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Wed, 17th December 2014

Your best friend won't tell you, and its probably because they have the same "challenge". It goes by a variety of names, such as "Oral Malodour", or "Halitosis" or simply bad breath. Surveys indicate it affects between 8 and 50 per cent. Truth is probably nearer to 90 at some stage. There are heaps of causes. Dental hygiene heads the list.

Dental Hygiene

This means bits of food become unconsciously deposited between teeth or in uneven nooks and crevices, often behind the teeth or towards the back. The rot gradually sets in, causing an unpleasant odour. Plaque, those dread black spots that often develop towards the root are common. It can gradually penetrate the gums, and allow food particles to collect. Any infection in the oral cavity is a starter. Such as ulcers and inflammation, may be from chipped or broken teeth. The upper respiratory system. is a common cause, with bronchitis, infected nasal airways, or infected sinuses. Sometimes germs in the stomach (helicobacter the cause of ulcers) may produce gas which is later absorbed by the gut wall, and exhaled via the lungs.


Smoking is probably the most common cause, and around one in five cling to the nerve sticks. Alcohol maybe a temporary cause. Some sleep with the mouth open and this can lead to dryness and some morning halitosis. The management is simple. Clean teeth regularly, using a circular motion including gums, in front and behind the teeth. Pick out any remaining bits of food. Drink lots of water. Sleep on your side. Have airways checked or any respiratoryssue treated if it persists for long. Many are self healing, but many persist in a chronic state, specially in the sinuses, the large air containing cavities just beneath the eyes. Commercial mouth rinses can help. Chewing parsley can help, a nice simple "alternative" health measure. Parsley oil capsules are also available at health food shops. Visit your dentist at least annually, particularly if there is plaque present it must be removed. For any debris on the tongue, scrape with the tooth brush. Nearly all cases are both fixable and preventable.



I am a vegetarian by choice because I do not believe it right to kill a living creature simply to provide food.


In nature everything lives on everything else, whether it be living or dead. At some stage, all food was living. Fruit and vegetables are simply part of the life cycle of plants and trees. Nearly every commercial food in tins and packets has some part of a life cycle in it, particularly fats from animals. Where does one stop and start. And what about leather and other animal products which we are often happy to use, whatever our beliefs. Fortunately, in today’s world, we have heaps of options which can make us "feel good".

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What are the chances of transmitting germs from person to person via money?


Chances of transmitting unwanted bugs is via the hands, rather than money itself. However, how many bother to wash their hands after blowing the nose, wiping the eyes, scratching sores? Precious few, including medical people. The same applies to door knobs, hand rails, seats, phones, doctors stethoscopes and blood measuring devices. In fact, we and everything we handle probably needs boiling regularly. But then, that would make life too hard, and uncomfortable.

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We are now constantly reminded that paracetamol is the medication of choice for arthritis and in fact any kind of pain or fever. But how much is OK, and is it possible to have too much?


Paracetamol is safe but within pretty tight limits. Recommended upper safe dose is 2 x 500 mg tablets per day for adults (for children, consult the label). Doses in excess of this present risks of serious life endangering liver destruction, although symptoms will not develop for a week or more after ingestion. Some say even 4G a day is too much. Take only if necessary, and certainly not routinely unless the pain is severe and constant. Today, codeine is often added to enhance analgesia, but this, being a derivative of morphine, can also cause stubborn constipation!

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Today we rarely hear about appendicitis. Is it still around?


Appendicitis is still the most common surgical emergency presenting to ER. Fairly sudden onset of pain in the lower right side of the abdomen may be followed with a fever, vomiting, constipation. It needs prompt intervention and management. If is bursts, peritonitis (infection of the bowel lining) can occur, which may be life endangering even in this era of medical marvels. Accurate diagnosis by multi slice imaging will give a prompt positive diagnosis. Removal is by minimum access laparoscopy today available at most big hospitals.

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If I eat prawns I come out in a severe very itchy rash.


Keep off the prawns and avoid crustaceans which may provoke a similar "immunological" reaction. For reasons unknown many are super sensitive to this type of seafood. If a reaction occurs, worse if there are breathing difficulties, immediate intervention is essential. Some "allergy prone" persons carry an "Epi Pen". This is a pre-loaded adrenaline syringe which is self administered and may lifesaving. Talk to your GP.

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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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