Health News

Here's everything YOU need to know about face mask guidelines

From what face masks are best, to when to wear them, here’s everything YOU need to know about the latest face mask guidelines

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If you’re unsure about the latest face covering guidelines, you’ll find the answers here

It’s all change with the lockdown guidelines of late, and as we begin to ease back into some sense of normality, certain measures are being brought in to make sure we can do it safely while avoiding a second spike.

One of these changes is the introduction of face coverings, but understanding exactly when you should wear them and which ones are best for you may have gotten lost in all the recent updates, leaving many of us confused and even worried about what is the right thing to do.

Luckily, we’ve broken down everything you need to know to give you peace of mind. 

What are the latest face covering rules?

If you are undertaking essential travel on public transport, you must wear a face covering

As of June 15, 2020, it is compulsory to wear a face covering when using public transport. This includes buses, trains, trams, taxis and ferries.

This was brought in because, as lockdown measures ease, more people are beginning to return to work and school, which increases the number of individuals using these public services. If using public transport is essential for you, wearing a face covering while you do so will protect those around you.

It’s not just public transport where face coverings are now required; you must wear one if you’re entering a hospital as a visitor or an outpatient, too. While not compulsory, it is also strongly recommended that you wear a face covering while you’re in an enclosed space with people who aren’t from your household when social distancing isn’t always possible. Examples of this could be supermarkets or high street shops.

However, there are exceptions to these new rules. People with disabilities, those who have breathing difficulties, children under 11 and anyone travelling with someone who relies on lip reading are exempt from these new guidelines and do not need to wear a face coverings.

You may also be given specific measures to follow by your employer when you return to your place of work, especially when working in a busy environment.

Why do I need to wear a face covering such as a mask?

As lockdown restrictions are lifted, you may feel more confident going into public spaces wearing a face covering 

Covering your face is important because it can act as a barrier for infectious droplets.

When we sneeze, cough or talk, we spray the air with droplets which then fall on surfaces and people around us; in some cases they can even be inhaled by others. 

If you cover your face and nose, you are preventing the majority of these droplets from being dispersed into the air and therefore reducing the likelihood of transmission, protecting yourself and others from becoming infected.

Even if you don’t think you have COVID-19, you could be asymptomatic, so following the new rules will protect those around you as you go about your business.

This is particularly crucial as we begin to return to normal life, and social distancing may not always be easy to achieve. Face coverings do not replace social distancing, but they do help make environments safer when keeping your distance from others isn’t possible.

What face coverings are best?

Whether it’s a homemade face covering or a face mask, choosing the right method for your needs can help protect you and those around you 

Now that face coverings are compulsory in certain spaces, it’s important to find one that’s suitable for your needs. 

One option is reusable face coverings, which are a cheap and safe solution for keeping you protected. The government has its own step-by-step guide for making your own face coverings, but many will prefer to buy one pre-made.

As well as minimising the risk of inhaling or involuntarily passing on droplets, these fabric coverings provide a barrier for hand to face contact, and can be machine washed after every use with your laundry, so they can be used again up to a maximum of 20 times. These are a more sustainable option compared to disposable masks, and are ideal if you’re only occasionally using public transport or popping to the supermarket.

However if you’re looking for a higher level of protection you should consider surgical face masks. LloydsPharmacy suggest the Type IIR face masks. These are commonly used by dental surgeries as they are ‘splash resistant’, and help to prevent airborne particles passing through to your mouth and nose. They filter out 98% of particles (3 microns in size), offering a greater level of filtration than a fabric face covering. If you’re returning to work or regularly finding yourself in an enclosed space with others, investing in a pack of these will be ideal. 

How else can I protect myself and others?

Carry hand sanitiser with you so you can keep your hands clean even when you can’t wash your hands with soap and water

Staying safe as we return to normal life is mainly down to hygiene and social distancing.

Whatever you do and wherever you go, make sure you are regularly washing your hands with soapy water for 20 seconds, or if you’re on-the-go and running water isn’t available, an alcohol-based hand santiser is recommended. This will help prevent the spread of the virus and stop you involuntarily infecting yourself too. You should also regularly wash your clothes and wipe down your phone to reduce the risk of transmission.

When you’re using a face covering, take care with putting it on and removing it. 

You should have clean hands to fit your face mask or covering, and when you’re securing it to your face, make sure it covers your nose and mouth without leaving any gaps. 

