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Weighted Blankets for Cancer Anxiety

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According to IOL news – Cancer causes more deaths in South Africa than HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and a special report by Discovery Health Medical Scheme (Discovery), released for the first time in 2018, quantifies the scheme’s spending on cancer-related claims and reinforces the need for greater cancer awareness.

For those that are undergoing treatment and dealing with their own diagnosis right now, there is a lot one can do to deal with the emotional and physical stresses that come with receiving treatment. Here at PrettySpecial weighted blankets & things we wanted to offer a few tips to help with prevention.

Here are 6 tips on how to prevent the onset of cancer

1. Knowledge Is Power

We know that early detection is key to enabling effective treatment and a better chance of recovering from cancer. If you are experiencing symptoms which concern you, it is vital to have them investigated by a health professional as soon as possible. It is also important to know what screening options are available to you, especially if you have a family history of cancer. It is important to detect cancer early by conducting regular self-examinations and going for regular medical check-ups.

2.  Think before you eat & drink

According to CANSA The Cancer Association of South Africa  – Research strongly indicates that making smart choices regarding what is taken in and exercising regularly can have a positive effect, not only on a person’s well-being, but also reduces individual cancer risk

Dietary and physical activity factors have been shown to affect our biological processes and cancers associated with diet are commonly found in the digestive tract (oesophagus, stomach, and bowel).

 

3. Avoid Tobacco

Tobacco-related diseases kill over 44 000 South Africans and seven million people worldwide annually, of which close to 900 000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke…

Tobacco usage increases the risk of over 18 types of cancer: cancer of the lungs, renal pelvis, oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, nasopharynx, oesophagus, larynx, nasal cavity and sinus, ureter, bladder, pancreas, kidney, stomach, colorectum, uterine cervix, breast, ovary and myeloid leukaemia.

Here’s the latest fact sheet on conditions causing cancer

4. Know the risks of Anxiety and Stress caused by a cancer diagnosis

Anxiety and distress can affect the quality of life of patients with cancer and their families, and patients with cancer have different levels of distress.

According to the National Cancer Institute,  causes of cancer anxiety include the following:

Being screened for cancer.

Waiting for test results.

Hearing a cancer diagnosis.

Being treated for cancer.

Worrying that cancer will recur (come back).

Anxiety and distress may cause problems such as nausea and vomiting before each treatment, having more pain than usual, and sleeplessness. Patients may decide to delay cancer treatment or miss check-ups when they feel anxiety and distress.

The following are risk factors for high levels of distress in patients with cancer:

Trouble doing the usual activities of daily living.

Physical problems and side effects of treatment (such as fatigue, nausea, or pain).

Problems at home.

Unmet social and spiritual needs.

Depression, cancer-related post-traumatic stress, or other emotional problems.

Patients who have a high level of distress when they are diagnosed with cancer are more likely to have continued high levels of distress after their diagnosis.

5. Fight Cancer Fatigue with a PrettySpecial Weighted Blanket.

If you or someone you know feels anxious about a cancer diagnosis, a weighted blanket  or wrap can help you feel secure and bring rest in a noninvasive, drug-free manner, using DTP. Deep Touch Pressure not only aids a feeling of well being and sleep, but also has a remarkable influence on your mental health.

According to a study published in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, weighted blankets help reduce the physiological signs of stress, including lowering blood pressure and improving pulse rate. In the study, 63 percent of participants reported lower anxiety levels and 78 percent preferred the weighted blanket as a calming modality. 

If you are experiencing tension throughout your body and emotional stress, the Deep Pressure Touch given by a PrettySpecial weighted wrap relaxes the mind and body. Pressure from the weight soothes aches and comforts those who need it most. Trouble sleeping due to worry can be reduced since the pressure acts as a stimulant for serotonin production. Serotonin becomes melatonin naturally, which is the body’s hormone to aid sleep.

The portability of a PrettySpecial weighted wrap allows you to take it with you to appointments to make the waiting tolerable and lift your spirits.

For more information or to order simply contact us via our contact to order form or email us to info@prettyspecial.co.za 

We deliver straight to your doorstep, anywhere in South Africa.

Can weighted blankets help with Down Syndrome?

Down Syndrome

 

To answer this question, lets first talk more about Down Syndrome itself and its behavioural symptoms.

According to the National Down Syndrome Society, at least half of all children and adults with Down syndrome face a major mental health concern during their life span. Children and adults with multiple medical problems experience an even higher rate of mental health problems.

The most common mental health concerns include:

General anxiety, repetitive and obsessive-compulsive behaviors; oppositional, impulsive, and inattentive behaviors; sleep related difficulties; depression; autism spectrum conditions; and neuropsychological problems characterized by progressive loss of cognitive skills.

The pattern of mental health problems in Down syndrome vary depending on the age and developmental characteristics of the child or adult.

 

Common Treatment therapies:

A variety of therapies can be used in early intervention programs and throughout a person’s life to promote the greatest possible development, independence, and productivity, as noted by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

 

Physical therapy includes activities and exercises that help build motor skills, increase muscle strength, and improve posture and balance.

A physical therapist can help a child with Down syndrome compensate for physical challenges, such as low muscle tone, in ways that avoid long-term problems. For example, a physical therapist might help a child establish an efficient walking pattern, rather than one that might lead to foot pain.

