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Author Archives: Webmaster
I hope you are all keeping upbeat – no doubt you are finding many new/different activities, as well as familiar ones, to keep you motivated in our current situation with its unprecedented constraints.
In the April newsletter I have recommended some ‘mini workouts’ which can be found on YouTube for any members who would like to ‘Keep Moving @ Home’, as the steps and movements are very similar to the low- impact dance component of our sessions.
However, as most of you will be aware, there are Health & Safety issues with any form of exercise – so I will run through the relevant ones briefly. Some of these (eg. suitable clothing & footwear, minimum jewellery etc.) will be familiar to you and the rest is more or less common sense, but they need to be mentioned.
Safety – the right environment:
You will need adequate space to move safely, both on the spot and when travelling- mainly forward and back + side to side. (3/4 steps). The floor should be non-slippy and free from any potential hazards mats, cables etc). Arm movements can also be potentially hazardous so it might be a good idea to clear the area of breakables, valuables etc. (I’m writing this from experience as some of my lights, photographs and plants have a habit of getting in the way of my prep)! Also, if you need support (when balancing for example) it’s a good idea to make sure that it is ‘strong and stable’ and an appropriate height.
You are advised not to exercise until at least an hour after eating and to keep warm and hydrated throughout. You are encouraged to work within your own range of movement, but stop if you feel any discomfort, dizziness or become out of breath. You know your own body and its capabilities/medical issues so please be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS if you have any of the following – heart problems, respiratory problems, high/low blood pressure, joint and/or back problems – or a feeling of being generally unwell.
The workouts are fairly short (12 – 18 minutes) but ideally you should start with about 10 – 15 minutes of warming- up movements and static stretches, in order to; mobilise the joints, increase circulation and stretch the major muscle groups. Also it is advisable to repeat the stretches at the end in order to avoid any delayed muscle strain. (At the warm-up stage the stretches should be held for 8 seconds, and for cooling down at the end it is increased to between 10 and 15 seconds).
I have a print-out of a 30 minute workout devised by the KFA which illustrates and includes the above format, and I would be happy to send a photocopy to anyone who would like one on request. Alternatively, if you prefer, you could always find a piece of music that makes you want to dance and improvise your own moves. (‘Brown Sugar’ by the Rolling Stones usually works for me)! Let me know if you have a particular favourite and we could probably draw up a group playlist.
I hope I haven’t overloaded you with too much detail! Keep Moving, and keep in touch.
To contact Sue, the group leader, please use the form below:-
Hello lovely gardeners,
I have had an email from Geoff Cook currently trapped in Spain’s lockdown. He is part of a group project called Green Corners and requests anyone who has time to try growing spare seeds in household waste containers like mushroom trays, grape/tomato/strawberry/fruit trays tins etc. for growing on later in the season and to note which containers produce the best results. I know I have lots of spare packets of flowers from gardening magazines, so will have a try with those.
It would be great if you would like to join in with this project. More news from Spain when I get it! If you would like to participate perhaps you could contact me so I can send on numbers to Geoff, who feels isolated from us all, even if he is in the sun!
Keep healthy and positive,
To contact Anne, the group leader, please use the form below:-
A number of #COVID19 related phishing emails have been reported to Action Fraud. These emails attempt to trick you into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing your personal information, logins, passwords, or banking details.
1) Watch out for scam messages
Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
2) Shopping online:
If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.
For more information on how to shop online safely, please visit: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/shoponlinesafely
3) Protect your devices from the latest threats:
Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats.
For information on how to update your devices, please visit: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/securing-your-devices
For the latest health information and advice about COVID-19 please visit the NHS website.
Scams are among the most prevalent types of crime in the UK, and coronavirus is creating a perfect environment for fraudsters to thrive using a range of loathsome tactics. What can you do to protect yourself against scams and misinformation?
The things to watch out for in emails and other messages are: Unsolicited emails and texts: be careful of anything you weren’t expecting that claims to be from an organisation such as a bank, BT, Sky, PayPal, Microsoft, the BBC and other large, trusted organisations. And at the moment, particularly watch out for unsolicited emails claiming to come from health bodies such as the NHS, the WHO and the CDC.
An urgent tone: phishing and smishing messages are designed to scare you into clicking on their links.
Grammar and spelling: the phishing email claiming to come from the WHO is clumsily written and has typos such no spaces after commas.
No name: legitimate emails from services you have accounts with will always address you by name. Phishing emails and smishing texts usually start with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Customer’.
Fake domains: scammers often set up website addresses that look legitimate in order to trick you. Security researchers Digital Shadows says that more than 1,400 domains linked to the Covid-19 disease caused by the coronavirus have been registered in the past three months.
While many of those may well be legitimate, others will almost certainly be used to trick anxious consumers into thinking they’re genuine.
When it comes to claims circulating via social media, there are a couple of things you can check.
Snopes is the original fact-checking website: if it’s not true, Snopes has probably written it up. Other fact-checking websites are also worth keeping an eye on: Full Fact is a British website that can be trusted, while Channel 4 News has its own FactCheck website.
