New and Newsy

The spotlight has fallen on male fertility this June, which is recognised as National Men’s Health Month, following reports by scientists who claim that sperm counts have halved over the past 50 years.

According to a study done by the University of Copenhagen, sperm counts in the 1940s were typically well above 100 million sperm cells per millilitre, but researchers found that they have dropped to an average of about 60 million per ml. The study involved a large cohort of almost 5 000 young men between the ages of 18 and 19, conducted over an extensive 15-year period.

Other studies found that close to 20% of young men between the ages of 18 and 25 now find themselves with sperm counts of less than 20 million per ml, which is technically defined as abnormal by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Male infertility is the reason up to 40% of South African couples fail to conceive, and a low sperm count is cited as a major contributing factor.

Although scientists are still not clear on what could be influencing this change in men’s reproductive status, they blame various environmental and lifestyle factors, including that of maternal-lifestyle factors in pregnancy over the past five decades, for the general decline in sperm production.

Among the strongest pieces of evidence in support of this notion emanates from studies done among cigarette smokers. A man who smokes reduces his sperm count by 15%, however a man whose mother smoked during pregnancy, has a significantly lower sperm count of up to only 40%. Obesity has also been linked with reproductive problems and reduced sperm quality in men.

While male infertility can be frustrating, it is rewarding to know, that by making the appropriate lifestyle changes such as exercising, quitting smoking and eating right, could boost a man’s sperm count. Another natural remedy to assist men faced with these challenges may be rooibos.

Adele du Toit, spokesperson for the SA Rooibos Council, cites a study conducted by the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), which compared the effects of red rooibos, green rooibos, Chinese green tea, and commercial rooibos and green tea supplements on rat sperm, which found that sperm count and motility were significantly higher for rats on red and green rooibos with their high antioxidant content, than with any of the other groups.

“Another study, also conducted by CPUT on diabetic rats – a condition which is often associated with male reproductive concerns, such as low sperm count – again confirmed rooibos’ beneficial effect on sperm quality.

“Antioxidants prevent oxidative stress, which causes degenerative problems at a cellular level on a variety of tissues, from organs to sperm. Although both studies were conducted in rodents, rooibos could potentially have the same positive effect in men,” remarks du Toit.

Cardiovascular disease is also often a precursor to erectile dysfunction and other male reproductive challenges, which rooibos can also counter.

Du Toit refers to “quercetin”, another powerful antioxidant found in rooibos, which has been linked to the prevention of a wide variety of heart conditions. “It promotes HDL – good cholesterol and inhibits the LDL – bad cholesterol from adhering to the walls of arteries and blood vessels. This means added protection against various heart conditions, including arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.

“The bottom line is that if you drink rooibos, you’re going to reap multiple health benefits and every man should consider it an important beverage that is vital for a healthy lifestyle.”

For more info regarding rooibos’ health benefits, visit

Immunization Works

  1. Immunization has been widely acknowledged as the most successful means of preventing the suffering and death associated with life-threatening infectious diseases.[1] P1a
  2. Vaccines are rigorously tested and proven safe and effective prior to widespread use.2 P3a
  3. Diseases that may be avoided through vaccination include polio, diphtheria, tetanus and measles, amongst others.
  4. Immunization prevents an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths per year.1 P1b
  5. An additional 1.5 million deaths per year could be avoided if global immunization coverage were more widespread.1 P1b
  6. It is estimated that 19.4 million infants, across the globe, do not receive immunization.1 P1c
  7. About 60% of children who don’t receive immunization live in 10 countries.[2] P2a
  8. If we stop vaccination, diseases will return. When people are not vaccinated infectious diseases, such as diphtheria, measles, mumps and polio, can quickly reappear.2 P3b
  9. Global vaccination coverage has remained steady for the past few years.1 P1d
  10. The World Health Organization (WHO) initiated the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) in May 1974 with the objective to vaccinate children throughout the world.[3] P1a
  11. In 1984 the WHO established a standardised immunization schedule.3 P1b
  12. Following the introduction of the EPI and standard immunization schedule, immunization rates went from less than 5% in 1974 to an estimated 86% in 2015 for 3 doses of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine.1 P1e
  13. The WHO recommends a routine paediatric vaccination schedule, which is administered between birth and 15 years of age.[4] P1
  14. Vaccinations are important throughout life, with different vaccines recommended through childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

Immunization in South Africa (SA)

  1. There are vaccines against 11 diseases covered by the SA national immunization schedule.5 P1a
  2. There has been a steady increase in the number of fully immunized children in SA, which stood at 91.7% in 2015.[5] P1b
  3. SA achieved neonatal tetanus elimination in 2002.5 P1c
  4. In 2006, SA was pre-certified polio-free by the Africa Regional Certification Committee.5 P1c
  5. In SA, newer vaccines have been introduced as they have been developed, allowing prevention of potentially debilitating disease.

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Herpes Zoster (Shingles) Vaccines

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and a new Herpes Zoster (Shingles) vaccine were introduced into South Africa in 2008[6] P1a and 2014,[7] respectively.


