wine because you think it will help you drink less or keep you from getting drunk.
  • Feeling guilty after drinking.
  • Making excuses for your drinking or doing things to hide your drinking, such as buying alcohol at different stores.
  • Not remembering what you did while you were drinking (blackouts).
  • Worrying that you won’t get enough alcohol for an evening or weekend.


Oral Care

Dental Health and Bad Breath
Bad breath, medically called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.

What You Eat Affects Breath
Basically, all the food eaten begins to be broken down in your mouth. As foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, they are eventually carried to your lungs and given off in your breath. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing even mouthwash merely covers up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.

Poor Habits Cause Bad BreathdTreoBoEc
If you don’t brush and floss teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This causes bad breath. Antibacterial mouth rinses also can help reduce bacteria. In addition, odor-causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned.

Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products also can cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods, and irritate your gums.

Health Problems Are Associated With Bad Breath
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins to form, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries (cavities).

The medical condition dry mouth (also called xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of:
•    Respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis,
•    Chronic sinus infections,
•    Postnasal drip,
•    Diabetes,
•    Chronic acid reflux,
•    Liver disease
•    Kidney disease

Tonsils or Adenoiditis

We all have gotten a sore throat from time to time, and sometimes the tonsils in our mouths become infected. However, tonsils are not the only vulnerable glands in our mouth. Adenoids, located higher up in the mouth, behind the nose and roof of the mouth can also get infected. Enlarged and inflamed adenoids are referred to as adenoiditis and can be painful and make breathing difficult.Adenoids
What Are Adenoids?
Adenoids are a mass of tissue that, along with our tonsils, help keep us healthy by trapping harmful germs that pass through the nose or mouth. Our adenoids also produce antibodies to help our body fight infections. Unlike tonsils, which can be easily seen by opening our mouth, you cannot see the adenoids. A doctor has to use a small mirror or special instrument with a light to see the adenoids. Sometimes X-rays may be taken to see them more clearly.

While adenoids play an important role in keeping a person healthy, as you get older, adenoids become less important because our body is able to fight infection in other ways. In fact, adenoids often get smaller around age 5 or 6 and virtually disappear by the teen years.

Even though adenoids help filter out germs from our body, sometimes they can get overwhelmed by bacteria and become infected. When this happens they also get inflamed and swollen. This condition is called adenoiditis. It is most commonly seen in children, but sometimes affect adults.

Symptoms of adenoiditis can vary depending on what is causing the infection but may include:
•    sore throat
•    stuffy nose
•    swollen glands in the neck
•    ear pain and other ear problems

When the nose is stuffy, breathing through it can be a challenge. Other symptoms of adenoiditis related to nasal congestion include:
•    breathing through the mouth
•    speaking with a nasal voice, as if you are speaking with a pinched nose
•    difficulty sleeping
•    snoring or sleep apnea (a condition where you stop breathing for a short amount of time during sleep)
•    poor feeding and weight loss/ failure to thrive

Treatment for Adenoiditis
Adenoiditis is treated with antibiotics. However, if a child has frequent infections, including ear and sinus infections, or antibiotics do not help, or if the child has ongoing breathing problems, surgery may be needed to remove the adenoids. This procedure is called an adenoidectomy.

A pediatrician may also recommend the tonsils be removed at the same time since adenoiditis and tonsillitis often go hand in hand. Surgery to remove the tonsils is called a tonsillectomy.

Together, you and your child’s doctor can discuss the pros and cons of surgery and determine if it is necessary.