Above all, make sure your computers, mobile phones and tablets are up to date, and for Windows, Macs and Android devices, you should install antivirus software and keep that up to date, too. Antivirus will protect you from threats such as the banking Trojan contained in the Italian emails, and can also warn you if you’re visiting a website that’s been reported for phishing or that contain malware.
If you’ve been scammed, report what’s happened to Action Fraud, the UK’s national centre for reporting fraud and cybercrime. Categories: Computing, Technology Tagged as: coronavirus phishing Scams.
Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Typically carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, it often directs users to enter personal information at a fake website which matches the look and feel of the legitimate site.
A form of phishing, smishing is when someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via a text or SMS message. Smishing is becoming an emerging and growing threat in the world of online security.
Telephone and doorstep scams
Be wary of calls, and even visitors to your home. People are being warned as there has been an increase in scam calls. These could follow typical patterns of callers claiming to be authority figures, which may include the police, HMRC or your bank, and involve requests to transfer money or hand over sensitive account login information, or your Pin code.
We are seeing an increase in scams involving subscription accounts – such as Amazon Prime, claiming that an account has been hacked and requesting that you enter your details to address the issue. We’ve also seen reports of particularly nasty scams where criminals are taking advantage of older people by knocking on their doors. One scam has the criminals offering to take their temperature – thus allowing them into the house, where residents can be robbed or worse. Police in Cheshire warned via Twitter that they had had reports of people knocking on doors and telling elderly residents that they are from the Red Cross and offering to test them for the coronavirus – and charging them for doing so.
Scams selling face masks and hand sanitiser
Other potential scams include criminals claiming to sell you things like protective clothing.
And remember the callers in person or on the phone will sound genuine, friendly and helpful – but they are not they are out to scam you.
Some coronavirus misinformation recently found on social media
Currently there is no known cure. Unfortunately that hasn’t stopped a slew of health advice, ranging from useless but relatively harmless, to downright dangerous. We’ve been looking at some of the most widespread claims being shared online, and what the science really says.
1. Garlic: Lots of posts that recommend eating garlic to prevent infection are being shared on Facebook. The WHO (World Health Organization) says that while it is “a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties, there’s no evidence that eating garlic can protect people from the new coronavirus”.
2. ‘Miracle minerals’: You Tuber, Jordan Sather, who has many thousands of followers across different platforms, has been claiming that a “miracle mineral supplement”, called MMS, can “wipe out” coronavirus. It contains chlorine dioxide – a bleaching agent.
In January he tweeted that, “not only is chlorine dioxide (aka MMS) an effective cancer cell killer, it can wipe out coronavirus too”. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it “is not aware of any research showing that these products are safe or effective for treating any illness”. It warns that drinking them can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and symptoms of severe dehydration.
3. Home-made hand sanitiser:
There have been many reports of shortages of hand sanitiser gel, as washing your hands is one key way to prevent spread of the virus. Alcohol-based hand gels usually also contain emollients, which make them gentler on skin, on top of their 60-70% alcohol content. Professor Sally Bloomfield, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says she does not believe you could make an effective product for sanitising hands at home – even vodka only contains 40% alcohol. For cleaning surfaces, scientists agree that most common household disinfectants should be effective.
4. Drinkable silver
The idea that it could be an effective treatment for coronavirus has been widely shared on Facebook, particularly by “medical freedom” groups which are deeply suspicious of mainstream medical advice. There’s clear advice from health authorities that there’s no evidence this type of silver solution is effective for any health condition. More importantly, it could cause serious side effects including kidney damage, seizures and argyria – a condition that makes your skin turn blue. They say that, unlike iron or zinc, silver is not a metal that has any function in the human body.
5. Drinking water every 15 minutes
One post, copied and pasted by multiple Facebook accounts, quotes a “Japanese doctor” who recommends drinking water every 15 minutes to flush out any virus that might have entered the mouth. A version in Arabic has been shared more than 250,000 times. Professor Trudie Lang at the University of Oxford says there is “no biological mechanism” that would support the idea that you can just wash a respiratory virus down into your stomach and kill it.
6. Heat and avoiding ice cream
There are lots of variations of the advice suggesting heat kills the virus, from recommending drinking hot water to taking hot baths, or using hairdryers. One post, copied and pasted by dozens of social media users in different countries – and falsely attributed to Unicef – claims that drinking hot water and exposure to the sun will kill the virus, and says ice cream is to be avoided. Charlotte Gornitzka, who works for Unicef on coronavirus misinformation, says: “A recent erroneous online message…purporting to be a Unicef communication appears to indicate that avoiding ice cream and other cold foods can help prevent the onset of the disease. This is, of course untrue.
7. Holding your breath
If you can do it for 10 seconds it shows that you have no infection. Patently untrue.
And finally my current favourite
8. Cow urine and dung
There is a long tradition in India of promoting cow urine and dung as traditional remedies for various diseases. But Dr Shailendra Saxena, of the Indian Virological Society, told BBC News: “There is no medical evidence to show that cow urine has anti-viral characteristics. “Moreover, using cow-dung could prove counter-productive as bovine faecal matter could contain a coronavirus which might replicate in humans.” (Unfortunately already sold out in all our local shops and supermarkets…)
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