  1. HPV is the most common infection of the reproductive tract. It can cause cervical cancer, other types of cancer, and genital warts in both males and felmales.3 P2a
  2. In South Africa, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women, and the most frequent cancer among women aged 15 to 44.6 P1b
  3. Two HPV vaccines are available in South Africa.6 P1a
  4. Both vaccines are highly efficacious at preventing infection with virus types 16 and 18, which are responsible for approximately 70% of cervical cancer cases globally. These are available for females aged 9 to 45.6 P1c
  5. Additionally, one of the vaccines protects against genital warts, and is also approved for administration in males aged 9 to 26. 6 P1d
  6. Dosing is either a 2 or 3 dose regimen depending on age. 6 P1e, P2a
  7. The HPV vaccine became part of the integrated school health programme in South Africa in 2014 for females aged 9 years and older in grade 4 in public schools. 6 P2b

Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

  1. Shingles is the re-activation of the chickenpox virus (varicella zoster).
  2. It usually occurs in adults aged >50 or in immunocompromised people.[8] P1a
  3. Shingles tends to cause a painful rash, which may result in longstanding severe neurological pain (post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN)) and permanent nerve damage.8 P1b,c
  4. A live varicella zoster vaccine has been shown to decrease the risk of shingles infection by 51% and PHN by 67%.7 P1a
  5. A single dose is recommended for adults over the age of 50 years, even if they have already had an attack of shingles.7 It is not recommended in people who are immunocompromised. P1b,c

Diseases Covered by Immunization on the SA National EPI

Disease Potential Complications SA Vaccination Schedule[9] P8 Global Trends
Diphtheria Cough fever, rash, difficulty breathing and death.[10] P1a 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 14 weeks and 18 months as part of a combined vaccine with tetanus and pertussis (DTP) Global coverage for DTP was at 86% in 2015.[11] P1a
Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib) Typically affects children under 5 years. Pneumonia, meningitis and death.[12] P1a 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 14 weeks and 18 months Global coverage with 3 doses is estimated at 64%, with great variation between regions.1 P1f
Hepatitis B Liver damage, liver cancer and death.  6 weeks, 10 weeks, 14 weeks and 18 months Global coverage with three doses of Hepatitis B is estimated at 83%.1 P1g
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)* Cervical cancer, other types of cancer and genital warts.1 P2a Girls aged 9 to 14 The HPV vaccine was introduced to 66 countries by the end of 2015.1 P2a
Measles High fever and rash. Diarrhoea, dehydration, deafness, eye complications, pneumonia, brain damage and death.1 P2b 6 months and 12 months In 2015, about 85% of the world’s children had received at least one dose of measles vaccine by their second birthday.1 P2b
Pertussis (whooping cough) Headache, fever and paroxysmal bouts of coughing. 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 14 weeks and 18 months There are about 195,000 pertussis-related deaths in children per year. Most deaths occur in babies who are unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated.[13] P1a
Pneumococcal Severe infections of the blood, ears or brain.14 P1a 6 weeks, 14 weeks and 9 months The routine use of the pneumococcal vaccine has dramatically reduced the incidence of severe disease related to the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium.[14] P1b
Polio Affects nerves of the body causing weakness, paralysis or death. Birth, 6 weeks, 10 weeks 14 weeks and 18 months 125 countries were polio-endemic in 1988, with only 3 countries remaining so today.1 P2c
Rotavirus A major cause of diarrhoea worldwide and can lead to severe dehydration. 6 weeks and 14 weeks A decline of up to 50% in diarrhoeal related deaths in children aged <5 has been observed in some countries and is attributable directly to vaccine use.[15] P1a
Tetanus (lock jaw) Muscle spasms, breathing and heart problems and carries a very high risk of death. 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 14 weeks and 18 months Maternal and neonatal tetanus persists as a public health problem in 19 countries, mainly in Africa and Asia.1 P2d
Tuberculosis (TB) Coughing, chest pain, sweating, weight loss, meningitis and death if untreated. BCG vaccine at birth Global rates of TB have slowly declined although SA struggles with the TB epidemic, with high rates driven by HIV.[16] P1a

* The HPV vaccine is offered as part of the integrated school health programme rather than the National EPI.


[1] World Health Organization, Media Centre, Immunization coverage. Facts sheet. WHO (Internet). March 2017, cited April 4th 2017. Available from:

[2] World Health Organization, WHO global health days. Infographics: #VaccinesWork. WHO (Internet). March 2017, cited 4th April 2017. Available from:

[3] Wikipedia, Expanded Program on Immunization. Wikipedia (Internet). 31st January 2017, cited 4th April 2017. Available at:

[4] World Health Organization. Table 1 – Summary of WHO Position Papers – Recommendations for Routine Immunization. WHO. March 2017. Available at:

[5] World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa. South Africa, Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). WHO (Internet). 2015, cited 4th April 2017. Available at:

[6] Richter K. Public Health Association of South Africa: Implementation of HPV vaccination in South Africa. Feb 26, 2015. Available at:

[7] Drug Info. New Product Focus. Zostavax®: varicella-zoster virus (live vaccine). South African Pharmacy Journal. 2014, Vol 81(3). P34-35.

