Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time Again for the Annual 'Stella Awards'!

For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico, where she purchased coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right? That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kind of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy.

Here are the Stellas for last year  --  2010:


Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

Start scratching!

Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles , California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbour ran over his hand with a Honda Accord.

Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbour's hubcaps..

Scratch some more...


Terrence Dickson, of Bristol , Pennsylvania , who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut.

Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT days and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. 

We should all have this kind of anguish Keep scratching. There are more...

Double hand scratching after this one..


Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbour's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard.

Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

Pick a new spot to scratch, you're getting a bald spot..


Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone.

The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

Only two more so ease up on the scratching...


Kara Walton, of Claymont , Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. 

Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

Ok. Here we go!!  Drum roll .....


This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased new 32-foot Winnebago motor home.

On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich.  Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned.

Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owners manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down?  $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home.

Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Just a bit of fun!

The Woman on the Tram ?

No apologies for jumping on the bandwagon here, as I watched that creature in action and to say I was disgusted is the least of it. Then doing a quick run around the internet, seeing people actually defending her, and saying "she has mental problems" was enough to send me climbing walls in fury.  She has a problem all right, you cannot convince me that she wasn't drunk as a hoot owl.  

The first thing I object to about this "poor" woman is that she professes to be a MOTHER.  She sits there with a little guy on her knee, to my eyes looking scared as hell, and uses the most foul language, shouting and yelling, swearing and making bigoted comments.  And never once does she consider him, not once.  If she is like this in public, what on earth is she like in the privacy of her own home?

You have to laugh at the stupid bitch really, and the ones who say she has mental problems. She sure does - any form of racism is a form of mental problem.
Her performance, and correct me if I am wrong, but that is all it was -  a performance - did lead me into other thoughts.  She is the tip of the iceberg from what I read and see lately.  Yes, she is bigoted, but so are many others.

Her attitude is not confined to white people either, it comes from both sides from what I can see. 

She was arrested?  Has nobody learned yet that you simply CAN'T legislate against hatred?  You can't legislate against race - that just turns the legislation back on you big time, as we have witnessed many times. 

Brixton 1981

My opinion is that bigotry is a learned behaviour.  It is very difficult NOT to learn bigotry if it is practiced in your childhood home. My own father was a bigot par excellence - and instead of my learning from him, I just felt sickened by his hatred.  An unreasoning, unreasonable, ignorant hatred. He would have cheered (as many others have) at that demented woman on the tram
Toxteth 1981

The trouble is, many people can't get their head around the crap written in the bible by the 54 little scribes employed by jolly old Lord Bacon, who was happily altering things to suit King James and himself, as well as his Masonic beliefs.   So we have the emergence of people with different or coloured skin being no better than animals, amongst other assorted rubbish.

Somehow this crap has perpetuated itself down the ages, and has translated into ignorance, bigotry, hatred - you name a negative and there it is.  I am always reminded of an old song where a man asks little children what they think a certain word means. When he comes to prejudice the little girl says "um, I think it means when you are sick?"  Yeah! 

Don't you dare get me wrong either, people with coloured skin are just as prejudiced, don't worry.  You have seen examples for yourselves I am sure.  Sometimes their feelings can be understood, and sometimes not.   Often people seem to hold dreadful grudges for absolute centuries - time to let go and move forward maybe?  Whoever is doing the hating, it is a vicious circle.
Brixton 1981

My biggest rant is about how people become indoctrinated by organised religion.  I don't care what damned religion it is, they do indoctrinate and I dare anyone to contradict this view.  If you do, I want to see you explain fully WHY you believe that religion does NOT indoctrinate?  I mean, come on?  You are preached to over and over ad nauseum about the things your organisation believes.  Year in and year out. 
Brixton 1981

We went to Sunday school when we were kids, as many do, and ours was Baptist - you know they get you to sign "The Pledge" that you won't drink alcohol, and at the ripe old age of about 9  or 10?  What?  Kids that age, back then particularly, hardly knew what alcohol was?  But it isn't indoctrination, by any means, oh no!

