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.

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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!

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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.

MEMORY

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).

memory.jpg

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.

EBV

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?

OMG YOU GUYS I’M SO SORRY I’VE BEEN AWAY FOR SO LONG I’M SORRY LOOK LIFE HAS BEEN CRAZY OKAY I’M SITTING ON A COUCH IN DUBLIN IN MY PJS AND I’M GONNA TELL YOU WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING SO STRAP ON IN.

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

Blame it on the E-e-e-e-e-Ethanol

K it’s about time I wrote about this, Mum don’t read this post cos you’ll be disappointed in me xox

So have you ever noticed how when you haven’t had any alcohol in a long time, then you have a glass or two of wine suddenly you’re a lot drunker that you thought you’d be? Or the other way around where if you’ve been having a beer or two a night, it actually takes quite a lot of alcohol in order for you to feel intoxicated? Yeah, I’m gonna talk about alcohol, alcohol tolerance and hangovers in this post. (PS it’s a Sunday, it’s 3.30pm and I’m sitting on the couch in my pajamas. Hmmmm.)

Right, I’ve gone over this before, but what does alcohol do to you again? The main part of alcohol that actually has an effect on you is the ethanol. Ethanol acts as a depressant on the central nervous system. The central nervous system is basically the part of your brain that controls stuff like co-ordination, muscle movement, speech, actually pretty much everything. By depressing the CNS all of those functions go a bit wobbly, which is being drunk. The more ethanol you drink, the more your CNS is depressed, the worse you get at movement (I’m looking at you, white boy dance moves), and other CNS functions. The cool thing is, that liver that we talked about ages ago? It detoxifies the ethanol, by metabolising the ethanol molecules and making them unable to have that effect on the CNS. But with that comes limitations, which is where the “standard drink” thing comes in to play. Some fancy maths and laws of averages has allowed us to figure out that the AVERAGE liver can metabolise ONE standard drink of alcohol PER HOUR.

I’m not gonna lie, this is wildly inaccurate, for many different reasons. Let’s go.

  1. Sex. In general, men have larger livers than women, which means physically there is more room for them to metabolise the ethanol, therefore it takes more ethanol for them to get drunk.
  2. Age. As is the case with many bodily functions, there is a peak age for performance. Either side of that age will be less good at metabolising alcohol.
  3. Food. If you have food in the stomach it takes longer for the alcohol to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Think of the food being like a sponge in your stomach which soaks up the alcohol, then just slowly drips it into your bloodstream. It means your liver has plenty of time to metabolise the booze instead of being hit with it all at once.
  4. Endoplasmic reticulum. Bless you. What?

This is the cool part. So in your liver cells, you have this stuff called endoplasmic reticulum, which (in English) kinda translates to inside-cell wavy stuff. Because it looks like wavy stuff inside the cell. That’s not important though. The ER functions to detoxify stuff by metabolising it, so you have plenty of it in the liver. The AMOUNT of ER you have in cells is variable, and it’s influenced by how much you need it. What happens is, the more consistently you drink booze the more your liver is like “ah man, we’re having to detoxify a lot of this ethanol stuff, lets make some more ER so we can do a better job at this.” Which is why some people who are consistent drinkers can hold their alcohol fairly well without getting too drunk. HOWEVER. The same occurs in the opposite direction. If you don’t drink for a while because, say, you’ve had uni exams and needed to study, the liver will be like, “hey, there’s all this ER in my cells which I’m not using and it’s taking up space, I’ll break it down cos I don’t need it.” Consequently, when you finish exams and drink half a bottle of Jose Cuervo, your liver isn’t prepared for the influx of alcohol and you get DRUNK OMG SO DRUNK JUST LIKE THE DRUNKEST YOU’VE EVER BEEN then you end up vomiting in someones pocket and giving your ID to the bouncer for the wrong bar. Or something.

endo

CAVEAT: This has limitations. The amount of ER may fluctuate up and down a bit, but it’s never going to mean you can drink as much as you want just by doing it all the time. That results in alcoholic liver disease which is not fun, so don’t do that. This is not a “How To Drink The Most” advice post. This is Get Learned, damnit. Don’t be an idiot.

Now, hangovers! Quite simply, there are a lot of factors that cause hangovers, we’re not super sure about exactly what they are. For certain one aspect of a hangover, the headache bit, is most likely caused by dehydration. Alcohol makes you need to pee, so you can get dehydrated even though you’re drinking fluids. There’s been some talk about electrolyte imbalances in the body, which is why some people think Powerade or electrolyte sports drinks might help, but there’s no real evidence for that. The sore tummy thing is because alcohol irritates your gastrointestinal system and causes inflammation. Another thought is that a byproduct of ethanol metabolism is toxic and produces hangover symptoms, which might be true. But tbh, there’s a lot of theories and no real answers here. If you have a miracle cure for a hangover, I’m all ears. People tend to say drinking water, taking pain killers, resting and eating greasy food work the best, and I tend to agree cos that sounds like an ideal Sunday. Speaking of which, I g2g, my food is ready.

