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Doctor shares her holy grail tips for overcoming eye sensitivity

<p>As the chill of winter sets in, many people find that their eyes become more sensitive and prone to dryness. This can be particularly challenging for those who already suffer from dry eye syndrome. </p> <p>Dr. Jacqueline Beltz is a leading Australian Ophthalmologist and the founder of <a href="https://www.okkiyo.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">OKKIYO</a>, a beauty brand that makes PRIORITEYES mascara for people with sensitive eyes.</p> <p>Dr Beltz has shared her insights into dry eye syndrome and how winter can exacerbate symptoms, also sharing her top tips for managing eye sensitivity during the colder months.</p> <p><strong>Understanding Dry Eye Syndrome</strong></p> <p>The surface of the eye is covered by a delicate layer of tears, essential for comfort, vision, protection, and nutrition. The tear film comprises two main layers: an outer lipid (oily) layer and an inner aqueous (watery) layer. The lipid layer, produced by oil glands in the eyelids, prevents tears from evaporating too quickly, while the aqueous layer, consisting of water, electrolytes, and proteins, spreads tears evenly across the eye and helps them adhere to the surface.</p> <p>When the balance of tear production, evaporation, absorption, and drainage is disrupted, it can lead to dry eye syndrome. Symptoms may include redness, irritation, a gritty sensation, tired eyes, itching, excessive watering, and fluctuating vision. In severe cases, dry eye can be painful and significantly impact daily life.</p> <p><strong>How common is dry eye syndrome?</strong></p> <p>Dry eye syndrome is a widespread issue, particularly among older adults. According to the Blue Mountains Eye Study, 57% of adults over the age of 50 experience some degree of dry eye. This condition is notably more prevalent in women, with higher rates observed compared to their male counterparts. The increased prevalence in women is often attributed to hormonal changes, particularly during and after menopause. </p> <p>A more recent study, Optometry Australia’s 2022 Vision index found that over 85% of Australians are estimated to have experienced dry eyes at some point in their lives.  Of those affected, 55% say they only developed the condition following the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.  They reported that almost 1 in 5 (18%) of people experience dry eye symptoms frequently.  </p> <p>These statistics highlight the importance of understanding and managing dry eye, especially as we age.</p> <p><strong>DEWS II Study and Treatment Approaches</strong></p> <p>The DEWS II (Dry Eye Workshop II) study provides a comprehensive framework for understanding and treating dry eye syndrome. According to the study, dry eye is a multifactorial disease characterised by a loss of homeostasis (or balance) in the tear film, accompanied by eye symptoms. Factors such as tear film instability, hyperosmolarity (increased saltiness), inflammation, and neurosensory (altered feelings or sensations) abnormalities play significant roles.</p> <p>There are two primary types of dry eye: aqueous deficient and evaporative. Most individuals have a combination of both. Aqueous deficient dry eye occurs when there is insufficient production of the watery layer of tears, often due to aging, hormonal changes, or certain medications. Evaporative dry eye is typically caused by environmental factors or conditions affecting the lipid layer, such as meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD).</p> <p><strong>Winter's Impact on Dry Eyes</strong></p> <p>Winter poses unique challenges for dry eye sufferers. Cold, dry air, indoor heating, and wind can all exacerbate symptoms. Here's how to combat these winter-specific issues:</p> <p><em><strong>1. Humidify Your Environment</strong></em></p> <p>Indoor heating reduces humidity levels, leading to increased tear evaporation. Consider using a humidifier to maintain moisture in the air, especially in bedrooms and living spaces. This helps keep your eyes hydrated.</p> <p><em><strong>2. Protect Your Eyes Outdoors</strong></em></p> <p>Cold winds can strip away the tear film. When outside, wear wraparound sunglasses to shield your eyes from the elements. This not only protects your eyes from the wind but also from UV rays, which can be strong even in winter.</p> <p><em><strong>3. Stay Hydrated</strong></em></p> <p>Dehydration can worsen dry eye symptoms. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain overall hydration, which supports healthy tear production.</p> <p><em><strong>4. Optimise Your Diet</strong></em></p> <p>Certain foods can promote eye health. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish like salmon and flaxseeds, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help manage dry eye symptoms. Incorporate these into your diet for added benefits.</p> <p><em><strong>5. Use a Warm Compress</strong></em></p> <p>A warm compress can help improve the function of the meibomian glands, which produce the oily layer of the tear film. This is particularly helpful for those with meibomian gland dysfunction, or MGD. Gently apply a warm, damp cloth to your closed eyelids for 10-15 minutes, followed by a gentle massage of the eyelids to encourage oil secretion. It is important to avoid rubbing or compressing the eyeballs.</p> <p><em><strong>6. Use Over-the-Counter Lubricant Eye Drops</strong></em></p> <p>Artificial tears can provide temporary relief by supplementing the natural tear film. Choose preservative-free options to avoid further irritation, and use them frequently.</p> <p><em><strong>7.  Remember to have regular eye checks</strong></em></p> <p>In Australia, Optometrists provide our primary eye health check ups. Dr Beltz recommends adults over the age of 40 see their optometrist once a year, but if you’re struggling with symptoms of dry eye in winter, an extra check up might help and your optometrist will be able to help you to come up with an individualised treatment plan.</p> <p><em><strong>8. Invest in Quality Eye Products</strong></em></p> <p>For those who wear makeup, using products designed for sensitive eyes is crucial. <a href="https://www.okkiyo.com/products/protect-and-preserve-mascara" target="_blank" rel="noopener">PRIORITEYES</a> mascara by OKKIYO has been specifically formulated to be gentle on sensitive eyes, avoiding common irritants while providing excellent performance.</p> <p><strong>Managing Dry Eye in Winter: A Recap</strong></p> <p>Winter can be tough on our eyes, but with the right strategies, you can manage dry eye symptoms effectively. Maintain a humid environment, protect your eyes from cold winds, stay hydrated, and incorporate eye-healthy foods into your diet. Regularly use warm compresses and opt for gentle, high-quality eye products like PRIORITEYES mascara.  </p> <p>Dry eye syndrome may be a common condition, but it doesn't have to dominate your life, especially during the harsh winter months. With these tips, you can keep your eyes comfortable and healthy all season long. For personalised advice and treatment, always consult with your eye care professional.</p> <p>Stay warm, stay hydrated and take care of your eyes this winter!</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Body

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Cafe providing free meals to families faces shutdown

<p>Kirsty Parkes spends a lot of her time providing food and clothes to those in need amid the cost-of-living crisis by running a community cafe. </p> <p>But now, her beloved cafe may close if she doesn't receive urgent financial help. </p> <p>"We need to pay our bills in order to keep this going and if we don't pay our bills, people don't eat," Parkes, who has a big family of her own, told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>Community Cafe in Sydney's south-west became a safe haven for dozens of men, women and children, with over 100 people showing up every day. </p> <p>The cafe is a place where people can get food, clothes and toiletries for free, as well as connect with others. </p> <p>"We want to help people restore their value and restore their dignity," Parkes said.</p> <p>"Our currency is just a little bit different. So instead of using money, we use manners. Because manners and kindness are free."</p> <p>However, with an increase in costs and a lack of donations, the beloved cafe may soon be forced to close. </p> <p>"Whether there's a rate rise, whether there's a petrol hike, all of these little things affect us tremendously and affect the numbers here," she said.</p> <p>"We need to come up with some funds really desperately before then just to keep us open," she added. </p> <p>She said that at this stage they require "around about $20,000. Our electricity bill alone is almost $10,000."</p> <p>She added that  Cabravale Diggers, who have been paying the cafe's rent, and Liverpool City Council, who have also been providing financial assistance, can't continue to hold responsibility for all of the bills. </p> <p>"We've had fantastic sponsorship, we have fantastic people that back us ... but they can't carry the burden of this," Parkes said.</p> <p>"This is something that the whole community needs to get behind and support."</p> <p>The cafe provides invaluable support for customers like Ted and Lola, who find it hard to find a similar community. </p> <p>"I go to church. Not even a church will help me," Lola said.</p> <p>"These people - I don't even know them and out of nowhere they're taking rich and poor, whoever turns up."</p> <p>"It's hard living on a pension. It's very hard," Ted added. </p> <p>Parkes added that as things are starting to run out, she has had to impose rations, which has been difficult for her. </p> <p>"We've had to then turn around and say 'look today, sorry we can only give you two loaves of bread because we just don't have enough for everyone that's going to come through the door'," Parkes said.</p> <p>"That stuff breaks my heart. It absolutely kills me because people are hungry."</p> <p>From Friday, customers may have to be turned away.</p> <p>"It's terrible. How can we close? We see over 120 people a day. It's terrible," one of the volunteers at the community cafe said. </p> <p>"The community needs it. We can't close. We absolutely cannot close."</p> <p> Those who would like to help the cafe stay open have been encouraged to visit their <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Communitycafe.inc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Facebook page</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: A Current Affair</em></p>

Caring

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The must-visit winter travel destinations