Toxteth 1981

So then you have a group of people, from ANY country and religion, moving to another country, one which doesn't happen to share their religion.  And what happens?  Under normal circumstances most people try to integrate and become part of their new community.  Fine, they can build their own churches etc.  There are always those, however, who choose to cling to the ways of their 'old' country, their traditions and taboos.  Many of which have roots deep into their religion. Many of the religions from poorer countries take root because of poverty and lack of education.
Lack of education equals ignorance and poverty, wherever it is experienced equals anger and frustration.

Brixton 1981

We saw and still see it here in Australia, with little communities forming, of Serbs, Croats, Chinese, Greek, you name it.  They are some sort of hard core I feel, as the majority just get on with their new lives as peacefully as they can.  Maybe a lot of them cling together because everything is different and frightening, I don't know. It is no way to become accepted into your new society though. If someone has been here 30 years and still can't speak the language it is time to ask questions, no?

Brixton 1981

There is always that fanatical little neucleus though, who spend most of their time trying to foment trouble, who either work behind the scenes or are blatant about their goals. The current troublemakers here are the fanatics who are fighting to go against the law of our land and have their own Sharia Law introduced - one rule for us and one for them. 

I wonder what planet they are on, because they sure aren't living in Australia - and if their religion and religious laws are so important, I have to ask WHY they left their place of birth in such a hurry in the first place?  These people knew before they came that our lives were completely different, so why did they emigrate here.  Why were they given permission to emigrate when their views are so fanatical?  Don't get me wrong, this is not a call for people to "go home", o.k.?   I am genuinely MYSTIFIED about this.  Totally baffled.  I mean, I know what it must be like in places like Saudi, and tell you what - there is no way on earth I would EVER go there, not even for a holiday!

Toxteth 1981

Next we will have public stonings and the so-called 'honour' killings happening here.  Way to go!  Straight back again to the 1600's everyone!  It's a wonder that someone doesn't decide to form a religion where we all run around in animal skins, live in cages and men bash a woman over the head with a club when we they feel randy. After all, the cave men weren't that many years before 1600.

I fear that England too is sitting on a powder keg.  It will get much worse before it changes in any way - and I do hope it changes for the better.  The race riots in UK in 1981 will seem like a picnic in the park.  And they were horrifying at the time.  My feeling is that the government and the Police Force at that time were more to blame than anyone.  Their policies actively promoted racial tension, and anyone who didn't see the riots coming had their heads in the sand big time.  We who saw it coming were very afraid.

The governments today are doing the same, bending themselves double to cater to minority groups who are hellbent on taking over for their own fanatical reasons.  Seems the people of our elected government are more terrified of what MIGHT happen if they don't kow tow than of what WILL happen when they do.

Take note, British Government, this woman on the tram is speaking aloud what a great number of people are feeling.   You ignored the public feeling in the 1970's - time to wake up and think about a change of direction now, in 2011.  It is simply wrong to change the law of the land to cater for a vocal minority of newcomers. It's a bit like making the whole class bow down to the class bully, isn't it?

Wake UP Australia - if we don't have the courage to stand up for our own country and our beliefs and way of life, the "lucky country"  will bleed tears of blood.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Dangers of Hair Dye and How to Avoid Them

There have been a couple of news articles recently about women suffering violent allergic reactions to hair dyes.  In October a 17 year old died after applying hair colouring. Another woman suffered brain damage from hair dye.

I think that there are a lot of us who see these as just a couple of isolated incidents, and probably don't know that this appears to be just the tip of the iceberg. The danger of developing a reaction to at least one of the ingredients in hair dye is all too real.  What we don't normally hear about are those who have a reaction which isn't picked up and reported by the media. And there have been literally hundreds of women who have reacted badly to hair dyes.

