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COLD COMFORT
Wed, 17th September 2014
 

Over the next few weeks the mercury will gradually drop, in some places a lot, in others only a bit. But the inevitable coughs colds and sniffles are bound to afflict many. Be prepared, for sooner or later you may be struck.

Viruses, ever present in the surrounding air, grab a hold inside the nose, then quickly spread to the throat and chest. The temperature may rise, muscles fill with aches and pains and a cough develop. Fortunately, nature is kind, and fixes most within a few days.

Here are a few simple tips worth a try. At the first sign of the sniffles, gargle the throat with warm salty water. Add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of tepid water, gargle and expel. This soothes the throat, eliminates germs both dead and alive, as well as gunk and goo. Drink lots of water, for this also swishes away body toxins caused by the proliferating germs. Antibiotics are not needed, so do not take left-overs from some previous issue and do not ask your doctor for a new lot. Simple paracetamol helps reduce fevers, aches and pains and improves the way you feel. Two (500 mg) one to three times a day is adequate. (Use the syrup for children. Not aspirin.)

My simple lemon and honey, either hot or cold relieves the cough - take it strong or weak. Squeeze a lemon into a glass, add half the volume of honey, stir and sip. It can be heated up or fill the glass with hot water and try that. Pholcodine based cough mixtures help, but avoid the plethora of mixtures and tablets that fill chemists shelves. None will bring a quicker cure.

Nasal decongestant drops for a couple of days helps unclog airways and sprays are available. Use minimally. Inhaling water vapour helps, but not if there are children around as scalds may occur if spilt. (600 mL of hot water to which one may add a few drops of tea tree oil, eucalyptus or friars balsam. Inhale fumes for about 3 minutes using a towel or paper funnel. Wash face with a cold flannel after to avoid a fresh "chill".)

Millions of dollars are spent each year on remedies that have little benefit. Educate the children in cold care. Cover the mouth and nose if coughing or sneezing, or use a tissue and dispose of immediately. Medicated ones that kill the virus are now available. Wash hands after preferably with hot water and soap for it is covered with germs, which may be transmitted to knobs and objects, or another person's hands. Do not share cutlery and cups. Try and keep hands away from nose and eyes and mouth. Do not smoke and keep well away from smokers, for cigarette smoke is very irritating. If other symptoms develop, see the doctor immediately.

Earache, pain under the eyes, skin rashes, persisting or increasing fever, headache or stiff neck are danger signals. It means other germs may have invaded the system needing evaluation, and a management plan which may include antibiotics. The bodys immune system is very powerful, but with any infection it may drop allowing other germs to jump aboard. Staying in bed for a couple of days is often helpful especially if feeling off colour. The cold will vanish but wrap up well after, and keep warm, keep dry and keep out of drafts.

 
WATER

Q: 

If I take a drink of water, I often feel bloated and uncomfortable. Then I luckily have a massive disgusting burp which can be heard a km off and it all seems to settle down. Is there something wrong with my gut system?

A: 

It is probably quite normal, or you may have a slightly lax valve at the end of the oesophagus as it enters the stomach. Swallowing air with water is common. Fortunately as it surfaces, it can also find its way out, and the world hears. Sometimes doctors inject a fluid to tighten the valve to prevent acid reflux and heartburn, but this in turn prevents air from escaping and may be even more uncomfortable.

 
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ASTHMA AND ACID

Q: 

The doctor recently prescribed an acid suppressing tablet and my asthma magically has vanished.

A: 

Acid can often track from the stomach into the food tube and spill over into the lung system initiating bronchospasm and an attack of asthma. Knock out the acid and the issue may settle down. Long term use of the currently popular PPI medication (proton pump inhibitors) such as Nexium, Losec, Pariet, Somac and others appears to be safe. It may also lessen heartburn, risks of ulcers and maybe stomach cancer in the long term.

 
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TEETHING

Q: 

My little one has developed a facial rash, runs recurring fevers, and is often irritable. She is teething. And I wonder if these symptoms are serious.

A: 

It takes a lot of energy to push teeth through the gums, even though it is perfectly natural. The body resistance, still developing, may take a temporary plunge. This means other issues creep in, and a variety of symptoms crop up. Fortunately, most are temporary, rarely serious, and nature fixes most. Do not panic. Talk to the doctor or early childhood centre providers. They will also reassure you. Tepid sponging and paracetamol elixir also gives temporary relief.

 
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SEXUAL MORES

Q: 

The girl I am currently taking out underwent a strict upbringing and believes sex prior to marriage is a definite No No, but I find this outmoded and appalling. Her two married older sister are already divorced.

A: 

Her attitude is unlikely to change, and there are positives and negatives about the moral issues. She is definitely not the one for you, and the sooner you move on, and let her find a suitable partner, and find another one yourself, the better. Life has a way of adjusting, and social levels, eventually find the level playing field, come what may. The less heart ache and angst the better. Unhappy partnerships litter the modern world In fact, they have been around for centuries, but in years past, many simply put up with their lot in life, good or bad. One has only to read the classics to discover this. Try Dickens' "David Copperfield" for a starter, a good laugh and to see what happened then in incompatible marriages.

 
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SECUAL TURNOFF

Q: 

The doctor prescribed medication for my stomach ulcer. Pain, bloating, heartburn have vanished, but so has my once healthy appetite for sex. Now it is almost impossible. Is this imagination, my renewed good health or the marvellous tablets?

A: 

The wondrous PPI tablets can turn off the stomach acid, let the ulcer heal, but turn off sexual desire, sensations and capacity as well. However, the options are open. Some guys resolutely refuse the medication or stop taking it, preferring their uncomfortable symptoms instead. Re-dialogue with the doctor. There are still the old fashioned antacid products which temporarily relieve symptoms, but acid production continues to roar ahead.

 
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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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