Trialling LBH Evening Meet-ups

earthandstarsWe are trying out a new evening meet up group for people with lupus who would like to come for support, but are unable to get to the morning Coffee and Chat because they work during the day. 

We had our first evening meeting on Tuesday, 6th October 2015, which went very well and allowed a couple of people who had been unable to attend or group, until now, to meet up. We’re planning to hold another at 6.30pm at The Earth and Stars pub on Tuesday 17th November 2015. All our members, new and old, evening and daytime are welcome to come along!

Traditional Herbal Registration Scheme.

THRlogoMany of us are taking or are interested in herbal supplements that may have a positive effect on the immune system, but are you aware of the Traditional Herbal Registration scheme?

In an episode of “Trust Me I’m a Doctor”, broadcast in August, the show did research with University College London School of Pharmacy to test a range of herbal supplements to find out what they contained. The results were shocking, for example, in the Ginkgo supplements that were tested 8 out of 30 contained no Ginkgo at all! They found similar results too, when they tested Milk Thistle products.

The THR scheme was introduced to regulate herbal medicines. The THR mark means the herbal product has been used traditionally for at least 30 years and been assessed by various scientifically qualified individuals. It also shows that the company complies with certain good manufacturing specifications. The scheme provides some assurance that you are getting a good quality product and also ensures that more reliable advice is given on how to use it, including any interactions it may have with other drugs.

In every THR product tested, the supplement did contain what it claimed.

If you want to read more about this and watch the article, follow this link- Trust Me I’m a Doctor.

Things to help now it’s turning colder

IMG_0153Many of us with lupus find the colder months particularly challenging, with the cold affecting our joints, muscles and circulation. This is particularly bad if you also suffer from Reynaud’s Syndrome.

If you haven’t discovered them already- Hand Warmers can help to keep your hands (and feet!) warm when you’re out and about. You just shake or rub them to activate them and they give off up to 8 hours of heat. They can be bought from Tescos (6 pairs= £4.00). Poundworld or 99p stores (sold as Heat Relief Patches- in packs of 4 for a £1). They contain non-toxic, environmentally safe, odourless, incombustible ingredients so you don’t need to worry about accidentally puncturing one, it leaking or having one burst into flames! The heat occurs due to an exothermic reaction – caused by the iron in them rusting. We advise you to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using them.

If you’re at home wheat bags can also help, but don’t use them in bed & follow the heating instructions carefully (there’s been a couple of cases of overheated wheat bags catching fire). Be very wary of using any that come without instructions. The Heat Pack (fleece covered wheat bag) is £2.99 from Superdrug, 

Some of our members have also found electric blankets help their joints in the winter. Argos do a range from £15 upwards. A smaller heat pad like the Beurer HK35 Electronic Heat Pad (£24.45) can also help to ease aches and pains.

Or you could just try a good old fashioned hot water bottle. Although do be careful if you suffer from chilblains as warming up cold hands or feet too quickly can result in chilblains, as capillaries can swell and break producing painful blisters. It’s best to avoid rapid changes in temperature when going from cold to hot and Handwarmers can be used to prevent your hands/feet getting cold when out and about in the winter months.

If you do get chilblains this winter, one of members recommends this remedy: mix ginger juice with aloe vera gel and apply.

October’s Coffee and Chat

IMG_0137Despite the weather turning colder, we had a really good meeting this month. Eleven of us went along to try out our new venue- Cafe Arcadia, which is located in Imperial arcade (just off Western Road), opposite Churchill square. The cafe manger- Celim, had very kindly reserved some tables for our group and did his best to make us all feel welcome.

There was a good selection of drinks and snacks and a couple of us stayed on to have some lunch after the meeting. The food and drinks were both very good and we found that many drinks were cheaper than they were at our previous venue. It was also convenient for most of us to get to with many buses stopping just outside the arcade.

We look forward to meeting there again in November.