[8] Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine Information Statements (VIS). Shingles VIS. CDC (Internet). 10th June 2009, cited 7th April 2017. Available at:

[9] National Institute for Communicable Diseases and Centre for Vaccines and Immunology. Vaccine Information for Parents and Caregivers, First Edition, November 2016. Available at:

[10] World Health Organization: Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals. Diptheria. WHO (Internet). 14th August 2015, cited 4th April 2017. Available at:

[11] World Health Organization. Global Health Observatory Data. Diptheria-tetenus-pertussis (DTP3) immunization coverage. WHO (Internet). 2017, cited 4th April 2017. Available at:

[12] World Health Organization: Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). WHO (Internet). 23rd January 2014, cited 4th April 2017. Available at:

[13] Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis (whooping cough): Pertussis in other countries. CDC (Internet).27th June 2016, cited 4th April 2017. Available at:

[14] World Health Organization: Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals. Pneumococcal. WHO (Internet). 29th September 2014, cited 4th April 2017. Available at:

[15] World Health Organization: Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals. Rotavirus. WHO (Internet). 3rd June 2016, cited 4th April 2017. Available at:

[16] Churchyard GJ et al. Tuberculosis control in South Africa: Successes, challenges and recommendations. South African Medical Journal. March 2014, Vol. 104 (3), Suppl. 1, 244-248. Available at:

Snowflake and Manhattan Marshmallows have come together to create a sweet Mother’s Day sensation. You can treat your mom to a batch of cupcakes baked by yours-truly, using the “Snowflake Creations Manhattan Marshmallow Cupcake Kit”  and top it all off by writing a heartfelt submission to Fluffos, nominating your mother to win a magical day off.

Be your mother’s hero this Mother’s Day by simply telling Fluffos just how amazing she is!

Visit: , download the #DearFluffos letter template, fill it out with all your mother’s amazingness, snap a pic and share it onto the Snowflake Facebook page:

Entries close at midnight on Wednesday, the 10th of May, 2017.

Winners will be announced on Mother’s Day (Sunday, 14th of May 2017) on the Snowflake Facebook page and the Manhattan Sweets Facebook page, so keep your eyes peeled!

The winners will be notified on Facebook and contacted via email within five (5) workdays from the competition closing date.

Visit the Snowflake and Manhattan Sweets Facebook pages to stand chance of winning spot prizes from LCN nail and cosmetic hampers, Shiroko Bespoke Jewellry and more…

Drawntolight-266 langaro-building-front 2 Life-day-spa-rosebank-3 Zimbali

The Johannesburg Magical Day Off

The winning #DearFluffos letter coming from Johannesburg will win a magical day off for their mom that looks something like this:

  • “The Journey of Life” package for two at the Life Day Spa in Rosebank, valued at R3740:
    • “The Journey of Life Package for two:
      • Middle Eastern mud ritual
      • Flotation therapy
      • Aromatherapy massage
      • Signature pedicure
      • “Life Day Spa” lunch
      • Including access to the following spa facilities:
        • Himalayan salt room
        • Steam room
        • Indoor heated spa pool and coffee bar
      • A pair of Italian-imported designer pants from Freddy valued at R2299:
        • Designed with curve-sculpting technology, that will assist mothers in lifting the parts of their bodies to make the most of their fabulous figures.
        • Freddy’s got your back in more ways than just offering your derriere a lift – the D.I.W.O. range is bundled with cellulite-hiding technology.
        • To see more, visit:
      • An LCN (Light Concept Nails) nail make-over valued at R550 at the award-winning R.U.B. Salon in Bryanston.
      • An LCN nail and cosmetic hamper valued at R 4100:
        • The hamper includes the following:
          • Funky Town make-up set
            • Lipgloss – Nude Caramel
            • Face & Body Bronzer – Sun Goddess
            • Eyeshadow – Wild Berries
            • Hula Dance nail polish – 8ml
            • Bang Boom Bang nail polish – 8ml
            • Limited Edition Trend bag
          • Eyes To Kill For Eyeliner
          • Extreme Wow Effect Volume Mascara
          • Award Winning Anti Age Hand Cream
          • 7in1 Wonder Nail Recovery
          • Honeydew Melon 3in1
          • Pink Seducer Lipstick



The Cape Town Magical Day Off

The winning #DearFluffos letter coming from Cape Town will win a magical day off for their mom that looks something like this:

  • A customizable package for two at the Langaro Day Spa in Camps Bay, valued at R3750:
    • In addition to selecting a customized spa package for two at the award-winning Langaro Day Spa, our mother and her selected companion will have access to the following:
      • All spa facilities and a complimentary snack and beverage for both guests to enjoy.
    • A pair of Italian-imported designer pants from Freddy valued at R2299:
      • Designed with curve-sculpting technology, that will assist mothers in lifting the parts of their bodies to make the most of their fabulous figures.
      • Freddy’s got your back in more ways than just offering your derriere a lift – the D.I.W.O. range is bundled with cellulite-hiding technology.
      • To see more, visit:
    • An LCN (Light Concept Nails) nail make-over valued at R550 at the award-winning Laser Beautique Spa, Gardens.
    • An LCN nail and cosmetic hamper valued at R 4100:
      • The hamper includes the following:
        • Funky Town make-up set
          • Lipgloss – Nude Caramel
          • Face & Body Bronzer – Sun Goddess
          • Eyeshadow – Wild Berries
          • Hula Dance nail polish – 8ml
          • Bang Boom Bang nail polish – 8ml
          • Limited Edition Trend bag
        • Eyes To Kill For Eyeliner
        • Extreme Wow Effect Volume Mascara
        • Award-Winning Anti Age Hand Cream
        • 7in1 Wonder Nail Recovery
        • Honeydew Melon 3in1
        • Pink Seducer Lipstick