 

Speech-language therapy can help children with Down syndrome improve their communication skills and use language more effectively.

Children with Down syndrome often learn to speak later than their peers. A speech-language therapist can help them develop the early skills necessary for communication, such as imitating sounds. The therapist also may help an infant breastfeed because breastfeeding can strengthen muscles that are used for speech.

 

Occupational therapy helps find ways to adjust everyday tasks and conditions to match a person’s needs and abilities.This type of therapy teaches self-care skills such as eating, getting dressed, writing, and using a computer. An occupational therapist might offer special tools that can help improve everyday functioning, such as a pencil that is easier to grip.

 

Emotional and behavioral therapies work to find useful responses to both desirable and undesirable behaviors. Children with Down syndrome may become frustrated because of difficulty communicating, may develop compulsive behaviors, and may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other mental health issues.

 

How can a weighted blanket help a child with Down Syndrome?

More and more often, interventions for children with Down syndrome involve assistive devices—any type of material, equipment, tool, or technology that enhances learning or makes tasks easier to complete. Examples include amplification devices for hearing problems, bands that help with movement, special pencils to make writing easier, touchscreen computers, and computers with large-letter keyboards.

We believe that a weighted blanket can be a very important assistive device as well as a sensory tool.

Weighted blankets have a long history of use in a type of occupational therapy called Sensory Integration therapy. This treatment is used to help people with autism and other disorders to focus on sensory experiences which experts say may boost these individuals’ ability to regulate their emotions and behaviour. Weighted blankets are one tool therapists use to provide “deep-touch pressure.”

Deep-Touch pressure helps to calm that arousal level in the system and to help with self-regulation.

 

It also has been proven to assist with general anxiety, repetitive and obsessive-compulsive behaviors; oppositional and aggressive  behaviors; sleep related difficulties; depression and autism spectrum conditions.

Utilizing deep pressure touch stimulation, PrettySpecial weighted blankets provide comfort when the challenges of daily life cause anxiety and stress. Learning to communicate with others and be independent can take a toll on those with additional issues like Down syndrome.

Parents of Down Syndrome children have often reported that consistent pressure, like warm embraces from a loved one, has assisted in lowering their aggression and anxiety levels. Both hugs and heavy blankets trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone that slows down your heart rate, reduces blood pressure and promotes feelings of relaxation.

Taking a break with a our weighted products relaxes the mind and body when it’s most needed. Deep Pressure applied to the body has been shown to increase serotonin levels, lowering pain and stress while lifting the user’s mood.

Giving yourself or a loved one a custom-made PrettySpecial blanket is a worthwhile improvement to their quality of life.

For more information or to order simply contact us via our contact to order form or email us to info@prettyspecial.co.za 

We deliver straight to your doorstep, anywhere in South Africa.

 

Are weighted blankets safe for babies?

Baby

 

Due to the popularity of weighted blankets, especially for children, parents often wonder, and we have also been asked directly, if we manufacture weighted blankets for babies.

We understand that parents are probably thinking it will help to calm their baby at night and assist with sleep training, etc.

It is highly recommended NOT to use a weighted blanket for any child younger than 1 year of age. It is recommended that you always get a doctor or therapists’ opinion as well, just to be 100% sure that it is the right choice for you.

The main reason for the 1 year rule is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. – the sudden, usually unexplained death of a baby during sleep. Most SIDS deaths happen in babies 2 to 4 months old. Cases rise during cold weather and is the leading cause of infant deaths between 1 month to 1 year of age.

Despite this, there are many things a parent can do to minimise the risk of SIDS.  Most importantly, babies younger than 1 year old should be placed on their backs to sleep — never facedown on their stomachs or on their sides. Sleeping on the stomach or side increases the risk for SIDS. Parents should also avoid sleep positioners, loose blankets, pillows, plush toys or anything else that could restrict or impair an infant’s breathing. 

With that being said, after your child’s first birthday, speak to your pediatrician or family doctor about weighted blankets and when it’s safe to use one for your child.

 

How to choose a Weighted Blanket for your child

At PrettySpecial we have made our sizing options appropriate to ages and weights for both adults and children alike. Our smallest being our toddler sized blanket, starting with a user weight of 31kg. This is equivalent to a blanket weight of 3.1kg.

Of course we are flexible and can custom make your blanket to be as light or as small as you want, bearing in mind the effectiveness of the weight on the child. The ideal weight is between 8 – 12% of the user’s  body weight. Ideally you do not want too much extra blanket, as this will defeat the purpose of weight distribution. It should be sized to fit the user and not the user’s bed. The blanket’s weight should be a consistent, focused pressure on the body itself. Another reason for this is that if the blanket drapes over the sides of the bed, the weight will pull it toward the ground and will fall off.

A lighter option for children older than 1 year would be a lap pad, which has its own benefits including being an amazing sensory tool or toy to help improve your child’s attention, focus, or ability to calm down and relax.
They can also improve your child’s body awareness and prevents sensory meltdowns, tantrums and aggression.

For more information of the benefits of sensory and weighted products please do not hesitate to contact us. We are more than happy to help you in deciding what would work best for you and your child.