Vaccine Action against MMR

Here we are, I’m gonna follow through! We Got Learned about measles, mumps, and rubella last post, now put them all together and add some other bits and pieces, and you get the MMR vaccine!

Not exactly, but lets talk about it anyway. Before we get started, bit o’ background for ya, The Vaccination Investigation Station and Vaccination Frustration due to Misinformation.  My two previous posts on vaccines are general ones, now we can get into the nitty gritty and talk about the MMR vaccine specifically!

So the MMR vaccine is a mixture of three live attenuated viruses, the measles virus, the mumps virus, and the rubella virus.

“LIVE!? YOU WANT TO INJECT MY BABY WITH LIVE VIRUSES?! TARA YOU JUST TOLD ME ABOUT HOW DANGEROUS THESE DISEASES ARE AND NOW YOU WANT TO INJECT THEM INTO MY CHILD!? SECURITY!”, screams Rain, the patchouli-smelling, gluten-free yoga teacher with a new baby who was born while whale sounds were playing.

Yes yes, I know, but we’ve talked about this. There are a bunch of different types of vaccine, the live attenuated ones are the ones that produce the best immunity. The virus is alive but it has been modified so much that it can’t produce disease, but it looks pretty much identical to the dangerous virus, so your immune system can get a real good look at it and ‘know the enemy’ or something profound like that, I can’t remember the actual quote.

Aaaaaaanyway, the first licensed vaccine to prevent measles was in 1963, and measles mumps and rubella got combined in 1971 to create the vaccine we use today. Generally it’s given to babies in two doses, one at about 12 months old, and a second dose at four-five years old.

“TARA, WHY ARE YOU INJECTING MY CHILD WITH LIVE VIRUS TWICE?!”, Rain bellows while burning a bundle of rosemary and waving it in my face.

Chill, Rain. The first dose SHOULD produce enough immunity to last a life time, but in something like 5% of people, it doesn’t quite work. So this second dose just makes absolutely sure that your little baby will never get measles, mumps or rubella ever ever ever.

As with any medical treatment, there may be some minor side effects. MINOR. TINY. It’s like, ow my arm is sore, ooh I’m a little bit hot, maybe a rash, maybe a little bit of joint pain. There is a teeny tiny chance of being allergic to the vaccine and going in to anaphylactic shock, because the viruses are grown inside chicken eggs, so if you have an egg allergy you might react badly to the vaccine.

BUT. If you weigh up the pros and cons of vaccination, it’s generally better to get it so your kid doesn’t die. 🙂


I have question for you. Ya heard bout herd immunity?

Watch my lame video which should explain why everyone who can get vaccinated, should.

But here is a scary chart.

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 2.25.10 pm

That’s from the CDC in the USA. We had an outbreak of measles cases in 2014 because people weren’t getting properly vaccinated. You should do that so these numbers don’t increase.

So that’s the deals, if you have a little spawn, it should get vaccinated against MMR if possible! Thanks for reading team, speak soon okay luv u xox Get Learned!



Em Em Argh!

The vaccine that represents all vaccines, Mr. MMR, aka the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine.

You’ve probably only heard about measles out of these three, the others aren’t super well known. Anymore. In this post I’m gonna give you the 411 (is that what the kids say? 411?) on these diseases, so you know what would happen if you (or your children) catch these diseases.

Measles! The most well known and most common of the three, measles is caused by the measles virus. It’s the most deadly, and the one that makes you the most sick. It has an awful progression which goes something like this.

You start with a fever, a really really hot one. Often over 40 °C, which can be super super dangerous by itself. You’ll also have a cough, maybe a runny nose and red eyes. So far sounds just like a cold, right? You’d expect that after two or three days, you’d be better, but not with measles. This is when the virus really starts the party. You’ll start noticing small white spots inside your mouth, and a rash all over your body, which often starts on your face and spreads. Symptoms can last 7-10 days, and complications of these symptoms occur in 30% of cases, including blindness, brain inflammation, pneumonia and diarrhoea. Does not sound like fun. If that were me, I’d be staying at home in bed for those two weeks or so.