The Durban Magical Day Off

The winning #DearFluffos letter coming from Durban will win a magical day off for their mom that looks something like this:

  • A customizable package for two at the Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Zimbali Resort valued at R3750.
  • A pair of Italian-imported designer pants from Freddy valued at R2299:
    • Designed with curve-sculpting technology, that will assist mothers in lifting the parts of their bodies to make the most of their fabulous figures.
    • Freddy’s got your back in more ways than just offering your derriere a lift – the D.I.W.O. range is bundled with cellulite-hiding technology.
    • To see more, visit:
  • An LCN (Light Concept Nails) nail make-over valued at R550 at the award-winning Belle Nova in Padfield Park, Pinetown.
  • An LCN nail and cosmetic hamper valued at R 4100:
    • The hamper includes the following:
      • Funky Town make-up set
        • Lipgloss – Nude Caramel
        • Face & Body Bronzer – Sun Goddess
        • Eyeshadow – Wild Berries
        • Hula Dance nail polish – 8ml
        • Bang Boom Bang nail polish – 8ml
        • Limited Edition Trend bag
      • Eyes To Kill For Eyeliner
      • Extreme Wow Effect Volume Mascara
      • Award-Winning Anti Age Hand Cream
      • 7in1 Wonder Nail Recovery
      • Honeydew Melon 3in1
      • Pink Seducer Lipstick

The Saying Goes:             “Behind every successful man, is a woman”.


While spending time with Maps Maponyane (the most successful sweetheart you will ever meet), you will quickly notice a truly gentle quality about him. What’s even more amazing is how it doesn’t take away from his masculinity, but rather adds an enchanting flair to his character. You will also very quickly learn that this magical quality didn’t appear at a flick of a wand, but from years of sweet moments with his beautiful mother, Meisie.

Maps and his mom have always been close and they both share a love for fashion and baking. Quality time, paired with quality ingredients, means making sweet treats and even sweeter memories.

Sharing Sweet Moments

Maps has always had an insatiable sweet tooth, which meant countless Saturday mornings in the kitchen with mom, sharing laughs, lessons and lovely goodies. Meisie insisted on Maps working alongside her to share in the effort of baking and the delicious reward thereafter.
To this day, sharing a sweet moment together will always mean whipping up something scrumptious in the kitchen. With Snowflake and Manhattan Marshmallows, this combination is an undeniable recipe for success.  It is no surprise that Maps leaped at the chance to write a #DearFluffos letter about his mother and to help us celebrate all magical mothers this Mother’s Day.


Who is Fluffos?


Fluffos is the fluffiest addition to Mother’s Day. He loves all things fluffy – like marshmallows – and he loves to bake! Fluffos is on a mission to find three amazing mothers to be treated to a magical day off with the help of his partners (Snowflake, Manhattan Sweets and Maps).

You can also help Fluffos along on his mission by introducing him to outstanding mothers who deserve this spoil, which you can do by submitting a #DearFluffos letter, telling him what makes your mother super-special!

Treat Your Mom to Something Sweet this Mother’s Day

Be sure to treat your mom to something more than just a sweet treat this Mother’s Day, by downloading a #DearFluffos template from: and motivating to Fluffos why your mother deserves to win a magical day off.  Keep an eye on the Snowflake and Manhattan Facebook pages because we also have some spot prizes up-for-grabs. Visit the Snowflake and Manhattan Sweets Facebook pages to stand chance of winning spot prizes from LCN nail and cosmetic hampers, Shiroko Bespoke Jewellry and more…

Snowflake and Manhattan are giving away three magical days off in the three major cities of South Africa: Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban respectively. To help get your creative juices going, have a look at the #DearFluffos letter Maps wrote about Meisie (make sure you have a tissue handy before feasting your eyes on this heart-warming submission):



A dreamy combination of Snowflake Chocolate Cupcakes and Manhattan Marshmallows. Bake fluffy chocolate cupcakes and top with pink and white marshmallows for ready-in-seconds icing. Get creative with marshmallows for endless batches of sweet creations.

If you’re crazy for cupcakes, with a taste for sweet treats too, you’ll be happy at the thought of Snowflake’s new Creations Manhattan Marshmallow Cupcake Kit, set to hit shelves for a limited time. So hurry up and get baking!

What’s in the Kit?

The super-simple kit includes a flop-proof Snowflake Chocolate Cupcake mix, as well as Manhattan Marshmallows for a ready-in-seconds topping. It’s the first of its kind in baking mixes – and opens the (oven) door for endless creativity. Moms and kids can enjoy hours of baking with this new kit.

Icing on Top

To celebrate the launch of the new kit, Snowflake and Manhattan Marshmallows are giving away a Mother’s Day spoil to three lucky moms in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban respectively. Help your little one write a letter to Fluffos – your baking sidekick – with #DearFluffos and you could win a dream day of pampering, relaxation or adventure. To enter the competition, visit Snowflake on Facebook and follow this link: – download the #DearFluffos letter template to help your little one start writing.