It appears that the main culprit amongst the chemicals in hair colourants is para-phenylenediamine (PPD) - and this is common in many UK hair dyes, but is banned in Europe.  Another nasty contained in many hair dyes is Resorcinol.  Strange, that our countries still have these nasties in dyes, wouldn't you think?  As far as Australia goes:
Anyone, including young teens, can buy and apply, potentially hazardous permanent hair dyes. The disturbing facts, almost 50% of permanent hair dyes in Australian supermarkets, pharmacies and hair product stores contain chemicals, so risky, they've been banned overseas. But our Department of Health still isn't moving to stop them. Other common irritants, paraphenylenediamine or PPD and Resorcinol, - we found them in 10 out of 17 hair dyes.    (Hairdressers Registration Board of Western Australia, 2008)
They have further stories, none new, at the following link

It is really quite frightening, and reactions to the chemicals aren't new, by any means. 

Did you know that you can develop a sensitivity at any time when using any product?  It can happen with your first use or your 45th use. The reason for this?  It is extraordinarily difficult for our bodies to break down synthetic chemicals, and so they just accumulate in our body tissues, becoming increasingly toxic.  So each time you dye your hair you absorb and store more toxic chemical.

The major culprits for developing an allergy or sensitivity to are the darker colours.  The shade of dye will make a big difference.  An ebony colour might contain 3,000 times more dye than an auburn colour. Choosing lighter colours will dramatically reduce exposure to chemical dyes.

Many people are allergic to PPD - absorbed across the skin, it can cause itchiness, headaches and pustules to develop,' says Daniel Field, a hairdresser specialising in non-toxic plant-based dyes and hair products. 'They have been linked to immune disorders, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, and are suspected carcinogens.' Anything that lightens hair contains peroxide, which strips the hair of its natural pigments, but can also corrode the skin.
Read more:
Hair dye is not the only culprit either. Most popular hairsprays are liquid plastics, and these solidify on the hair to hold it in shape. Many contain phthalates that disrupt hormones. They could be carcinogenic and are best avoided altogether.
While solvents and chemicals in the sprays can't be absorbed into the body from the hair, the fumes, which contain plastics, are easy to inhale, and residues on the skin are easily absorbed. Gels are often plastic-based and are more concentrated than sprays.

Heavy Metals Found in Hair DyesHair tonic to colour the grey once contained lead, and many barbers died of lead poisoning.  Not only is lead acetate the active ingredient in “wash away the grey” progressive hair dyes targeted to the male market today but, in 1981, the industry was allowed to add arsenic and mercury! These heavy metals can be absorbed through the scalp.
In 1978 – 22 years after the first study showed that 2,4-TDA hair colour enters the body through skin or scalp abrasions, causing black urine and breakouts – it was restricted from all but several hair dye colours, where it is still allowed.  The same year, it was shown that ingredients in hair dyes caused cancer in animals.  A study of hair dye genotixicity, published in the American Heart Association Journal in December 1979, revealed that women who colour their hair have greater chromosomal damage than women who have never done so.  This suggests that hair dyes may have carcinogenic and mutagenic effect in humans.  Punk colours tested worse than those covering grey.  Warning label attempts were unsuccessful.
Take care when selecting a shampoo.  Many contain potentially harmful ingredients.  (From Health Naturally, Ontario.)
A recent report in the International Journal of Cancer discovered a link between long-term hair dye use and an increased incidence of bladder cancer. The findings imply that dyeing your hair holds hidden health risks.
All hair dyes contain some form of ammonia which swells the hair to make it porous so it can absorb colour. Ammonia is a skin irritant, causing anything from mild itching to uncomfortable burning. PPD is used in many dyes as it is most effective at colouring grey hair. 
'Many people are allergic to PPD - absorbed across the skin, it can cause itchiness, headaches and pustules to develop,' says Daniel Field, a hairdresser specialising in non-toxic plant-based dyes and hair products. 'They have been linked to immune disorders, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, and are suspected carcinogens.'
Anything that lightens hair contains peroxide, which strips the hair of its natural pigments, but can also corrode the skin. On contact with the scalp, chemicals can trigger anything from allergies, sensitisation and swelling, to itching and rashes. As up to 60 per cent of what is placed on the skin is absorbed into the blood, many of these may enter your body where they put a localised strain on the immune system as it fights off toxins. 
They may also build up in the lymph nodes, which help regulate immunity, or deposit in certain tissues such as muscle, or organs such as the liver, straining immunity and at worst, causing cancer. 
Anyone dyeing their hair should do a skin-patch test. 'Every year, millions of women use hair- dyes without ill effect,' says trichologist Philip Kingsley. 'But some people will have allergic reactions and a skin-patch test is vital.'
You should expose your skin for 48 hours.
Put a small sample of the mixture on your arm, beneath a non-allergenic plaster for two days. If you have a severe reaction, you will experience burning in a few hours, but those with a mild sensitivity may get a rash or itching within two days.
Dye your hair only when necessary. Leave the maximum possible times between dyeing and then only leave the dye on for the minimum time and rinse well, drinking a litre of water after having your hair treated, to help flush out any chemicals.
There are safer alternatives to ammonia and peroxide. Natural Colours by Daniel Field available from Sainsbury's, are ammonia and peroxide-free and use vegetable-based dyes. They take longer to work but are gentler on the scalp and long-lasting.
Tints Of Nature is a range of ammonia-free products available from Planet Organic and health-food shops nationwide. Aveda also has a range of natural hair care products: 0207 224 3157,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