Refrain from touching the front of your mask as it may have picked up droplets during your travels, and when you take it off, ensure you wash you hands once it has been disposed of or put in the washing machine. Disinfect anything it may have touched during this process and wash your hands again too. 

Buy your face masks today 


LloydsPharmacy offer a range of face coverings and face masks that meet relevant standards for medical or personal protection needs.

Visit today to order your face masks and face coverings and have them delivered direct to your door.

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Health News

Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Best Quotes About Family and Parenthood

Baby on board! Chip and Joanna Gaines will soon be expanding their brood and welcoming their fifth child together.

As previously reported, the couple announced the happy news via Instagram on Tuesday, January 2. Chip, 43, later revealed in a hilarious tweet on Tuesday that a romantic date night with his wife prompted her pregnancy.

“You might recall a few months back .. the ever amazing, ever romantic @JOHNNYSWIM was in Waco,” he wrote. “And they put on a little too romantic of a concert .. anyways, one thing led to another, & we are officially pregnant. And I could not be more EXCITED! #5 #7ThePerfectNumber.”

The husband and wife duo announced in October that season 5 of their HGTV show, Fixer Upper, would be its last so they can focus on raising their four children, Drake, 12, Ella, 11, Duke, 9, and Emmie, 7. Since then, the Magnolia Market owners have teased interest in growing their family.

Scroll down and relive the home renovators’ best quotes about family and parenthood!

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Health News

Review raises questions about family violence therapies

The comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of psychological therapies for women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) and abuse is published by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Research Fellow at the University’s Safer Families Center of Research Excellence, Dr. Mohajer Hameed, worked on the review with others, including Professor Kelsey Hegarty from the University of Melbourne and Royal Women’s Hospital.

The review found evidence that for women who experienced IPV, psychological therapies probably reduced depression and may reduce anxiety.

“However, we are uncertain whether psychological therapies improve other outcomes (self-efficacy, post-traumatic stress disorder, re-exposure to IPV, safety planning) and there are limited data on harm,” Dr. Hameed said.

“While psychological therapies probably improve emotional health, it is unclear if women’s ongoing needs for safety, support and holistic healing from complex trauma are addressed by this approach.”

Cochrane Reviews are internationally recognized as the highest standard in evidence-based health care. They are updated regularly, ensuring that treatment and clinical decisions can be based on the most up-to-date and reliable evidence.

“It assesses the effectiveness of psychological therapies for women who experience IPV on the primary outcomes of depression, self-efficacy and an indicator of harm (dropouts) at six to 12-months’ follow-up,” Dr. Hameed said.

“It also looks at secondary outcomes of other mental health symptoms, anxiety, quality of life, re-exposure to IPV, safety planning and behaviors, use of healthcare and IPV services, and social support.”

Dr. Hameed said that while psychological therapies do not appear to cause any harm, more research is needed.

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Health News

Fauci, CDC chief raise concerns about full airline flights

The government’s top experts in infectious diseases on Tuesday criticized American Airlines’ decision to pack flights full while the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow across much of the United States.

“Obviously that is something that is of concern. I’m not sure what went into that decision making,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told a Senate panel. “I think in the confines of an airplane that becomes even more problematic.”

Several U.S. airlines say they are limiting capacity on planes to between 60% and 67% of all seats. However, United Airlines never promised to leave seats empty, and American said last week that starting Wednesday it would drop its effort to keep half of all middle seats empty.

“When they announced that the other day obviously there was substantial disappointment with American Airlines,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I can say this is under critical review by us at CDC. We don’t think it’s the right message.”

Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health, and Redfield made the comments in response to questioning by Sen. Bernie Sanders during a Senate health committee hearing. Sanders, an independent from Vermont, pressed the officials on how full flights square with the message from public health experts that people should stay six feet apart to prevent transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said the airline has “multiple layers of protection in place for those who fly with us, including required face coverings, enhanced cleaning procedures, and a pre-flight COVID-19 symptom checklist.” He said American was also giving customers the option of changing their ticket if their flight might be full.

The CEOs of American and United have said that even with middle seats empty, it is impossible to follow 6-foot social-distancing on a plane, so airlines rely on masks, deep cleaning and air-filtration systems on planes to prevent spreading the virus.

“It’s less about social distancing and it’s more about the air and quality of air on board the airplane that makes people safe,” said United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, who added he had not seen the health officials’ comments.

Airlines are desperate to increase revenue as they try to survive a plunge in air travel that reached 95% during April.