<p dir="ltr">As winter rolls around, many people are looking to flee the confines of their chilly homes and routines in search of sunshine and adventure. </p> <p dir="ltr">Aussies have been already planning their getaways to follow the sun, as <a href="about:blank">Booking.com</a>'s latest search data has revealed the top ten international holiday spots for this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">The results show that while many travellers are heading to tropical destinations this winter, others are searching for a different kind of holiday. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>10. Kuta, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While Bali has long been a popular tourist destination for Aussies, many chose to head to Indonesia to enjoy the sandy beaches and escape the winter chill. </p> <p dir="ltr">With winter temperatures hovering around 25°C each day, there's no better place to escape the cold.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>9. Paris, France</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In 2024, Paris is on many people’s travel lists ahead of the Olympics in July. </p> <p dir="ltr">With charming restaurants, trendy boutiques, chic cafes, and amazing museums on offer, as well as warm temps, there’s no better time to head to Paris. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>8. Ubud, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Another Bali region to make the list, Ubud is an inland paradise amongst rice paddies and lush jungle.</p> <p dir="ltr">The food heaven destination is also known for its gorgeous climate, making it a perfect holiday spot. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>7. Queenstown, New Zealand</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">For those who don’t want to venture too far from home, Queenstown is an amazing spot for anyone seeking an active holiday.</p> <p dir="ltr">As the only spot on the list which isn't about escaping winter, Queenstown - and New Zealand in general - is often visited by keen skiers and those looking to amplify their winter travels. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>6. Canggu, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Another Bali spot making the list, Canggu is a beachside area surrounded by terraced rice paddies and known for good surf.</p> <p dir="ltr">Accommodation in the area ranges from beachside villas and gorgeous guesthouses, with something for everyone. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Singapore</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While Singapore has long been a default stopover city for travellers on their way to Europe, it's also a great destination in its own right.</p> <p dir="ltr">With a stunning mix of old town charm and modern skyscrapers, it's the perfect place for a mid-week getaway or long weekend.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. Legian, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Legian Beach is right next to the popular spot Kuta, though is a bit more relaxed and laid-back, and perfect for travellers who want to chill out.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to booking.com, Legian has become increasingly popular with travellers in the last year.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. London, England</strong> </p> <p dir="ltr">For anyone embarking on a Euro summer, London is a must-see destination for any keen traveller.</p> <p dir="ltr">There's something in London for everyone, from amazing museums and sprawling markets, to iconic landmarks and rich history.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Tokyo, Japan</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While tourism in Japan has surged in recent years, there’s a good reason why, as many travellers are flocking to the nation to experience its rich culture. </p> <p dir="ltr">On top of it being an affordable destination, the unique experience has Aussies heading to Japan in droves, with Tokyo seeing a 25 per cent search increase among Aussies in the last year. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Seminyak, Bali</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Unsurprisingly, a Bali destination has topped the list, as Seminyak offers luxury hotels and villas, high-end dining, and famous beach clubs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Located between Canggu and Kuta, Seminyak has long hosted thousands of tourists looking to escape the cold, with travellers and locals alike basking in the picturesque sunsets. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

International Travel

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The sad state of Aussie ski resorts ahead of winter holiday season

<p>Ski resorts in Australia have had to get creative ahead of the tourist-heavy ski season after a lack of snowfall, despite plunging temperatures. </p> <p>The ski season begins this year on the June long weekend, running alongside the King’s Birthday on June 8th. </p> <p>Despite expecting a huge influx of keen skiers, there has only been light flurries of snow so far, according to WeatherZone, which melt away quickly and don't settle on the ground for long. </p> <p>In order to accommodate the busy season, Thredbo has had to resort to using fake snow for people to ski on. </p> <p>Manufactured snow happens by combining pressurised air and water through a ‘snow gun’ that gets blasted out into the air.</p> <p>The most ideal time to create the fake snow is on clear nights with low humidity, as the higher the humidity the colder it needs to be to make the flurries.</p> <p>Several photos from ski.com.au's cameras have shown popular ski sites with a disappointing lack of snow, in scenes similar to last year's ski season. </p> <p>“No significant snowfalls are on the horizon for the mainland Australian ski resorts before the official King’s Birthday Long Weekend season opening,” Weatherzone reports.</p> <p>“Snow-making began on the weekend at several resorts and has continued into the working week in the cold dry, air in the wake of the cold front.”</p> <p>According to WeatherZone, high-pressure systems, which have brought constant rain to the east coast recently, have been blocking the snowfall.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Xinhua News Agency / Thredbo</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Paris in spring, Bali in winter. How ‘bucket lists’ help cancer patients handle life and death

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leah-williams-veazey-1223970">Leah Williams Veazey</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>In the 2007 film <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0825232/">The Bucket List</a> Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play two main characters who respond to their terminal cancer diagnoses by rejecting experimental treatment. Instead, they go on a range of energetic, overseas escapades.</p> <p>Since then, the term “bucket list” – a list of experiences or achievements to complete before you “kick the bucket” or die – has become common.</p> <p>You can read articles listing <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/11/cities-to-visit-before-you-die-according-to-50-travel-experts-and-only-one-is-in-the-us.html">the seven cities</a> you must visit before you die or <a href="https://www.qantas.com/travelinsider/en/trending/top-100-guide/best-things-to-do-and-see-in-australia-travel-bucket-list.html">the 100</a> Australian bucket-list travel experiences.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UvdTpywTmQg?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>But there is a more serious side to the idea behind bucket lists. One of the key forms of suffering at the end of life <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pon.4821">is regret</a> for things left unsaid or undone. So bucket lists can serve as a form of insurance against this potential regret.</p> <p>The bucket-list search for adventure, memories and meaning takes on a life of its own with a diagnosis of life-limiting illness.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/14407833241251496">study</a> published this week, we spoke to 54 people living with cancer, and 28 of their friends and family. For many, a key bucket list item was travel.</p> <h2>Why is travel so important?</h2> <p>There are lots of reasons why travel plays such a central role in our ideas about a “life well-lived”. Travel is often linked to important <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2003.10.005">life transitions</a>: the youthful gap year, the journey to self-discovery in the 2010 film <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0879870/">Eat Pray Love</a>, or the popular figure of the “<a href="https://theconversation.com/grey-nomad-lifestyle-provides-a-model-for-living-remotely-106074">grey nomad</a>”.</p> <p>The significance of travel is not merely in the destination, nor even in the journey. For many people, planning the travel is just as important. A cancer diagnosis affects people’s sense of control over their future, throwing into question their ability to write their own life story or plan their travel dreams.</p> <p>Mark, the recently retired husband of a woman with cancer, told us about their stalled travel plans: "We’re just in that part of our lives where we were going to jump in the caravan and do the big trip and all this sort of thing, and now [our plans are] on blocks in the shed."</p> <p>For others, a cancer diagnosis brought an urgent need to “tick things off” their bucket list. Asha, a woman living with breast cancer, told us she’d always been driven to “get things done” but the cancer diagnosis made this worse: "So, I had to do all the travel, I had to empty my bucket list now, which has kind of driven my partner round the bend."</p> <p>People’s travel dreams ranged from whale watching in Queensland to seeing polar bears in the Arctic, and from driving a caravan across the Nullarbor Plain to skiing in Switzerland.</p> <p>Nadia, who was 38 years old when we spoke to her, said travelling with her family had made important memories and given her a sense of vitality, despite her health struggles. She told us how being diagnosed with cancer had given her the chance to live her life at a younger age, rather than waiting for retirement: "In the last three years, I think I’ve lived more than a lot of 80-year-olds."</p> <h2>But travel is expensive</h2> <p>Of course, travel is expensive. It’s not by chance Nicholson’s character in The Bucket List is a billionaire.</p> <p>Some people we spoke to had emptied their savings, assuming they would no longer need to provide for aged care or retirement. Others had used insurance payouts or charity to make their bucket-list dreams come true.</p> <p>But not everyone can do this. Jim, a 60-year-old whose wife had been diagnosed with cancer, told us: "We’ve actually bought a new car and [been] talking about getting a new caravan […] But I’ve got to work. It’d be nice if there was a little money tree out the back but never mind."</p> <p>Not everyone’s bucket list items were expensive. Some chose to spend more time with loved ones, take up a new hobby or get a pet.</p> <p>Our study showed making plans to tick items off a list can give people a sense of self-determination and hope for the future. It was a way of exerting control in the face of an illness that can leave people feeling powerless. Asha said: "This disease is not going to control me. I am not going to sit still and do nothing. I want to go travel."</p> <h2>Something we ‘ought’ to do?</h2> <p>Bucket lists are also a symptom of a broader culture that emphasises conspicuous <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH_Pa1hOEVc">consumption</a> and <a href="https://productiveageinginstitute.org.au/">productivity</a>, even into the end of life.</p> <p>Indeed, people told us travelling could be exhausting, expensive and stressful, especially when they’re also living with the symptoms and side effects of treatment. Nevertheless, they felt travel was something they “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/14461242.2021.1918016">ought</a>” to do.</p> <p>Travel can be deeply meaningful, as our study found. But a life well-lived need not be extravagant or adventurous. Finding what is meaningful is a deeply personal journey.</p> <hr /> <p><em>Names of study participants mentioned in this article are pseudonyms.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225682/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leah-williams-veazey-1223970">Leah Williams Veazey</a>, ARC DECRA Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-broom-121063">Alex Broom</a>, Professor of Sociology &amp; Director, Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/katherine-kenny-318175">Katherine Kenny</a>, ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/paris-in-spring-bali-in-winter-how-bucket-lists-help-cancer-patients-handle-life-and-death-225682">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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Dog care below freezing − how to keep your pet warm and safe from cold weather, road salt and more this winter