What is hand, foot and mouth disease?

Hand, foot and mouth disease is generally a mild illness caused by the coxsackievirus. It is not a serious illness and has nothing to do with the animal disease called foot and mouth disease. It mainly occurs in children under 10 years of age but can also occur in older children and adults.


What are the symptoms?

  • Coxsackievirus infection may cause no symptoms at all or only very mild symptoms.
  • When symptoms do occur, they include blisters that start as small red dots which later become ulcers. Blisters appear inside the cheeks, gums, and on the sides of the tongue, as well as on the hands and feet. In infants, sometimes blisters can be seen in the nappy area. Blisters usually last for seven to 10 days.
  • Children can sometimes have a low fever, sore throat, tiredness, feel off colour and may be off their food for a day or two.
  • Very rarely, the coxsackieviruses can cause other illnesses that affect the heart, brain, lining of the brain (meningitis), lungs, or eyes. 

How is it spread?

  • Hand, foot and mouth disease is usually spread by person-to-person contact. The virus is spread from the faeces of an infected person to the mouth of the next person by contaminated hands. It is also spread by secretions from the mouth or respiratory system, and by direct contact with the fluid from blisters.
  • It usually takes between three and five days after contact with an infected person before blisters appear. The virus can remain in faeces for several weeks.

Who is at risk?

  • The viruses that cause hand, foot and mouth disease are common and adults including pregnant women are often exposed to them without symptoms. There is no clear evidence of risk to unborn babies from hand, foot and mouth disease. However, infected mothers can pass the infection onto newborn babies who rarely can have severe disease.
  • Outbreaks may occur in child care settings.

How can it be prevented?

  • Good hygiene is the best protection: wash hands with soap and water after going to the toilet, before eating, after wiping noses, and after changing nappies or soiled clothing.
  • Avoid sharing cups, eating utensils, items of personal hygiene (for example: towels, washers and toothbrushes), and clothing (especially shoes and socks).
  • Thoroughly wash any soiled clothing.
  • Ensure the mouth and nose are covered when coughing and sneezing.Wipe the nose and mouth with tissues, dispose of used tissues and then wash your hands.

How is it diagnosed?

The doctor can diagnose hand, foot and mouth disease based on the symptoms. Laboratory tests are not usually necessary.

How is it treated?

Usually no treatment is needed. Paracetamol will relieve fever and discomfort. Do not give children aspirin. If the headache is severe, or if fever persists, consult a doctor.

