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How to cope with an eating disorder at Christmas – Herald Planet

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Katie Scott

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Katie Scott, bottom left, celebrates Christmas in 2017 with mum Hazel, brother Ben, and grandparents, Anne and John

Christmas celebrations in the UK often centre on food, drink and family gatherings, but campaigners warn that the party season can place additional strain on those living with eating disorders.

“It’s tricky even years down the line to watch the happiness and festivities at Christmas,” says Katie Scott, 21, who is in recovery from an eating disorder.

“I have always loved [the time of year] – I love the food, I love being with my family. But now it’s difficult because of the eating disorder.”

She adds: “No matter how hard I try or want it to be carefree or eating-disorder free I know that it can’t be – it’s bittersweet.”

Her comments come as new guidance is published to help those living with eating disorders over the festive season.

Katie first became unwell at the age of 14, restricting her food intake and falling into depression. She was initially diagnosed with eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS), and later with anorexia aged 16.

She describes her first diagnosis as the beginning of a “long and ongoing struggle” with eating and her weight, mood and self-harm, straining her relationships with her family and friends.

“It left me feeling desperate and isolated,” she says. “It was a life-threatening situation.”

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Katie Scott

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Katie, who is in recovery, is now in her third year at university

Katie dropped out of school for periods of time, undergoing inpatient treatment. She was finally discharged from hospital aged 18, joining the year below her at school to finish her education before going to university.

“I had to rebuild my life from rock bottom,” she says.

Katie explains that she has found Christmas “an especially difficult time” both while unwell and in recovery, often feeling unable to get fully involved with the festivities.

“The celebrations are obviously very focused around food,” she says. “I love food, but I’m scared of it so I have this contradiction – the fear factor.

“I’ve found Christmas quite hard to deal with in the past because I wanted to look forward to it, but all of the elements that I love [about it] became stressful and scary.”

She adds: “I think anorexia might be an extreme version of losing the magic of Christmas. It’s still a lovely time of year but it’s not quite the same.

“I kid myself each year that it will be but it’s never as easy as it was before. It can be disappointing.”

The charity Beat estimates 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder, with anorexia known to have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.



Offering support at Christmas

The NHS and eating disorder charity Beat have published new guidance on how to support people with eating disorders and their families at Christmas.

The advice aims to help friends and family of those of any age with such an illness navigate the festive period – while continuing to manage a condition.

Some of the suggested techniques, based on experience from clinicians, patients and parents, include:

  • Serving food as a buffet rather than as sit-down meals
  • Minimising the social expectations of people with eating disorders over the festive season
  • Treating meals on and around Christmas Day as routinely as possible
  • Planning well ahead and thinking about how food features in the day
  • Once dinner is over, shifting the focus on to other activities such as playing games
  • Making loved ones aware to avoid questions about weight or appetite

For Katie, planning the structure of the day is key, including what she will do if she is feeling stressed – whether that is stepping outside or going for a walk.

She also advises finding someone to confide in. “Try and have one person who is at least aware that you might struggle,” she says.

Beat has also published advice on how to spot the signs of an eating disorder on its website.



Katie says the Christmas period can also be a hard time for her mother, who, she notices, is focused on keeping her safe and feeling OK amid the celebrations.

“She’s had a few very difficult Christmases with me,” Katie says. “It’s almost worse for mum because she has to deal with me and can’t anticipate how I’m going to react.”

Dr Prathiba Chitsabesan, NHS associate clinical director for children and young people’s mental health, says supporting families to manage eating disorders at home is “crucial”.

She adds that the “added pressure of New Year’s resolutions and the bombardment of weight loss messaging” so close to Christmas can prove challenging for those living with an eating disorder.

“Hopefully these tips will really make a difference,” she says.

‘Added pressures’

Caroline Price, Beat’s director of services, has warned that the pressure to eat large amounts at Christmas “can be triggering” for people with binge-eating disorder and bulimia, as well as causing anxiety for people with anorexia.

She says: “People with eating disorders often try to hide their illness and at Christmas when eating is a social occasion – often with people who they do not see frequently – they may feel ashamed and want to isolate themselves from others.

“At the same time, Christmas can be a source of distress for families who are caring for someone with an eating disorder.

“All these pressures can be made more difficult as the normal support networks are often not available at Christmas, as friends may be away, and regular social activities close for the holidays.”

Anyone worried about their own or someone else’s health is urged to contact Beat’s helplines, which are open year-round and every day from 16:00 to 20:00 GMT from 24 December to 1 January.

Those in need of support can get in contact via phone, email, anonymous one-to-one webchat or social media messaging.

  • Beat’s adult helpline can be reached on 0808 801 0677, or there is a dedicated Youthline for under-18s on 0808 801 0711. The online support groups and one-to-one webchat can be accessed here.

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DeMille Anticipates Broader Rollout Of 4th Dose Vaccination – Country 105

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The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) is getting ready for the annual flu shot campaign, as well as a broader ask for arms to get the fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The province expanded the second booster dose eligibility on April 7th to those who are 60 and over as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over.

