Coronavirus, COVID-19

The Coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, is a common virus that causes an infection in one's nose, sinuses or upper throat. It started from a wet market in Wuhan, China in December 2019, where live and dead animals like dogs, snakes and bats are sold. Coronavirus has killed more people in 6 weeks than SARS did in 8 months. This virus has spikes on it and can be attached to human's lungs, causing respiratory failure or septic shock.  Serious infection may lead to pneumonia and death. Eldery and people with weakened immune system tend to be more prone to infection of this virus. Symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose and shortness of breath can show up anywhere from 2 days to 24 days after exposure.

The outbreak moved quickly from China to other parts of the world as it spreads the same way as other viruses: through person-to-person contact. The coronavirus can be transmitted within close contact, within 6 feet. This happens when respiratory droplets of an infected person from his coughs or sneezes are passed to another person or via common objects such as door handles, railings, lift buttons etc. This has since been a global issue when the Chinese travel and brought the virus to other parts of China. Things got worse when they leave their homes to celebrate the lunar new year with their families in other parts of the world.

To control the epidemic, the Chinese authorities started to restrict air, rail and road travel from Wuhan. As the number of infected cases increases, more cities’ and countries join in travel restrictions. Temperature screening points were set up at hospitals, airports and office buildings to detect people having fever. Surgical masks were snapped off the racks to prevent one from inhaling respiratory droplets from infected. Sanitizers, antiseptic and disinfectants were not spared from the shelves as people rushed to stock up. In countries where there are big numbers of infected, large group gathering were suspended. Travel declarations and contact tracing have to be done as a precautionary measure. For those who visited Mainland China, they have to do a self-quarantine of 14 days.

There is so much each country can do. At the end of the day, everyone has to play a part to keep the virus at bay, such as:

·       Be socially responsible if you are not well

·       Wear a mask if you are unwell to prevent the virus from spreading

·       Be well rested and hydrate yourself

·       Do not touch your face, eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands

·       Cough or sneeze into a piece of tissue paper and dispose it properly

·       Wash your hands with soap and water before handling food and after using the toilet

It is believed that virus cannot live beyond 26-27 degrees Celsius. Let us all hope and pray that the situation will improve when summer hits China.

Foot and Ankle Pain

Our feet and legs do a great job of carrying us through life and they deserve the best of care.

If you have a job that requires you to be on your feet for long periods you've probably experienced more than your fair share of pain in your feet and ankles. It's important that any pain is resolved to prevent it from developing into a long-term condition.

Here's what you can do to protect your precious feet. 

Choose footwear carefully

It's tempting to choose form over function when it comes to footwear but spending the day in shoes that are not right for your feet leads to trouble. Podiatrist Patrick Rafferty says many workers make the simple mistake of choosing shoes that look good but are inappropriate for their job. He has the following six shoe-buying tips:

1. Choose well-fastened, enclosed footwear.

2. Avoid slip-on shoes.

3. A wide heel with a firm back for ankle support is best.

4. Look for shoes with a cushioned inner-lining for comfort.

5. A non-slip sole with grip to protect from slips that can cause ankle sprains. An oil-resistant sole may be necessary for work environments like kitchens.

6. Sturdy steel-capped boots are required in some workplaces

Stretch it out

Muscles can become stiff and painful if you stand or walk all day. Stop every hour or so to stretch them out and relax and lengthen tight muscles. Calf raises will help pump back blood that has pooled in the foot from hours of standing into the rest of the body.

Massage Well

Simply massaging your ankles and feet during your lunch break and after work can go a long way to easing pain. Keep a tennis ball handy and roll your foot from heel to toe over it to relieve sore feet. The gentle massage on your feet and arches will stretch tight foot muscles and help your feet recover more quickly.

Leave it to the experts

If you have ongoing problems with your feet, make an appointment to see a podiatrist. A registered podiatrist can help you give your feet the love and care they deserve to keep them in good shape.

How stressed am I?


Stress can be both a good thing and a bad thing but what is it really doing to our physical health if we are stressed on a constant basis day after day?

