Leaving you squirming Thread worms Pin worms or lombrices

This is another common childhood infestation in children aged under ten. Thread or Pinworms are 1cm long tiny white threadlike parasitic worms that live in our intestines and are passed on very easily. They come out of our intestine to lay their eggs around the anus or vagina. We may see them in our children’s stool or on their bed clothes, we may find that their sleep is disturbed or they complain of itching (caused by a mucous the worms produce) in this region at night as the eggs hatch. Sometimes they cause bedwetting and also weight loss. They are passed on through contact with the eggs, usually on hands. Children tend to get into a cycle of scratching, not washing hands and re-ingesting if not treated. We too may catch them as the eggs transfer to surfaces and clothing and...

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Castells of Catalunya, “força, equilibri, valor i seny!” Strength, balance, courage and common sense the aim of Catalan human towers

Castells are over 300 years old. They originated in Valls in southern Catalunya and were originally only popular in the south but in the last 50 years have spread and there are now 60 colles (groups) regionally. Each colle is identified by coloured shirts and the badge of the group. Annually there are over 16, 000 Castells constructed in displays in Catalunya. In 2010 Castells were recognised by UNESCO as cultural heritage.  They are seen as symbols of continuity, social cohesion and solidarity. Castells are a totally inclusive experience; there is no age limit often people over 70 aid the Pinya and in the Canella (at the top) there are the dosos, enxanetas and aixador who are young children, aged from about five. Women used not to participate in the Castellers but this changed in the...

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How social media affects us To be connected, or not to be

Social media can bring joy. It has been a wonderful companion while living overseas. However, I’m realising it can also bring great sadness. August has been a distressing month I was deeply affected by the news I received on my social media the morning we left on holiday; news of domestic violence: a murder in our neighbouring street, followed by another such crime within the week. My newsfeed filled up with the understandable outcry of despair from friends and local media. Around this time I also noted a personal post from friends far away who were affected by a despicable gun crime. The messages that we were privy to broke my heart. As this unfolded, the media response around the huge current refugee crisis peaked with images that we will probably never forget. I felt at times over...

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Welcome to Barcelona! You are new, school is back! So What should you do?

Firstly, go into Barcelona as much as you can,  as eventually life will take over and “exploring” vanishes. Don’t rush to the big attractions: you will visit them repeatedly as you show your family and friends around on holidays. Instead, take a guidebook/map and go into the centre: walk, look, enjoy! Hop on a train to Passeig de Gracia -  wander, look up and enjoy the architecture. Go down the Avda Portal de Angels and head into the tiny back streets, winding into the Barri Gotic. Head into the churches: Santa Maria de Pi or Santa Maria del la Mar and admire the serenity, the huge vaulted ceilings, the light from the windows and the flickering candles. Sit in palm-shaded plazas enjoying a drink or have tapas for lunch. Meet your spouse/ partner/or friends in on...

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Stay cool in Summer! Heat is serious and can even kill.

As I caught the train home from work I was aware of a few British, possibly tourists, struggling with the heat, complaining and flapping themselves with their hands/ books in a desperate way to cool down. I thought of myself in the first year of living in Spain dodging between shade and shadows, nipping into air-conditioned buildings and how we did anything to escape it. A Catalan friend of mine recently laughed at the news about this year’s heat wave and offered advice to “sit in a pool and sip cool beers” which made me laugh but really isn’t the best advice to receive! So what is the best advice and how seriously should we take the heat? Heat is serious and can even kill. In one European country, in August 2003, unprecedentedly high day- and night-time temperat...

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