“At this time, I’m not hearing any indication of the province opening up (eligibility) to the broader population, and I’m not sure really we would have evidence that would be needed at this time,” DeMille told Acadia News Monday. “We are much lower in terms of the amount of COVID-19 (cases) in the province of Ontario. With the summertime, we see overall less spread (of the virus).”

DeMille did mention that the District anticipates the call will get broader in the fall.

As of June 21st, 133,334 people within the TBDHU have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 80,719 have received three doses.

Officials have given fourth doses to 18,687 individuals as of the last update.

DeMille was also asked about a return to school in September, and what that might look like after Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam told Federal MPs on June 8th that there is a real threat of the seventh wave of COVID-19.

The Medical Officer says it’s hard to look into the crystal ball and pinpoint what will happen based on the fact that right now a majority of the new infections are the Omicron variant.

“The schools overall did fairly well,” DeMille stated. “We know that a lot of people did get infected, which can cause a lot of disruption because people still need to isolate so that they are not spreading (the virus) to others. Likely a lot of spread happened in the schools when we re-opened in January and through the last few waves.”

DeMille noted that the schools took a lot of measures that helped in previous waves, including improving ventilation.

“I anticipate that (masking) will always be optional, but when the Omicron variant is spreading, it’s always helpful when people are masking in indoor spaces when they are interacting with others,” said DeMille. “(Down the road) we might recommend that people wear masks in schools, but that advice will really depend on what we see circulating, how much it is circulating and what the impact is on schools.”

DeMille mentioned whether it is the school, the workplace, or any other indoor space, the goal is to return to as normal as possible in an eventual post-pandemic world.

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Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, says WHO – Global News

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Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) ruled on Saturday, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

“I am deeply concerned about the monkeypox outbreak, this is clearly an evolving health threat that my colleagues and I in the WHO Secretariat are following extremely closely,” Tedros said.

The “global emergency” label currently only applies to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing efforts to eradicate polio, and the U.N. agency has stepped back from applying it to the monkeypox outbreak after advice from a meeting of international experts.

Read more:

Canada signs $32.9M contract for smallpox drug with manufacturer Chimerix

There have been more than 3,200 confirmed cases of monkeypox and one death reported in the last six weeks from 48 countries where it does not usually spread, according to WHO.

So far this year almost 1,500 cases and 70 deaths in central Africa, where the disease is more common, have also been reported, chiefly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Monkeypox, a viral illness causing flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, has been spreading largely in men who have sex with men outside the countries where it is endemic.

It has two clades – the West African strain, which is believed to have a fatality rate of around 1% and which is the strain spreading in Europe and elsewhere, and the Congo Basin strain, which has a fatality rate closer to 10%, according to WHO.


Click to play video: 'More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll'



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More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll


More than half of Canadians confident in monkeypox response, but 55% worried about spread: poll – Jun 17, 2022

There are vaccines and treatments available for monkeypox, although they are in limited supply.

The WHO decision is likely to be met with some criticism from global health experts, who said ahead of the meeting that the outbreak met the criteria to be called an emergency.

However, others pointed out that the WHO is in a difficult position after COVID-19. Its January 2020 declaration that the new coronavirus represented a public health emergency was largely ignored by many governments until around six weeks later, when the agency used the word “pandemic” and countries took action.

(Reporting by Jennifer Rigby; additional reporting by Mrinmay Dey; Editing by Sandra Maler)

© 2022 Reuters

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Kingston, Ont., area health officials examining future of local vaccination efforts – Global News

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More than 455,000 people in the Kingston region have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Now health officials say they’re using the summer months, with low infection rates, to look ahead to what fall might bring, urging those who are still eligible to get vaccinated do so.

Read more:

Kingston Health Sciences Centre to decommission COVID-19 field site

“Large, mass immunization clinics, mobile clinics, drive-thru clinics and small primary care clinics doing their own vaccine,” said Brian Larkin with KFL&A Public Health.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Gerald Evans says those who are still eligible for a third and fourth dose should take advantage and roll up their sleeves during the low-infection summer months.

“Now in 2022, although you still might get COVID, you’re probably not going to be very sick. You are less likely to transmit and ultimately that’s one of the ways we’re going to control the pandemic,” added Evans.

He expects another wave of COVID-19 to hit in late October to early November and that a booster may be made available for those younger than 60 who still aren’t eligible for a fourth dose.

Read more:

Kingston, Ont. COVID assessment centre cuts hours for the summer

“The best case scenario is a few more years of watching rises in cases, getting boosters to control things and ultimately getting out of it with this being just another coronavirus that just tends to cause a respiratory infection and worst-case scenario is a new variant where all the potential possibilities exist to have a big surge in cases and hopefully not a lot more serious illness,” said Evans.

Public Health says they’re still waiting for direction from the province on what’s to come this fall.

“We’re expecting that we would see more age groups and younger age groups be eligible for more doses or boosters but about when those ages start, we have yet to have that confirmed,” said Larkin.

The last 18 months of vaccines paving the way for the new normal could mean a yearly COVID booster alongside the annual flu shot.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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