Most of us know that certain lifestyle habits such as smoking or lack of exercise could jeopardise our health but what we do need to pay more attention to his stress. If switched on for too long stress can wreak havoc on our physical and mental wellbeing and by learning how chronic stress affects our mind and body our awareness will identify the importance of finding ways to reduce the stress load.

Hormone levels

The stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, speed up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas where it is needed most in an emergency. Typically, this will be muscles, heart and other important to organs. But when these hormones remain high due to persistent low level stress, they do affect most areas of the body.


Most of us occasionally suffer from butterflies in the stomach! This is caused by nerve endings and immune cells in the digestive tract when they’re affected by stress hormones. It is no surprise that stress affects your digestive system in other ways as well therefore, for instance, acid reflux as well as exacerbating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.


Under stress your heart pumps faster. The stress hormones cause your blood vessels to constrict and divert oxygen away from the extremities and towards your muscles to help you move quickly. This raises your blood pressure. When your blood pressure rises so does your risk of stroke and heart attack.


When you’re stressed you’re probably not sleeping well, but stress can affect sleep in other ways - in particular if you’re producing stress hormones. Normally cortisol rises in the morning to wake you up and declines through the day but when you’re constantly under stress this pattern can change, meaning that you wake up tired but can be buzzing at bedtime. Has this happened to you?


Although little is known about how stress contributes to the diabetes risk, one theory is that cortisol alters the body’s sensitivity to insulin which makes stress a risk factor for diabetes. Studies have looked at stress as a pathway to developing diabetes and found evidence that chronic stress can initiate changes in the immune system that may result, or increase the likelihood of, develop developing type two diabetes


Health experts can’t agree whether or not stress causes cancer and most of the large-scale studies are inconclusive. However, stressful situations can lead us to develop unhealthy habits such as smoking, overeating and heavy drinking, these are habits which do increase the risk of cancer.


As anyone who has frozen in the middle of a speech knows, stress reduces your ability to recall information. What is less known is that over time, chronic stress can lead to memory impairment; in fact they can shrink your hippocampus which is the part of the brain that regulates in motion.

If you are stressed about your stress levels then please visit your doctor.

Remember, Mayfair we care.

2020 resolutions

Don’t leave it until New Year’s Eve to make those resolutions to improve your life, health, work and general behaviours for next year. Give it some thought now and prepare to break all those bad habits that you’ve developed during the course of 2019.

We all promise to give up our bad habits and replace them with new and better behaviours. It might work for a week or two in January but slowly we slide back into old, familiar and far more comfortable ways. So, how can you make those changes lasting ones?


Planning is all important in life for the likes of family routine and socialising but it also works if you want to implement change. Pick your important goals and schedule time to achieve them whether that’s regular exercise or eating in a more healthy way. You will be surprised how much easier it will be to make healthy habits a part of your everyday life if you plan in advance and make time for them.

Don’t be too ambitious.

Patience is the key to success when it comes to implementing change so choose one or two goals that are the most important to you and decide what healthy habits are needed to achieve them.

Sometimes changing one thing will need will lead to another. For instance, if you improve your diet and start eating more healthily you may find that you have more energy to exercise.

Long-term thinking.

Quick fixes simply don’t work. Studies have indicated that without long-term guidance quick fixes like fat diet that we all hear about do not provide lasting benefits

Habits whether they are good or bad, will emerge due to repeated actions over time.


Motivation is essential when we want to work towards implementing change but for most of us motivation is something that comes and goes. So we have to be prepared for those times when motivation is at a low ebb.

This is where family and friends can help. Having an exercise partner will encourage you to carry on with that exercise even when you don’t feel like it because not to do so would be to let your friend or family member down and you don’t want to do that.

Make sure that you put all such appointments in your diary so that you can’t simply say “sorry I forgot”.

Even if you do fall short of your targets and intentions don’t beat yourself up about it! Tomorrow is another day and you can start again with renewed motivation and enthusiasm.

Remember, Mayfair we care.

High Blood Pressure

Do we actually know what high blood pressure is? Many of us are aware of the dangers of having high blood pressure but do we actually understand what it means?

