Health briefing


A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Aromatherapy helped 9/11 rescue workers

AROMATHERAPY WAS used to help rescue workers deal with the noxious smells, physical and psychological effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, a conference in Dublin heard at the weekend.

Clinical aromatherapist Eileen Cristina told delegates at Botanica 2012 how aromatherapists working for the United Aromatherapy Effort supplied firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, construction and sanitation workers and volunteers with air-purifying sprays, sore muscle rubs, cracked dry skin ointments, vaporisers and essential oils for the “grieving heart”.

Today is the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. “The Ground Zero mixture was simply beyond human experience – considering the chemistry of ignition, pressure and combination of cleaning agents, carpeting, various fuels, computers, machinery and vehicles,” said Cristina. Many of the Ground Zero workers said the sprays they were given helped mask the odours they experienced on the job and allowed them to breathe clearly while working and at bedtime. Workers were told to spray the formulas high in the air so the mist would help cleanse the air of bacteria. Cristina spoke about non-profit organisation Serving Those Who Serve which provided immune-building and detoxifying herbal treatment free of charge to the workers and volunteers affected by Ground Zero toxins. “While there are still workers dying of cancers, the essential oils and herbs helped reduce the symptoms of many workers and volunteers, and therapists providing the service helped them cope with their emergency work.”

Cyclists asked to take up challenge 

JONNY SEXTON and fellow Leinster players Rob Kearney, Jamie Heaslip and Kevin McLaughlin with Olympic sailor Annalise Murphy and Mark Pollock (above) get set for the Mark Pollock Cycle on Saturday.

Participants can choose from two cycle distances: 100km or 160km, starting and finishing at the Mount Wolseley Hotel in Tullow, Co Carlow. The event is open to cyclists of all abilities.

For more information, see

Intensive care doctors worried over sepsis rates

THE INTENSIVE Care Society of Ireland has expressed serious concern about the levels of sepsis in Irish hospitals.

Sepsis is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for more than 18 million deaths annually.

A study by the Irish Critical Care Trials Group in 2006 found sepsis accounted for 23 per cent of admissions to intensive care units, while four out of five of those admitted with severe sepsis had failure of two or more organ systems.

Mortality for severe sepsis was almost 25 per cent.

Despite advances in medicine, the incidence of sepsis is increasing dramatically in the developed world. In Europe and the US sepsis occurs more frequently than stroke and heart attack.

Ivan Hayes, intensive care consultant at the Mater hospital, said: “We know that some of the patients affected by sepsis go on to develop multi-organ failure and they will require support such as adrenaline for cardiovascular failure, or dialysis for kidney failure, or mechanical ventilation for lung failure, as well as treating the cause of the sepsis.”

In the developing world, sepsis accounts for 60-80 per cent of lost lives, killing more than six million neonates and children annually.

Mr Hayes said: “ will never be completely avoidable but early recognition and effective treatment of sepsis will reduce its impact and improve patient survival rates.”

Sepsis is often understood as blood poisoning but can more accurately be described as a condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs.

World Sepsis Day on Thursday aims to build awareness of this deadly condition.