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Wed, 1st July 2015

This once had negative connotations, and meant something that was unsavoury, whether social, political or anything else. It also has anatomical and physiological meaning, whether it be "On The Nose" or more commonly "In The Nose". A sight impaired lady who miraculously had vision restored said sight of the nose was the most amazing event of her life - it was just so ugly, but the nose is a vital part of life. Let's take a closer look. First the covering skin.

Skin Cancers

This is the commonest spot for skin blemishes, varying from "HKs" (hyper-keratoses) precursor of skin cancer. Constant exposure to the sun and elements makes it the head target. Any recurring red mark, flaking skin or sore needs immediate intervention. It's also the site for pimples, as all teenagers know. Most are due to hormonal imbalances, and vanish with age. As scars are possible, it needs treatment, which is usually effective.

Skin Cracks

Skin cracks at the nasal entrance are common, often due to nasal fluids seeping out and causing irritation often leading to infection. Dab regularly with metho or Betadine. Clogged nasal passages beset all at some time. Many are due to "allergens", tiny protein particles in the air. This causes linings to thicken and engorge with blood. This may cause clogging and dripping, from nostrils or a PND - post nasal drip down the back into the throat. Simple moistening with salt water helps and is drug free.

Salt Water

Narium mist (salty water spray) is probably best. Inhaling salty water into each nostril separately and coughing out via the mouth is very effective but sounds grotty. A good surf has similar benefits, "Vaso-constrictor" drops and sprays shrink blood vessels and give temporary relief, but can make it worse if used for more than a couple of days. Steroid sprays are also popular, but for short term use only. Persisting blockage is often due to "polyps", tiny mushy blobs that develop from the roof of the nasal passages, again often due to allergies. If persisting, they are surgically removed. They may recur unless the cause is understood and removed.

Nasal Hairs

Nasal hairs are there to strain out foreign stuff in the air. They grow more rapidly in older persons specially if taking zinc supplements. Kids love shoving "things" into the nostrils. Bits of cotton, beads, gravel, shells, are common. They can stay there for weeks, causing a foul discharge. They may be removed with crocodile forceps by the doctor. It is amazing what infants and children will stick into their nostrils. Adenoids, which is special tissue producing certain blood cells often enlarge and block the nasal passages.


Once surgically removed along with tonsils, this is now rarely done, and mainly if it impedes normal breathing. The tissue is there for a good reason. Most rub the end of their nose, again often due to allergies. The more you rub the worse it gets. Apply a cold face cloth which shrinks blood vessels. Take care of your nose. It is important, even if unsightly.



In Uni lectures, I often start to yawn. Looking around, I find a dozen other students yawning also. Is this a spreading contagious disease?


Not really. Yawning quickly shovels more oxygen into the blood. Humid conditions, a hot stuffy atmosphere (what’s new), a boring droning monologue, dulls the brain into a torpor. Cerebral oxygen levels drop, so the yawn reflex comes into play. Those around are in a similar position. It is not a disease, not cuased by a virus. Oxygen empowers the brain, and the body, and the retention mechanism. Go for a brisk walk after the boring lecture.

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My mum often uses tea tree oil and eucalyptus for ailments. Are these “Australian Remedies” of any value.


Tea tree oil has been used for centuries as a disinfectant, is very Australian, but not to be taken internally. Be careful if there are children in the house. Originally the tree developed it as guardian against its own predators. Eucalyptus has been used for years as a simple "folk remedy" for colds. Many parents dabbed it onto the kids hankies, and it certainly helps clear clogged nasal airways. The indigenous people have their own vast range of medicinals, most of which unfortunately have been lost to western medicine. One day they may be "re-discovered".

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My mum takes vitamin B2 and claims it reduces her migraine headaches.


This was first printed in medical journals about 25 years ago. Some still swear by it. Others are less enthusiastic. If it works, that’s fine. At least it will cause no harm, but it will turn urine a bright yellow. There is a lot in milk, but can be bought over the counter at the pharmacy. Other claim as aspirin a day - 350 mg - will also avert migraine. Also, immediately taking 2 aspirin tablets if migraine starts, is a well known "instant cure" that many still use with success. There are many remedies.

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If I drink a glass of water, about ten minutes later I burp loudly, otherwise I feel full and gluggy.


Swallowing air when drinking is notorious. This causes stomach distension and bloating. A good burp releases the air, stomach settles down and discomfort usually vanishes. It may be worse with fizz drinks which release heaps of carbon dioxide causing similar discomfort. A quick walk is also a good way to eliminate stomach misery, or bending at the waist a few times to get the gut walls moving.

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Some restaurants have an artificial fountain, with the tinkling water softly resounding through the rooms. Which can have a disastrous effect on bladder urges, worse after a grog or two.


The mind plays horrid little tricks, and women, especially after babies where everything gets abnormally stretched, are the most unlucky recipients. So, make certain you know where the rest rooms are located, for the urge may come on suddenly, and some suffer embarrassing accidents. Otherwise, select an eating place sans waterfalls. Tinkle tinkle little star…Oops.

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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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