What is the public health response?

Hand, foot and mouth disease is not notifiable. Children with hand, foot and mouth disease should be excluded from school or childcare facilities until their blisters have dried.
To help prevent spread, parents should report the illness to the director of the childcare centre or school principal.

Measles - U.K. And Europe

Parents in England and Wales are being urged to have their children vaccinated after a tenfold rise in measles cases in the first four months of the year.

The Health Protection Agency reported 334 cases compared with 33 in the similar period last year.

The outbreak is thought to be linked to an epidemic in France, where 7,000 cases have been reported since January - more than in the whole of 2010.

Worst-hit are London and the South East, with 104 and 102 confirmed cases respectively in the first quarter of this year.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the Health Protection Agency, warned parents and young adults of the importance of immunisation.

"Although MMR coverage has improved over the last few years, we cannot stress enough that measles is serious and in some cases it can be fatal.

"Measles is a highly infectious and potentially dangerous illness which spreads very easily.

"Whether you stay here in the UK or travel abroad, it is crucial that individuals who may be at risk are fully immunised."

The vaccination rate had been well below 95% for several years, ever since The Lancet published controversial research about the MMR vaccine in 1998.

The study has since been discredited, but confidence in the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine has been slow to return.
Source HPA

In Scotland, there have been 12 confirmed cases of measles between January and April, compared with no cases at all for the same time last year.

Since the start of 2011 Northern Ireland has had one confirmed case of measles.

In France, the figure of 7,000 cases so far this year already exceeds the 5,090 recorded in the whole of 2010.

The World Health Organization said France was taking immediate steps to control the outbreaks by vaccinating infants at nine months and offering the vaccine to all unimmunised or under-immunised people over that age.

Other European countries reporting an increase in cases of measles are Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Romania, the Russian Federation, Sweden and Switzerland.

Number of laboratory confirmed measles cases in England and Wales

Please see Table On Link:  Number of laboratory confirmed measles cases by age group and regional health authorities (pre-April 2002 definitions) with onset dates between January and August 2011: England and Wales:

From Various news sources, April 2011

ACT Measles Cases Confirmed

I am convinced that people who do not vaccinate must never have had any of these awful diseases, or they would never leave their children at risk.

Updated November 23, 2011 20:06:43
Orana students who are not vaccinated against measles are being urged to stay away from school until next week. Australian Capital Territory Health has issued an alert after four cases of measles were confirmed in the territory. Three were detected at the Orana Steiner School in Weston, and the fourth case involves a younger child.

Two children have been admitted to hospital for treatment.
Parents of unvaccinated students at the school have been advised to keep them away from classes until the end of next week.
The ACT President of the Australian Medical Association Iain Dunlop says parents should exercise caution. "If they know of a measles epidemic or know of children who have measles, they should avoid contact if they haven't been vaccinated," Dr Dunlop said. "And even those who have should avoid close contact with children with measles. Once the rash is there the contagion is much less."

Parents are being warned to look out for measles symptoms, and keep their child at home if they develop a fever, tiredness, runny nose and a cough. A measles rash often appears two to seven days after the initial symptoms.
Source ABC News


Serious and sometimes fatal complications include pneumonia and encephalitis.

Measles -also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus. Measles may have serious complications. In the past, measles infection was very common in childhood.

What are the symptoms?
The Virus
  • The first symptoms are fever, tiredness, cough, runny nose, sore red eyes and feeling unwell. A few days later a rash appears. The rash starts on the face, spreads down to the body and lasts for 4-7 days.
  • Up to a third of people with measles have complications. These include ear infections, diarrhoea and pneumonia, and may require hospitalisation. About one in every 1000 people with measles develops encephalitis (swelling of the brain). 

How is it spread?

