Review – Aqua Maris Junior Nasal Spray

I was recently sent some Aqua Maris Junior Nasal Spray to try.  The spray is a 100% natural saline solution made from Adriatic seawater. It is intended to be used daily for hygiene and nasal moisture and healthy breathing each day and night.

Aqua Maris Spray

As Little Mr A is at school he often brings home colds and always has a bunged up nose.  I thought this product looked like a good way to decongest him and help him to breath easier.

Unfortunately, despite numerous attempts, I have been unable to get Little Mr A to try the product!  I don’t think he likes the idea of something being sprayed up his nose!  As I couldn’t persuade Little Mr A to try it I have given it a go myself (Little Miss A is still a little young as it is recommended from 6 months +).

I was a little wary about spraying something up my nose, however, after the initial shock I was pleasantly surprised.  It had a nice fresh feeling and aroma and really does make my nose feel fresher and clearer.

I think if you started using this on your child from a very young age they would get used to the sensation and action of having a spray up their nose and then you would be able to use it when they got a cold.  I really think it would help them with their breathing.

The spray itself is very easy to use.  Once in place you simply push down the top and out comes enough spray to do one nostril.

It is available to buy for around £4.50 which I think is reasonable.  You get 30ml in a bottle which, judging from how much I have used, should last a while.

Overall I think it is a good product and I will be trying it on Little Miss A when she gets a little older.

Disclaimer – For the purpose of this review I was sent one bottle of Aqua Maris Junior Nasal Spray

Guest Post – How to combat allergies in children

Allergies hit many people hard, but children seem to be especially vulnerable. That may be because most allergies first appear during infancy or childhood, and some later fade away by adulthood. But children aren’t just more susceptible to allergies because of their bodies. They’re more susceptible because of their growing minds and their active lifestyles, which put them into more regular contact with potential allergens. Whether it be food, pet or outdoor allergies, children have a harder time than adults coping with this problem. But there are steps you can take to make life easier and safer for your child.

Here are a few:

1. Keep Yourself and Your Child Informed

Learn everything you can about your child’s allergy. Share with your child whatever they are able to understand. Help them do some online research of their own. Encourage them to ask questions of their allergist, and make sure they understand everything the doctor tells you. Encourage them to talk to other students with allergies and learn what they do to cope and prepare. Stay up to date on new developments and medications.

2. Plan in Advance

Of course, it should go without saying, but take whatever steps are necessary to learn the cause of your child’s allergy. Then make a plan with the allergist and involve your child in every step. Get an EpiPen and keep it near your child at all times, whether that be in their pocket or with their teacher, depending on school policy. Stock up on other necessary prescriptions or over-the-counter medications. Practice with your child to make sure they know what to do in case of an attack.

3. Learn School’s Food Policies

Does your child’s school label foods that contain peanuts? Eggs? Dairy? Does the school keep EpiPens on hand for emergencies? Is the school generally considered to be allergy-conscious? Most schools are improving in their awareness of childhood allergy concerns, but some are much better than others. These schools train their staff for emergencies, have snack policies that limit interaction with dangerous foods, and segregate foods in the lunchroom that contain allergens.

4. Avoid Triggers

If your child is allergic to pets, don’t get any. If you already have one, keep it out of your child’s room at all times and try to keep it away from your child as much as possible. If the allergy is serious, you’ll have to give the pet away. If your child is allergic to dust mites, cover their crib or mattress with a mite-proof cover, remove stuffed animals, keep their room clean, get rid of carpets and heavy drapes. If it’s an outdoor allergy, use an air conditioner to filter allergens and keep windows closed. Wash their clothes and linens frequently. If indoor allergens are the culprit, get rid of household cleaners, perfumes and other strong chemicals, and ban all smoking (which you should really do under any circumstances if you have a child in the house).

5. Learn the Seasonal Patterns

If your child has an outdoor allergy, you’ll need to develop seasonal habits. Avoid the outdoors during high-pollination times, which will depend on when their particular allergen is in bloom – whether it be weeds, grasses or trees. Pollination is usually most intense between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Keep windows closed during these times. You may also want to run an air cleaner and keep pets from leaving or entering the house.
Allergies can take a hit out of anyone, but they’re especially hard on children. Whether it be food allergies, pet allergies or dust mite allergies, their bodies are vulnerable and their young minds aren’t well prepared to deal with the problem. But that’s why you’re there to help, and these tips can make the job a little easier.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

Living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa

I have been umming and ahhing over whether to write this post for some time now.  Do I really want people to know about such a horrible condition I have?  Most of the time it makes me feel dirty and smelly, when I am not!  I came to the conclusion that most people that know me know about it anyway and for those that don’t it will explain why I don’t often wear vest tops, etc. in the summer and, if I do, why my armpits look such a mess!  If I can help someone else who is suffering and maybe doesn’t know what it is then that would be great.

