Live Well Newsfeed
Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from illnesses such as food poisoning and flu.
But what's the best handwashing technique?
Washing your hands properly should take about as long as singing "Happy Birthday" twice (around 20 seconds). Use the following steps from the World Health Organization while you hum:
1. Wet your hands with water (warm or cold).
2. Apply enough soap to cover all over your hands. You can use alcohol-based handrub if you don't have immediate access to soap and water.
3. Rub hands palm to palm.
4. Rub the back of your left hand with your right palm with interlaced fingers. Repeat with the other hand.
5. Rub your palms together with fingers interlaced.
6. Rub the backs of your fingers against your palms with fingers interlocked.
7. Clasp your left thumb with your right hand and rub in rotation. Repeat with your left hand and right thumb.
8. Rub the tips of your fingers in the other palm in a circular motion, going backwards and forwards. Repeat with the other hand.
9. Rinse hands with water (warm or cold).
10. Dry thoroughly, ideally with a disposable towel.
11. Use the disposable towel to turn off the tap.
We should wash our hands:
"Hands are easily contaminated with faecal bacteria [poo] when going to the toilet and this can be easily spread on to other things you touch, including food," says Professor Jeremy Hawker, a consultant epidemiologist at Public Health England.
"Unfortunately, not all people consistently wash their hands after going to the toilet or before handling food.
"Washing your hands with soap and water is sufficient to remove dirt, viruses or bacteria and it can reduce the risk of diarrhoea by nearly 50%."
Children are particularly at risk of picking up infections and spreading them to other people.
It's especially important to make sure that hands are washed when you're visiting someone in hospital or other healthcare setting, to help prevent the spread of infection.
Watch this video to see the handwashing technique in action.
A guide to getting active if you have an impairment or a long-term health condition.
This guide will help you:
The Government recommends doing at least 150 minutes of activity a week as well as strength exercises on two or more days a week.
But don't worry about hitting these targets straight away: every little helps. What's more important is choosing an activity you enjoy.
The easiest way to increase your activity levels is to build activity into the things you do every day, like going to work, shopping and seeing friends.
Tips to build activity into your day:
Some charities have their own workouts online, for example the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Find an inclusive gym on the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) website.
Use the EFDS event finder to find an activity in your area.
Browse through activities on the BBC's Get Inspired section.
Get into Paralympic sports
Find a sport based on your impairment and find a club near you using the Parasport website.
Most sports organisations actively encourage disabled people to get involved. The list of organisations below is by no means exhaustive.
The British Disabled Angling Association supports disabled people of all ages and abilities to get into fishing in the UK.
The British Wheelchair Archery Association supports archers with all impairments from grassroots to elite level with expert advice and coaching.
If you're looking to start in athletics, Parallel Success offers great opportunities for disabled athletes.
England Badminton Players Association for Disabled aims to get more disabled people into badminton at any standard or level.
Boccia England is responsible for all aspects of the sport, from beginner to expert, providing for all levels of participation.
Disability Bowls England aims to be the first port of call for anyone with a disability looking to get into bowls.
Organisations working to boost participation in cricket include the English Cricket Board, the Cricket Federation for People with Disabilities and the England Cricket Association for the Deaf.
Organisations helping disabled people get into cycling include Cycling UK, Hand Cycling UK and Companion Cycling.
If you enjoy dancing for fun or to stay active, find a disability dance class near you with the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association.
Find out where you can play disability football near you using the Football Association's Play Football section and the Disability football directory.
Find out how to get into sledge hockey with the British Sledge Hockey Association.
Look up clubs and find out more about getting into disabled fencing with the British Disabled Fencing Association.
Visit Goalball UK to find out more about the sport and how to get involved.
Golf organisations supporting and promoting disability golf are listed on England Golf's disability section.
Find an accessible gymnastics club near you using the British Gymnastics website.
Find a riding group near you using the Riding for the Disabled Association.
Find a club near you using the English Karate Federation website.
Find out how to get into adaptive rowing at British Rowing.
Find an accessible sailing venue near you using the Royal Yachting Association website.
Look up accessible shooting clubs on the Disabled Shooting Project website.
Find a local ski group, book lessons and find skiing activities near you at Disability Snowsports UK.
Strength and flex
Improve your strength and flexibility with this five-week exercise plan. Not adapted for wheelchair users.
Find a swimming pool near you with disability access and local disability swimming clubs at Swimming.org.
Table Tennis England works to increase the numbers of disabled people participating in table tennis.
Find out about how to take part in tennis if you have a disability with the Tennis Foundation.
Find a sitting volleyball centre near you using the Volleyball England website.
