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DR JAMES WRIGHT HEALTH COLUMN No.567
Sun, 12th January 2020
 

Questions & Answers

 
MISERIES

Q: 

I have undergone quite a few negative setbacks in the recent two years, and now do not want to get out of bed in the morning - just curl up, feeling depressed and vulnerable.

A: 

We are all human, and a series of negative issues can certainly lead to anxiety and depression, todays most common mental condition. The big positive is that you are still alive - that is a good start, for all problems can be solved somehow. Ideally talk to a close friend or counsellor who can understand your position and offer guidance. If it all becomes too much, maybe some temporary medication from your GP will help you cope. Remember, there others in an identical situation. Most pull through.

 
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NOSE PICKING

Q: 

How can I stop my six-year-old from picking her nose?

A: 

She picks because it irritates, and this gives pleasurable temporary relief. Normal nasal secretions dry on the inside of the nostrils, loosen and irritate. The more she picks, the more secretions occur, and the more the lining is abraded, so it soon become a vicious cycle. Sometimes allergies cause excessive discharge, and may need a nasal spray (Salty water spray is best - called Narium Mist). If persisting, see the GP.

 
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EAR STUDS

Q: 

Is there any risk in having ear studs placed in the ear lobes?

A: 

It is safe, provided it is carried out hygienically, ideally at a quality salon. Otherwise infection may occur, leading to redness, swelling often pain and pus. Occasionally a lump of keloid tissue forms on the back part, and needs surgical removal. If non sterile gear is used, there is always risk of Hepatitis B, HIV transmission, two potentially deadly viruses.

 
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LUMP

Q: 

I think my bowel is protruding, as I feel a big soft lump in my rear, and looking into a mirror with my legs apart, see this nasty dark red thing.

A: 

Go see your GP promptly. Chances is a pile (hemorrhoid) has developed. This means a large vein has probably clotted, and been forced outside with straining, common in those with constipation. It can be pushed back inside, and various creams applied outside and inside, which often causes it to shrink. Recurring ones that bleed may need surgical removal with rubber band ligation. It is straight forward and usually very effective.

 
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ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Q: 

What is the best treatment for anxiety and depression?

A: 

A recent report in the British Medical Journal suggests more exercise is a good bet for simple anxiety and depression. However, removal of the cause also makes sense. Many are stressed with certain issues, and everyday problems. It may be temporary rather than a true clinical depression. Music, socializing, talking to others, and getting out of oneself are also good therapy. Persisting depression needs medical intervention, especially if there are persisting dark or suicidal thoughts.

 
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FOOD ALLERGY

Q: 

Is it possible to be allergic to certain foods?

A: 

Food allergy is common, and everybody knows about peanut allergy, which may be life threatening. Egg white is also common, which then covers an enormous range of prepared dishes. Talk to your GP, or referral to an immunologist is advised. Skin tests can usually track down the culprit which must then be avoided. Mild cases are managed with antihistamines, or self-injected Epi-Pen if serious (carried by the patient and self-administered).

 
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DIRT

Q: 

I am always worried about the children getting dirty hands, or playing outside and similarly exposed to dirty things which may contain germs.

A: 

Most mothers over-worry about exposure to dirt and grime, especially with TV ads suggesting everything be sprayed to kill them (often including the toilet bowl). What rubbish. It is essential we all be exposed to environmental dirt and germs. This enables the inbuilt immune system to manufacture anti-bodies to many specific germs. This is also the basis of immunization against life threatening illnesses. Nevertheless, general cleanliness is desirable, especially to remove obvious dirt, sweat, body odour and grime.

 
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MEDICAL CHECK

Q: 

How do I go about getting my blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol checked? Do I have to ask the doctor?

A: 

Most patients visit their GP with specific symptoms. It depends on your request. Minor coughs and colds (commonest reason)usually do not generate an automatic investigation of BP, or other interventions. If you wish these, simply ask, and they can be quickly carried out. If you are seeking a general health check, yes, they will all be included. But as this all takes more time it is best to pre-arrange such a check. Just the same, I invariably check BP, whether asked to or not - it is so quick and rewarding, especially if always elevated.

 
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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.

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