| Meet the woman with the world’s longest eyelashes

You Jianxia from Shangai holds the world record for the longest eyelashes – her lashes measure in at a whopping 12.40cm. This has earned her a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records 2018.

She beats the previous recordholder, Gillian Criminisi from Canada whose eyelashes measured in at 8.07cm. Jianxia first noticed her eyelashes growing during a nature retreat in 2013. She attributes this to being “one with nature”.

How does she take care of her eyelashes? “By simply cleansing them when I wash my face,” Jianxia says. “They are a part of my body and do not inconvenience me at all,” she told the Guinness World Book of Records.

                                You Jianxia from Shangai holds the world record for the longest eyelashes 

What are the requirements?

If you want to hold the world record for the longest eyelashes, your lashes must be completely natural – no extensions or lifts whatsoever. To officially measure her eyelashes, Jianxia’s lashes were laid flat on a ruler and measured three times in the presence of independent witnesses.

What’s the deal with eyelashes?

No, eyelashes are not just for aesthetic purposes. Humans have eyelashes to prevent moisture and dust particles from getting into the eyes, so that we can have uninterrupted vision without any irritation.

When you close your eyes, the curves of the eyelashes form a seal to keep any external particles out of the eye, preventing irritation.

In many cultures, long eyelashes signify beauty – therefore many people choose to get eyelash extensions or cosmetic enhancements. In other cultures, such as the Hazda of Tanzania, women trim their eyelashes. 

human eye

                                                                  Normal eyelashes up close

A possible medical condition?

The loss of eyelashes can indicate medical problems, but unusual and abnormal growth (as in Jianxia’s case) can also signify health problems. The excessive growth of lashes is called eyelash trichomegaly. Unusually long, dense lashes can be uncomfortable and affect your vision.

According to, trichomegaly may occur in people who have lupus or are being treated for leukaemia and Aids, and is usually a side-effect of medication.

The other nasty conditions

Sometimes the follicles of the eyelashes become infected, causing unsightly, uncomfortable styes. A stye results from an infected eyelash root. It involves a red, painful and tender swelling on the edge of the eyelid and forms a point at the base of the infected eyelash. It looks like a large pimple, and is the equivalent of a boil on other parts of the body.

A stye usually comes to a head and breaks open to discharge pus onto the skin within a few days, and then gradually disappears.

Your eyelashes can also become ingrown. This is called trichiasis. Infection of the eyelid, called blepharitis, can cause eyelashes to fall out.

Taking care of those peepers

These tips will help you take good care of your eyelashes:

  • Sterilise equipment such as makeup brushes and eyelash curlers regularly to avoid infections.
  • Do not use mascara beyond the expiration date (usually around 6 months). Discard sooner if it develops a funny smell or becomes clumpy.
  • If you want to get eyelash extensions or tinting done, always go to a reputable salon.
  • Eyelash extensions or the glue used to attach false eyelashes can cause allergic reactions.
  • Immediately treat a stye or any form of infection.
  • There is a myth that trimming your eyelashes may help them grow faster. This is untrue; the only thing it does is increase the risk of cutting your lashes too short or hurting yourself. 

Image credits: Kindly supplied by Guinness World Book of Records 2018, Wikimedia Commons, iStock | SA on alert: What you should know about the deadly Listeriosis outbreak

On Tuesday morning Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi announced that more than 30 people have died following an outbreak of Listeriosis.

Approximately 557 cases have been reported, with the majority occurring in Gauteng province. He said they had traced 70 patients, of whom 36 died.

What is Listeriosis?

According to Food Safety Listeria is bacteria found in soil, water and vegetation. It’s can also occur in some animals, including poultry and cattle. Raw milks and foods made from raw milk can also carry the bacteria.


People should seek medical attention if they experience the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • A stiff neck
  • Confusion
  • General weakness
  • Vomiting (sometimes preceded by diarrhoea)


The majority of people infected by listeria recover within seven days. However, those with a compromised immune system, older adults, infants or pregnant women require urgent medical care – treatment involves either a course of antibiotics or fluids through an IV drip.

The treatment of listeriosis is usually symptomatic and depends on the severity of the disease. If your infection is severe, antibiotics may be recommended. 