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p>Time outside with your dog in the spring, summer and fall can be lovely. Visiting your favorite downtown café on a cool spring morning, going to a favorite dog park on a clear summer evening or going on walks along a river when the leaves are changing color are all wonderful when the weather is favorable. But in much of the country, when winter rolls around, previously hospitable conditions can <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-winter-miserable-for-wildlife-108734">quickly turn chilly and dangerous</a> for people and pups alike.</p> <p>Winter brings some unique challenges for dog owners, since dogs still need activity and socialization during colder seasons. Studies have shown that dog owners are almost 50% less likely to walk their dogs <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113302">when the weather gets cold</a>. Knowing the basics of winter safety is critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dog.</p> <p>I am an <a href="https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/faculty/erik-olstad">assistant professor</a> at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine who weathered polar vortexes with my dog while living in Michigan early in my career. While I’ve since moved to sunny California, I’ve seen how quickly frigid temperatures can turn dangerous for pets.</p> <h2>Breed and age differences</h2> <p>Not all dogs have the same abilities to deal with cold weather. A short-coated dog like a Chihuahua is much more susceptible to the dangers of cold weather than a thick-coated husky. When the weather dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius), the well-acclimated husky may be comfortable, whereas the Chihuahua would shiver and be at risk of hypothermia.</p> <p>Additionally, if your dog is used to warm weather, but you decide to move to a colder region, the dog will need time to acclimate to that colder weather, even if they have a thick coat.</p> <p>Age also affects cold-weather resilience. Puppies and elderly dogs can’t withstand the chill as well as other dogs, but every dog is unique – each may have individual health conditions or physical attributes that make them more or less resilient to cold weather.</p> <h2>When is my dog too cold?</h2> <p>Pet owners should be able to recognize the symptoms of a dog that is getting too cold. Dogs will shiver, and some may vocalize or whine. Dogs may resist putting their feet down on the cold ground, or burrow, or try to find warmth in their environment when they are uncomfortable.</p> <p>Just like people, <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">dogs can get frostbite</a>. And just like people, the signs can take days to appear, making it hard to assess them in the moment. The most common sites for frostbite in dogs are their ears and the tips of their tails. Some of the initial signs of frostbite are skin discoloring, turning paler than normal, or purple, gray or even black; red, blistered skin; swelling; pain at the site; <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/ulcer">or ulceration</a>.</p> <p>Other <a href="https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/frostbite-in-dogs">serious signs of hypothermia</a> include sluggishness or lethargy, and if you observe them, please visit your veterinarian immediately. A good rule to live by is if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog.</p> <p>Getting your dog a <a href="https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/pets/best-winter-dog-coats-jackets">sweater or jacket</a> and <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/vets-corner/protect-dogs-paws-snow-ice-salt/">paw covers</a> can provide them with protection from the elements and keep them comfortable. Veterinarians also recommend closely monitoring your dog and limiting their time outside when the temperature nears the freezing point or drops below it.</p> <h2>Road salt dangers</h2> <p>Road salt that treats ice on streets and sidewalks <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/ice-salt-toxic-for-pets-1.5020088">can also harm dogs</a>. When dogs walk on the salt, the sharp, rough edges of the salt crystals can irritate the sensitive skin on their paws.</p> <p>Dogs will often lick their feet when they’re dirty, wet or irritated, and if they ingest any salt doing that, they may face GI upset, dehydration, kidney failure, seizures or even death. Even small amounts of pure salt can <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-tips/my-dog-ate-road-salt-will-they-be-okay/">disrupt critical body functions</a> in dogs.</p> <p>Some companies make pet-safe salt, but in public it can be hard to tell what type of salt is on the ground. After walking your dog, wash off their feet or boots. You can also keep their paw fur trimmed to prevent snow from balling up or salt collecting in the fur. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly or <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/how-to-make-your-own-paw-balm-for-winter/">paw pad balm</a> to the skin of the paw pads can also help protect your pet’s paws from irritation.</p> <h2>Antifreeze risks</h2> <p><a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/antifreeze-chemical-substance">Antifreeze, or ethylene glycol</a>, is in most vehicles to prevent the fluids from freezing when it gets cold out. Some people pour antifreeze into their toilets when away from their home to prevent the water in the toilet from freezing.</p> <p>Antifreeze is an exceptionally dangerous chemical to dogs and cats, as it tastes sweet but can be deadly when ingested. If a pet ingests even a small amount of antifreeze, the substance causes a chemical cascade in their body that results in severe kidney damage. If left untreated, the pet may have <a href="https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owner-blog/antifreeze-poisoning/">permanent kidney damage or die</a>.</p> <p>There are safer antifreeze options on the market that use ingredients other than ethylene glycol. If your dog ingests antifreeze, please see your veterinarian immediately for treatment.</p> <p>When temperatures dip below freezing, the best thing pet owners can do is keep the time spent outside as minimal as possible. Try some <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/great-indoor-games-to-play-with-your-dog/">indoor activities</a>, like hide-and-seek with low-calorie treats, fetch or even an interactive obstacle course. Food puzzles can also keep your dog mentally engaged during indoor time.</p> <p>Although winter presents some unique challenges, it can still be an enjoyable and healthy time for you and your canine companion.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221709/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/erik-christian-olstad-1505284">Erik Christian Olstad</a>, Health Sciences Assistant Professor of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-california-davis-1312">University of California, Davis</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dog-care-below-freezing-how-to-keep-your-pet-warm-and-safe-from-cold-weather-road-salt-and-more-this-winter-221709">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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SecondBite's Feed the Future Program: cultivating hope, one meal at a time

<p>In a world where food insecurity continues to plague communities, there shines a beacon of hope in the form of <a href="https://secondbite.org/">SecondBite</a>. Since its inception in 2005, SecondBite has worked tirelessly to rescue and redistribute surplus food, ensuring that no Australian goes to bed hungry. Now, with the launch of their Feed the Future program, they are taking their commitment to combating hunger and waste to new heights.</p> <p>The impact of SecondBite's efforts is truly staggering. Having already rescued and redistributed the equivalent of almost 300 million meals, they have become a lifeline for countless individuals and families facing food insecurity across the nation. But as the demand for their services continues to rise, so too does the need for support from generous donors and supporters.</p> <p>At the heart of SecondBite's purpose is the belief that every Australian deserves access to nutritious food, regardless of their circumstances. Through their Feed the Future program, they are not only addressing immediate hunger but also working towards a future where hunger and food waste are relics of the past.</p> <p>One individual who embodied this spirit of generosity was the late Frank Costa AO, a prominent Australian businessman and philanthropist. His unwavering commitment to giving back to the community lives on through a generous $1 million donation to SecondBite's Future Trust, ensuring that his legacy of compassion and service will continue to make a difference for years to come.</p> <p>“Frank was so passionate about health and the role that nutritious food plays in keeping us healthy,” says his widow, Shirley Costa. “He always said that the best way to preserve your health is to put the right food in your body, in particular, fruit and vegetables. He felt genuinely proud to provide a service to people, but also to contribute to their health and happiness. And he hoped that his gift would allow SecondBite to continue this legacy.”</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-70396" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/SecondBite_Hero_02.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p>For those considering leaving a gift to SecondBite in their will, the Feed the Future program offers a unique opportunity to create a lasting impact. By becoming a member, supporters can join a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to building a future where no one goes hungry.</p> <p>Membership in the Feed the Future program comes with a range of exclusive benefits, including a certificate of recognition, a special lapel pin, invitations to events, and even a symbolic apple tree to plant in your garden as a testament to your commitment to ending hunger.</p> <p>But perhaps the greatest reward of all is the knowledge that your gift will help SecondBite continue their vital work, providing nourishment, hope and dignity to those in need. Together, we can create a future where every Australian has a place at the table, and no one is left behind.</p> <p><img class="alignnone wp-image-70420 size-full" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Cropped-Image_secondbite_770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p>“If you share our vision of a place at the table for all Australians, so that every child, woman and man has access to a regular nutritious food supply,” says SecondBite co-founder Ian Carson, “please consider joining our Feed the Future program and making a gift to SecondBite in your Will.”</p> <p>To learn more about how you can support SecondBite's Feed the Future program and make a difference in the lives of those facing food insecurity, contact their team today at 1800 263 283 or visit <a href="https://secondbite.org/gifts-in-will/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">secondbite.org/gifts-in-will</a>.</p> <p>Join us in cultivating a brighter future for all Australians, one meal at a time.</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with SecondBite.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Keep warm this winter without breaking the bank

<p dir="ltr">With winter right around the corner, many of us (me included) are dreading the frost-bitten mornings, increased heating bills, and feeling too frozen to enjoy our days. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, with winter comes a long list of simple things to appreciate, such as layering up with your favourite scarf before heading out, curling up under a blanket with a good book, endless cups of tea, and of course, the ultimate season for soup.</p> <p dir="ltr">Another thing to add to this unspoken list of winter essentials is the very thing that keeps us warm all day everyday: our most trusted pair of ugg boot slippers. </p> <p dir="ltr">This winter, it’s never been more important to make sure your uggs are in tip top shape, as there’s nothing more miserable than having cold toes in the middle of June. </p> <p dir="ltr">Luckily, Ugg Express is here to help. </p> <p dir="ltr">This Australian owned and based footwear brand has been crafting a wide range of high-quality ugg boots, street wear shoes and accessories for the Australian community for over 30 years.</p> <p dir="ltr">From <a href="https://uggexpress.com.au/collections/ugg-boots-for-women">women’s</a> and <a href="https://uggexpress.com.au/collections/mens-ugg-boots">men’s</a> collections to styles made for little feet, every pair of UGGs is meticulously constructed using a combination of robust soles, reinforced stitching and high-quality suede or leather exteriors to deliver long-lasting wear and endless warmth. </p> <p dir="ltr">If it's boots you’re looking for, or if slip-on slippers are more your speed, Ugg Express have what you’re after, with their entire range coming in at very affordable prices. </p> <p dir="ltr">I was lucky enough to be sent a pair of <a href="https://uggexpress.com.au/products/as-ugg-slippers-homey-unisex-sheepskin-slippers?variant=19690173005882">sheepskin Ugg slippers</a>, and can confidently say I have found my go-to Uggs for winter. </p> <p dir="ltr">These slippers are not a full boot, making them easy to slip on and off if you struggle with mobility issues, while still keeping your heels and ankles snug. </p> <p dir="ltr">As someone who has long suffered with circulation problems (even in the depths of summer will be fingers and toes be entirely too cold) these sheepskin slippers have answered my winter prayers. </p> <p dir="ltr">The ultra-soft sheepskin lining gently moulds to the contours of your feet, providing a cushioned and cloud-like sensation with every step, without leaving your feet feeling overheated or sweaty.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sheepskin also contains natural antimicrobial properties that wick away moisture and help keep nasty odours at bay, so your pair of Uggs smell fresh and new, even with extended wear.</p> <p dir="ltr">The warmth and comfort of these Uggs are unmatched, with a comfy sole adding much needed support, so you can wear them all day long. </p> <p dir="ltr">You can shop the entire range of Uggs, slippers, boots and much more <a href="https://uggexpress.com.au/">online</a>, with the Ugg Express website offering free shipping on orders over $100, and a no risk 30-day returns policy to ensure every customer is happy with their purchase. </p> <p dir="ltr">If you prefer to try before you buy, Ugg Express have stores located all across Australia. </p> <p dir="ltr">Don’t wait before you’re frozen solid to make your ultimate winter purchase! Explore the range today to discover a pair of stylish UGG boots you’ll be reaching for whenever the temperature dips.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Days are getting shorter and colder. 6 tips for sticking to your fitness goal