A Scrumptious Revolution

With less time than ever to flex their baking muscles, bakers are experimenting with Snowflake Creations and Easy mixes – knowing they’ll produce perfect-every-time bakes that have the comfort and taste of homemade creations.

The new Snowflake Creations Manhattan Marshmallow Cupcake Kit marks the beginning of a baking adventure with endless delicious endings.

Visit the Snowflake and Manhattan Sweets Facebook pages to stand chance of winning spot prizes from LCN nail and cosmetic hampers, Shiroko Bespoke Jewellry and more…

The last week of April is World Immunization Week (24 – 30 April) which aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that routine immunization is a fundamental starting point in primary health care —it offers every child the chance at a healthy life from the start. Immunization is also a fundamental strategy in achieving other health priorities, from controlling viral hepatitis, to curbing antimicrobial resistance, to providing a platform for adolescent health and improving antenatal and newborn care.

The WHO has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the fact that vaccines do work (#vaccineswork) and the critical importance of full immunization throughout life. In support of this initiative the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA), a body which represents over 1000 independent community pharmacies in South Africa, is urging all South African parents to ensure that their children’s immunisations are up to date.

Pharmacy Clinics Provide Immunisations

“Nearly every independent community pharmacy in South Africa offers a clinic service where people can go to get their children immunized,” explains Jackie Maimin, acting CEO of ICPA. “It offers a safe, convenient, accessible and affordable way to keep up to date on immunizations. Pharmacy clinics utilise the services of competent professionals, such as nursing sisters or pharmacists trained in immunisation techniques, to provide vaccinations.”

The ICPA provides some basic information on vaccines:

How do vaccines work?

Vaccines contain either:

  • Non-infectious fragments of bacteria and viruses
  • Whole live bacteria or viruses that have been weakened so that they cannot cause disease
  • A toxin that is produced by the bacteria but has been altered to be harmless (called a toxoid).

When they are introduced into the body (usually by injection) they stimulate the body’s immune system to fight against that disease, without the person actually getting the illness. Once the immune system has been activated by the vaccine it recognises any future invasion by that particular virus or bacteria and is able to mount a rapid and effective immune response before the infectious agent can establish itself within the body and cause disease.

Why must we vaccinate against rare diseases that have been almost eradicated?

Diseases such as diphtheria and polio are rarely encountered today largely because of widespread vaccination programmes. It is essential however to continue to vaccinate until a particular disease is essentially eradicated before we cease vaccinating. These diseases are extremely contagious and if we stop vaccinating prematurely one infectious individual could cause rapid spread amongst a vulnerable non-immune community. By maintaining a regular vaccination programme we ensure “herd” immunity and protect our communities against an epidemic.

How safe are vaccines?

Vaccines available today are highly reliable and most people tolerate them well, with very few exhibiting mild side effects such as pain at the injection site, an itchy rash or mild fever.  Vaccines are continuously undergoing improvements to ensure their safety and effectiveness.

Do combination vaccines work?

In addition to protecting children against numerous diseases, one of the biggest advantages of combination vaccines is that the child needs to have fewer injections, and combining vaccines in one injection does not affect the effectiveness or safety of the individual vaccines.

Below is a chart of the vaccine guideline as published by the National Department of Health:

The ICPA advise that there are other vaccines for children available which are not currently provided by the State via the EPI Vaccination Schedule – these include:

  1. Influenza (flu) vaccine – the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. This protects against three dangerous strains of influenza prevalent in any particular year. It is highly recommended that all children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years are vaccinated each year to protect them against these virulent forms of flu. The flu vaccine is also particularly important for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those on chronic medication, asthma sufferers, diabetics and HIV positive people.
  1. Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine – this protects against both chickenpox and later shingles. Children should get 2 doses of chickenpox vaccine starting at one year of age. Adults may be vaccinated at any time if they didn’t get 2 doses of the vaccine or chickenpox disease when they were younger.
  2. Hepatitis A Vaccine – indicated for active immunisation against infection caused by hepatitis A virus in children aged from 12 months to 15 years inclusive. Two doses of hepatitis A vaccine are recommended for all children beginning at age 12 months. The two doses should be separated by 6 months. Older children and adults can receive the vaccine if they are at risk for contracting the disease and were not vaccinated as a child. Transmission of the hepatitis A virus usually occurs through the consumption of contaminated water or food.
  3. Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) Vaccine – children should receive 2 doses of the MMR vaccine. The first dose should be given at 12–15 months, and the second dose at 4–6 years. This vaccine prevents mumps and rubella in addition to measles. Mumps is highly contagious and can lead to deafness, brain or spinal cord infection, and painful swelling of the testicles. Mumps in adult men can cause a drop in sperm count so may affect fertility. Rubella or German measles is a highly contagious but generally mild disease but can cause miscarriage or serious birth defects if a pregnant woman gets infected.
  4. Meningococcal Vaccine – helps prevent meningococcal meningitis a serious condition which can lead to permanent and disabling medical problems and can be fatal. Meningococcal disease is more likely to occur in babies younger than 1 year, in young people ages 16 to 23 years, in anyone with a weak immune system, and in anyone exposed to an outbreak of the disease. It is also a vaccine that is recommended for travel to certain countries where meningococcal disease is prevalent.

