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Sun, 30th September 2018
 

Questions & Answers

 
ITCHY BITES

Q: 

I went to NZ recently on the west coast and was bitten by "sand flies". It is a week since I returned to Australia, but the bites have actually increased in size and are irritable.

A: 

Your skin is still suffering from the bites, and rebelling. Apply cold face cloths for a few minutes every hour or two. This shrinks blood vessels and often brings soothing relief. See the pharmacist for a tube of weak strength hydrocortisone cream. This reduces irritation. Do not scratch for this increases risks of infection. It should heal rapidly. Drink lots of water.

 
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WATER

Q: 

I know I must drink plenty of water each day, but being desk bound forget and am often not thirsty. How do I remind myself?

A: 

Simple. Have a one litre jug of water on your desk with a glass which must be kept filled (but make sure you do not knock it over your computer and files). This constant reminder will guarantee you drink at least 1 to 1.5 L a day. It is not hard.

 
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BIRD FLU

Q: 

What are the symptoms of bird flu?

A: 

Initially there is a high fever (up to 380C or more), influenza like symptoms in general, headaches, muscle pains, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, cough with sputum, sore throat and running nose. This may develop into rapid breathing and with difficulty. Urgent medical assessment is essential. Tamiflu and Relenza are claimed to help, but Amatadine and Rimantadine may also help. The death rate can be very high, within a few days. Risks increase traveling to countries where there are infected poultry.

 
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WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE

Q: 

I try and follow the advice to drink lots of water. At bedtime I drink at least 250 mLs. Which of course means I am jumping up a few times each night. Is this crazy?

A: 

Water is wonderful, and what is up with some exercises during the night. Of course it does not matter. But if you seem to be passing excessive amounts, have a blood sugar check for diabetes (must be under 5.5), or a prostate check if you are a guy.

 
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PEGGING OUT

Q: 

I have an inherent urge to use pegs of one colour with certain clothes, and another colour for other clothes. If I do not, I feel uncomfortable and worry about it for hours, and have to go and change it all around. Am I going nutty?

A: 

This is a mild form of obsessive compulsive disorder, and most of us have this to a certain degree. Note how people twitch, scratch their neck or rub the nose, even on telly. If it gets all too much. See the doctor for medication called SSRI for a few months could make it all vanish.

 
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CONSTANT COUGH

Q: 

My little grandson aged six has suffered a perpetual cough for some months. There is a lot of disharmony in the home.

A: 

Stress is a big bogey, especially in little ones who cannot sort it all out. However, whooping cough is rising in frequency. Or it may be early asthma. Check again with the doctor. Certain tests and treatment are very successful. A child psychologist may also help if medical intervention fails. Most do OK.

 
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ROCKING BUB

Q: 

A friend with a baby who often wakes and yells at night has started using a device called Lullabub. This gently rocks baby to and fro and has a soothing, calming effect.

A: 

This relatively new gadget is claimed to have beneficial effects. It has been adequately trialed, and relaxes crying restless babies. It also lets the parents get some much needed sleep.

 
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HOT FLUSHES

Q: 

I am an older woman and recently underwent hysterectomy. Now I am bugged with hot flushes for the first time in my life. The doctor said my ovaries were nonexistent.

A: 

Although ovarian function and hormonal production usually stops around 50, pelvic intervention can trigger all manner of events. Oestrogen is produced by various organs not just the ovaries. Often a short course of HT - hormonal therapy may quickly solve the issue. Dialogue with your GP.

 
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BREAST CANCER

Q: 

I am terrified at the number of women in my circle, especially younger ones reporting breast cancer. It is frightening.

A: 

More and more cases of breast cancer in women in their forties seem to be occurring. Many are still picked up on self-examination, which means women must continue with this each month (ideally just after a period when breasts are softer). Under the nipple is a fairly common spot. Mammograms are usually carried out regularly in women fifty and over, but the just over forty hit list is appreciable.

 
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BRAIN TUMOURS

Q: 

Are brain tumours becoming more common. I have heard of two cases recently.

A: 

Neurosurgeons say the figure is pretty static, but there are still many cases from late teens to mid-forties and beyond. Challenge is early diagnosis and successful intervention. A spasmodic jerky arm may be the first and only symptom even before imaging is still negative.

 
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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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