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Are you prone to abscesses?

DR BOIMA

HEALTH ISSUES

An abscess otherwise known as a boil (in Setswana; phologolo, sekaku, more) is a collection of pus in the skin. Abscesses are quite common and can affect people of all ages. They can occur anywhere on the body.

Abscesses may occur in different forms namely;


Furuncle – a typical abscess that originates from a hair follicle. Usually occurs where there is an ingrown hair


Cystic acne – cystic abscesses are formed when oil ducts become clogged and infected.  Cystic acne is most common on the face and typically occurs in the teenage years


Dental abscess  – occurs around a tooth, especially decayed or impacted one

Hidradenitis suppurativa – This is a condition in which multiple abscesses form under the armpits or in the groin area. This is mainly due to inflammation and infection of the sweat glands Pilonidal cyst – This is a unique kind of abscess that occurs in the crease of the buttocks. These abscesses frequently form after long trips that involve prolonged sitting

Causes

Most abscesses are caused by an infection with bacteria known as Staphylococcus. When the bacteria enter the skin (either through skin abrasion, a cut, wound, ingrown hair follicle etc.), the immune system is activated and white blood cells are sent to the site of infection to fight off the bacteria. The resulting inflammation and dead tissue (plus white blood cells and bacteria) happening at the site of infection are the ones that form pus that eventually fills up within the fragile tissue. In rare cases, abscesses may be caused by a virus, fungi or parasites.

Symptoms

People who have a skin abscess may notice the following;
– Redness, tenderness, warmth and hardening of the skin at the area of infection
– Yellowish, spongy and raised lump on the skin that may be closed or open (oozing pus)
– Fevers, chills or night sweats
– General feeling of being unwell or extremely fatigued

Risk factors

Though many abscesses develop in people who are otherwise generally healthy, there is an increased risk of developing abscesses of any form if one’s immune system is low. If you are more prone to developing abscesses it might be because of the following conditions;
HIV/AIDS
Diabetes
End organ damage (e.g. kidney failure, heart failure)
Cancer
Immune suppressing medications like chemotherapy, steroids etc.
Autoimmune conditions (e.g. Lupus, Crohns Disease)
Improper shaving technique
Reaction to a certain chemicals (detergents, lotions, roll-on etc.) that leave the skin inflamed
Injecting-drug users
Chronic alcoholism

Treatment

Most small abscesses will resolve on their own. However, it is advisable to do the following as soon as the boil is noticed since early treatment may prevent complications;
Warm compresses – with a heat pack or warm towel for about 20 minutes at least three to four times daily. Heat application increases the circulation to the area and allows the body to better fight off the infection by bringing antibodies and white blood cells to the site of infection


Anti-inflammatories – over the counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can help with the inflammation and the pain but they may not be the answer to complete resolution of the abscess


Education – proper shaving technique is vital if your abscesses mostly occur as a result of shaving, it is recommended to be in a habit of shaving along the direction of the hair rather than against it. You should also avoid shaving in that area until the boil has healed completely to avoid spreading the infection. Also unnecessarily change of roll-ons or toiletries should be avoided. Sharing of roll-ons, washing rugs and towels is discouraged especially if you are prone to developing boils.


DON’Ts – Do not attempt to drain the abscess by pressing on it or pricking with a sharp object. This can spread the infection into deeper tissues or injure an underlying blood vessel. Any invasive procedure should be left off to be done by a health care professional.


Seek medical help – Not only will the doctor give appropriate treatment for the abscess (antibiotics or incision & drainage) but they will try to find out why the abscess occurred in the first place. For people who are prone to developing abscesses, a series of examinations like blood tests (including HIV if status unknown) and pus swab tests will be done to explain the risk.

For comments or questions please email agboima@yahoo.com

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020
Samson

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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