The ICPA concludes by saying that you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist about whether or not you should consider any of these additional vaccines for your child.

No parent likes to think about this, but tens of thousands of South African children die every year, as a result of drowning, burns, poisoning and falls from bunk beds, roofs, roller skates and skateboards (Herman, 2006).

Nurse and first aid author Linda Buys (2015) says SA’s most common first aid emergencies include accidental injuries like minor cuts and lacerations, foreign objects in fingers and feet, muscle sprains, strains and cramps, burns, chemicals or foreign objects in the eye, poisoning, and asthma attacks.

This article unpacks the importance of a first aid kit and essential contents, so you’re prepared for situations where urgent treatment for an injury is required – or when professional medical care is either unavailable or unnecessary.

What can go wrong?

Some of the most common incidents that can happen at home include:

  1. Burns and scalds
  2. Cuts and grazes
  3. Ingesting chemicals
  4. Fever
  5. Headaches
  6. Insect bites

Arrive Alive paramedics agree, suggesting that the critical contents of an emergency medical kit are items to treat burn wounds, cuts and bruises, and fractures, as well as splints, band aids, scissors, tweezers, medical gloves for your own safety, lotions for bites and stings, and disinfectant (2017).

What should you include?

Medicinenet (2017) says your first aid kit can’t do without the following basics:


  • Adhesive and duct tape, to hold a dressing or splint in place
  • ‘Butterfly’ bandages, to hold the edges of a cut together
  • Non-stick sterile bandages, for simple cuts or abrasions
  • Sterile gauze, to control bleeding and prevent contamination
  • Sterile roller bandages, to support sprained or sore muscles
  • Anti-itch lotion, for relief of insect bites, itching and minor skin irritations
  • Antibiotic ointment, to prevent infection of minor wounds
  • Antiseptic ointment, solution, spray or wipes, for cleansing wounds
  • Cotton wool, cotton balls, and cotton buds or swabs
  • Disposable non-latex medical gloves (several pairs)

To these, the Mayo Foundation (2017) adds these elements of a first aid kit:

  • Eye shield or pad
  • Eyewash solution
  • Triangular bandage
  • Sterile burn gel and burn dressings
  • Aluminium finger splint
  • Instant cold packs
  • Plastic bags, assorted sizes
  • Safety pins, assorted sizes
  • Scissors and tweezers
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Thermometer
  • Bulb suction device for flushing wounds
  • Syringe, medicine cup or spoon
  • CPR mouthpiece (breathing barrier)


  • Aloe Vera gel
  • Calamine lotion
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Laxatives
  • Antacids
  • Antihistamines
  • Pain relievers
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Cough and cold medications

The required quantity of these items depends on the size of your family or on the specific trip, but your pharmacist can guide you (Affinity Rescue, 2014).


  • Small waterproof torch
  • Batteries and spares
  • Waterproof matches
  • Small notepad and pencil
  • Emergency space blanket
  • Emergency whistle

Of course, you can also add your own medications to the bag. In this case, the American National Red Cross (2017) has the following advice for you:

  1. Don’t share your personal prescription medication with anyone, even if they use the same medication.
  2. Mark any headache, pain relief, anti-nausea and anti-vomiting medication accordingly, and store it in a childproof container.
  3. Ensure that only responsible adults are able to access, use and dispense included medications.

Useful tips for first aid

Essential First Aid Supplies (2017) offers the following handy reminders:

  1. Keep your first aid kit well maintained, properly stocked and up-to-date.
  2. Keep it locked and in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children.
  3. Make sure that the entire family and all caregivers know where the kit is kept and what it contains.
  4. Consider including a basic first aid manual or instruction booklet.
  5. Resist the temptation to over-stock your kit with random items.
  6. Paramedics’ top three must-have items are: a CPR mouthpiece, something to stop bleeding and splint fractures, and medical gloves.
  7. Never touch blood or body fluids without wearing medical gloves.
  8. Replace any items as soon as possible after you’ve used them.
  9. If you haven’t used the kit in a while, choose one day a year to audit it.
  10. When faced with an emergency, try to provide the best assistance you can to the injured person, but always ensure your own safety first.

Nurse Linda Buys (2015) adds, “The moment you feel inadequate and insecure when treating a patient, you can make a phone call to a medical officer, even your pharmacist or your doctor’s consulting rooms, for advice.”

Buys also shares her three secret weapons: “Colloidal silver spray works wonders on all cuts, [healing] burns, eye injuries, eye infections, throat ‘burns’, and tonsillitis. She suggests that a mentholated topical ointment works for earache, a ‘deaf’ feeling in the ear, and to remove earwax or smother any insects in the ear. For burn wounds, my best tip is: the sooner you rinse the area with cold water, the better the outcome.”