So what is Hidradentis Suppurativa (HS)?  It is a painful, long-term skin condition that produces abscesses and consequently scarring to the skin, usually of the armpits, groin, buttocks and breasts, basically anywhere you can think of that is going to be (a) painful, (b) unsightly and (c) cause the most aggravation!  Lumps can also form elsewhere, I have a recurring one on my neck which, thankfully has not come back for a while.  Some poor people have them on their face and I am praying this never happens to me.  At least on your body you can hide them with clothes, no matter how painful, I cannot imagine having pus leaking lumps on your face.

At the moment there is no known cause for HS but it has been linked to inflamed sweat glands and blocked hair follicles.  It is estimated that around 1% of the population suffers, however, this could be more as it is quite an embarrassing condition to seek treatment for and therefore some people may not bother.  It has been featured on Embarrassing Bodies on a couple of occasions.

HS ranges from mild to severe.  At the moment, I am lucky and would say mine is more mild, however, from time to time it does flare up very badly and is incredibly painful.  I can’t remember the last time I was completely symptom free!

The symptoms include red lumps, blackheads, cysts, scarring and channels in the skin which leak pus.  Sometimes these lumps can become infected which cause an infection requiring treatment with antibiotics.

There are 3 distinct stages to the disease and, unfortunately, at present, no cure.  These stages are as follows:

  • Stage 1 – single or a few isolated abscesses without scarring or sinus tracts.
  • Stage 2 – recurrent abscesses in more than one area and the beginning of the formation of sinus tracts.
  • Stage 3 – widespread abscesses with many interconnected sinus tracts under the skin. There may be severe scarring and continuous leaking.

HS usually starts around the age of puberty, but it can appear at any age.  It is less common for HS to occur before puberty or after the menopause, leading some experts to believe that hormones have some sort of influence on the disease.  I am absolutely convinced my HS is hormone related.  I only vaguely remember having light symptoms before I became pregnant with Little Mr A.  Whilst I was pregnant all of the symptoms disappeared.  As soon as I had had Little Mr A the symptoms came back worse than ever. I did seek medical assistance at this point but the only thing they would offer me were really strong antibiotics and I wasn’t allowed to get pregnant whilst on them or for 6 months to a year after finishing them as it could seriously affect a baby.  At the time we were considering another child and therefore I put up with the symptoms.  When I became pregnant with Little Miss A, again, my symptoms all but disappeared.  Since giving birth this time, I have gone back on the pill and my symptoms do not seem to have come back so bad, however, around ‘that time of the month’ they do worsen.  The Doctors never seemed convinced it was hormone related, however, I think all the evidence in my case strongly suggests hormones are to blame.

HS can run in the family and I really hope I have not passed this horrible disease onto either of my children I really do not want them to have to suffer with it.

It is said that smoking and being overweight can make HS worse so it is recommended that you lose weight and stop smoking to see if there is any improvement.  I cannot say for definite that giving up smoking has helped mine, but, I have not started again since having Little Miss A and, as I said before, my symptoms are not too bad at the moment.

In the early stages, the disease may be controlled with medication, however, I was constantly on and off antibiotics in the early days and, whenever my course finished, the symptoms would return!  Persistent and severe cases may require surgery.  I was offered steroid injections into affected areas, however, I could not face having injections into my armpits, particularly when they were already painful from the lumps!

I have learnt to live with HS over the years.  Yes it’s still painful and embarrassing and, no matter how hard I try, sometimes it does really get me down and I think ‘why me’?  It is especially frustrating in the summer when I want to wear strappy tops.  Somedays I cannot shave my armpits it is so painful and I just don’t feel comfortable having that on show!  Even at home, if I wear a strappy top, Little Mr A now notices and will not come for a cuddle unless I put another top on to cover it up.  That really hurts.

Whenever symptoms are really bad and I am feeling upset I do try and pull myself out of it. It is not a life threatening illness it is just frustrating and painful and I know things could be a lot worse.

For more information please visit the NHS website.  For support there are various help groups and websites such as The Hidradenitis Suppurativa Trust and even a Facebook group.

I am not brave enough to put any pictures of my horrible skin on here, but, if you want to see what it looks like there are plenty of images if you search on Google!

Review – A2 Milk

As a Bzz Agent I got sent some vouchers to try a2 milk for a 2 week challenge to see if it improved digestion.

What is a2 milk?

Most cows’ milk contains different types of protein, of which one group is known as caseins. The main types of the beta-casein fraction are A2 and A1. All natural a2 Milk comes from specially selected British dairy cows that produce milk containing only the A2 protein.

A1 Protein digests differently to A2 protein and has been linked to discomfort after drinking milk. Some people may, in fact, be reacting to this specific A1 protein, rather than lactose or other general milk proteins, as is often assumed.

The origins of a2 Milk

Cows’ milk contains different types of protein, one group of which are caseins – the main types of the beta-casein fraction are A2 and A1.

The A2 form of beta-casein has been identified by scientific research as the original form of beta-casein that would have been produced by cows thousands of years ago.