  • Measles is usually spread when a person breathes in the measles virus that has been coughed or sneezed into the air by an infectious person. Measles is one of the most easily spread of all human infections. Just being in the same room as someone with measles can result in infection.
  • People with measles are usually infectious from just before the symptoms begin until four days after the rash appears. The time from exposure to becoming sick is usually about 10 days. The rash usually appears around 14 days after exposure.

Who can catch measles?

Measles was common before 1966, so most people born before then are immune.
People at risk of measles include:

  • people born during or since 1966 who have never had measles and who have not had two doses of Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine from the age of 12 months.
  • people with a weak immune system (e.g., people who are receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer or people who take high-dose steroid medications) even if they have been fully immunised or have had past measles infection.
  • people who are not immune and who travel overseas.

How is it prevented?

  • The best protection against measles is immunisation with two doses of MMR vaccine. This vaccine provides protection against infection with measles, as well as against mumps and rubella.
  • MMR vaccine should be given to children at age 12 months and a second dose is given at 4 years of age.
  • Anyone born during or after 1966 and who has never had measles infection or MMR vaccination should make sure that they have had two doses of MMR vaccine at least four weeks apart.
  • It is safe to have the vaccine more than twice, so people who are unsure should be vaccinated.
  • People with measles should stay at home until they are no longer infectious (i.e. until 4 days after the rash starts).
  • For people who are not immune and have come into contact with a person with measles, infection can sometimes still be prevented with MMR vaccine if given within 3 days of exposure or with immunoglobulin within 7 days of exposure.

How is it diagnosed?

  • Measles is suspected when a person feels unwell, has a cough, runny nose or sore eyes and a fever followed by a rash.
  • Whenever measles is suspected, a blood test and samples from the nose, throat and urine should be collected to confirm the diagnosis. Confirmation of the diagnosis is important as it allows prompt public health follow-up of other people who are at risk of measles. 

How is it treated?

  • People with measles infection are normally advised to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take paracetamol to treat the fever. There is no specific treatment.
  • While a person is infectious with measles it is important that he or she remains at home to reduce the possibility of spreading it to other people.

Measles Is A Notifiable Disease

Doctors, hospitals and laboratories schools and childcare centres must notify cases of measles to the local public health unit. Public health unit staff will interview the doctor and patient (or carers) to find out how the infection occurred, identify other people at risk of infection, implement control measures (such as immunisation and restrictions on attending school or work) and provide other advice.

She's Ready, But I'm Not.

I would like to thank Calley for this beautiful blog.

by Calley Bingham on Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So, I took Evie to her settling session at Nursery today, I walked into the room with her, and well, off she went. No goodbye, not a care in the world. Most of the other children stood next to their mums, taking their time to take their coats off, kissing them and saying goodbye, others stood crying - pretty much begging their parents not to leave them. 'You have a very confident bright little girl, Calley' - they thought she was going to be 4 in May, rather than 3... And I know it probably sounds strange to many of you, but while the other children sobbed into their mums legs, I felt a little bit of jealousy come over me, don't get me wrong, it would break my heart to see her sad - and probably make it harder, but it made me sad that she could go through such a 'big' transition, with not a grimace, at all. She's always been very forward, I guess that is just the way she is. 

I sat down this afternoon, and wondered if we'd have been closer, if I'd tried harder, spent more time with her, not got postnatal depression - would it have made a difference? Understand, we're closer than ever recently, I've taken her out with me, just for long walks all day, played with her, cooked with her, drawn with her, taken her to the swings and pushed her until my arms nearly fell off, simply things, like reading stories or just having chats - all I can do, and she'd rather go to me, than her daddy recently- which has filled me with pride, and happiness - the depression I was thrown into, by having Evlynn, has been made better, by bonding with her, confusing, right?