  1. Affinity Rescue, ‘The Importance of a First Aid Kit’. 2014. Available at:, Accessed 20 March 2017.
  1. Buys, L. Health24, ‘Q&A about First Aid Emergencies’, 2015. Available at:, Accessed 20 March 2017.
  2. Essential First Aid Supplies, ‘Importance of Maintaining your First Aid Kit’, 2017. Available at:, Accessed 20 March 2017.
  3. Herman, D. IOL, ‘Children are not being properly cared for’. Available at:, Accessed 20 March 2017.
  4. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), ‘First-aid kits: Stock supplies that can save lives’, 2017. Available at:, Accessed 20 March 2017.
  5. Medicinenet, ‘First Aid Kit – What You Need’, 2017. Available at:, Accessed 20 March 2017.
  6. The American National Red Cross, ‘Anatomy of a First Aid Kit’, 2017. Available at:, Accessed 20 March 2017.


The Self-Medication Manufacturers Association of South Africa (SMASA) aims to promote self-care and to enable consumers to responsibly and appropriately self-medicate and self-treat primary ailments where possible. As such, SMASA represents companies involved in the provision, distribution and sale of healthcare products. SMASA also engages actively in legislative, regulatory and policy development. 

We have had such fantastic feedback from the pregnant moms and dads who attended on Saturday – this is some of the feedback we received –

  • Great! Very informative for a first time dad – Daniel from Springs
  • Brilliant. Thanks for a wonderful educational experience – Sheldon
  • Very informative. I was really educated. Good advice and product information. Keep educating mothers and mothers to be – this is a good initiative – Stacey from Randfontien
  • Excellent – Fanie from Vanderbijlpark
  • Was a lot of fun – ben from JHB
  • I think information is relevant, informative and educational with practical tips – Emmanuel
  • It was indeed an amazing and educational morning to remember – Katlego from Brits
  • Very informative, gained more knowledge on pregnancy and birth – Tinyiko from Sandton
  • Mindblowing – Uchenna
  • Excellent!! Thank you!! Many thanks for all the relevant and updated information – Irene from Pretoria
  • I think these kinds of workshops should be held on a regular basis . I learnt so many things about the importance of breastfeeding and skin to skin – Catherine
  • Very informative, a lot of research was conducted on the topics facilitated today. I have learnt a handful – More
  • Everything was excellent! Thank you very much – Monic
  • Very well informed and educated as well as entertaining – Geoffrey
  • Well presented with relevant informative content. Thanks for the experience! – Ulrich from Wilgers
  • Very informative. More workshops or events similar to these should be run – Funzani
  • Informative and enjoyed the encouragement of being close to your baby. Thank you! – Michelle from Sandton
  • Very good – very informative. Well done and thank you – Donovan from Sandton
  • Lovely function, very informative and fun. Thank you for all your hard work and effort, it is greatly appreciated – Siobhan from Alberton
  • Great, very informative and friendly – Shane from Randfontein
  • Best ever 100% – Angelique from Randfontein
  • An excellent, well organised, informed morning! Thank you very much for the lovely morning! It was really informative and we are now ready for our baby J – Meryke from Springs
  • Enlightening – Wayne
  • Excellent and wonderful morning – well spent – Deidre from Wilgers
  • Very good, very interesting and guiding and helpful – Benny from Rustenburg
  • Wow! Very exciting indeed. It revived my knowledge especially that I will deliver normally and continue breastfeeding my 4th baby. I hope this teaching can reach every pregnant mom and dad – Happy from Rustenburg
  • Well planned and a happy atmosphere! Loved it, thank you! – Joey from Sunninghill
  • It was more educational. I’ve learnt a lot as a first time mom – Lorraine from Benoni
  • Fantastic information. Keep up the good work! – Anke
  • So special! Thanks I learnt so much!!! – Magdaleen
  • Loved loved loved it!! – Deidre from JHB
  • Informative, educational and very relevant. Thank you for making this possible and following your passion to educate us as parents to make better decisions to impact our child’s life positively – Janine from Wilgeheuwel
  • Brilliant! Thank you for a wonderful educational seminar – Simone from Springs
  • Very well planned and interesting – Chane from Pretoria East
  • Excellently organised, professionally presented, very informative speakers. Thank you Lynne and team – Leonie
  • Super beneficial, educational and informative. Loved it! – Vasti
  • Informative, supportive, excellent. Thank you for hosting and making this info readily available – Donne from Randburg
  • I really enjoyed the content but also the method of presentation and videos. Thank you for an insightful morning! – Salmah
  • Enjoyed every moment – Sharon from Alberton
  • Joy, love attendance for my baby. Overwhelming excitement. Would love more of these seminars – Lorika from Alberton
  • My overall impression is that I had negatively thought about breastfeeding, but now I have changed my mind – Ambatha from Germiston
  • Very effective and well arranged. Highly informative session. Expectations definitely exceeded – Xoliswa from Linksfield
  • Amazing information – Thandi from Edenvale
  • And more…… of the same…… JJ

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From a soothing beverage to beauty elixir, Rooibos tea is one versatile brew. Now researchers have discovered that it can also undo some of the damage caused by the sun’s harmful rays.

For the past 11 years, scientists from the SA Medical Research Council (MRC) and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) have been involved in studying how Rooibos protects against inflammation in skin cells, since chronic inflammation is one of the hallmarks of skin cancer development.

Prof Wentzel Gelderblom, based at CPUT’s Institute of Biomedical and Microbial Biotechnology has been one of the lead researchers involved in the Rooibos study. He says once the skin has been exposed to the sun’s ultra-violet (UV) rays, Rooibos extracts have the ability to remove precancerous damaged cells and also block the onset of inflammation.