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in the arteries as it is being pumped around the body by the heart. When your blood pressure exceeds an upper limit for an extended time, you have high blood pressure also known as hypertension.

In adults high blood pressure is defined as systolic pressure and/or a diastolic pressure however to get a true picture it may be worth getting your blood pressure measured more than a single time because stress, particularly when you visit the doctor can cause it to rise.

The dangers of high BP

Because the heart, brain and kidneys can withstand increased blood pressure for long periods, people with high blood pressure may feel perfectly well for many years. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t doing damage. If it is not controlled, high blood pressure can overload the heart, accelerate the artery clogging process And this in turn can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure or kidney failure.

Checking your blood pressure

It is recommended that all adults should have their blood pressure checked once every 1 to 2 years, although anyone with past or present high blood pressure, or a direct family history of it, should have it checked more often.

Adults who experience symptoms of hypertension such a swollen ankles and fingers, breathlessness, blurred vision, frequent bleeding nose and persistent morning headaches, should have the blood pressure checked immediately.


While it is true that many people need drugs to control high blood pressure, others can reduce it with lifestyle changes.

A healthy diet alone maybe all that is needed to reduce blood pressure. A study in the US showed that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods as well as being high in fibre and protein, is sufficient to significantly reduce blood pressure in people with mild hypertension.

For anyone with more severe hypertension it is advised that along with a healthy diet they live with their alcohol and salt intake, lose weight, and exercise regularly.

If in doubt, visit your doctor.

Remember, Mayfair we care.

Your relationship with your mobile phone.

Do you have a healthy relationship with your mobile phone? Are you able to lead completely separate lives and not be inter dependent on one another?!

If you are, then you are one of the rare breed that is not totally reliant on their mobile phone, and will not suffer from Nomophobia when they are parted either by accident or design. However, if you are one of the majority who aren’t, then when you leave that phone at home by mistake you will probably spend the rest of your day fretting and fidgeting – does that describe you?

These days most of us carry our mobiles with us and rarely turn them off. Our phone is often the last thing we look at before we go to sleep and the first thing we check when we wake up. Incoming emails, texts and other notifications constantly disturb us and one study reported that the average user checked their phone at least 85 times a day. Is this describing you?

Our phones can be our main lifeline to family, friends, business colleagues and other networks. However the best human relationships are the face-to-face ones with another person and phones can never replace those meaningful connections.

How many of us have seen couples in a social surroundings, such as a restaurant or pub, sitting across the table from one another but with both of them being on their mobiles, more in touch with Facebook and football than with each other?

Even the very presence of phones seems to prevent deeper and more meaningful conversations. One study has found that people feel less connected to other people in a conversation when a mobile is present. In other words, when it is sitting on the table next to them. People feel that if this phone was to go off the conversation would be cut short and the phone call or message would be far more important.

Constantly checking your phone can easily become a habit, but it is one that you can break.

Do a phone fast:

·       Start with one or two days a week without using certain apps such as Facebook or other social media platforms.

·       Begin and end your day by not looking urgently at your phone. Read a book when you go to bed rather than scan the latest Facebook news.

·       When you’re out eating with friends, family or your partner make sure that everyone's mobiles are out of sight or even better, left at home.

·       Try taking a break from your phone for a certain length of time each day. It is a routine you will learn to enjoy!

Nomophobia Is a real condition we have written about elsewhere so try to bring yourself back into the more social world and experiment doing without your phone for periods of time during the day, week, month, it will be good for you in the long run!

Mayfair we care.

The Benefits of a Healthy Workforce to the Employers

In recent times, the corporate world has embraced and given health and wellness programs a

priority. The incorporation of health and wellness programs in the corporate agenda can

significantly benefit both the employees and employers.

Currently, employers acknowledge that workplace fitness is crucial for business. That's why

companies are now launching custom-made wellness programs to meet the health and

wellness needs of their employees.

The majority of employees now believe that a healthy and fit workforce can be more

productive and more lucrative. A 2013 research study conducted in America by the

International Labor Organization, shows that 85.8% of men and 66.5 women work for over

40 hours in a week.