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/juliana-s-oliveira-709434">Juliana S. Oliveira</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-tiedemann-409380">Anne Tiedemann</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathie-sherrington-561141">Cathie Sherrington</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leanne-hassett-1497197">Leanne Hassett</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Daylight saving ends this weekend. The days are shorter and getting colder. It’s less appealing to cycle to work, walk after dinner, or wake up early to hit the gym. But we all know daily physical activity is essential for our health and wellbeing.</p> <p>Physical activity releases feel-good neurotransmitters in our brains, which help to alleviate <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/57/18/1203">stress, anxiety, and depression</a>. It also helps <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/physical-activity.htm#:%7E:text=Regular%20physical%20activity%20helps%20improve,depression%20and%20anxiety%2C%20and%20dementia.">prevent diseases</a> such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Regular physical activity can prolong life and improve overall quality of life.</p> <p>However, many of us find it difficult to achieve the <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/54/24/1451">recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity</a> each week. In fact, three out of ten Australians and half of Australians aged 65 and over are <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/physical-activity/physical-activity">inactive</a>.</p> <p>So, what can you do to stay motivated and keep moving regularly through the darker months? Here are some tips.</p> <h2>1. Nail those goals</h2> <p>Goals can provide us with a sense of purpose, meaning and direction. But just aiming to “get fit” is less likely to cut it than goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.</p> <p><strong>Specific</strong> goals are based on an observable behaviour or activity, such as step count, yoga, or competing in an event.</p> <p><strong>Measurable</strong> goals can be tracked, so you can easily tell whether you have ticked them off.</p> <p><strong>Achievable</strong> goals are realistic and based on your current fitness and abilities. But they can and should still be challenging. If you’ve only ever run 5 kilometres, it won’t be realistic to aim for a half marathon in the next month. But you could aim for 10 kilometres.</p> <p><strong>Relevant</strong> goals hold personal meaning for you. Articulating why it’s important will help motivate you to do it.</p> <p><strong>Time-bound</strong> goals include a target date for achieving them. You can always revisit your deadline if you’re ahead of schedule or if it’s too unrealistic.</p> <p>An example of a SMART goal could be: “I will walk 10,000 steps every weekday within a month.” Then you can break it down into short-term goals to make it more achievable. If you currently walk 6,000 steps each day, you can increase steps by 1,000 every week to reach 10,000 by the end of the month.</p> <h2>2. Keep track</h2> <p>More than <a href="https://www.deloitte.com/au/en/Industries/tmt/blogs/digital-consumer-trends-who-is-purchasing-what-now.html">90% of Australians own a smartphone</a> and more than <a href="https://www.deloitte.com/au/en/Industries/telecom-media-entertainment/blogs/digital-consumer-trends-touch-less-healthier-wiser.html">two in ten own a fitness tracker or a smartwatch</a>. These devices can help you track your goals and activity, keep you accountable and increase your motivation.</p> <p>A 2021 systematic review suggests fitness trackers and smartphone apps <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/55/8/422">can assist people</a> to increase their step count by up to 2,000 steps per day. <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/54/20/1188">Our research</a> demonstrated fitness trackers can also be helpful in increasing physical activity among older people. If you don’t have a fitness tracker, you can buy low-cost pedometers or track your activity times using paper and pen.</p> <h2>3. Plan for success but prepare for barriers</h2> <p>Take some time to think about the potential barriers that could prevent you from being active and plan solutions to overcome them.</p> <p>For example, if the cost of physical activity is too high for you, try to find options that are free, such as walking or running. You can also consider free online programs or streaming videos.</p> <p>If you find it difficult to fit exercise into your busy schedule, try exercising early in the morning before you start your day and laying out your workout clothes the night before. You could consider joining a gym with flexible timetables. A good strategy is to try to fit physical activity into your daily routine, such as walking or cycling to work.</p> <p>If you are living with a chronic health condition or disability, consider seeking guidance from a health professional such as an <a href="https://www.essa.org.au/Public/SearchAEP.aspx?WebsiteKey=44cfee74-3fc3-444e-bb5f-77729c390872">exercise physiologist</a> or <a href="https://choose.physio/find-a-physio">physiotherapist</a>. Start slow and gradually increase your activity and find something you enjoy so you are more likely to keep doing it.</p> <h2>4. Team up with a workout friend</h2> <p>Physical activity can be more fun when you do it with someone else. Studies show <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167494322002953?via%253Dihub&amp;sa=D&amp;source=docs&amp;ust=1712015093947627&amp;usg=AOvVaw1XGQBMDMFspL5YrQtKo3h">working out with friends can be more motivating and enjoyable</a>. It can also help with accountability, as some people are more likely to show up when they have a workout partner. So, <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60407-9/fulltext">find a friend</a> who supports your goal of being more active or maintaining your current activity levels.</p> <h2>5. Plan yourself a little treat</h2> <p>Make an appointment with yourself in your diary to exercise. Approach it as just as important as meeting a friend or colleague. One idea is to delay something you’d rather do and make it a reward for sticking to your activity appointment. If you really want to go out for coffee, do a hobby, or watch something, go for a walk first.</p> <p>Research shows <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41746-019-0164-3">incentives can dramatically increase physical activity levels</a>.</p> <h2>6. Find a coach</h2> <p>If you want more support, <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/19/1425">health coaching</a> might be an option.</p> <p>Trained professionals work one-on-one with people, sometimes via telehealth, to find out what’s reducing their motivation to make healthier choices, such as exercise. Then they employ behaviour change techniques to help them meet their health goals.</p> <p>Our recent research suggests health coaching can improve physical activity in <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/58/7/382">older people</a> and those with <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S183695532400002X">chronic pain</a>. In <a href="https://www.gethealthynsw.com.au/#:%7E:text=About%20the%20Get%20Healthy%20Service&amp;text=Delivered%20by%20NSW%20Health%2C%20the,and%20achieve%20your%20health%20goals">New South Wales</a>, <a href="https://lifeprogram.org.au/">Victoria</a> and <a href="https://www.myhealthforlife.com.au/">Queensland</a>, these sessions are government-subsidised or free.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226619/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/juliana-s-oliveira-709434">Juliana S. Oliveira</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Physical Activity, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anne-tiedemann-409380">Anne Tiedemann</a>, Professor of Physical Activity and Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cathie-sherrington-561141">Cathie Sherrington</a>, Professor, Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, School of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/leanne-hassett-1497197">Leanne Hassett</a>, Associate Professor in Physiotherapy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/days-are-getting-shorter-and-colder-6-tips-for-sticking-to-your-fitness-goals-226619">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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Sunscreen: why wearing it even in winter could be a good idea

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/karl-lawrence-404481">Karl Lawrence</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/kings-college-london-1196">King's College London</a></em></p> <p>Sunscreen has taken centre stage in many skincare routines, especially among those hoping to prevent visible signs of ageing. But while it makes sense to wear sunscreen every day in the summer when the sun’s rays are most powerful, many may wonder whether there’s any benefit of wearing sunscreen daily in the winter months.</p> <p>The sun’s radiation can reach us during all times of the year. This means that in both summer and winter, we are exposed to infrared radiation, as well as UVA and UVB rays.</p> <p>UVB is mainly responsible for sunburn and DNA damage – and can also <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3709783/">cause skin cancers</a> as a result of long-term exposure. UVA radiation does contribute to these processes somewhat, but it’s less effective at doing so. UVA can penetrate deeper into the skin, however, which can damage the collagen – a key part of the skin that keeps it firm and elastic. This can cause the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25234829/">skin to age faster</a>, leading to wrinkles, fine lines and changes in pigmentation.</p> <p>The amount of UVA and UVB radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface changes across the seasons. This is due to the angle of the Sun in the sky, as well as other factors such as latitude and time of day.</p> <p>For example, let’s compare how <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/php.12422">UVA and UVB radiation varies</a> at solar noon in London, UK and Kuala Lampur, Malaysia (which is near the equator).</p> <p>In latitudes closer to the equator (such as in Kuala Lampur), the amount of UVA and UVB radiation throughout the year remains fairly consistent. But in higher latitudes, such as London, there’s almost no UVB radiation throughout the winter months – whereas there’s still some UVA radiation.</p> <p>Not only that, but people living further from the equator may tend to spend less time exposed to the Sun in winter due to the colder temperatures and variable weather. And when they do go outside, they may cover their skin up – usually leaving only their face exposed to the Sun for much shorter periods of time.</p> <p>But UVA radiation can still penetrate through clouds and windows. While our exposure to these rays is probably minimal, skin damage from UV exposure is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079610706000162">accumulated over decades</a>, so anything that can be done to reduce exposure (and damage) over time may be beneficial. This is also true of UVB exposure – although it is less relevant in winter months at higher latitudes.</p> <p>This may be where daily sunscreen use during the winter is still of benefit. Sunscreens are formulated to reduce exposure to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6978633/">both UVB and UVA rays</a> – although they are usually more effective at reducing exposure to UVB radiation. They have been designed in this way to prevent the most damaging effects of the Sun, such as sunburn and DNA damage. The impact of exposure to UVA radiation has only been considered more recently.</p> <p>Numerous studies have shown regular sunscreen use over many years is effective at <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/phpp.12109">preventing skin damage</a>, photoaging and skin cancers. The most robust trials suggest daily sunscreen use is most effective, but this will be dependent on the factors discussed above.</p> <h2>The effects of altitude and snow</h2> <p>One place where winter sunscreen use is especially important is when skiing or snowboarding – or when you’re otherwise going to be outside for extended periods of time, at higher altitudes on snow-covered mountains.</p> <p>Both altitude and snow can increase the doses of <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/radiation-ultraviolet-(uv)">UVA and UVB radiation</a> a person receives. Snow can reflect up to 80% of UV radiation emitted by the Sun – effectively almost doubling the doses received. Also, for every 1,000-foot increase in altitude, there’s a 10% increase in UV exposure. This is why it’s essential to protect the skin and eyes by wearing sunscreen, protective clothing and sunglasses that block both types of UV ray. This is also true when spending time in snowy environments, such as when hiking or skating.</p> <p>Sunscreens are generally regarded as safe and tend to have few adverse effects, so you don’t need to worry too much about wearing one throughout the year. However, there are some points to consider, especially if you have skin conditions. For example, sunscreen can <a href="https://www.byrdie.com/does-sunscreen-cause-acne-or-help-it-7546147">exacerbate acne</a> and cause <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759112/">irritation and allergic reactions</a> – although these are rare.</p> <p>There are also emerging concerns from regulatory agencies about the <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2759002">absorption of UV filters into the body</a>. However, the consequences of such absorption and the potential affects on health are not well defined and require more research.</p> <p>Still, the benefits of sunscreen have been widely demonstrated – as has their safety. So if you want to prevent premature signs of ageing, it’s important to use sunscreen at all times you may be exposed to the Sun – especially in the summer months. While the benefits of wearing sunscreen in winter are less well defined, there’s probably no harm in wearing one if you want to.</p> <p>If you decide to use sunscreen in winter, use ones that have broad spectrum five-star UVA protection. For day-to-day use, high SPF sunscreens are unlikely to provide a large benefit, particularly if spending only short periods outside. However, if skiing, a <a href="https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(17)31086-1/fulltext">high-SPF sunscreen</a> with five-star UVA protection would be beneficial.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/219640/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/karl-lawrence-404481"><em>Karl Lawrence</em></a><em>, Research fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/kings-college-london-1196">King's College London</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sunscreen-why-wearing-it-even-in-winter-could-be-a-good-idea-219640">original article</a>.</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Hydronic heating maintenance: Tips for a cosy winter