Many airline flights were nearly empty in the early weeks of the outbreak, with the average dipping to about 10 passengers, according to industry figures. Some days, there were fewer than 100,000 people flying in the United States, a level not seen since the 1950s, except in the days following the September 2001 terror attacks.

Air travel has increased slowly since mid-April—although it’s still down 75% from normal—and some flights have been packed.

American, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, plans to increase flights by nearly 60% starting July 7 compared with June, which could help avoid full planes.

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Health News

The truth about whether face masks lower oxygen levels

As the pandemic continues, the need for wearing face masks to limit the spread of COVID-19 becomes more apparent. While some people refuse to wear face masks or carry around fraudulent “face mask exempt” cards that claim they are not legally required to wear masks due to health concerns, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge everyone from ages 2 and up to wear a face covering in public. The exception to this guideline is “anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.”

While wearing a face mask is one of the most effective tools we have to slow the spread of the virus, some people are concerned that wearing a mask will prevent them from getting enough oxygen. This idea persists, and is one of the major reasons people don’t wear face masks. But is there any truth to it? 

According to Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious disease at Vanderbilt University and medical director of the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, no. “Normal, healthy people can do quite energetic things while wearing the sorts of face coverings that we’ve been talking about in the context of COVID prevention,” he told Today. “If they were injurious, they couldn’t be recommended by the CDC, state or local health departments.”

Face masks may be uncomfortable, but they do not lower oxygen levels

Kirsten Koehler, an aerosol scientist and associate professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, agreed that, while face masks can be uncomfortable and lead to someone feeling overheated, there’s no risk of reduced oxygen flow. “Scientific studies are showing that there’s no real important changes in C02 levels or oxygen levels even from wearing surgical masks,” she said. “And fabric masks have better permeation for gases.”

Schaffner added that wearing a mask might make breathing a little harder as “the mask is acting as a filter,” but masks do not lower oxygen levels. While some people with conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may struggle to comfortably wear a face mask, it is especially important for them to wear a face covering in public as they are at higher risk for complications from COVID-19.

“I definitely recommend using a face mask for everyone in these times, especially for people with asthma and COPD,” Dr. Neil Schachter, professor of medicine, pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital told CreakyJoints.

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Health News

The truth about the founders of Abercrombie & Fitch

Abercrombie & Fitch first began with David Abercrombie, who was described as a “civil engineer and topographer, merchant and manufacturer” in his 1931 obituary in The New York Times. Abercrombie appeared to enjoy heading off to the country’s most remote places, as he was a chief of survey for the Norfolk and Western Railroad in the coal areas of West Virginia. He also travelled around the country as a lieutenant colonel for the Officers Reserve Corps. 

We can only imagine why the engineer and explorer founded David T. Abercrombie Co. in 1892. He was probably sick and tired of looking for things that he needed in order to enjoy the things he loved doing most. His vision worked because his store attracted the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh — and even Ernest Hemingway was known to drop by from time to time (via Bloomberg). And perhaps more importantly, the store also attracted the interest of a lawyer named Ezra Fitch.

Abercrombie & Fitch's partnership didn't last long

Ezra Fitch was reportedly bored by the legal profession and spent his time yachting, climbing mountains, and fishing. In 1900, he bought a major share in Abercrombie’s company, which triggered the rebranding to Abercrombie & Fitch (via Gunn Historical Museum).

But it wasn’t a match made in heaven. Abercrombie wanted to cater to a more elite crowd, while Fitch wanted to attract a broader customer base. Fitch won, and Abercrombie sold out in 1907. The Abercrombie & Fitch that survived began offering a mail-order catalogue in 1909, which won the distinction of being the first Western publication to feature a mahjong set. When Fitch passed away in 1930, he left a retailer that was on its way to becoming “The Greatest Sporting Goods Store in the World” (via Business Insider).

In 1975, the store’s then chairman, Harry Garner Haskell, Jr., told The New York Times: “The word fashion bothers me,” he said. “We say we’re not in the fashion business, but in a way we’re in a very conservative fashion business and our future lies with the conservative fashion business.” After admitting that he had considered selling blue jeans (though probably not the skinny kind), he said: “I don’t think my buyers have absorbed that idea yet.” 

Abercrombie & Fitch stayed true to their conservative DNA, until Michael Jeffries joined the company in 1992 and began the rebrand that would turn Abercrombie & Fitch into the trendy brand it is today.

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Health News

Why don’t we hear about the low number of coronavirus deaths in Central Europe?