It also noted that Americans work over 137 hours more in a year as compared to the Japanese

workforce, and 260 hours more than British workers, and in excess of 499 hours per year

more than the French workforce.

This explains why the majority of Americans are suffering from excess weight and lack of

fitness. Also, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted that approximately 60%

of American workers do not get enough time for physical exercise.

This is why corporate entities are now coming up with workplace wellness programs that

encourage workers to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Below are some of the benefits of a healthy workforce to the employer.

Healthy Employees reduces Healthcare Costs

According to studies released by the University of Michigan, employers who have embraced

wellness programs saves up to $1100 annually for every employee who quits smoking, and

$1200 annually for every employee who reduces the cholesterol levels from 240mg to

190mg, and 177$ for every employer who sheds off excess weight.

This proves that healthy employees are cheaper to maintain than unhealthy employees.

Less Absenteeism

Maintaining a healthy workforce goes a long way in reducing absenteeism. For example,

after the Anderson Cancer Center established an employee health and wellness program, the

managing director reported that the number of workdays lost decreased by 80% and

improved the workdays by 64%. This enables the Cancer Center to save costs totaling $1.5


Fitness Programs Creates less Stress

The workplace fitness initiatives go a long way in enlightening employees on how to

positively embrace their jobs both mentally and physically. The fact that many workers spend

the majority of their time on computers, neck, arm, and wrist fatigue can indeed bring them

Stress and burnouts. Also, many workers report cases of eye strain because of spending too

much time on computers. However, the introduction of wellness programs has enlightened

employees on how to avoid this.

Fitness Improves the Employees Retention Rate

According to research, corporate entities that have a well-established wellness program

enjoys a higher employee retention rate. A study released by the National Business Group on

Health reported that companies with wellness programs have fewer cases of voluntary

attrition than those without them.

Fitness Nurtures Teamwork

Participating in fitness programs plays a vital role in promoting the natural growth of team

spirit. Workers who do workouts together can know and understand each other better. This

means improved teamwork for the organization, which comes with increased productivity.

From all this, we can say that workplace fitness programs play a vital role in establishing a

work atmosphere that makes workers feel appreciated and cherished. This usually has a

tremendous impact on their productivity.

Putting in place a Wellness and fitness program will benefit not only the employees but also

the employees.

And remember – Mayfair we care!


Increase productivity by working less.

We are an increasingly busy society with enormously long ‘to do’ lists. A worrying trend in recent years has been that many people forego a lunch break in order to work more and make inroads into that to do list. However, is this wise?

Research shows that breaks are necessary in order to be more productive and get more work done in the time available. And it’s not only a lunch break, it’s a 10-minute break in the morning and a 10 minute break in the afternoon. How does this make us more productive some might ask.

Here are three Factors to be considered:

Breaks restore focus.

Our brains are not designed to carry out continuous uninterrupted work. If we do this, we will affect our ability to concentrate which can lead to frustration, irritability and inefficiency. By taking a brief mental break this can restore our focus which will enable us to concentrate properly on the task in hand.

Breaks minimise fatigue

Taking breaks during the day, which will include a 10 minute one at mid-morning and mid-afternoon with at least half an hour at lunch, is an effective way to fight fatigue and increase productivity. Without sufficient downtime to refresh and recharge we will become less efficient, be more error prone and less engaged in what we are doing.

Breaks improve well being.

If you are physically and mentally stressed you will produce the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels over time are related to a number of diseases.

Research indicates that by taking regular breaks this will have a positive effect on reducing blood pressure and improving sleep quality and contribute to overall wellbeing making you less likely to take time off work due to illness.


If you are one of those who believe that you are more effective by just working, working, and working then please examine your performance. Take the advice to factor breaks into your work day and examine your performance on a before and after basis.

Having breaks will be better for you and you may be surprised by your results.

Remember, Mayfair, we care.

Setting boundaries at work

We have all been there. What seems like banter, or fun and games to one person could be quite hurtful to another. How do you know if boundaries are being crossed in your workplace?