And suddenly, I walk into this room, and the clingy little girl I've created the last few weeks vanishes, and I find myself wanting to cling onto her, wanting to tell her to stop growing, and just be my baby forever - wishing I could rewind the time, and spend the last 2 1/2 years I've been blessed with being so close to her. I can't get that time back, and for a mother, its heartbreaking.
So to get to my point, I suppose all I am trying to say, is that I never realised just how much it would affect me, without it 'really' affect her.. I know at some point, all parents get to these points, we have to watch them go to Nursery, then big school (wow I know I'm going to be sobbing at the gate), then even BIGGER school - her baby teeth will fall out, her beautiful, now long fine baby hair will thicken and grow and her baby face will disappear, she'll go to college, and maybe even university - I will be there waiting to hear about her first job interview, hold her when she gets her heartbroken by a boy for the first time, pull her hair back while she throws up and tells me she is never drinking again because she's drunk so much, for the first time.. Without getting ahead of myself, or too emotional again - I made a pledge to myself, that everyday, I will do at least one thing with her, on our own - I will enjoy every day that she is still so small, treasure every second and take far too many pictures, even if they're awful and I look rubbish, as long as there is a smile on our faces in those photos, I know there will be one on them when we look back at them, too. 

I love my daughter more than I thought I ever could, and it does crush me when I look back, and it scares me when I look forward - but when I look at the here, and the now - I can smile, because she loves me, more than anything in the world.

Death of Australian Woman from Diptheria (May 2011)

THE death of an Australian woman from diphtheria, a disease virtually unheard of in Australia, is shocking, the Australian Medical Association says. 
The 22-year-old Brisbane woman died in hospital after contracting the bacterial throat infection from a friend who had returned from overseas. It's believed she wasn't immunised.

Queensland Health said it last confirmed a case of diphtheria in the state in 1993, but AMA vice president Steve Hambleton said he had never heard of a case in Australia in 30 years of working as a health professional.

"In the early 1900s it was the most common cause of death from an infectious disease," Dr Hambleton said, with rates as high as 400 cases per 100,000 people.

But in 1932 vaccination against the infection began and by the late 1950s rates had plummeted and were "virtually zero".
Now, almost 90 per cent of Australians have been vaccinated against the infection.

Children are given the jab as part of their childhood vaccines and adults get a top up with their tetanus.

"Any cases we get in Australia or the United States or the United Kingdom usually are imported from overseas," Dr Hambleton said.
"It's quite infectious, if someone catches it they can spread it for up to four weeks.

"It's a very serious infection that's got quite a high death rate if you catch it. "It's a terrible disease."

Diphtheria is spread through coughing and sneezing, and can lead to difficultly swallowing, breathing and suffocation.
Queensland Health said authorities had given preventative antibiotics to people the Brisbane woman had been in contact with.

They said people travelling overseas to Third World countries where diphtheria is common should ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

Diphtheria cases reported to the World Health Organization between 1997 and 2006

  no data
  ≤ 1
  ≥ 50


Remember that diphtheria is a rare disease. Diphtheria is also a reportable disease, and any cases are often publicized in the newspaper or on television. This helps you to know if diphtheria is present in your area.


Diphtheria is an acute infectious disease. It is a very contagious and potentially life-threatening bacterial infection. Diphtheria was a common cause of death in children up until the 1940s . Because of immunisation of children the disease almost disappeared, but it has once again emerged in some areas of the world with poor immunisation rates. There are fewer than five cases of diphtheria a year in the United States.

The bacteria that cause diphtheria are called Corynebacterium diphtheriae and Corynebacterium ulcerans. Some of these bacteria also produce a toxin.