<p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Hydronic heating systems, often called radiant heating, utilise a closed-loop system to circulate hot water through pipes, providing efficient warmth to spaces. This blog post will delve into the </span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://airconrepairnearme.com.au/blog/is-hydronic-heating-sustainable/#:~:text=Advantages%20of%20Hydronic%20Heating"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">advantages of hydronic heating</span></a><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> and the </span><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">significance of regular maintenance for these systems, ensuring optimal performance during the chilly winter months. Let's explore critical aspects that contribute to a cosy and well-maintained hydronic heating system.</span><strong id="docs-internal-guid-43a50dd5-7fff-83c3-b866-681029940351" style="font-weight: normal;"></strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Why Hydronic Heating Maintenance Matters</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Maintaining your hydronic heating system is not just about comfort; it's a practical step towards energy efficiency and cost savings. A well-maintained winter heating system operates more efficiently, requiring less energy to achieve the desired temperature. It reduces utility bills, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/property/home-hints-tips/9-cost-effective-ways-to-warm-your-home-this-winter" target="_blank" rel="noopener">giving you a cosy home</a> without breaking the bank.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Extended Lifespan of the System</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regular maintenance is like an investment in the longevity of your hydronic heating system. Simple tasks, such as cleaning and inspecting, can prevent wear and tear, ensuring your system lasts for years without significant issues. This foresight can save you from the inconvenience and expense of premature system replacement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Improved Heating Performance</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A well-maintained system translates to consistent and energy-efficient heating. By addressing potential issues early on, you ensure each room receives the warmth it needs, avoiding cold spots and discomfort. It enhances your overall living experience and contributes to a healthier and more enjoyable home environment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Enhanced Safety Features</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Safety should always be a top priority for home heating systems. Regular maintenance checks help identify and address potential safety hazards. From leaks to faulty components, addressing these issues promptly ensures your family's and property's safety, providing peace of mind throughout winter.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Seasonal Maintenance Checklist</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HydronicHeating02.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Fall Preparation</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">As the temperatures drop and the leaves begin to fall, it's time to prepare your hydronic heating system for the colder months ahead.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Checking and Cleaning Radiators or Baseboards:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Start by inspecting each radiator or baseboard for dust or debris. Clean them thoroughly to ensure unobstructed heat distribution. This simple task can significantly enhance the efficiency of your system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspecting the Boiler for Any Issues:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Give your boiler a once-over, checking for any signs of wear, corrosion, or leaks. Addressing minor issues now can prevent major breakdowns later.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Testing Thermostat Functionality:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Test your thermostat by adjusting the temperature settings. Ensure that it responds promptly and accurately. It may be time for a thermostat replacement or recalibration if you notice any discrepancies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bleeding Air from the System:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bleeding air from the system is crucial to maintaining optimal water flow. Follow these steps:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Turn off the heating system.</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Use a radiator key to open the bleed valve.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Allow warm air to escape until the water starts dripping.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Close the valve tightly.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">This process prevents hot air from pockets that can impede water circulation, ensuring efficient heating throughout your home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Winter Best Practices</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Monitoring Water Levels:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check the water level in your hydronic heating system regularly, especially during winter. Low water levels can cause the system to overheat or shut down. Consult your hydronic system's manual for specific instructions on maintaining water levels.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Adjusting Thermostat Settings for Efficiency:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Optimise your thermostat settings based on your daily routine. Lowering the temperature when you're away or sleeping can yield substantial energy savings without sacrificing comfort.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regularly Checking for Leaks:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspect your system for leaks, paying attention to connections, valves, and the boiler. Addressing leaks promptly prevents water damage and ensures the continued efficiency of your system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Troubleshooting Common Heating Issues:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Proactively troubleshoot common heating issues, such as uneven heating or unusual noises. Understanding your system's behaviour helps you address problems early, preventing extensive damage and costly repairs.</span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"> </strong><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tips for Hydronic Heating Maintenance by Professionals</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Maintaining a hydronic heating system is crucial for optimal performance and longevity. Here are some tips for hydronic heating maintenance by professionals:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regular Inspections:</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Schedule regular inspections by qualified technicians to assess the system's overall condition.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check for leaks, corrosion, or damage to pipes, valves, and components.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Pressure Check:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Monitor and adjust system pressure as needed. Low or high pressure can affect the heat pump's efficiency in the hydronic heating system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Flush the System:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Periodically flush the system to remove any accumulated sediment or debris hindering the system's efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Bleed Radiators:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">I bled the air filters from the radiators to ensure they heated evenly. Trapped air can cause cold spots and reduce the system's effectiveness.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspect Pumps and Motors:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check pumps and motors for proper operation. Lubricate components as necessary and replace any worn-out parts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Boiler Maintenance:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Service the boiler regularly to ensure it operates efficiently. Clean the burners, heat exchanger, and flue to prevent efficiency loss.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Thermostat Calibration:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Calibrate and test thermostats to ensure accurate and consistent temperature control. Replace batteries if applicable.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check Expansion Tank:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Inspect and maintain the expansion tank to accommodate water volume changes and prevent damage to the piping system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Test Safety Controls:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Test safety controls, such as pressure relief valves and high-limit switches, to ensure they function correctly in emergencies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Water Quality Maintenance:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Monitor water and air quality in the system and treat it with inhibitors to prevent corrosion and scale buildup.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Evaluate Insulation:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Check the insulation on pipes and components to minimise heat loss and improve heating performance and the system's overall efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Update Controls and Sensors:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Consider upgrading control systems and sensors to the latest technology for better energy efficiency and system management.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Documentation:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Keep comprehensive records of maintenance activities, inspections, and any repairs performed on the hydronic heating system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13.999999999999998pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #434343; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Training for Staff:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Provide training for facility staff on basic maintenance tasks and early detection of potential issues.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Regular professional maintenance ensures the hydronic heating system operates efficiently, reduces energy consumption, and extends lifespan. Always consult with qualified HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system professionals for specific maintenance requirements based on the type and complexity of the hydronic heating system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Professional Maintenance Services</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HydronicHeating03.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When to Call a Professional for Maintenance</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">While homeowners can perform some maintenance tasks, there are instances when professional assistance is necessary.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Benefits of Professional Inspections:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Professional technicians have the expertise to identify and address issues that may go unnoticed. Regular professional inspections can extend the life of your system and ensure its continued reliability.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Finding a Qualified Hydronic Heating Technician:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When seeking professional services, look for technicians with experience in hydronic heating systems. Check reviews, ask for recommendations, and verify their certifications to ensure that you entrust your design to capable hands.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When to Seek Professional Help:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">If your energy bills remain high despite your efforts, involving a professional is essential. They can conduct a thorough assessment to identify and address underlying issues affecting your system's efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Winter Energy Saving Tips</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Setting Optimal Thermostat Temperatures</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Guidelines:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature when at home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Lower the temperature when sleeping or away, aiming for energy savings reduced efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Consider investing in a programmable thermostat for automated temperature adjustments.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Benefits:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Optimising thermostat settings ensures comfort and contributes to significant energy savings over the winter months.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Proper Insulation for Energy Efficiency</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Areas to Insulate:</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Walls and ceilings.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Attic and basement spaces.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Doors and windows.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Benefits:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Proper insulation prevents heat loss and leaking of warm air, reducing the workload on your hydronic heating system. It translates to lower energy consumption and improved efficiency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Utilising Programmable Thermostats</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Advantages:</span></p> <ul style="margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0; padding-inline-start: 48px;"> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Automated temperature adjustments based on your schedule.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Energy savings by reducing the heating costs when not needed.</span></li> <li dir="ltr" style="list-style-type: disc; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre;" aria-level="1"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Remote access for constant temperature control, even when away from home.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Installation Tips:</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation, or consult a professional if needed. Programmable thermostats offer a convenient way to optimise heating and energy usage.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 17pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Keep Your Place Cosy</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/12/HydronicHeating04.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In conclusion, maintaining your hydronic heating system is essential for a cosy and worry-free winter. By following the seasonal maintenance checklist and knowing when to seek professional help like</span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://airconrepairnearme.com.au/"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">airconrepairnearme.com.au</span></a><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">, you can ensure the efficient operation of your system. Troubleshooting common issues and adopting winter energy-saving tips further contribute to a warm and inviting home. Embrace these practices, and may your winter be filled with comfort, warmth, and the joy of a well-maintained hydronic heating system. Stay cosy!</span></p> <p><em>Images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Air Con Repair Near Me.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Meal kits are booming – but how do they stack up nutritionally?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kylie-fraser-1483094">Kylie Fraser</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alison-spence-720195">Alison Spence</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/karen-campbell-224857">Karen Campbell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/penny-love-1060241">Penny Love</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>Meal kits are a <a href="https://www.statista.com/outlook/dmo/online-food-delivery/meal-delivery/australia">billion dollar industry</a> selling the promise of convenience while cooking healthy meals at home. Delivering ingredients and step-by-step recipes to the doorstep, meal kits reduce the time and energy to plan, shop and prepare meals. But do they deliver on their promise of health?</p> <p>While people may <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0195666321007236">think</a> meal kits are healthy, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/38/6/daad155/7441372?searchresult=1">our new research</a> suggests this varies.</p> <p>The range and quantity of vegetables in a meal is a great indicator of how healthy it is. So we assessed the <a href="https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/38/6/daad155/7441372?searchresult=1&amp;login=false">vegetable content</a> of recipes from six Australian meal kit providers. We found when it comes to nutrition, whether it be budget friendly or high-end, it’s more about the meals you choose and less about what company to use.</p> <h2>What we found</h2> <p>For our <a href="https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/38/6/daad155/7441372?searchresult=1&amp;login=false">new research</a> we purchased a one-week subscription to nine Australian-based meal kit companies to access weekly recipes. Six companies provided their full week of recipes. The vegetable content of these recipes were analysed.</p> <p>Of the 179 meals analysed, we found recipes use a median of three different types of vegetables and provide a median of 2.5 serves of vegetables per person. At first glance, this looks promising. But on closer inspection, the number and types of vegetables vary a lot.</p> <p>Some recipes provide less than one serve and others more than seven serves of vegetables per person. Not surprisingly, vegetarian recipes provide more vegetables, but almost one-third of these still include less than two vegetables serves per person.</p> <p>The variety of vegetables included also varies, with recipes providing between one and six different types of vegetables per meal.</p> <h2>What’s for dinner?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10200412/">Dinner</a> is the time when we’re most likely to eat vegetables, so low levels of vegetables in meal kit meals <a href="https://theconversation.com/food-as-medicine-why-do-we-need-to-eat-so-many-vegetables-and-what-does-a-serve-actually-look-like-76149">matter</a>.</p> <p>Eating vegetables is known to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5837313/">reduce the risk</a> of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6266069/">obesity</a> and some cancers. What’s more, food preferences and eating habits are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17367571/">learned</a> in childhood. So being exposed to a wide range of vegetables from a young age is important for future health.</p> <p>But few Australians eat enough vegetables. According to the <a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-dietary-guidelines-1-5">Australian Dietary Guidelines</a>, children should be eating 2.5 to five serves and adults at least five serves of vegetables each day. Currently children eat an average of <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4364.0.55.012main+features12011-12">less than</a> two serves and adults less than three serves of vegetables per day.</p> <p>So there’s room for improvement and meal kits may help.</p> <h2>Meal kits have advantages</h2> <p>The good news is that using meal kits can be a healthier alternative to ordering takeaway delivery or prepared ready-to-heat meals. When we cook at home, we have much more say in what’s for dinner. We can use healthier cooking methods (think grilled rather than deep-fried), healthier fats (olive or canola oil) and add in plenty of extra veg. All make for better nutrition and better health.</p> <p>Meal kits might also build your cooking confidence to cook more “from scratch” and to learn about new ingredients, flavour combinations and time-saving techniques. Cooking with meal kits may even <a href="https://theconversation.com/cooking-from-meal-boxes-can-cut-household-food-waste-by-38-new-research-192760">cut household food waste</a> by providing the exact amount of ingredients needed to prepare a meal.</p> <h2>5 tips for getting the most out of meal kits</h2> <p><strong>1) Select some vegetarian options</strong></p> <p>This way you can have <a href="https://meatfreemondays.com/about/">meat-free</a> dinners during the week. Vegetarian recipes are more likely to help you meet daily vegetable intakes and to eat a wider variety of vegetables</p> <p><strong>2) Choose recipes with at least 3 different types of vegetables</strong></p> <p>Eating a range of vegetable types and colours will help maximise nutritional benefits. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7195662/">Research</a> shows eating a variety of vegetables at dinner can increase our vegetable intakes. Exposing children to “<a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-get-children-to-eat-a-rainbow-of-fruit-and-vegetables-97546">eating the rainbow</a>” can also increase their willingness to eat vegetables</p> <p><strong>3) Choose recipes with unfamiliar or new vegetables</strong></p> <p>Research tells us that learning to prepare and cook vegetables can increase cooking <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20399299/#:%7E:text=Households%20bought%20a%20greater%20variety,at%20least%20one%20minor%20(difference%3A">confidence</a> and skills. This can influence our willingness to buy a wider range of vegetables. Worried about fussy eaters? Add your child’s favourite cooked or raw veg to their plate (one familiar, one new)</p> <p><strong>4) Look for ways to add more vegetables</strong></p> <p>It’s OK to tweak the recipe! Adding vegetables from your fridge – maybe some lettuce on the side or chopped up carrots to a cooked sauce – to meal kit meals will help reduce household <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/environment/protection/waste/food-waste">food waste</a>. You can also extend meals by adding a can of lentils or beans to mince-based meals, or frozen peas or chickpeas to a curry. This adds valuable fibre to the meal and also bulks up these recipes, giving you leftovers for the next day</p> <p><strong>5) Use less</strong></p> <p>While vegetables are important for health, it’s also important to consider the <a href="https://academic-oup-com.ezproxy-b.deakin.edu.au/heapro/article/36/3/660/5908259">salt</a>, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31694291/">fat and energy</a> content of meal kit recipes. When using meal kits, you can <a href="https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/bundles/healthy-living-and-eating/salt-and-heart-health">use less</a> seasoning, spice mix or stock cubes and add more herbs instead.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218339/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kylie-fraser-1483094">Kylie Fraser</a>, PhD Candidate, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alison-spence-720195">Alison Spence</a>, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Population Health, Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/karen-campbell-224857">Karen Campbell</a>, Professor Population Nutrition, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/penny-love-1060241">Penny Love</a>, Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/meal-kits-are-booming-but-how-do-they-stack-up-nutritionally-218339">original article</a>.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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What is the OMAD diet? Is one meal a day actually good for weight loss? And is it safe?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-fuller-219993">Nick Fuller</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>What do British Prime Minister <a href="https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/one-meal-a-day-diet-omad">Rishi Sunak</a> and singer <a href="https://theconversation.com/one-meal-a-day-diet-popular-with-celebrities-could-do-more-harm-than-good-heres-why-203086">Bruce Springsteen</a> have in common?</p> <p>They’re among an ever-growing group of public figures touting the benefits of eating just one meal a day.</p> <p>As a result, the one meal a day (OMAD) diet is the latest attention-grabbing weight loss trend. Advocates claim it leads to fast, long-term weight loss success and better health, including delaying the ageing process.</p> <p>Like most weight-loss programs, the OMAD diet makes big and bold promises. Here’s what you need to know about eating one meal a day and what it means for weight loss.</p> <h2>The OMAD diet explained</h2> <p>Essentially, the OMAD diet is a type of intermittent fasting, where you fast for 23 hours and consume all your daily calories in one meal eaten within one hour.</p> <p>The OMAD diet rules are presented as simple and easy to follow:</p> <ol> <li> <p>You can eat whatever you want, provided it fits on a standard dinner plate, with no calorie restrictions or nutritional guidelines to follow.</p> </li> <li> <p>You can drink calorie-free drinks throughout the day (water, black tea and coffee).</p> </li> <li> <p>You must follow a consistent meal schedule, eating your one meal around the same time each day.</p> </li> </ol> <p>Along with creating a calorie deficit, resulting in weight loss, advocates believe the OMAD diet’s extended fasting period <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2021.771944/full">leads to physiological changes</a> in the body that promote better health, including boosting your metabolism by triggering a process called ketosis, where your body burns stored fat for energy instead of glucose.</p> <h2>What does the evidence say?</h2> <p>Unfortunately, research into the OMAD diet is limited. Most studies have examined its impact on <a href="https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/pdf/S1550-4131(18)30512-6.pdf">animals</a>, and the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35087416/">primary study</a> with humans involved 11 lean, young people following the OMAD diet for a mere 11 days.</p> <p>Claims about the OMAD diet typically rely on research into intermittent fasting, rather than on the OMAD diet itself. There is <a href="https://www.cfp.ca/content/66/2/117.short">evidence</a> backing the efficacy of intermittent fasting to achieve weight loss. However, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41574-022-00638-x">most studies</a> have focused on short-term results only, typically considering the results achieved across 12 weeks or less.</p> <p>One <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2114833">longer-term study from 2022</a> randomly assigned 139 patients with obesity to either a calorie-restricted diet with time-restricted eating between 8am and 4pm daily, or to a diet with daily calorie restriction alone for 12 months.</p> <p>After 12 months, both groups had lost around the same weight and experienced similar changes in body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. This indicates long-term weight loss achieved with intermittent fasting is not superior and on a par with that achieved by traditional dieting approaches (daily calorie restriction).</p> <h2>So what are the problems with the OMAD diet?</h2> <p><strong>1. It can cause nutritional deficiencies and health issues.</strong></p> <p>The OMAD diet’s lack of nutritional guidance on what to eat for that one meal a day raises many red flags.</p> <p>The meals we eat every day should include a source of protein balanced with wholegrain carbs, vegetables, fruits, protein and good fats to support <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071223/">optimum health, disease prevention and weight management</a>.</p> <p>Not eating a balanced diet will result in nutritional deficiencies that can result in poor immune function, fatigue and a decrease in bone density, leading to osteoporosis.</p> <p>Fasting for 23 hours a day is also likely to lead to extreme feelings of hunger and uncontrollable cravings, which may mean you consistently eat foods that are not good for you when it’s time to eat.</p> <p><strong>2. It’s unlikely to be sustainable.</strong></p> <p>You might be able to stick with the OMAD diet initially, but it will wear thin over time.</p> <p>Extreme diets – especially ones prescribing extended periods of fasting – aren’t enjoyable, leading to feelings of deprivation and social isolation during meal times. It’s hard enough to refuse a piece of office birthday cake at the best of times, imagine how this would feel when you haven’t eaten for 23 hours!</p> <p>Restrictive eating can also lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, making it even harder to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.</p> <p><strong>3. Quick fixes don’t work.</strong></p> <p>Like other popular intermittent fasting methods, the OMAD diet appeals because it’s easy to digest, and the results appear fast.</p> <p>But the OMAD diet is just another fancy way of cutting calories to achieve a quick drop on the scales.</p> <p>As your weight falls, things will quickly go downhill when your <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4766925/">body activates its defence mechanisms</a> to defend your weight loss. In fact, it will regain weight – a response that stems from our hunter-gatherer ancestors’ need to survive periods of deprivation when food was scarce.</p> <h2>The bottom line</h2> <p>Despite the hype, the OMAD diet is unsustainable, and it doesn’t result in better weight-loss outcomes than its predecessors. Our old habits creep back in and we find ourselves fighting a cascade of physiological changes to ensure we regain the weight we lost.</p> <p>Successfully losing weight long-term comes down to:</p> <ul> <li> <p>losing weight in small manageable chunks you can sustain, specifically periods of weight loss, followed by periods of weight maintenance, and so on, until you achieve your goal weight</p> </li> <li> <p>making gradual changes to your lifestyle to ensure you form habits that last a lifetime.</p> </li> </ul> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-fuller-219993">Nick Fuller</a>, Charles Perkins Centre Research Program Leader, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-the-omad-diet-is-one-meal-a-day-actually-good-for-weight-loss-and-is-it-safe-207723">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Erin Patterson arrested over fatal mushroom meal