Thanks for reading team, hope you enjoyed. GET LEARNED!

 

 

 

Gone with the Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia

STIs! Let’s dive into the depths of these dastardly diseases and discover what deadly deliciousness awaits your dongle if you dip it in a disastrous dame. (lol sorry I started and I couldn’t stop.)

I’m gonna start nice and biblical with gonorrhea (or gonorrhoea, same same.) Also known as “the clap.” Which I’ve just found out, is derived from the French word for brothel, “clapier.” Huh, the more you know.  This is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. You see where the name comes from now, don’t you? Excellent. Hey, the dumb thing about gonorrhea is that it is often asymptomatic; you don’t know you have it cos you don’t display any symptoms. So you might accidentally pass it on without even realising that it’s there, which would suck. This is why it’s important to go get regular STI checks, especially if you have multiple partners. If you do get symptoms when infected with this bug, they go something like this.

“Ow, it burns when I pee! What’s this weird stuff coming out of the end of my penis/vagina? Ow ow ow my testicles/pelvis are/is really sore…. I’m not due for my period yet, why am I bleeding?”

That last one is only for the ladies sorry dudes. You’ll figure it out from the other stuff. Now to the juicy bit; how it spreads. Unsurprisingly, it spreads through sexual contact (durr it’s an STI) but it can also spread from mother to child during birth. Sexual contact meaning vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Men have a 20% chance of contracting the disease if they have unprotected vaginal sex with an infected woman, women have a 60-80% risk if they have unprotected vaginal sex with an infected man. Yeah, women often get the short end of the stick when it comes to STIs, mostly because… well… the bacteria gets all up in your vag, the nice warm moist delicious place that bacteria love to grow in. Yummy.

Don’t want gonorrhea? Use condoms! In exciting news, you can get antibiotic treatment for this infection and get it cleared right up, yay for Alexander Fleming and the discovery of antibiotics!

 

On that note, I’m gonna start talking to you about another bacterial STI, chlamydia! It’s caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis, and, like the clap, is quite often asymptomatic. If it is symptomatic, it has similar symptoms to the clap too, like burning when you pee, weird discharge and pain. The bad thing about this one for us ladies is that if it spreads up into the pelvis, causing pelvic inflammatory disease, it can result in ectopic pregnancies and infertility, which is why (again) it’s super important to go get tested if you have multiple or new sexual partners. In the Western world, it’s spread the same as gonorrhea, mouth butt vag. In developing countries it can spread through personal contact, contaminated towels and flies, and it can infect other areas of the body too, like the eyes. Which is why chlamydia is a common cause of blindness in the developing world. Even though it’s treatable. Yes ladies and gents, once again say a prayer to ole’ Alex F up in the sky, it’s treatable with antibiotics. In fact, you can become non-infectious in just seven days from the start of treatment! That means you only have to wait a week before getting freaky again! Go you! Use condoms if you don’t want to get it again.

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I’m just real briefly gonna touch on the stigmas surrounding STIs. Way back when, due to some stupidly archaic thought processes, it was often a huge deal to get an STI. Especially for women, they were thought of as harlots, sluts, skanks, whores, all those awful names for a sexual promiscuous woman.

SheMayLookCleanBut
Gee, thanks patriarchy!

SIDE BAR: One time my Mum sent me a text and was like “you’re such a slut” and I was like “MUM OMG WTF NO I’M NOT” and she was like “yes you are your room is so messy” because apparently slut used to mean an untidy woman, and now (clearly) it means something else.

The extra bullshit thing about women being blamed for spreading STIs is that women are actually more like to contract STIs, not spread them. And to top it off, the stigma surround sex itself has led people to simply ignore or not seek treatment for STIs due to embarrassment or shame. This is a crock of shit, it’s an infection just like anything else. To stop spread of x infection, do y. To stop spread of a cold, cover your mouth when you cough. To stop spread of some STIs, cover your willy when it coughs. Simple enough.

Let’s not be dumbos about this. Get tested, be aware of your risks, and don’t be silly wrap your willy. Contain the viper before you pipe her. Cover your stump before you hump. Don’t be a fool, cover your tool. Armour the tank before you enter the flank. No glove; no love.

Thank you and goodnight!

lol thanks for indulging my silly rhymes, hope you found this post helpful. Stay tuned for more exciting posts full of puns and bad jokes, and GET LEARNED!