Children in Seattle receiving the very first vaccination (1940)


  • There may be NO symptoms. 
  • Symptoms begin two to five days after exposure to the diphtheria bacteria. The first symptoms are usually a sore throat and a mild fever. A membrane forms over the throat and tonsils that can make it hard to swallow and breathe. The infection can also cause the lymph glands and tissues on both sides of the neck to swell. The bacteria most commonly infects the nose and throat. The throat infection causes a gray to black, tough, fiber-like covering, which can block the airways. 
  • A toxin formed by diphtheria bacteria can cause inflammation of heart muscle and nerves which can be fatal. 
  • Sometimes diphtheria can cause small skin sores that form larger ulcers, commonly on the legs. (generally seen in tropical areas) 
  • People usually take between two and five days to show symptoms after infection. 
  • Bluish colouration of the skin. 
  • Bloody, watery discharge from the nose.
  • Breathing problems :  Difficulty breathing, Rapid breathing, A harsh, high-pitched sound in inhalation or exhalation.
  • Chills, fever, difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness. 
  • A croup-like (barking) cough. 
  • Drooling (suggests difficulty in swallowing).  
    Courtesty of

    How Do You Catch Diphtheria?

    • Diphtheria bacteria can live in the mouth, nose, throat or skin on infected individuals.
    • People with diphtheria are infectious for up to 4 weeks from the onset of symptoms. Some people may become carriers of the bacteria and so be infectious for longer.
    • Corynebacterium ulcerans infection is occasionally associated with consumption of unpasteurised milk or contact with animals.
    • Diphtheria spreads through respiratory droplets (such as those produced by a cough or sneeze) of an infected person or someone who carries the bacteria but has no symptoms. Diphtheria can also be spread by contaminated objects or foods (such as contaminated milk).
    • People can also get diphtheria from close contact with discharges  from an infected person's mouth, nose, throat or skin.

    Those at Risk?

    • Anyone who comes in contact with diphtheria during its infectious phase who has not had diphtheria in the past or has not been fully immunised is at risk.
    Throat membrane

    How Do We Prevent Diphtheria?

    • Diphtheria vaccination protects against the disease. It is part of the standard vaccination schedule and is given as DTP vaccine, which contains combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
    • DTP vaccine should be given at 2,4 and 6 months of age, followed by booster doses at 4 years and at 15 years of age.
    • A high vaccination rate in the community is important to protect the population from resurgence of this disease.

    How Is It Diagnosed?

    • A doctor can suspect diphtheria based on a clinical examination when the membrane is seen in the throat, and by testing throat swabs in a laboratory.
    • Special laboratory tests are needed to detect the toxin and confirm the diagnosis.
    • You may need an ECG (electrocardiogram).
    Skin lesions on throat

    How Is It Treated?

    • Diphtheria infection is treated with antibiotics and antitoxin.
    • If the health care provider thinks you have diphtheria, treatment should be started immediately, even before test results are available.

      Diphtheria antitoxin is given as a shot into a muscle or through an IV (intravenous line). The infection is then treated with antibiotics, such as penicillin and erythromycin.

      People with diphtheria may need to stay in the hospital while the antitoxin is being received. Other treatments may include:

      • Fluids by IV,  Oxygen,  Bed rest,  Heart monitoring, insertion of a breathing tube and correction of airway blockages.
      Anyone who has come into contact with the infected person should receive an immunization or booster shots against diphtheria. Protective immunity lasts only 10 years from the time of vaccination, so it is important for adults to get a booster of tetanus-diphtheria (Td) vaccine every 10 years.
      Those without symptoms who carry diphtheria should be treated with antibiotics.
    Diphtheria may be mild or severe. Some people may not have symptoms. In others, the disease can slowly get worse.
    The death rate is 10%. Recovery from the illness is slow.


    The most common complication is inflammation of the heart muscle. The nervous system is also frequently and severely affected, which may result in temporary paralysis.
    The diphtheria toxin can also damage the kidneys.

    Diphtheria Is A Notifiable Disease 

    Laboratories, hospitals, school principals and directors of childcare centres are required to notify cases of diphtheria to the local public health unit under the Public Health Act, 1991. Public Health Units investigate cases and their contacts to identify possible sources of infection and prevent further spread. Cases are isolated until they are not infectious. People who have had close or prolonged contact with a case may also be at risk of infection. Some contacts of cases are given antibiotics to stop the infection from developing.

    From :U.S. National Library of Medicine - The World's Largest Medical Library, and Pubmed