Several websites provide information about local walking groups for the disabled, such as Disabled Ramblers and Walking for health.
Find a club near you and all you need to know about wheelchair basketball with British Wheelchair Basketball.
If you want to give wheelchair rugby a try, find your local club on the GB Wheelchair Rugby website.
Back Up – supporting people with spinal cord injury
LimbPower – supporting amputees and people with limb impairments to reach their sporting potential
Mencap Sport – supporting people with a learning difficulty
Metro – London-focused resource for blind and partially sighted people
Special Olympics GB – supporting people with learning disabilities
WheelPower – supporting wheelchair sport
Tips on storing food and leftovers to prevent food poisoning, including:
Some foods need to be kept in the fridge to help slow down germs' growth and keep food fresh and safe for longer.
These are foods marked with a "use by" date and "keep refrigerated" on the label, such as milk, meat and ready meals.
Cool down leftovers as quickly as possible (ideally within two hours), store them in the fridge and eat them within two days.
It is safe to let food cool completely at room temperature before storing it in the fridge.
Avoid putting open tin cans in the fridge, as the food inside may develop a metallic taste.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions or place the contents in a storage container or covered bowl before refrigerating.
Keep your fridge temperature at 5C or below.
If your fridge has a digital temperature display you may wish to check it against an internal fridge thermometer now and again to make sure it's accurate.
Clean and inspect your fridge regularly to ensure it remains hygienic and in good working order.
No food lasts forever, how ever well it is stored. Most pre-packed foods carry either a "use-by" or a "best before" date.
Food can look and smell fine even after its "use-by" date but that doesn't mean it's safe to eat. It could still contain bugs that could make you ill.
Eating food past its "best before" date is not dangerous, but the food may not be good quality.
You can freeze pretty much everything, including:
Anything with a high water content like strawberries and tomatoes will go squishy but are still fine to cook with.
Place food in an air-tight container or wrap it tightly in freezer bags or similar before placing in the freezer otherwise the cold air will dry it out.
Eggs are best stored in the fridge as they are kept at a constant temperature.
Eggs can also be frozen. Two ways to freeze eggs:
You can safely store a boiled egg in the fridge for a couple of days. Boiled eggs can also be frozen.
It's important to store meat safely in the fridge to stop bacteria from spreading and avoid food poisoning.
It's safe to freeze meat and fish as long as you:
Make sure meat is properly wrapped in the freezer or it might get freezer burn, which can make it tough and inedible.
Date and label meat in the freezer and eat it within 24 hours of defrosting.
You can freeze meat for a long time and it will still be safe to eat, but the quality will deteriorate so it's best to eat it within three to six months.
Don't worry if it's frozen for longer – try marinating it before cooking to improve texture or use herbs and spices to add flavour.
Never re-freeze raw meat (including poultry) or fish that has been defrosted.
You can cook frozen meat and fish once defrosted, and then refreeze them.
You can re-freeze cooked meat and fish once, as long as they have been cooled before going into the freezer. If in doubt, don't re-freeze.
Frozen raw foods can be defrosted once and stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours before they need to be cooked or thrown away.
To reduce wastage, divide the meal into portions before freezing and then just defrost what you need.
Don't throw away leftovers: they could be tomorrow's lunch! Follow these tips to make the most of them:
With more people re-using single-use plastic carrier bags or using a reusable bag for life, you can help prevent bacteria spreading to ready-to-eat food by:
If there has been any spillage, soiling or damage, plastic bags for life or single-use plastic carrier bags should ideally be disposed of.
Cotton and fabric-based bags for life can be put in the washing machine.
Puberty is when a child’s body begins to develop and change as they become an adult. Girls develop breasts and start their periods, and boys develop a deeper voice and start to look like men.
The average age for girls to begin puberty is 11, while for boys the average age is 12. But there’s no set timetable, so don’t worry if your child reaches puberty before or after their friends. It’s completely normal for puberty to begin at any point from the ages of 8 to 14. The process takes about four years overall.
Children who begin puberty either very early (before the age of 8) or very late (after 14) should see a doctor to rule out an underlying medical condition.
Read more about puberty problems.
This page covers:
After a year or so of puberty beginning, and for the next couple of years:
After a year or so of puberty starting, and for the next couple of years:
Puberty can be a difficult time for children. They're coping with changes in their body, and possibly acne or body odour as well, at a time when they feel self-conscious.
Puberty can also be an exciting time, as children develop new emotions and feelings. But the "emotional rollercoaster" they’re on can have psychological and emotional effects, such as:
If children are worried or confused about any part of puberty, it may help them to talk to a close friend or relative.
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