While the English language media gushes over how successful New Zealand has been in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, it has largely failed to report on another part of the world where both infection rates and fatalities remain low.

Significant success stories in Central Europe are being overlooked. Slovakia, home to 5 million people, has so far had only 28 COVID-19 deaths and only 1,607 infections. That’s five deaths per million inhabitants—New Zealand has had four per million inhabitants. The UK has had 628 deaths per million inhabitants, Spain 606, Italy 573 and France 455.

The statistics in some of the other Central European countries have been just as stunning. Croatia has had 26 deaths per million inhabitants, the Czech Republic 32 and Poland 37.

New Zealand has been consistently praised for its “swift and stringent lockdown” approach. The English speaking media is concentrating almost exclusively on the highly successful “test and trace” policy of New Zealand, which made it possible for that country to declare, perhaps slightly prematurely, the end of the pandemic on June 8.

But the Central European countries also quickly implemented the same approach extremely early. For instance, the Czech Republic imposed a total lockdown on March 15, when there were just 293 infections in the country.. On March 18 it ordered the population to wear masks. Testing has been freely available from the very beginning, international travel suspended, and travelers requested to self-isolate for 14 days.

In Croatia, the government daily briefing includes detailed information on the national test, trace and isolate strategy. The public is informed about the exact locations of positive cases, how many people were tested and how many contacts were placed in isolation as a result. This has been happening since the first patient was tracked at the end of February. Like New Zealand, Croatia also announced reaching zero cases on June 11. Some local outbreaks followed, but the death rate remains low.

But in the English-language media, Central European success has been notably under reported. When it has been the subject of coverage, some long-circulating cultural and geopolitical tropes are evident. Stereotypes about the history of Central Europe continue to shape how the region is viewed by the rest of the world. It is regularly depicted as suffering from continuous hardship and as being blighted by authoritarianism.

For example the headline of a recent New York Times article described how “Europe’s battle-hardened nations show resilience in virus fight” and explained how Croatia managed the pandemic successfully because of “tough recent experiences of war”.

References to wars (in Croatia’s case the 1990s War of Independence) are not a novelty in reporting COVID-19. But characterizing Croatia as being defined by a war that ended a long time ago is one dimensional and patronizing.

Xenophobic clichés

Central Europe is written about as though it is a region in a permanent state of crisis. That has been particularly jarring at a time when the whole world is in a state of crisis, and these countries actually seem to be handling it better than many others. The stereotypes the New York Times article enlists, such as the region’s experience of traumatic events, hardship, and passive suffering, are all too well known to scholars of the area.

Instead of focusing on themes of collective suffering, perhaps more media should look more closely at the public health systems in operation in Central Europe. Early research indicates these nations should be credited for a successful response to the pandemic.

Another kind of cultural stereotyping is at play too—that people in Central Europe are xenophobic. A recent article on Euroactiv Fondation argues that in those countries citizens are more “disciplined” and have taken on the virus in the same manner in which they “have staunchly opposed migration, as if the ‘aliens’ would destroy their societies in the manner of science-fiction movies. Eastern Europeans, in general, fail to understand the Western laissez-faire”.

It is never suggested that New Zealand introduced strict border closures because of some kind of innate underlying racism. But media coverage in general has a tendency to feed into an overall negative image of Eastern Europe as being guilty of precisely that.

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Health News

Cameron Mathison Describes 'Tricky' Conversations With Kids About Sex

The birds and the bees! Cameron Mathison detailed his candid conversations with his and Vanessa Arevalo‘s two children about sex.

“It’s tricky,” the All My Children alum, 50, told Us Weekly exclusively of Lucas, 17, and Leila, 13, on Wednesday, June 17. “I try to always be honest. I try to give a little bit of truth. When my kids were younger, my daughter asked [and] my son didn’t. … I would include things like, ‘Babies come from the hospital.’ I keep it truthful. I just don’t give the whole truth.”

When Leila was “a little bit older” and the conversation came up again, the actor talked to her about “seen in an egg.” He explained to Us, “I have more truth to the picture.”

The Canada native’s kids seemed like they were “ready” for the whole truth when they “were interested and open to learning about it” between 6 to 8 years old.

“We did our recon on this to make sure [we] weren’t looking at caus[ing] more therapy,” Mathison joked with Us.

The Home and Family cohost welcomed Lucas and Leila in 2003 and 2006, respectively, and is looking forward to celebrating Father’s Day with them on Sunday, June 21 — especially since he wasn’t sure he would celebrate the holiday again while battling kidney cancer.