But guess what! Measles is a HIGHLY contagious airborne disease, so every cough I let out at home sprays little viruses all over the house, and, if anyone in my house is unvaccinated, there’s a 90% chance they will get measles too.


I’ve shown you this graph before! I’ll show you again! This is a graph comparing the number of cases of measles worldwide with percentage of immunisation worldwide over time, since 1980 until 2009. The blue bars represent the number of cases of measles each year worldwide. As you can see, those numbers have dramatically decreased since 1980, and have stayed quite low since about 1995. The blue and red lines are estimating the percentage of people in the world who have been vaccinated against measles. As more people have got vaccinated, we can see the cases have gone down. There is a relationship there.

Mumps! Mumps is not talked about very often because we don’t see many cases of it these days (because of the high uptake of vaccines.) It’s caused by the mumps virus, and symptoms go something like this.

Day 1: I’m feverish, I have sore muscles, a headache and I feel really tired. Maybe I’m coming down with something? Or did I drink too much last night?

Day 2: I feel like, a lump in my throat? Maybe my glands are swollen? I look like I have a double chin 😦

Day 10: Wow I still feel like absolute crap, I look like a bullfrog and I’m still so tired.


Potentially you could also develop meningitis, pancreatitis, permanent deafness, testicular inflammation and ovarian swelling. Such fun. Also, it’s contagious as fuuuuuuuuuuu, and you’re infectious for like, three weeks, so good luck to anyone around you during that time!

Rubella is also called German measles, just to confuse you. It’s not the same as measles, but it can have similar symptoms. It caused by an infection with the (you guessed it) rubella virus! This is the least dangerous of the three, with about half of the people infected not realising they are sick. It progresses by starting with a rash, which can be itchy. Lymph nodes can get swollen, and you see the classic fever, headache, tiredness sore throat symptoms that come with most viral illnesses. Sometimes you can see joint pain, inflammation, testicular swelling and bleeding problems.


The real problem with rubella is in pregnant women. If a pregnant woman get infected with rubella during the early stages of their pregnancy, the child can be born with congenital rubella syndrome, or even miscarriage. Symptoms of this congenital rubella syndrome in the baby include eye problems, ear problems, heart and brain problems, which are all bad and should be avoided. Just like the others, it’s spread through the air, and just like the others, it’s SERIOUSLY infectious.

So that’s the low down on measles, mumps, and rubella. Next post I’ll talk about the vaccine, and we can debunk some BUUUUUULLSHIT 😮 Get Learned!


Cold ‘n’ Flu who?

It’s coming in to winter here in Ireland, and everyone is getting sick! Coughs and sneezes and gross germs everywhere, and here I am writing a post about all you HYPOCHONDRIACS out there who say you have ‘the flu’ the second you have  lil sniffle. If you had the flu you’d be too sick to even say “I think I have the flu.” So strap on in and let’s Get Learned about the difference between a cold and a flu.

Lemme tell you a story about a flu that went around in 1918, called the Spanish flu. It was estimated that worldwide, 500 million people were infected, and between 3 and 5% of the worlds population DIED. It was a pretty devastating pandemic, and is an example of how awful influenza outbreaks can be.

Spanish Flu
That’s how they laugh in Spain.

Influenza is caused by a virus called the influenza virus (doy – virus names are a lot simpler than bacteria names.) You might have heard of them with some numbers and letters at the start, like H1N1 or H5N2 or something. These refer to two proteins that chill on the outside of the virus called hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. Big words, tiny proteins, all you need to know is that they are identifying features of the virus, like eye colour or hair colour on people. H1N1 influenza virus = blue eyes blond hair Hannah from next door.

Symptoms of influenza virus infection include body aches, headache, fever, runny nose, coughing and tiredness. They can vary in severity from mild to severe, severe being like,  ur dead. Mild being illness for anywhere from a week to two weeks, and generally bed ridden for that whole time.

If you have a flu, you’ll KNOW you have a flu. It’ll be like a combination of having a cold, being hit by a bus and being really really really hungover. Not fun.