Home remedies include:

  • Plenty of clear fluids such as water and tea
  • The BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apple sauce, toast) and other bland foods that won’t irritate the stomach
  • Bed rest


  • Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk. Also, be careful of foods that contain raw milk.
  • Practice good hygiene in the kitchen. Wash your hands regularly, and make sure cutting boards, cutlery and crockery are cleaned properly.
  • Thoroughly cook animal foods such as meat, poultry or fish. Rather overcook than undercook.
  • Keep an eye on the expiry dates of perishable foods. Consume as soon as possible.

Images credit: iStock

NEXT ON HEALTH24X | Parliament finally passes sugary drinks tax

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) today passed the tax on sugary drinks, which is part of the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Revenue Law Amendment Bill.

This marks the end of 18 months of negotiations on the tax that included four public hearings and a negotiation process in Nedlac. The tax, due to be implemented on 1 April 2018, will see the price of a can of Coca Cola increase by around 11%.

SA on the right path

“We applaud Members of Parliament for putting the health of millions of South Africans before the narrow interests of the beverage and sugar industries,” said Tracey Malawana, coordinator of the Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA).

“Thanks to Treasury and MPs, South Africa is on the right path to reverse the alarming numbers of diabetes cases and other NCDs associated with obesity. We now look to the President to sign this important law without delay. “

Initially Treasury proposed a tax of around 20% on a can of Coca Cola. The current tax will levy 2.1 cents per gram of sugar on all sweetened drinks, with the first 4g of sugar per 100ml exempt as an incentive to encourage industry to reformulate its drinks to reduce their sugar content.

A victory for public health

South Africans are among the top 10 consumers of sugary drinks in the world, and research has shown that drinking just one sugary fizzy drink a day increases ones’ chance of being overweight by 27% for adults and 55% for children. Diabetes alone claimed more than 25 000 lives in 2015, and public health facilities reported seeing 10 000 new diabetes cases every month last year.

“While the tax is a victory for public health, it is around 11% on a can and we would like it to be strengthened to 20% to really deter people,” said Malawana. “We will also be monitoring how the proceeds of the tax are used to ensure that government uses the money for health promotion.”

Over 30 countries worldwide are taxing sugary drinks, and South Africa joins Portugal, India, Saudi Arabia and Thailand who have passed similar taxes this year. – Health-e News.

Image credit: iStock

NEXT ON HEALTH24X | Rare condition forces woman to sleep with a freezer next to her bed

A 23-year-old British woman has to sleep next to her freezer due to a rare, incurable condition that causes pain “worse than childbirth”.

Paige Howitt, from Birmingham, England, constantly suffers from excruciating pain which she says often feels like she’s being “burnt alive”.

Paige, who’s a trade analyst, was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or a leg and is caused by damage to the central nervous system, according to the Mayo Clinic.

According to the Daily Record, the incurable condition often leaves Paige with a severe burning feeling in her left knee, swelling, muscle spasms and resulting insomnia.

Paige developed the condition when she was just 17 years old after undergoing surgery to fix the alignment in her knee.

“I then developed intense pain in my knee,” Paige says. “My surgeon and pain specialist diagnosed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 2 – my nerves had been affected in the operation.”

The 23-year-old was getting treatment in a special oxygen chamber to help her body heal but the high cost of the treatment coupled with having to travel so much meant Paige, who only gets four hours of sleep a night because of the pain, had to stop the only treatment that seemed to have been helping. 

In the meantime, Paige has been sleeping with a freezer full of ice packs next to her bed and wraps a pregnancy pillow around her left knee to try and relieve the pain, Independent reports.

“I even have a freezer at the side of my bed,” Paige says. “But it [the ice packs] has reduced the blood supply to my knee, causing secondary problems.”

Paige hopes to crowd-source £25 000 (about R460 000) on her JustGiving page to buy her own oxygen chamber to use at home. If she can’t raise the money for the treatment, the young woman might have to have her leg amputated

The Birmingham native has given up her dream of becoming a nurse because of her debilitating condition. She still hopes to find relief from it soon.

“CRPS has changed so much of my life and has taken away my dreams,” she says.

“I suffer from depression and anxiety due to it. Every day I want to give up, knowing I’m out of options.

“There isn’t a cure but I need some sort of hope and relief. Having an HBOT [hyperbaric oxygen therapy] chamber can give me that.”


Image credit: iStock