Commenting on how much and what you eat, prying questions about your private life, comments on your appearance, culturally inappropriate remarks or slightly smutty jokes can all leave co-workers with feelings of discomfort, resentment, or guilt.

If that’s happening in your workplace then it’s time to set boundaries.

This doesn’t have to be difficult and it is natural to be concerned about how speaking up could affect your workplace relationships. However, tolerating behaviour that leaves you feeling uncomfortable and stressed is detrimental to your health. In such circumstances  boundaries need to be set of their designed to protect you, and not to make things even harder between you and your colleagues, but the secret is to implement change in a subtle but effective way, and here is what you need to know.

 Don’t go on the attack

The chances are that the person who made the remark didn’t mean to offend and most of the time that person will be mortified that they have caused offence. They are thoughtless rather than malicious but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it.

Approach the situation in a way that shows that you’re aware the person didn’t mean to offend and reassure them that we all say things without thinking, sometimes it would be nice to eat together without having to discuss the contents of your lunchbox or what you are wearing and your private life.

Smutty jokes or culturally inappropriate remarks may seem amusing to some but can leave others feeling resentful. This creates a negative atmosphere amongst colleagues and boundary setting can prove to be a very positive step.

Even if you believe that some of your colleagues are sexist or racist, labeling them as such can lead to very defensive behaviour especially if they’re acting out of ignorance more than anything else. So instead of making accusations, first try explaining how the comment makes you feel – uncomfortable, resentful or just plain intimidated! The offender is less likely to become defensive and more likely to appreciate how and why their careless comments became stressful for those involved.

Remember, Mayfair, we care.

Degrees of stress


As we have all heard, stress is not always bad for you, but this depends upon the degree of stress you are under. For instance, in life threatening situations stress can save our lives by helping us escape danger thanks to our flight or fight response. However in the modern world stress is triggered far more frequently than it ever used to be and can eventually make us ill.

We know that we don’t feel good when we are in distress but do we really know what it’s doing to our physical health on a day by day basis. If we are constantly under stress how does this affect our mind and body and how can we find ways to manage this situation?


The stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline speed up your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most. This is good in an emergency but when these hormone levels remain high due to constant stress they will affect most areas of the body.


Most of us experience butterflies in the stomach brought on by situations such as interviews, sports contests, exams and many other situations. This is perfectly natural. However if this is happening on a constant basis it can affect the digestive system. For instance, acid reflux as well as exacerbating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease are possible.

Your heart

Under stress your heart pumps faster. This can raise your blood pressure and when your blood pressure rises so does your risk of a stroke and heart attack.

Sleep patterns.

When you’re stressed, you’re probably not sleeping particularly well because stress affects sleep as you end up overproducing stress hormones.

Normally cortisol rises in the morning to wake you up and lowers through the day, but when you are constantly under stress this pattern can change meaning you will wake up tired but be buzzing at bedtime.


Little is known about how stress contributes to the diabetes risk. One theory is that cortisol alters the bodies sensitivity to insulin making stress a risk factor for diabetes.


Health experts are in dispute over whether stress causes cancer and no large-scale study has been able to prove a direct link. However, stressful situations can lead us to develop unhealthy habits such as smoking, overeating and heavy drinking, all of which can increase the risk of cancer.

So what can we do?

Here are some stress busting tips that are easy to achieve and implement.

Time out. This is the most effective stress buster. For 15 minutes a day stop everything and be selfish. Schedule some me time and do whatever makes you happy.

Exercise. Exercises will assist stopping the buildup of stress. If you take a brisk walk shortly after feeling stressed this will deepen your breathing and help to relieve muscle tension. Other activities such as yoga and tai chi combine fluid movements with deep breathing and mental focus. This has a calming effect on your nervous system.

See people. Loneliness is a major cause of stress. Try to spend time in the company of others by joining a club or simply picking up the phone and talking to a good friend.

If in doubt. When stress becomes overwhelming then the short answer to this is to see your Doctor who will assess you and point you in the right direction. So much more is known about stress and its causes these days that doctors are far more adept at being able to help than ever before.

Remember, Mayfair, we care.