The common cold is caused by a bunch of different viruses, called rhinoviruses. I can guarantee if you’re old enough to read this post you will have had at least 10 cases of rhinovirus before, I have about three a year. Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever, headache, and a sore throat. We ALL know how this feels, you just wanna be in bed for three or so days, you feel a bit shitty but generally you have to get on with life, right? Maybe you take a couple days off work, order takeaway instead of cooking, get Mum to make you a lemon and honey. Lovely.

People often confuse a cold with the flu because the symptoms can be similar, as we have noted. But they are NOT the same. A flu can be life threatening. A cold is generally non-lethal in most people, exceptions being the very elderly and the immunosuppressed.

rhino virus
Rhinoviruses are polite and generally don’t overstay their welcome.

Sadly, there’s not a lot we can do for either of these illnesses. Some of the more dangerous cases of flu can be treated with anti-virals, but that’s like brink of death type stuff.

The advice your doctor will give you if you have a cold or the flu (rarer) will be as follows. “Rest up, don’t go to work or school. Keep your fluids up, eat if you can and take paracetamol or cold and flu relief that you can buy over the counter at the pharmacy. If you’re still sick in a week or so, get in contact.”

Omg I just saved you 40 bucks! You’re welcome.

So next time you feel a bit shitty and ring in to work to say “I can’t come in, I have the flu,” think again buster. You’ve probably got a cold and a serious case of hypochondria. Get Learned!

To Be Or Not To Be (Immune)

Oh dudes, people keep talking about immunity in my classes, so I want to talk about immunity on my blog! I’m sure you’ve all heard these terms, but I’ma lay it out for you real simple like so that there is no confusion about what it means to be IMMUNE. I might talk about the v word (drama!), we’ll see how we go.

So we already know how the immune system works cos we all read my posts No One Is Immune to My Charms and Immune 2: The Reckoning. Now what does it actually MEAN to be IMMUNE to something? You’ll never get that disease again? It can’t hurt you? If you become immune to everything you are immortal? Read on to learn how to achieve eternal life…

Just jokes, not possible (I think). Being immune to a bug means that your bodies immune system has developed those memory cells we talked about. It sees the disease once (whether it be from an exposure like catching chicken pox from a schoolmate, or from a v word (not vagina)), fights it, and forms memory so that the next time it sees that disease, it can attack it quick smart. Refer to the below EXCELLENT AND ARTISTIC depiction of a memory cell.


However. This is not foolproof. With something like chicken pox, the immune system draws such a good picture of the disease to remember, it will last a lifetime (probably). Those memory cells will hang around in your body for LIFE. This isn’t always the case. With some bugs, the immune system will make SOME memory, but after a few years it might forget (aka delete those memory cells, so there is no quick response when you catch the same disease years later.) In the case of vaccines (oops I said it), you might need boosters. What this means is the first shot will give you some memory, the second shot gives you even better memory, and by the third shot you’ll be immune for life (something like the MMR vaccine).


Another caveat of creating immunity is that it’s very very very specific to that one bug. Some bugs have different forms, or strains. For example, influenza. I’m gonna talk about the flu vaccine here. In the flu vaccine that is distributed every year, there are a few strains of the virus. The vaccine is developed based on cases of flu seen in the opposite hemisphere in the last flu season. Say for example in New Zealand, there were lots of cases of influenza caused by Virus Susan, Virus Anthony, Virus Donald and Virus Sam. The vaccine for Ireland will be formulated to protect against those strains. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be infected with Virus Hannah, Virus Miriam, Virus Dan and Virus Voldemort! You weren’t protected against them. And it’s impossible to protect against them all. The flu vaccine does its best to protect again the most common of that flu season.

flu vaccine So there, a quick wee run down of what it means to be immune to something. Next I will talk about the concept of herd immunity, where you immune a whole bunch of cows. Or people. Tune in next week to find out! Love you xoxo GET LEARNED!

Ebol(ya over) virus

Hey ya’ll, it’s ya girl T bout to educate you on up, ooooh shit, you bout to git LEARNED!

