Health Briefing

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

Vuvuzelas found to be infection hazard

VUVUZELAS, the plastic horns popular with football fans, not only create a din but may also spread disease, researchers have found.

Tests showed that the horns expel “extremely large” numbers of liquid droplets into the air that can be breathed into the lungs.

Many infections, including flu, and potentially serious diseases such as tuberculosis and measles, are spread the same way through coughs, sneezes and personal contact.

Many parents not aware of bedwetting remedies

NEARLY HALF of all parents who have a child who wets the bed do not know the condition is treatable, a new survey has found.

Some 46,000 Irish children between the ages of five and 10 wet the bed. The condition affects boys more than girls and runs in families.

A survey carried out by the websites bedwetting.ie and rollercoaster.ie found that 44 per cent of Irish parents did not know the condition was treatable.

The most common form of treatment is retention control, which involves making adjustments to a child’s daytime and nighttime routines and stresses the importance of children going to the toilet as soon as they need to. It also suggests monitoring a child’s drinks consumed and toilet visits.

The use of medication and an alarm system are other common forms of treatment.

More than 50 per cent of those questioned said nappies were the main remedy used for bedwetting.

Two-thirds of those surveyed said that as a result of the condition their child would not stay at a friend’s house overnight, while 41 per cent would not have friends stay for a sleepover.

More than two-thirds of parents found their own sleep was disturbed by their child’s bedwetting.

The condition also affects children’s self-esteem. Research by the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Manitoba in Canada found that after treatment children’s “self-concept” improved. It also found that emotional support and encouragement were important in cases of bedwetting. RONAN McGREEVY

Dragon boat team wins award for documentary

FIONA TIERNAN, founder of Ireland’s breast cancer dragon boat team, Plurabelle Paddlers, and radio producer Nicoline Greer are in Los Angeles today where Ms Greer will accept an award at the Gracies, the Oscars for women in media.

The award is for Ms Greer’s RTÉ radio documentary about the team, In the Same Boat,and is the only winner from outside North America. Other Gracies winners today include Martha Stewart, Claire Danes and Katie Couric.

The documentary, broadcast last October, tells the story of how just a year ago Ms Tiernan, a Dubliner in her 40s, decided to start a breast cancer dragon boat team with the intention of keeping fit after a recurrence of the disease.

In the past 15 years, since a doctor in Canada proved that women who had breast cancer were less likely to get lymphoedema by exercising their upper arms, breast cancer dragon boat teams have flourished all over North America, Australia, the Far East and Europe.

Ms Greer’s documentary, which has won the Outstanding Interview Program or Feature category, tells the story of how Ms Tiernan got Plurabelle Paddlers – which now has 60-70 members aged from their mid-30s to their 70s – going, although none had experience of the ancient Chinese sport of dragon boating.

The women started training on one of the only two boats in Ireland. Now Plurabelle has two of its own, each costing more than €10,000.

The Irish Dragon Boat Association will hold a regatta on the River Barrow in Carlow on June 19th.

See plurabellepaddlers.com FRANCES O'ROURKE

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