The former soap star, who beat renal cell carcinoma in 2019, told Us that the experience made him a “better dad,” explaining, “If I didn’t allow this journey that I’ve been on to make me more mindful, more present, to enjoy the moment more, to get more out of every moment I can with my kids, that I missed a big opportunity.”

The former Game of Homes host plans to golf with his little ones for Father’s Day and let them play whatever music they want to. “Seeing them happy is the ultimate,” he gushed.

Mathison, who is working with Hallmark has curated a custom gift guide for Father’s Day to help spoil deserving dads on Sunday, featuring products that are “great for workouts” and “great for camping.”

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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Health News

Natasha Bedingfield Gets Emotional About Her 2-Year-Old's Brain Surgery Pre-COVID-19

Undergoing surgery, for us adult humans, is scary and traumatizing enough. Watching our kids — especially the very little ones — get sick or injured and require one or more operations is possibly one of the most terrifying aspects of parenting. But as plenty of parent-kid teams who have been through it will tell you, kids will surprise you with their amazing strength and resilience. Singer Natasha Bedingfield and her 2.5-year-old son Solomon are one of those teams.

Bedingfield opened up to People this morning about her strange experience spending five weeks in the hospital — but not with COVID-19. “We have a unique experience because we were in the hospital just two months before COVID because Solo had a brain abscess and had to have some surgeries,” she told the publication. “He’s completely recovered now, but we spent a whole five weeks in a tiny little hospital room wearing masks, so we kind of got a head start on what everyone’s going through.”

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I wanted to post all the happy pics from this week of solomon running down the halls of the hospital seemingly recovered – with news that we would soon be going home….. But the reality is, we found out last night that he has to have a second operation tomorrow AM. Feeling gutted but also thank God that we live in a time of MRI where we are able to see into our own minds and for doctors who are wise enough to keep asking questions. He has an area of infection that some how found it’s way into the brain. We are so grateful though that there is treatment for what Solo is experiencing and it is straight forward and has worked many times. Please keep him in your prayers and meditation tonight and tomorrow . The body has amazing natural defences so we just need it to do what it does with a lot of extra help from modern medicine . When you have been in the hospital for 3 weeks, time stops. I m realising that this is not a quick in and out visit . So this week will be about making sure we ourselves are healthy and also that we are giving solo good nutrition to help keep up the immunity . I’m actually on a plane to Vegas tonight to do a quick show I was committed to and then come back in time for the the surgery . Love u guys . Life is crazy . This is the real rock and roll 🤟🏼🙏🏼

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“Feeling gutted but also thank God that we live in a time of MRI where we are able to see into our own minds and for doctors who are wise enough to keep asking questions,” Bedingfield wrote on Instagram while her son was in the hospital. “He has an area of infection that somehow found its way into the brain. We are so grateful though that there is treatment for what Solo is experiencing and it is straight forward and has worked many times.”

And work it did, because Bedingfield and Solomon are back at home, along with papa Matt Robinson.

“It’s actually quite nice to be at home as a family, with our son really healthy,” Bedingfield told People. “Shout-out to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. We have such an appreciation for both medical health professionals and the length that they go to help people be healthy. For us, they actually literally saved our son’s life… I’m just really enjoying my son and even if he’s difficult and going through the ‘terrible twos’ and stuff, I’m just grateful for it because of what I’ve just been through. I just keep reminding myself if it gets frustrating, I’m glad to be feeling frustrated, glad for the luxury of that.”

Bedingfield has even managed to release a new song, “Together in This,” out today. Because this is one fam that has shown they truly are together in this crazy year/season/life.

Prioritize your own child’s health with these cute kids face masks.

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Health News

Stars Who Are Honest About Their Fertility Struggles

It was a long road to parenthood for Chrissy Teigen and John Legend. “You hear stories about IVF working the first try, but you’ll hear a lot more stories about when it takes a few times,” the supermodel told New York Magazine’s The Cut in April 2018. “Ours didn’t work the first time and it was devastating.”

At times, the Cravings: Hungry for More cookbook author wondered if she had done something wrong. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh I was on my feet too much, and that’s why.’ You just look for anything to blame, especially yourself,” Teigen revealed.

But in the end, IVF worked. Teigen and the R&B singer welcomed daughter Luna in April 2016 and son Miles in May 2018.

Of course, Teigen isn’t alone. Gabrielle Union, Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian and Jessie J have all spoken out about their infertility struggles. Click through the photos below to read their stories.

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