Ebola! It’s a pretty hot topic. Most people know it’s a disease in Sub-Saharan Africa, it got in to the US very briefly last year, and everyone LOST THEIR SHIT. But like, why? Let’s dive in and demystify Ebola.

So Ebola’s full name on its birth certificate is Ebola virus disease, or Ebola haemorrhagic fever. But it’s pretty chill just being called Ebola. It’s caused by Ebolaviruses (shocker.) There’s five types of Ebolavirus, four of them cause the disease in humans, one in animals, and they’re each named after the place they were isolated from in Africa. The most common (and most deadly) one is called Zaire ebolavirus, cos it was isolated in… Zaire, or as it’s now known, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


FUN FACT TIME: So the Ebolaviruses were named after a river that was near where they were isolated, the Ebola river. BUT the viruses were actually isolated in a place called Yambuku, a wee bit away from the river. So why didn’t they name it Yambukuvirus, or whatever? So the issue is that naming a deadly violent awful illness after a place tends to stigmatise that place. The scientists who named it had seen it happen with Lassa fever, which was named after Lassa in Nigeria, so they decided to call it Ebolavirus instead. If you’re interested in reading more about the discovery of Ebola, there’s a book I HIGHLY recommend called LEVEL 4: Virus Hunters of the CDC, by Joseph B. McCormick M.D and Susan Fischer-Hoch, M.D. It’s literally my favourite book of all time and I can’t read it at night cos I get too excited about viruses and I can’t sleep. Omg I’m literally getting excited just talking about it.

level 4
My goal in life is to write on a form under occupation: Virus Hunter.

Anyway, back to Ebola. So what happens if you get infected with an Ebolavirus? Well, up to 90% chance you’ll die, depending where you contract it. It’s a viral haemorrhagic fever, which means a) you bleed and b) you get a fever. More specifically, you’d start to feel a bit sick 4-21 days after you were exposed. Initial symptoms look something like the flu; fever, sore throat, headaches, muscle aches. That progresses to vomiting and diarrhoea, which progresses to a decrease in kidney and liver function, which progresses to internal and external bleeding, which (most likely at this point) progresses to death. Yeah, Ebola is NOT a nice way to go.

It’s spread through bodily fluids. HOWEVER. That means mostly poop, vomit and blood. Other ~fluids~ like sweat, spit, mucus etc. are unlikely to carry the virus unless the person is SERIOUSLY SERIOUSLY SICK. But look. Unless you are a healthcare worker in Sub-Saharan Africa, or you live with someone who has recently come back from being a healthcare worker in Sub-Saharan Africa, YOU PROBABLY NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT GETTING EBOLA. It’s only found in Sub-Saharan Africa, and it’s not particularly easy to catch unless you’re handling the body fluids of someone infected.

The problem in Africa is essentially two-fold. First off, the hospitals generally aren’t well resourced, so they struggle to stop the spread of infection from an infected person. Second, places in Africa tend to have different burial methods to us in the developed world. A large part of the burial process is for the family to wash and clean the deceased body before burial. The body which has just died of Ebola. Which is still excreting the Ebola virus. You see how that is a problem? It is estimated that in Guinea, 69% of transmission of the virus during the outbreak was due to this burial transmission. But it’s cultural, so it’s pretty hard to get around.

There’s no vaccine, but it’s being worked on now. (Pst… Ebola was discovered in 1976, and they’re really only making a big effort for vaccination now, in 2016/2017. Man, I wonder if that’s cos there was a scare of Ebola coming to the Western world, and so suddenly all these resources were dedicated to it when before, even though it killed hundreds of people in West Africa, it didn’t matter cos it was a far away threat that had nothing to do with the West. I wonder….)

So there’s the skinny on Ebola. Probably not to be worried about from a “will I get it” perspective, but to be worried about from a “I’m a person with a soul who wants wellbeing for all humans across the world” perspective.

Did you Get Learned? Nice one. Me too. Talk soon babes, ILY 5ever xx

Tara Tara sitting in a tree, I-N-F-E-C-T-I-N-G!

