In the news this month:
News in profile: Keep smiling!
– The importance of healthy mouths
– Nationwide vaccine programme continues to roll out
– A HUGE thank you to NHS Staff
Medical staff news
– Large uptick in the number of people who want to study medicine
– Could parasites be good for our health?
– COVID-19 testing kits
News in profile
The many benefits of a healthy smile!
We use our mouths all of the time for speaking, smiling, and chewing and pre-digesting food. However, scientists now believe that the complicated environments within our mouths may have a wider influence on our overall health.
Mouths have their own special microbiomes which are unique and complicated in the same way as the ones in our guts. Good oral hygiene helps to maintain a healthy mouth by taking care of our good oral bacteria.
Purnima Kumar, Professor of Periodontology at the Ohio State University has recently undertaken research in this specific area of medical science. For example, we know that one of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes is gum disease but we have now learned that some treatments which change the makeup of oral bacteria, can actually lessen the seriousness of the disease. This is because people with diabetes are known to have an altered microbiome in their mouths.
Good oral bacteria require oxygen to thrive and they live in our mouths, breaking down foods which are left on teeth and gums. If we don’t brush our teeth this can cut off the oxygen supply changing the balance of microbes and causing some to ferment and produce a range of by-products and even toxins. This triggers the human immune system to react, which can then affect other parts of the body. This process also has an inflammatory impact which opens up pores in the lining of the mouth allowing unhealthy bacteria to travel to other parts of the body.
So there is a double negative impact and problems with bacteria in the mouth have been linked to a range of health conditions including heart disease, arthritis and problems in pregnancy.
The good news is that the answer is very simple – good oral hygiene and regular trips to the dentist will keep mouths healthy and prevent negative impacts on other parts of the body.
So another good reason to brush and floss every day!
All hands on deck for the rollout of the vaccine
A superhuman national effort is underway to rollout the COVID-19 vaccine programme across the UK.
Many different public service professionals are getting involved, and in Hampshire, a team of firefighters are helping with the local programme.
60 firefighters and support staff are carrying out vaccinations at centres across the county, including one at Basingstoke Fire Station, which is managing vaccinations alongside its traditional role of answering 999 calls.
The vaccination programme is the largest in NHS history and continues to expand in capacity – with the ambitious target to offer vaccinations to all adults in the UK by September of this year.
Thank you to the NHS
To mark the first year anniversary of COVID-19 patients being treated by the NHS, its CEO, Sir Simon Stevens has reiterated the nation’s thanks for the incredible efforts of everyone working in medical settings throughout the UK.
Over the past year, hospitals have treated more than 320,000 people with COVID-19, with 26,746 patients requiring critical care.
The 23rd Jan this year was the busiest day of the pandemic with 5381 people requiring care – 65% above pre-pandemic levels and 36% above any other time during the crisis.
In addition to the work in hospitals there has been a huge effort in community care, medical research and the rollout of the vaccine programme.
It has been a year like no other and we would like to join with the whole nation in thanking NHS staff throughout the country for their tireless work and dedication to taking care of us all.
Medical staff news
More people want to become doctors and nurses
Recent UCAS application figures reported in the Independent online have shown that a record number of places were offered to people who wanted to study to become doctors or nurses in 2020.
10,625 people were given places to study medicine at UK universities. This number has increased by a third since 2017.
62,920 had applied to study nursing which showed a notable rise from under 55,000 in 2017-19.
The pandemic has highlighted that the UK has a shortage of medical professionals and the NHS has accepted that it will need to bring in professionals from other parts of the world to boost staffing levels.
It is clear that the wonderful work of the NHS has inspired young people to take this career route, despite the many challenges that medical staff have faced over the last year.
The benefits of parasites!
Although the thought of parasites is decidedly unpleasant, humans have always lived with them, and our immune systems have developed alongside their existence in our lives.
Humans continue to evolve in ways which make us healthier. Practices that seem obvious to us now, like the benefits of good hygiene have only really been properly understood over the last few hundred years.
Scientists have known for some time that alongside the negatives, some parasites also have a positive impact on our immune systems. In fact the decline in human parasites has actually contributed to an increase in some medical conditions and particularly those related to inflammation.
Scientists have studied helminths in particular. This group of parasites includes roundworms, tapeworms and flukes. It is accepted that a decline in helminths has led to an increase in some inflammatory diseases in younger people including asthma, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. This has been demonstrated by the fact that both natural and deliberate infection with these parasites can help to manage these conditions.
Bruce Zhang and Dr. David Gems, from the Institute of Healthy Ageing at University College London have also carried out research to specifically look at ‘inflammaging’ which is the inflammatory response which increases in all humans as we grow older (and has been linked to worse cases of COVID-19).
Inlflammaging is associated with pro-inflammatory proteins in the blood and it has been proven that these reduce with the presence of helminths, but it is not understood how this could be used as an effective treatment without the side effects of parasite related disease.
Further medical research will help us to understand how to harness the positives of parasites, without having to live with them in our lives!
Covid Rapid Test – available in our online shop
We have a great range of products available in our COVID-19 Shop.
Our high performance COVID AG rapid test is a lateral flow chromatographic immunoassay for the qualitative detection of the nucleocapsid protein antigen from SARS-CoV-2.
It uses nasal swab specimens taken directly from individuals who are suspected of an active COVID-19 infection by their healthcare provider within the first seven days of the onset of symptoms and is for professional use only.
Shop online today for more great products at fantastic prices!
All of our products are easy to order and can be bought online from the medical consumables section of our shop where you will also find our full range of hygiene related products.
Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about our product or stock.