<p>Erin Patterson has been arrested at her home in Victoria over her potential involvement in the suspicious deaths of three people. </p> <p>In July, Gail and Don Patterson, the parents of Erin Patterson's ex-husband, and Gail Patterson's sister, Heather Wilkinson, died from mushroom poisoning after attending a lunch hosted by the 49-year-old woman. </p> <p>Heather's husband Ian Wilkinson also attended the lunch and was critically ill, but recovered.</p> <p>All four had shared a meal, understood to be a beef Wellington, allegedly cooked by Patterson.</p> <p>Patterson was arrested early on Thursday morning, with AFP conducting a search of her home shortly after her arrest with technology detector dogs in tow. </p> <p>Veteran crime journalist John Silvester, of <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/mushroom-cook-erin-patterson-arrested-over-fatal-lunch-20231102-p5egxu.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Age</em></a> newspaper, told <em>Today Extra</em> on Thursday that the dogs were a sophisticated police tool that can detect electronic devices.</p> <p>"These dogs are absolutely amazing and they can sniff out and have sniffed out a SIM card that was hidden in a bowl of garlic," he said.</p> <p>"They are there for a purpose. This is not speculation. They will be there looking for something like a mobile phone, a SIM card, or a memory disk."</p> <p>Police said Patterson will now be interviewed and the investigation remains ongoing, as no charges have officially been laid. </p> <p>Erin Patterson has always maintained she did not intentionally poison her guests, <span style="font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, Segoe UI, Roboto, Helvetica Neue, Arial, sans-serif;">telling reporters at the time of their deaths that she was "devastated" by the loss of her relatives.</span></p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;">"I didn't do anything, I loved them," she said.</p> <p class="paragraph_paragraph___QITb" style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; font-family: abcsans, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;"><em>Image credits: A Current Affair</em></p>