Glandular fever, mononucleosis, the kissing disease, Epstein Barr virus, all different names for the same dumb viral illness that has (apparently) been incubating in me for the last two or so months.

Let’s start with the little, and move up to the big. What is the thing that causes glandular fever?

It’s caused by a little virus called the Epstein Barr virus, also know as herpesvirus 4. WHAT!? OMG!? TARA HAS HERPES!? Yes indeedy kittens and cool cats, the virus that causes glandular fever is a part of the same family that houses the much stigmatised and fairly inoccuous herpes viruses 1 and 2 which can cause genital and oral herpes. Here are some links for you to learn yourself about the herp if you haven’t already; one is written by me, another by my friend Laura Borrowdale over at VICE. Ok, go read them now.

It by me!

It by Laura!

ebv and herp

Read it? Got Learned within Getting Learned? Good. Right, so Epstein Barr virus. It’s a virus! We know, therefore, that it can’t be treated with antibiotics! Cos it’s not alive! It is transferred through saliva and ~genital secretions~ but that second one is way less common. Now here’s a kicker, the virus infects epithelial cells (which are the cells that essentially line all the passageways in the body, like your nose, your lungs, your intestines, and they also make up your skin) and also B cells in the immune system. Oop, here’s another link to a post I wrote about B cells!

Small problem with infecting immune cells; you need immune cells to clear the infection, but the infection is within the immune cells, so like, wtf? This is why glandular fever can last a long time.

Now the Epstein Barr virus is able to do what we in the biz call a latent infection, just like all the other types of herpes virus can do. Lemme break it down for you.

Viruses can be either assassins, or undercover agents. They can be one or the other, and they can have the ability to switch from one to the other. Assassins go in, blow up the cell, and live to die another day. This is called the lytic cycle of virus replication, where they burst the cell they’ve infected. The undercover agents, however, are very sneaky. They go in to the cell and observe the life of the cell, they make friends with it, they hide in plain sight, they are your friends, your neighbours, even your loved ones. Trust no one. TRUST NO ONE. (Soz I got carried away). This is called the latent cycle of virus infection. What happens is the virus infects a cell but just chills in there, incorporates itself into your DNA, lies in wait, so you are constantly infected with it but not necessarily displaying any symptoms. You with me?

lytic latent

Viruses that do this include the herpes virus family, and the HIV virus. So if you get glandular fever, you’re stuck with it for life. It’s not so bad though, your immune system, once it gets the hang of things, will generally keep everything in check.

Even better, most people get exposed to the virus as children, and have very mild symptoms of illness, if any! Ideal. However, if you get exposed as an adult or young adult, symptoms can include fever, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, and chronic fatigue. Generally these symptoms go away within a month, however the tiredness can last for many months. Which is definitely the reason why I’ve been taking so many naps recently. Another issue can be rupture of the spleen (which is a big part of the immune system) and a swollen liver, which I had, and lemme tell you, it hurts like a biiiiiitch. So it’s kinda a mix between chicken pox, herpes, and a really bad flu. Most people will get it at some point, it won’t kill you.

Long story short, no kissing for me for the next wee while.

Much information here, very backstory, Get Learned. Stay tuned ❤

Where have I been?


So I moved to Ireland. Which is great, I’m here to do a masters degree in International Public Health, which is basically looking at how diseases spread and interact between countries. So that’s fun. I’m really looking forward to it, and hopefully I can share some of the knowledge I gain with you all.

Slight hiccup though. I’ve been feeling a bit off colour for the past wee while, thought I had tonsillitis, thought I had a modified flu. Chalked it all up to stresses of moving and my shitty diabetic immune system, and cracked on. Until last Monday. Dun dun daaaaah!

There is a bit of background info required here, so bear with. Now I’ve talked about ketones before I think, but lets have a quick refresher.

Ketones or ketone bodies are a product that is made in the body when it doesn’t have adequate carbohydrate intake, so the body burns fat instead. Ketones can be a marker of weight loss (the keto diet, heard of it?) as they are produced during starvation. Ketones are also produced during untreated type 1 diabetes, because the body doesn’t have the ability to utilise carbohydrates, so it burns fat instead. Ketones are an issue because they are an acidic molecule. Essentially it’s chucking a whole heap of acid into your blood and changing the pH, which can be very very very dangerous. This state in diabetics is called diabetic ketoacidosis, DKA for short.

