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Monkeypox, answering the questions
Is it a new disease? Monkeypox is not a new disease. The first case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in a 9-month-old child. However, this disease has always only prevailed on the African continent. In the past, there has been only one case of outbreak of this virus in the West recorded. It took place in the United States in 2003, and traceback studies have concluded that the likely source of infection was the shipment of wild rodents from Ghana to the U.S. Recently, the first case of monkeypox was recorded in the United Kingdom, detected on May 7, 2022 in an individual who had previously traveled to Nigeria. Whereas the first fatal case of monkeypox this year was recorded on May 30, 2022, in Nigeria. Is it very contagious? It is not a very contagious disease, compared to COVID-19, for example. At least for the moment. The ways of getting infected vary from contact with surfaces that were touched by the infected person (so the disinfection measures that we have been perfecting during the pandemic will come in handy) to close physical contact (enough to exchange bodily fluids, e.g. saliva or genital fluids). genitals). To date, all recorded cases of transmission have been through sexual contact. People who have characteristic rashes of this virus on their bodies are contagious, but people who have not yet shown any symptoms can also be contagious, and this is potentially more dangerous and problematic. What are the symptoms? Who are the people at risk? Is it going to become more contagious and more dangerous with time? Scientists can only speculate at the moment. Some say that with each infection the virus becomes less aggressive and less contagious, and others fear that it could mutate and become much more aggressive. At the moment, there have been too few cases to say anything with certainty. Monkeypox can pose a potential danger to the population, because many people are not vaccinated for smallpox; those who are have been vaccinated before 1982, and immunity wanes over time. According to statistics, the disease has a mortality rate of 3-6%, and this rate is lower among vaccinated people. However, we should keep in mind that almost all of the monkeypox outbreaks have been in Africa where fewer health resources are available to people. So it is very likely that in the case of spread of the disease, the mortality rate will not be as elevated. Pandemic 2.0? Governments are already purchasing smallpox vaccines to administer to those at high risk of complications due to compromising health conditions and those who may have been in contact with an infected person. Medics continue to say that the risk of the disease spreading remains low. Furthermore, the transmission of monkeypox can be prevented with basic safety measures that we are unfortunately already used to.
Do Aphrodisiacs Work?
Today, for Valentine’s Day, we will talk about human libido and sexual arousal. Everything that we know as aphrodisiacs, can they really help enhance these two aspects of our intimate life? What are aphrodisiacs? They are any food, substance or drug that can potentially increase libido and sexual arousal. Among the best known aphrodisiacs are shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels, etc.), chocolate, strawberry and various spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, saffron and nutmeg. Apart from the latter, there are several foods with aphrodisiac qualities attributed to them, and curiously enough, these resemble in some way human genitalia: cucumber, papaya, eggplants, grapefruits, turnips, carrots, peaches; and there are many others. In addition, some perfume producers would have us believe that various scents are aphrodisiacs. Among them, jasmine, rose, vanilla, ylang ylang and other perfumes and essential oils. And finally, less innocent aphrodisiacs in the form of drugs. Among them there are drugs with scientifically proven efficacy, such as viagra, and many others that do not have scientifically proven aphrodisiac effects. There are some drugs that are not recommended for use because they are not considered safe, such as cantharidin which can cause a long-lasting and painful erection in men, because they can have harmful and even fatal effects. And despite numerous deaths over the years, it continues to be marketed and demanded. So, do they work? As many scientific studies pointed out, aphrodisiacs (in form of food and perfumes) have no effect on our sexual libido and, even if there is any effect, it can only be attributed to placebo. And any over-the-counter medication that claims to be an aphrodisiac cannot be considered safe and effective. In some cases documented and included in these scientific studies, cases of intoxication, cardiac disorders, fainting, nausea, dizziness and, sometimes, even death have been observed after the intake of these drugs with supposed aphrodisiac effects. Apart from that, some drugs and supplements marketed as natural aphrodisiacs may contain substances that require a prescription, but these substances would not appear in the composition of the drug. Very often, sildenafil, the active compound of the Viagra, is found in aphrodisiacs. Sildenafil can be dangerous under certain conditions and in combination with certain