“It does so by stopping the multiplication of cancerous cells and removing these cells through programmed cell death, in other words, prompting them to commit suicide,” he explains.

It’s the abundance of polyphenols (antioxidants) – natural compounds found in Rooibos – which gives it it’s restorative power. These compounds are linked with the prevention of various chronic disorders, including skin cancer.

Can consumers expect a miracle Rooibos ointment or cream in the near future?

Prof Gelderblom says there are still a number of tests that need to be done before an after-sun skincare product is brought to market.

“We are currently developing biomarkers, representing critical biological processes of how Rooibos tea protects against skin cancer. These will then be validated in mouse skin before commencing trials in humans. These biomarkers involve sophisticated molecular techniques that will help us to assess Rooibos’ protective effects in very small skin biopsies, which will eventually be utilised to conduct our mouse and clinical trials in humans. Doing so will also help us to more precisely determine the quantity of Rooibos extract needed to prevent the development of skin cancer.

“Preliminary findings show that Rooibos extracts are more effective during the early stages of skin cancer development as they are able to facilitate the removal of UVB damage cells thereby delaying their progression into a tumour.”

South Africa has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world with about 20 000 reported cases every year, which results in more than 700 deaths.

He points out that people who do spend a lot of time in the sun should consider using an after-sun skincare product containing Rooibos extract, as based on the findings of the current studies, it could be beneficial.  However, care should be exercised, as these products should be validated first before any health claims can be made.

About 80% of sun-induced skin damage occurs before the age of 18, therefore it is imperative to take special care of children in the sun. Babies younger than one year of age should never be exposed to direct sunlight as their skin doesn’t produce enough melanin (the skin pigment that helps to protect the skin from the sun).

Here’s how you and your family can enjoy the sun this summer without falling into the pitfalls of excessive sun exposure:

  • Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest
  • Put on a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or more, and remember to apply it regularly especially when swimming
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover the face, neck and ears
  • Use available shade under trees, umbrellas, tents etc
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • Equally important during hot summer days is getting enough of the right kinds of liquids since dehydration can lead to tiredness, headaches and dizziness. Although many people tend to think of Rooibos as only a hot drink, it is an exceptional flavour enhancer and naturally sweet, which makes it a favourite ingredient for iced teas, fruit shakes, smoothies and iced lollies.

For more information on Rooibos’ healing potential, visit

Amy Westerman couldn’t have guessed that giving away surplus baby clothes and accessories could lead her to establish a NPO.

We have seen it all too often. A new born baby’s cute little face peeking out from its blanket, while the mom looks on anxiously.  She doesn’t have the means to buy baby formula if her milk runs dry, besides basic necessities.

Chartered Accountant [CA(SA)], Amy Westerman, is fortunate enough not to have experienced such  challenges and is grateful for this. In 2012 she gave birth to her first daughter. While on six months maternity leave, she decided to donate baby clothes and accessories she wasn’t using.  She wondered who could put them to best use as none of her friends or family were expecting.

Not knowing what else to do, she would drive to the Spar behind her house, find out which car guards had babies at home, and donate the items that she had loaded in the boot of her car. But she didn’t want to keep giving to the same people.

Her baby girl, Erin Grace, became the inspiration behind her mother’s bountiful charity – The Grace Factory, which was started in February 2013. Through it, Amy has brought a ray of hope to almost

2 000 desperate new mothers and babies, and assisted more than 80 children’s homes, by providing basic necessities such as clothes, blankets, toiletries, nappies and formula. Having her second baby pre-maturely broadened her scope to collecting clothes for premature babies.


Amy never expected The Grace Factory to help so many people.  Establishing and running a NPO is a big hearted gesture – even more so when you already have a full-time job as financial manager at Valemount Feeds, and are mom to two little girls.

“I have an incredible support structure for which I am extremely grateful,” says Amy. “The Grace Factory is run by myself and Alison Wright, without whom we would not have been as successful. My husband, family, friends and home administrator help me immensely.

“Thanks to the organisational skills I acquired through studying to be a CA(SA), I am able to juggle a lot; in particular, my ‘articles’ taught me a great deal. My CA(SA) background has also helped me gain confidence to approach corporates for funding and has helped me with the statutory side of operating a NPO, such as setting it up and getting SARS tax exemption.

“Besides donating to children’s homes, we assist new mothers who have visited a government hospital or clinic for the delivery of their baby by giving them a maternity gift pack. These provide their babies with their basic needs and vital information about the effective care of babies. South Africa is a country in terrible need of so many things. It is highly gratifying to be making a difference in somebody’s life, no matter how small.”

In September this year The Grace Factory was blessed with an unexpected and very welcome donation. LottoStar, in collaboration with popular Johannesburg radio station 947, donated

R1 million to the NPO. The donation was made as “a way of paying it forward and recognising those who go above and beyond for others”.

“Words cannot express how grateful The Grace Factory is for this life changing donation,” says Amy. “What started out like any old Monday was one of the biggest days in The Grace Factory’s history. The R1 million is more than we could ever have imagined and we can now help more people with this money than our wildest imagination could have ever dreamed of.”

Donate by contacting Visit for more information.