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How an innocent meal led to a months-long health battle for a 9-year-old

<p dir="ltr">A mother has issued a dire warning about a common household item after her daughter’s innocent bacon and egg roll turned into a months-long health battle. </p> <p dir="ltr">Kristen Saunders has warned parents about wire barbecue grill brushes, after her nine-year-old daughter choked on a piece of the metal. </p> <p dir="ltr">At a venue in Newcastle in July, Kristen’s daughter ate a bacon and egg roll and started to feel like she was choking. </p> <p dir="ltr">Unbeknown to her parents, the nine-year-old had swallowed a piece of wire that had come off a barbecue grill brush and ended up in her roll.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think like most parents, we’re like, ‘You’ll be fine, have some water, it’ll settle down’,” Saunders told <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/listen/programs/newcastle-breakfast" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ABC Newcastle Breakfast</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Saunders took her daughter to the GP, who noticed she had a high temperature but nothing serious. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, over the next few days a sore throat worsened to the point she was unable to eat solid food, before she also started showing neurological symptoms.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There was this one particular day I was at home with her and all of a sudden she was a bit confused answering questions,” Saunders said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was like, ‘Hang on, there’s something really problematic here’ and called the GP.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Saunders’ daughter was stumbling, disoriented and unable to recognise her own family, and was admitted to hospital. </p> <p dir="ltr">“They identified that there were some abscesses in the brain,” Saunders said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They ended up at the last-minute doing a CT and identified there was this tiny bit of wire, sort of near her neck.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Saunders’ daughter was then airlifted to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, where it was discovered that the young girl had a major infection in one of her arteries after the wire pierced her oesophagus then pushed into the carotid artery.</p> <p dir="ltr">The girl had to undergo surgery, as Saunders said the experience was “awful” but her daughter was given “amazing care”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“She is well on her way to recovery but it could have been so much worse,” Saunders said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Please protect your family and friends and throw out your wire barbecue grill brushes.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

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Update from survivor of deadly mushroom meal

<p>The lone survivor of a group of four individuals who consumed a meal containing suspected poisonous mushrooms has received an update from the family. The Victorian community continues to extend their support during this time.</p> <p>Tragedy struck as Don and Gail Patterson, along with Gail’s sister, Heather Wilkinson, lost their lives after partaking in a lunch gathering at the residence of Erin Patterson, Don and Gail's former daughter-in-law. The incident occurred in Leongatha, located in the southeastern region of Victoria, on July 29.</p> <p>Erin Patterson had prepared a meal for the group, which also included Heather's husband, Ian Wilkinson, a pastor at a Baptist church. The attendees fell seriously ill after the meal, exhibiting symptoms that aligned with the ingestion of toxic death cap mushrooms, according to the police.</p> <p>On a recent Sunday evening, Ian Wilkinson's family expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the medical staff at Austin Hospital for their consistent care and support. They also acknowledged the numerous cards and letters received from concerned individuals in the public.</p> <p>The family shared: “We are deeply moved by the outpouring of kindness, prayers, and support from friends, family, and the broader community.” </p> <p>“Your thoughts and well-wishes have been a source of strength and comfort to us all.</p> <p>“As we navigate this difficult journey, we kindly request that our privacy be respected. We need space to grieve, support one another, and care for Ian without public intrusion.”</p> <p>While Ian Wilkinson, aged 70, remains in critical but stable condition at a hospital in the northeastern part of Melbourne, reports indicate that members of the South Gippsland community are willing to step forward as organ donors. Local councillor Jenni Keerie stated that people have been reaching out to her to inquire about becoming donors.</p> <p>Nathan Hersey, the Mayor of South Gippsland Shire, noted that the community has been discussing the significance of organ donation. In the absence of a community donor, Wilkinson might face a wait of up to a year for a new liver. It is worth noting that the majority of organ recipients in Australia experience waiting periods of at least nine months while searching for a suitable match.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook / A Current Affair</em></p> <p><strong><em>EDITOR'S NOTE: We received a number of comments in response to this article concerning organ donation. This one from a Reader really deserved being appended to the article:</em></strong></p> <p><em>"I am a forever grateful liver recipient whose life was miraculously saved when all had gone catastrophically wrong. <a href="https://www.transplantadvocacy.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.transplantadvocacy.com/</a> The only way we can increase organ donation is to increase next of kin consent rates. In Australia every person who passes under the right circumstances is a potential donor. Whether they are registered or not their family will be asked to consider organ donation and must give their consent for donation to proceed. Sadly 46% of families say no. In Victoria it is closer to 50%. Families are critical for organ donation and for a deceased donor to be found to support the victim of the Victorian poisoning, another healthy Victorian will need to pass tragically and on life support. Waiting for a donor is not like waiting for a spare part for your car from the factory. It is more like finding the perfect part at a car wreckers after someone has written of their car but the part you need is still ok. You can help raise awareness by helping to get families having the conversation about organ donation before </em><em>tragedy strikes. Not waiting until they learn their loved one is never coming home." </em><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> – </em><em>Robert Manning, </em><em>Forever grateful recipient and passionate Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplant Awareness Advocate. Founder and Senior Advocate <a href="https://www.transplantadvocacy.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.TransplantAdvocacy.com</a></em></p>

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Details of Erin Patterson's police statement around fatal mushroom meal revealed

<p>The woman who prepared a mushroom meal that is believed to have caused the deaths of three individuals has finally disclosed her full account of the events that transpired.</p> <p>According to a written statement submitted to Victoria Police on Friday August 11 – and exclusively <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-14/mushroom-poisoning-leongatha-erin-patterson-police-statement/102725876" target="_blank" rel="noopener">obtained by the ABC</a> – Erin Patterson has provided a comprehensive narrative of the incidents leading up to and following the fatal meal.</p> <p>"I am now wanting to clear up the record because I have become extremely stressed and overwhelmed by the deaths of my loved ones," Ms Patterson said in her statement. "I am hoping this statement might help in some way. I believe if people understood the background more, they would not be so quick to rush to judgement. I am now devastated to think that these mushrooms may have contributed to the illness suffered by my loved ones. I really want to repeat that I had absolutely no reason to hurt these people whom I loved."</p> <p>The tragic incident occurred in Leongatha, a town southeast of Melbourne, where Ms. Patterson's mother and father-in-law, Don and Gail Patterson, as well as Gail's sister Heather Wilkinson, lost their lives after consuming lunch at Ms. Patterson's residence on July 29. Heather's husband, Ian Wilkinson, was left in critical condition.</p> <p>The circumstances surrounding the incident have led to speculation within the South Gippsland community, with heightened curiosity as police have been tight-lipped about their ongoing investigation.</p> <p>Authorities have mentioned that the victims displayed symptoms consistent with the consumption of death cap mushrooms. Although Ms. Patterson was initially treated as a suspect, investigators have maintained an open-minded approach to the case.</p> <p>In her statement, Ms. Patterson expressed regret for following the advice to give a "no comment" interview to the police in the immediate aftermath of the deaths. She admitted that she now wishes she had answered some questions, given the nightmare that has unfolded since.</p> <p>The police interview left Ms. Patterson feeling terrified and anxious. She recounted that on the day of the incident, she prepared a beef wellington meal for herself and her elderly guests. Contrary to earlier reports, Ms. Patterson clarified that her children had actually gone to the movies before lunch and were not present during the meal.</p> <p>According to her statement, she served the meal and allowed her guests to select their own plates. She then had a serving of beef wellington herself. The mushrooms used in the dish were a mixture of button mushrooms from a major supermarket chain and dried mushrooms purchased months earlier from an Asian grocery store in Melbourne.</p> <p>Ms. Patterson disclosed that her children consumed the leftovers the next evening. Notably, they do not like mushrooms, so she had removed the mushrooms from their portions.</p> <p>She revealed that she had also suffered from severe stomach pains and diarrhoea after the lunch, leading her to be hospitalised as well. She was administered a liver protective drug via a saline drip and was transferred to Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne.</p> <p>As her guests fell ill, the Department of Health contacted Ms. Patterson to inquire about the possible cause of the adverse reactions. She provided samples of the leftover meal for examination by hospital toxicologists. She also mentioned sharing information about where she purchased the mushrooms but was unable to pinpoint the specific shop in Melbourne.</p> <p>Addressing media reports about the seizure of a food dehydrator at a local tip, Ms. Patterson admitted that she had initially lied to investigators about disposing of the dehydrator. She stated that she panicked due to concerns about her children's custody and discarded it.</p> <p>In her statement, she acknowledged caring for her estranged husband, Simon Patterson, after he suffered a severe stomach illness unrelated to the current incident. She reluctantly nursed him after his hospital discharge and informed him that she did not wish to reconcile. She clarified that Simon had initially intended to attend the fatal lunch but had informed her of his absence prior to the event.</p> <p>Ms. Patterson expressed deep affection and respect for her parents-in-law and highlighted their positive influence on her children. She offered her willingness to assist the police further, including the possibility of a re-interview.</p> <p>The police investigation into the deaths remains ongoing, and Ms. Patterson has indicated her readiness to cooperate.</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook / A Current Affair</em></p>

