Health Board: upcoming conferences, talks, campaigns and events

1) Pop Up Picnics – the multi-sensory performances created for families with young children who have complex needs – comes to the Irish Museum of Modern Art in the Royal Kilmainham Hospital, Dublin on Saturday, June 23rd. Created by Helium Arts with the Jack and Jill Children's Foundation, the performances by musician Thomas Johnston, puppeteer Niamh Lawlor and performer, Roseanne Lynch are suitable for children aged 5 and upwards with profound disabilities. Performances for small groups will be held at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 3pm. Advanced booking essential as numbers are limited. Email

2) Family-friendly Indian cookery workshops by Wicklow chef, Sukhi, an artisan food and craft market and art and crafts workshops for children are among the midsummer celebrations at An Tairseach Dominican Farm and Ecology Centre, Wicklow Town on Saturday, June 23rd from 10am-4pm. Chef, Darina Allen will give a talk on growing and cooking your own healthy food. Admission free but advanced booking essential for Darina Allen's talk and 'Sukhi's India' Cookery Workshops. Tel: 0404 61833 or

3) One in five people in Ireland suffer from hayfever symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny noses and headaches. Hayfever can also lead to a flare-up of asthma symptoms in those who have asthma. The Asthma Society has issued tips for gardening for those who suffer from hayfever and/or asthma. These include closing all windows before gardening to keep pollen out of your home, wearing wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes, putting petroleum jelly around your nostrils to trap pollen, wearing a hat to stop pollen getting caught in your hair. The Asthma Society also suggests a shower, hair wash and change of clothes if outdoors for an extended period and staying indoors if the pollen count in your area is high. See also

4) The Cork-based research centre, APC Microbiome Ireland is highlighting the importance of microbes (microorganisms such as bacteria that live in soil, water, animals and humans) for human, animal and environmental health in the first World Microbiome Day on June 27th. They are keen to hear from individuals or groups who have carried out "microbiome friendly" activities such as a school planting a garden, a farmer who has introduced key measures to improve soil nutrients, a community group organizing a clean-up of their local park or beach or someone who makes fermented foods. Email for more details.


5) Introductory courses in social and therapeutic horticulture will be run by Caitriona Kelly from GIY Ireland in the next few months. Kelly who has trained in therapeutic horticulture with the UK based charity Thrive, will give courses in the Cork Association for Autism on Saturday, June 16, the GROW headquarters in Waterford City on July 14th/15th and August 18th/19th and November 10th/11th and at the Drumnaph Community Nature Reserve, Maghera, Co Derry on September 29& 30. Email or call 051-584411 for more details.

6) Difficult to get rid of at all times, fungal infections in toe nails and feet become more obvious in the summer months when people wear sandals. Poorly breathable footwear such as synthetic shoes, socks and tights exacerbate fungal infections. Nail polish and gels causes oxygen deprivation in nails and also increases the risk of fungal infections. Summer footwear should have a firm heel counter, support along the arch and a wide, deep toe box to protect your feet. Consult with your pharmacy about quality over the counter remedies to treat fungal infections.

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health, heritage and the environment