You have had a runny nose and irritating cough for several weeks now. You realize that this is your second or third bout of cold this season. In fact, you have never really seemed to get completely well in between the episodes.
You are growing weary of the constant nose wiping and doses of cold medicine just so you can get to rest or sleep. When will these colds end? Or could it be something serious? TB perhaps? You go back to your Doctor and insist on being tested for all serious illnesses that you can think of under the sun, only to be told you have allergies. Sounds familiar? It does to me; it has been my daily bread in the outpatient clinic lately.
Allergies are a very common problem, affecting at least two out of ten (2/10) people in studies carried out in America. An allergy refers to exaggerated reaction by our immune system in response to exposure to certain foreign substances that shouldn’t normally cause a problem.
The response is said to be exaggerated because these substances are usually harmless in non-allergic individuals. While environment plays a big role in allergy development, there is a greater risk of developing allergic conditions if a person has a family history of allergy, especially in parents or siblings (genetics).
Although allergies can start at any age, they generally develop during childhood with some of the initial exposure or sensitization having occurred in – utero. Most children who have allergies do outgrow them over time. The allergic conditions include hay fever (nose), asthma (chest), allergic conjunctivitis (eyes), food allergies, atopic dermatitis (skin) and anaphylaxis.
During this month, I will walk you through the confusing world of allergies and help you prevent and treat these bothersome symptoms. Only symptoms relating to the nose, eyes, throat and ears will be discussed in this article.
Allergic rhinitis or hay fever as commonly known is the most common of the allergic diseases affecting up to 30% of people worldwide. It refers to nasal and eye symptoms that are due to allergens in the atmosphere (causing inflammation of the lining of these tissues). Adjacent areas such as the ears, sinuses, and throat are usually involved also.
Perennial (year-round) allergic rhinitis is usually caused by indoor allergens such as dust mites, animal dander/hair, or molds.
Seasonal allergic rhinitis is typically caused by tree, grass, and weed pollens. Many individuals have a combination of both seasonal and perennial allergies and are only mildly affected by the symptoms. However, for some, symptoms may be so severe and persistent that they are unable to carry out their daily tasks at home, work or at school properly – these people will require medical attention.
Treatments may not get rid of the symptoms quickly or altogether, but they usually help to lessen their impact, making them easier to live with.
Symptoms: The symptoms of hay fever are similar to those of a cold (which is caused by a virus) and they include the following;
Runny nose (clear mucus)
Stuffy or congested nose
Itchy nose, ears and throat
Red, itchy and tearing eyes
Postnasal drip (leading to throat clearing or cough)
Diagnosis: A Doctor usually makes the hay fever diagnosis (which is fairly obvious) basing on the symptoms that the patient is presenting with and physical examination findings. A blood or skin test can be done to identify which substances the patient is allergic to.
Treatment: Management options can be both medical and non-medical and they include;
Avoidance or decreasing the exposure to the irritants/allergens that trigger one’s symptoms is the cornerstone of allergy treatment
Home remedies – drinking plenty of fluids, honey, hot steaming
Medications – antihistamines in the form of sprays and tablets, eye drops and corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce the inflammation caused by hay fever.
Immunotherapy (allergy shots) – Immunotherapy has been proven to provide long-term relief or remission for many people suffering from hay fever. It works by gradually desensitizing the patient's immune system (over a period of up to 5 years) to the allergens that trigger their symptoms.
Prevention – The following measures may be helpful in allergic people to help prevent triggering (or severity) of hay fever attacks, especially during the high pollen or spring/summer seasons; Keeping windows and doors closed
Keeping away from grassy areas or avoiding mowing the lawn
Gardening when pollen is less rampant
Regularly splashing the eyes with cool water
Showering and changing clothes often when one gets home
Protective eye wear (spects or sunglasses)
Keeping windows closed when driving
Avoiding keeping flowers in the house
Keeping the house surfaces, floors, carpets as dust free as possible
Avoiding using a vacuum cleaner or making sure it has a good filter
Quitting smoking or avoiding secondary smoking
Avoiding keeping pets or washing them regularly whenever they come indoors
After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.
On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.
The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.
Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.
The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.
At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.
“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”
The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.
The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.
The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.
However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.
Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.
Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.
“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.
“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”
Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.
Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.
The Queen does this through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.
Even though this auspicious year has been faulted by the COVID-19 crisis, Miss Earth Botswana 2020 Seneo Perry has seen this as a chance to fix her crown, and get dirty in conserving the environment. This is highly impressive as it expresses how dedicated she is not only in wearing the crown, but putting in some work to create a better greener world.
Perry is a Botswana based environmentalist, equipped with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University (BAC) and a top 5 finalist in Miss Earth Botswana 2019. As an eco-warrior at heart, she has dedicated her time and energy towards educating and empowering the next generation on the importance of preservation and careful management of the environment and natural resources (a clean and safe environment.)
Miss Earth Botswana will be hosting SOS Children for a film documentary dubbed “Into the Okavango” on Saturday 19th September, in Tlokweng. This initiative is influenced by National Vision 2036 Pillar of National Values which is our identity, our unique natural and cultural resources, tolerance of diversity as well as national values constitute a value preposition that makes Botswana a place to live, work and do business.
In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Perry’s Manager, Shimah Keakopa, said the purpose of this event is to encourage the children to open up their minds a bit more to think outside the box as they are about to choose their career paths and what more they can offer to their country as upcoming young leaders.
“This event is held under the theme ‘‘Botswana will have healthy ecosystems that support the economy, livelihoods and our cultural heritage as well as enhance resilience to climate change’’. We strive to help young children grow up knowing their purpose in life and what they actually do in achieving their ambitions.”
For her part, the queen said since 2013, conservation topics have always attracted her interests towards achieving a clean and safe environment for the benefit of humanity. She said “Botswana relies heavily on the tourism industry as it contributes 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our tourism industry has been characterized as more of a fauna and flora type, which is the great attraction to local and international tourists.”
“Therefore it is imperative that we conserve and continuously engage in environmental issues, to preserve our untouchable pristine wilderness. Furthermore people who live closest to natural resources generally absorb the greatest cost associated with conservation,” she said.
Perry told WeekendLife that a lot still needs to be done to ensure everybody is of one mind in an effort dedicated towards environmental conservation, which not only benefits the flora and fauna but the economy as well through activities such as agriculture and tourism.
“In Botswana, there still not enough policies (some outdated) and public awareness towards environmental conservation, especially the collective effort that should exist between government, private sector and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
Whereas members of the general public do not have adequate access to the information on the importance of environmental conservation and this results in them being unaware of the best practices and standards in environmental conservation,” she said.
When she is not impressing at beauty pageants, Perry is a Managing Director of “Restoring the Prime Colour of the Earth” a charitable organization established in 2019 with the objective to educate both young and old people the importance of keeping a clean and safe environment and to restore the breath-taking landmarks in Botswana.