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"I didn't do anything. I love them": Woman who cooked meal with deadly mushrooms speaks out

<p>A Victorian woman who cooked the meal that resulted in the suspected mushroom poisoning,  which left three elderly family members dead and one fighting for his life has tearfully broken her silence. </p> <p>Erin Patterson, 48, served the lunch to four people at Leongatha on July 29, including her former in-laws Don and Gail Patterson, who after falling sick later that evening, passed away from symptoms consistent with death cap mushroom poisoning.  </p> <p>Gail's sister Heather Wilkinson also passed away, with Heather’s husband, Ian in a critical condition at Melbourne’s Austin Hospital after suffering from the suspected poisoning. </p> <p>"I didn't do anything. I love them," Erin told  <em>A Current Affair. </em></p> <p>A clearly distraught Erin confused Don for Ian, who is currently being treated for his symptoms. </p> <p>"I'm devastated that they're gone and I hope with every fibre of my being that Don pulls through."</p> <p>“I’m so devastated by what’s happened, by the loss of Don, Don is still in hospital, by the loss of Ian and Heather and Gail," she repeated. </p> <p>“They were some of the best people I’ve ever met.</p> <p>“Gail was like the mum I didn’t have because my mum passed away four years ago, Gail had never been anything but good and kind to me,” she added.</p> <p>“Ian and Heather were some of the best people I’d ever met. They never did anything wrong to me.</p> <p>“I’m so devastated about what’s happened and the loss to the community and to the families and to my own children. They've lost their grandmother," she said, and added that she felt "so sorry" that they lost their lives.</p> <p>Erin was interviewed by police and later on released. Officials had also removed her two children from her care as a “precaution”. </p> <p>Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Dean Thomas also added that police are still determining whether this was an accident or a crime. </p> <p>“We’re working to determine what has gone on, to see if there is any nefarious activity that has occurred or if it was accidental.”</p> <p>“We have to keep an open mind,” he said.</p> <p>Police were also still unsure where the mushrooms were sourced from, and that it was a "complex case". </p> <p><em>Image: A Current Affair</em></p>

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Why is Australia having such a warm winter? A climate expert explains

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-king-103126">Andrew King</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>If you’ve been out and about the past few days, you may have noticed Australia is experiencing an unseasonably warm winter. It’s been t-shirt weather across many parts of the country’s east, including Sydney where <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jun/08/australia-ski-season-no-snow-skiing-snowboarding-resorts-closed-warm-weather">temperatures topped 25℃</a> on Sunday.</p> <p>Meanwhile, at high altitudes, the cover at some snowfields remains <a href="https://twitter.com/Cam_Walker/status/1685525535521402880">lacklustre</a>, even after warm conditions forced <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-06-09/nsw-resorts-postpone-ski-snowboarding-kings-birthday-lack-snow/102456510">a delay</a> to the start of the traditional ski season.</p> <p>All this comes after the world experienced its hottest month since reliable records began. July brought <a href="https://qz.com/hottest-days-month-ever-recorded-july-2023-1850685494">an incredible 21 of the warmest 30 days</a> ever recorded – prompting the United Nations to declare a new era of “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2023/jul/27/scientists-july-world-hottest-month-record-climate-temperatures">global boiling</a>”.</p> <p>So what’s going on with the weather in Australia? Should we just enjoy the pleasant conditions, or is it a troubling sign of what’s to come under climate change?</p> <h2>The nice weather, explained</h2> <p>Australia’s unseasonably warm conditions are the result of both natural drivers of our weather and continued global warming.</p> <p>Since early July, warmer and drier conditions have dominated, due to a high pressure system sitting stubbornly over Australia at the moment. The clear conditions are leading to warmer daytime conditions.</p> <p>For example, daytime temperatures in Canberra in July – historically known for its cold winters – were <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/canberra-on-track-for-warmest-july-max-temps-on-record/1d0b9683-7dda-4cc0-b6a6-1e32bfa51407">the warmest on record</a>, despite frequent frosty mornings. Sydney has just experienced its <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jul/31/australia-weather-august-warmth-heat-winds-tasmania#:%7E:text=Sydney%27s%2023.5C%20was%20enough,Hill%20goes%20back%20to%201858.">warmest July</a> on record, too.</p> <p>The high pressure has caused the air over the continent’s interior to warm. When cold fronts move across the south of Australia they push this warm air ahead of them, bringing warm and windy conditions to southern coastal areas. This is similar to the weather pattern we see in summer when cities such as Adelaide and Melbourne experience their hottest days.</p> <p>On Thursday, an approaching cold front is forecast to lift temperatures ahead of it to about 23℃ in Adelaide, 20℃ in Melbourne and 18℃ in Hobart. These are very warm temperatures in these locations for early August.</p> <p>And what about the oceans? Around Australia, oceans are a bit cooler than average in some places including <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDYOC053.Global.SSTAnomaly.shtml">to the northwest of the continent</a>.</p> <p>But as the image below shows, ocean temperatures are currently above normal in many places around the world, including the west Indian Ocean and the central and eastern tropical Pacific. This indicates a developing El Niño and positive Indian Ocean Dipole – two natural climate drivers that affect Australia’s weather patterns.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=364&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=364&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=364&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=458&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=458&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/540054/original/file-20230730-191965-434fnd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=458&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Across most of the world’s oceans, temperatures remain well above normal.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>This difference in ocean temperatures reduces the amount of atmospheric moisture over southern and eastern Australia. It also makes low pressure systems weaker and less frequent, reducing rainfall over the region.</p> <p>Over the coming months, warm and dry weather is expected to continue. For the rest of winter and spring, it’s expected to be <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/rainfall/summary">drier than normal</a> in the southwest of Western Australia and much of the east of the continent. And the whole of Australia is predicted to be <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/temperature/summary">warmer than normal</a> during this period. Of course, this doesn’t rule out occasional cool, wet spells.</p> <p>So is climate change a factor here? Yes. Australia’s land areas have <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/factsheets/IPCC_AR6_WGI_Regional_Fact_Sheet_Australasia.pdf">already warmed by 1.4℃</a> since pre-industrial times. This is the result of humans burning fossil fuels and releasing greenhouse gases.</p> <p>The record winter warmth is part of a <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-record-breaking-winter-warmth-linked-to-climate-change-83304">long-term upward trend</a> in Australian winter temperatures.</p> <p>As I’ve written <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-record-breaking-winter-warmth-linked-to-climate-change-83304">previously</a>, there has been at least a 60-fold increase in the likelihood of a very warm winter that can be attributed to human-caused climate change.</p> <p>And we’re likely to see more record warm winters as the planet continues to warm.</p> <h2>Looking north</h2> <p>Of course, Australia’s spell of warm weather seems harmless compared to the Northern Hemisphere’s weird and wild summer.</p> <p>There, simultaneous extreme heatwaves have struck all four continents in recent weeks. Ocean temperatures are well <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2023/07/28/ocean-temperature-maps-heat-records/">above previous record highs</a> for this time of year. Last week, <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2023/07/25/weather/canadian-wildfire-us-air-pollution/index.html">1,000 wildfires burned</a> in Canada alone.</p> <p>The planet’s warmest average temperatures typically happen in July. That’s because the Northern Hemisphere’s large land masses heat up more quickly than the oceans, in response to the high amounts of radiation from the sun. Still, the heat of the last few weeks has been unprecedented.</p> <p>The heatwaves are <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-climate-expert-explains-the-northern-hemispheres-weird-wild-summer-and-what-it-means-for-australia-209862">linked to</a> high-pressure weather systems that are “blocking” or deflecting oncoming low-pressure systems (and associated clouds and rain). On top of this, human-caused global warming is greatly increasing the chance of record-breaking extreme heat events and concurrent heatwaves across many regions.</p> <p>Worryingly, a <a href="https://www.worldweatherattribution.org/extreme-heat-in-north-america-europe-and-china-in-july-2023-made-much-more-likely-by-climate-change/">rapid analysis</a> by international experts suggests the extreme heat should not be viewed as unusual, given the effects of climate change. For example, it says China’s recent <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/china-logs-52-2-celsius-as-extreme-weather-rewrites-records-20230718-p5dp1v.html">record-breaking heatwave</a> should now be expected about once in every five years, on average.</p> <p>Not all extreme weather events can be attributed to human-caused climate change. But the study found climate change significantly contributed to the recent heatwaves in China, North America and Europe.</p> <h2>A sign of what’s to come</h2> <p>The Northern Hemisphere’s heatwaves are very alarming. But Australia’s temperatures are also unusually high for winter – and this is also cause for concern.</p> <p>Warm winters in Australia can negatively affect some parts of the economy, including the ski industry. It also disrupts flora and fauna and increases the chance of “<a href="https://theconversation.com/flash-droughts-can-dry-out-soil-in-weeks-new-research-shows-what-they-look-like-in-australia-161286">flash droughts</a>” – where drier-than-normal conditions turn into severe drought in the space of weeks.</p> <p>The warm, dry conditions may also lead to an <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/aug/15/sydneys-bushfire-season-starts-in-winter-we-may-have-to-rethink-how-we-live">earlier start</a> to the fire season in Australia’s southeast.</p> <p>So while we may appreciate warm winter weather, we mustn’t forget what’s driving it – and how urgently we need to stabilise Earth’s climate by slashing greenhouse gas emissions.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/210693/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-king-103126">Andrew King</a>, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-is-australia-having-such-a-warm-winter-a-climate-expert-explains-210693">original article</a>.</em></p>

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