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Article
Wed, 4th March 2020
 

Questions & Answers

 
COUGH

Q: 

Unfortunately, I did a clean out of the cupboards recently, and have been coughing ever since. And sneezing too! What could have happened? A recent email reads.

A: 

Cupboards harbour an amazing number of allergens. This ranges from moulds, probably grown on any leather product, to the massive heap of clothing, combined with sweat, superficial skin cells, and dead house dust mites. What a nasty combination. A clean out and good sunning (if possible) every year is a good idea. Your symptoms are probably allergy induced. Tilade (nedocromil) oral spray, say two puffs 2-3 times a day is excellent. It is harmless, and breathed deeply into the lungs, can ease reactions, including cough and sneezing. The non-sedating antihistamines are also helpful. Cough mixtures are useless. Drink lots of tap water.

 
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SALT

Q: 

Does the body need salt?

A: 

The body must have some salt so the electrical circuits of the body operate smoothly. Too much is bad news, as it also tends to increase blood pressure. In a normal diet, with fruit and veggies, nuts, berries, legumes, lean meat and fish, we get an adequate supply. Maybe add a pinch when cooking, but do not add any more at the table. This is a long-term commonsense rule of thumb.

 
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FEAR OF THE DARK

Q: 

I am mid-teens and still terrified of the dark. How can I overcome this?

A: 

Heaps of teenagers and adults are terrified of something. I hated darkness as a child. Many are fearful of enclosed spaces, certain animals, spiders, snakes or mice. Others at tunnels, lifts or flying. If one closes the eyes, and focuses on alternative thoughts, the fear often vanishes. Others respond well to cognitive behavioural therapy (psychologists) and hypnotherapy, probably the best. Talk to your GP. Medication is usually useless.

 
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SMALL ITCHY SPOT

Q: 

I have a reddish itchy spot the size of 10c on my forearm, a reader asks, I have tried the usual applications for infection, ringworm, tinea, but it persists. This mother asks.

A: 

Often a mild steroid cream containing a fungus killer works, such as hypnodorm (script needed). If this fails, maybe a punch biopsy will give the answer. Here a small circle of skin is examined under the microscope and its cause readily discovered. Majority are fixable once the cause is found.

 
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PENILE ENLARGEMENT

Q: 

Is surgery currently available for guys with a small penis? This unhappy guy asks.

A: 

Yes, and an ugly sight it is. The sensation producing nerve endings are located in the glans, or head, and will work well irrespective of the diameter of the shaft. Surgery may irreparably damage nerves and sensations. Many women have a dilated canal especially following childbirth, which means close sexual contact and the enjoyment this produces is reduced. Surgical repair (after child bearing is over) can often rectify the issue.

 
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ROSACEA

Q: 

A 30-year-old asks. I have pimples much the same as when a teenager. Is this fixable?

A: 

This sounds like rosacea, or adult acne. Intervention is similar. Wash face daily with a non-alkaline soap and warm water. Dab dry with a soft towel. Then apply Rosez or similar ointment to pimples. Taking an antibiotic (usually tetracycline or doxycycline) daily for 6-9 months is also helpful. Swimming in the surf, a bit of sunshine, a zinc tablet daily also may help.

 
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PALE COMPLEXION

Q: 

My sister, mid-life, is very pale, and this worries me but she ignores it, writes a caring sister.

A: 

She may be anemic. Breathlessness with exertion, pallor and getting tired are common symptoms often accepted as part of life. A blood check will quickly give the answer - low hemoglobin. This often follows heavy periods, or if they occur too close together. Iron tablets (best with vitamin C) will often rectify the issue - again double checked by a blood check.

 
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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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