Right, now slightly more complex. Because I am super extra and a high maintenance diabetic, I have been taking an off-label drug for the past 7 or so months which makes my diabetes even more controlled than it already was. It’s called dapagliflozin, and it’s an SGLT2 inhibitor. A what?

In your kidneys you have these receptors called SGLT2 receptors. SGLT stands for sodium-glucose co-transporter. Here’s the story. You have extra glucose in your bloodstream for whatever reason that hasn’t been absorbed. The blood gets to the kidneys to be filtered, and these SGLT2 receptors go “hang on, that’s delicious delicious glucose we’re about to pee out. No way.” And they suck the glucose back up, so it stays in the body and isn’t peed out.

Well and good. Now if you stop that happening by inhibiting the receptor, you just pee out any extra glucose in the bloodstream. Ideal for a diabetic, right?? It’s a cool medication, here’s the rub though; a side effect of this medication can be euglycaemic ketoacidosis. Bless you. In English, it means your blood sugar is fine but you have too many ketones in your bloodstream, which is unusual.

Guess what happened on Monday? I tested my ketones, and they were 4.7. (Normally my ketones would be ~0.2). So I was like OH SHIT DAD TAKE ME TO E.D COS IDK WHAT TO DO. And so I went to E.D and they were like OMG WTF WHAT DO WE DO YOUR KETONES ARE DANGEROUSLY HIGH BUT YOUR BLOOD SUGAR IS FINE???? So they gave me a drip and I.V insulin and admitted me and I was like OMG WTF THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE WTF WHY IS THIS HAPPENING NOW.

It me and my swollen ass glands

So I was super confused cos I’d been taking this medication for months with no issues so why suddenly was it becoming an issue? I thought maybe there was something wrong with my kidney cos I had a pain in my mid-back area but like idk I’m not a doctor. And the E.D. doctors were like WHAT and the registrars of general medicine were like WHAT and my diabetes doctor was like WHAT and basically everyone was like WHAT. Then the cool doctor from the acute medical assessment unit who was called Nick (Hi, Dr Nick!) gave me a routine exam and felt my neck and was like HMMMMM.

Anyway so overnight I stayed in hospital which sucked, and the nurses were great and I was like OK DOCS MY KETONES ARE DOWN AND STUFF CAN I TAKE BACK CONTROL OF MY INSULIN PLEASE and they were like “yeah ok.”

This was so uncomfortable omg.

So all hunky dory I’m fine but why did I feel so bad and what made the medication stop working? Well, clever Dr Nick had noticed that my lymph nodes on the left side of my neck were a bit swollen, so he ordered a test for the Epstein-Barr virus, which came back positive.

Epstein-Barr virus, aka, glandular fever. Turns out that tonsillitis and modified flu weren’t tonsillitis or modified flu, but I’d had glandular fever for over two months and didn’t realise. Lol. So I got discharged on Tuesday, I’m off the medication that stopped working, and everything is okay now except for I still have glandular fever and I caught a bit of a cold on the plane which I was on on Wednesday lol.

So that’s the story of how I went to the hospital.

Phew, what a journey! Now you know what’s been going on in my life, I’m gonna write a post about glandular fever next so we’re all up to speed, including me. And hopefully I’ll post more, I’ve missed writing to you all! Stay tuned for the next post, and Get Learned!

Fuzzy wuzzy icky wicky biofilms

Here it is team, a moment for me to be egotistical and write about my research, which is somewhat relevant to everyday life if you exist as a human on this planet.

For the past year and a half I’ve been working on a project the centres around biofilms.