medications and therefore should only be sold with a prescription. In addition, there is a risk of overdose because the exact amount of sildenafil present in such aphrodisiacs is unknown. We never know the exact content of the substance used in dietary supplements, because they are not controlled in the same way as pharmaceutical drugs. And, if a certain amount of a certain substance is declared on the package, this does not mean that dietary supplements will actually contain it. As to the highly commercialised perfumes with pheromones, which supposedly make a person more sexually attractive on a chemical level, there is no scientific evidence that there are certain molecules that can make people more sexually attractive. Moreover, humans are not guided by smell when it comes to being attracted to a person, because humans are visual animals, and like many apes, we are guided above all by visual attraction. A little bit about sexual libido To begin with, it is important to establish that libido is not what we normally imagine it to be, it is not a physical reaction. It is the level of sexual tension that we have that is measured above all by the fantasies and thoughts that we have related to sex; it is our sexual desire that does not need to culminate in a sexual act. Libido is not something that we suddenly feel like a wave of passion (a notion that we are used to thanks to Hollywood movies). Actually, sexologists teach us that we must know how to “control” libido consciously. So, if you want to organise a romantic dinner for your partner, know that “aphrodisiac” foods and pleasant aromas can stimulate your libido but only because we choose to work it up consciously, by putting ourselves in a libidinous mood. The “aphrodisiacs”, therefore, have nothing to do with what we feel physically and, of course, they will not have any effect on their own. Keep in mind that there are several reasons why libido can be reduced, but it does not mean that everyone who has a lower libido level has any kind of problem. In sexology, this kind of “problems” is considered normal if it does not cause distress to the person. The state of libido depends on many factors that a person can remedy on their own (by changing their lifestyle and attitude towards sex) or with professional help if it has something to do with physical or mental health problems. If you have a problem that really worries you, you should consult your GP, psychologist or sexologist, and, of course, do not try to solve it with “aphrodisiacs”.
Why do the holidays sometimes not bring the Christmas spirit, but rather bring sadness and even a feeling of depression? The holiday blues can happen for a number of reasons. We tend to expect something special around the holiday season, especially during Christmas time. This might be because since childhood we associate it with miracles and wish fulfilment. This is why we also tend to have very high expectations of these days. This can lead to a holiday blues, as these expectations are often unrealistic. We should try to remember that these are still ordinary days, despite the fact that for most they coincide with holidays. Thus, a person is expecting something special from an ordinary day, for example, he/she is not satisfied with the life he/she leads and hopes that everything will magically change overnight. We often treat the New Years and birthdays, especially anniversaries, as a kind of “deadline” for certain goals we have. It becomes difficult to keep up with them if these goals are unrealistic or abstract, such as “to take care of my physical and mental health”, “to have a professional career”, “to find harmony with myself.” It’s okay to have goals, but it’s very important to make them realistic. And it is also important not to forget to take notice of everything we have actually done and achieved during the year and not concentrate on what we wanted and could not do.On the other hand, social media contributes to the development of unrealistic expectations. Seeing how everyone boasts that they have been very productive all year and have achieved all their goals can negatively affect the mood. All of this can result in feelings of worthlessness, frustration, and eventually lead to holiday blues. One should remember that social media do not represent reality and, what seems ideal, is most likely far from being so. Let’s also remember that in real life, if a friend makes us feel bad, we will usually try to avoid any contact with him/her. Likewise, if we feel bad about some of our subscriptions, we can simply unfollow these people. Additional stress is generated by new burdens added to those we already had: deadlines at work, organisation of parties and vacation planning, alterations in diet and sleep schedule, gifts purchasing… If the latter is added to the already existing financial problems, it can become a real problem. And if we have to spend the holidays in isolation due to COVID or simply because it was impossible to reunite with our family and friends, we can feel alone and depressed, while the media show a reality of jovial holidays that are very different to ours.Let’s remember that holiday are just a couple of days. Don’t be overwhelmed planning the perfect parties with the perfect food, gifts and decorations, but rather think about what is truly important to you these days.