Over the years a natural genetic variance occurred in European dairy herds, resulting in a variation of the A2 gene called A1 beta-casein – today most dairy milk contains a mixture of A1 and A2 beta-casein protein.

However, some dairy cows still only produce the A2 type of beta-casein and these can be identified and milked to produce a2 Milk – dairy milk as perhaps nature intended.

How a2 Milk is produced

The single most important factor in producing a2 Milk is to find the right dairy cows.

Our farmers exclusively select British dairy cows that naturally produce milk which is rich in the A2 form of beta-casein but contains no A1.

This is done by using a simple and non-invasive DNA test we have developed, which analyses a sample hair from the tail of each dairy cow. These A2 certified cows are then milked separately to produce pure and natural a2 Milk – processed and packed just like every other kind of cows’ milk.

 a2 Milk is not suitable for anyone medically diagnosed with galactosaemia, lactose intolerance, a milk allergy or other milk protein intolerance.
My view
I have now tried A2 milk for a couple of weeks. Both myself and my family agree that it tastes very synthetic and processed and not at all as creamy as normal milk. I appreciate this is probably to make it more easily digested, however, I am not keen on this as a solution. It is not too bad in tea/coffee, however, it is not very nice on cereal and I cannot have it as a drink it is just not tasty enough! Although I have had no stomach/digestive problems whilst drinking it, I think, for the amount of milk I drink, and the small amount of digestive problems it causes, I would not change to A2 milk.  Also, it is very difficult to get hold of at the moment, only being sold in certain shops/supermarkets.  I would certainly not go out of my way to buy it.

Guest Post – Steps to Preventing Childhood Diabetes

I am delighted to be posting a guest post today from Carolyn about childhood diabetes.  After reading Carolyn’s post I have looked into diabetes in the UK and it appears it is on the rise also.  The National Heart Forum says there were 2.6m cases of diagnosed diabetes in 2009 which is projected to increase to more than 4m by 2025 due to an ageing population and if rates of overweight and obesity continue to rise unchecked. Nine out of ten of cases in the UK are type 2 diabetes.

I think there are important points in Carolyn’s post for us all to consider for ourselves and our children.  It is probably not an illness that cross many of our minds in respect of it happening to our children but I think it is an important illness to consider and, as Carolyn points out, it is preventable with diet and exercise….


In the U.S., November was American Diabetes Month. In previous years I wouldn’t have paid much attention to this, but this year, my little cousin was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and therefore November’s awareness month meant a lot to me. Once considered a disease of adults only, Type 2 Diabetes is increasing in prevalence among children in the United States.
Unlike Type I Diabetes where the causes are not as well understood, Type 2 Diabetes has several clear risk factors; obesity and a lack of physical exercise are the two most prominent risk factors. A lack of physical exercise tends to contribute to obesity, which is the single largest risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes in children. The National Diabetes Education Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, has a forum that explains lots of helpful information about Type 2 Diabetes, which was very helpful for me when I started research on this disease soon after my cousin was diagnosed with it.

Preventing Diabetes Through Proper Nutrition
Parents and children can work together to arrive at a healthier diet that helps lower the risk of diabetes. Parents of young kids will have to make the majority of the healthy eating decisions for their children. However, it doesn’t have to be a struggle all of the time. A healthy diet for growing children that helps prevent diabetes can include fun snacks like ants on a log (celery sticks with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese and raisins) or healthy meals like baked ziti made with whole grain pasta, nonfat cottage cheese and part-skim mozzarella.

Diabetes research shows that there are four key changes that can be made in a person’s diet to decrease their risk of diabetes.These are:

– reducing consumption of red and processed meat

*instead: choose lean meat options, like turkey, chicken,

fish, and small amounts of lean cuts of red meat

– reducing consumption of sugary drinks

* instead: give kids low-fat milk to still build their bones, or

take water and put veggies or fruit in to add some flavor

–  eating more whole grains: pasta, breads, crackers, etc.
– choosing unsaturated fats over saturated and trans fats


Preventing  Diabetes Through Physical  Activity
Young kids are naturally eager to exercise in most cases (well, maybe not exercise, but they do like to be active in games). Parents can encourage this instinct by providing plenty of opportunities to run around and play. If you can’t keep up with your kids, outdoor play dates with other kids are a great way to let them tire themselves out.

Older children and teens may take more convincing. Classes such as yoga or pilates and sports teams can be fun ways for older kids and teens to get and stay active. It may take a few tries to find something that interests your child but most kids will find something they like if they are allowed to choose the activity. It also helps at viewing it as a “game or activity” rather than labeling it as exercise.”

Healthy Now, Healthy Later
Kids whose parents focus on proper prevention care will carry that with them their entire lives. I never knew how serious diabetes was until I started researching about it. According to Syracuse’s St. Joseph’s Cardiac Center, consequences of diabetes can include things such as eye problems or blindness, heart disease, stroke, and more. I don’t want my cousin to ever face these issues, and it’s through the proper care we are taking now that we can make sure she never has to.



Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at