You know how when you don’t brush your teeth you get that fuzzy stuff on your teeth? Yeah, that’s a biofilm. Biofilms are basically bacteria built up on bacteria on bacteria on bacteria. What happens in your mouth is that a bug (which normally resides in your mouth, it’s not abnormal) sticks to your tooth. Another bug sticks to that one, and another and another. In between the bugs there are bits of sugar and protein and other stuff that helps the bugs stick together even more. Think of it like a brownie; the chocolate bits and the nuts and the marshmallows etc are the bacteria, and the brownie mix in between them is the “extracellular matrix” made of those proteins and sugars and stuff.


Biofilms grown in lots of places, not just on your teeth. They can grow in environmental places like inside pipes in water plants. They can also grow on implanted medical devices (oooooo). Like if you were to get a urinary cathater if you get admitted to hospital, or a pacemaker, or a hip replacement, or an IV line or something. Now here’s why biofilms are bad news.

Little bits of the biofilm can break off and get into the bloodstream, and cause systemic infection which means all over infection, and bad shit can happen then, like sepsis. Here is my post about sepsis! Read it to Get Learned about what sepsis is.

Sepsis is like the worst thing that can happen, but other stuff happens too. Like an infected hip replacement will need antibiotics to treat it, and maybe even a revision where they take the replacement out, wash it and put it back in. Which is shitty to begin with, not to mention that the type of person getting a hip replacement is probably old, and unlikely to be super good at handling not one but two surgeries! So yeah, in general we should avoid biofilms if poss.

So there’s a little short intro into what Tara does with her time, I actually can’t tell you what we are doing about the biofilms cos it’s #confidential and I would get #sued cos #intellectualproperty and stuff. But now you know what a biofilm is! So yay, you Got Learned! Well done. Stay tuned for more egotistical and esoteric content, Get Learned more!

Stress Less!

So look, the concept of “stress” is a really weird thing. There’s a strange sort of reverence for being ‘stressed’ in this modern world, where it’s like, unless you’re stressed, running from place to place super busy and always on the go, you’re not living your life properly. But what does being stressed actually mean for your body?

Well here we go kids, T is about to get evolutionary. There are two kinds of stress, chronic stress and acute stress. The acute stress comes from stuff like “oh man I have to chase this wooly mammoth across the plains” or “I have to get up in front of these people and give a speech.” This kind of stress is actually pretty good, it makes your body prepared mentally and physically to face the challenge ahead. It’s also called the flight or flight response, or the acute stress response. This is caused by the release of cortisol and adrenaline, and I’m sure we have all felt these feels. Increased heart rate, tunnel vision, shaking, slowed digestion (which manifests as butterflies in the tummy), dry mouth, flushed face, that kind of thing. All of these things prepare you for the perceived ‘danger’ ahead; increased heart rate means blood will be pumped to your muscles faster so you can run faster, tunnel vision means you won’t get distracted by things around you and you can focus on the task ahead, slowed digestion means your body is aiming it’s blood at other places.

Acute stress is fine, where problems arise is when your body is sending out these stress hormones constantly, or chronically. Chronic stress can impact negatively on reproduction, metabolism, growth, the immune system, behaviour and personality development. It can also result in high blood pressure and significant damage to mental health.


Now not gonna lie, chronic stressors are pretty common in the world today. Historically, the whole point of stress was to help survival, but nowadays there are stressors everywhere all day every day. The ability to cope with chronic stressors is called resilience, and it is influenced by lots of things. Every personality deals with stress differently, and issues like self-esteem and self-confidence also influence how resilient a person can be. On top of that, the persons social network, culture, behaviours and socioeconomic status influence resilience.

Physically, chronic stress is pretty bad for you in the long run. It’s important to try to not be stressed (man that’s such shitty advice haha) but what I mean is it’s important to turn off the cortisol stress response (fight or flight) and turn on the chilled out response, called the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the rest and digest system, or the feed and breed system. (lol). All the stuff you do when you’re not stressed (digest, sit down, breathe deeply, eat, um… other….stuff…) indicates that you’re not in a dangerous situation and can turn off the stress response.

So here I am, giving you an excuse to #treatyoself. Rest, relax, eat, sleep, watch Netflix, let go of the stressors. Your body will thank you for it.

K thanks for reading team, I hope you enjoyed! Get Learned!