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Wed, 12th August 2015
 

As we move into another season, days continue to lengthen, temperatures gradually move north and often winds rise. This is time to "Beware, Take Care". The skin does not like wind. It does not like the sun and rain and elements much either, but wind soon causes rapid fluid evaporation from body surfaces. Specially the skin and eyes. As water dries up, it drags heat from the body, but also moisture from upper skin layers. This may quickly lead to dry skin, with its inevitable consequences.

Dry skin means itchy skin and the mad desire to scratch, fiddle, prod and poke. Please leave it alone or better still, avoid wind as much as possible. Cover up, but it's not yet summer, so use light weight gear.

"The Soaps"

Avoid lots of hot showers, and use a non alkaline soap such as QV Bar, pH 5.5 or Cetraphil lotion. Alkaline is terribly irritating and drying. Gently dab the skin dry afterwards, using an old soft towel. (Never throw out old towels, they have many uses.)

Apply a simple moisturiser to itchy spots at bedtime, such as a urea based one - there are heaps on the market - go for the cheapest. Drink lots of water to help replace fluid lost via the skin. Shun doonas (which recirculate heat in bed) and heavy blankets. Light weight mohair is best.

If eyes become gritty, red and uncomfortable, apply liquid tears often, and this helps settle them down. There are heaps available from the local pharmacist. So again, avoid winds if possible, or wear sun goggles if outdoors and it is very bright.

Sometimes there is also an allergy issue present. The air is continually filled with unseen spores from flowering plants, including trees, grasses and moulds. If inhaled, and indeed often when touching the skin, negative reactions occur. Like irritation, a rash, itch, the desire to scratch. Try and get indoors before sundown when spores crash to earth, burst and release their horrible contents.

Drinking lots of water also eliminates demon histamine from the blood stream, a common culprit. The less around the better. It is produced by mast cells, part of the white cells of the body, as a reaction against "allergens". Cool compresses also are very comforting to itchy skin.

 
FLU SHOT

Q: 

I missed having my annual flu shot in autumn, and wonder if it is too late now?

A: 

Flu hits its peak manifestation in July and August, but the bugs are still around in superabundance. Those at highest risk are persons working in crowds, those with chronic disorders such as diabetics, and often people in close housing such as hospitals and nursing homes. A single injection gives protection against the main life endangering flu viruses which were key offenders last winter in the northern hemisphere.

 
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"USE BY" DATE

Q: 

I was given a bottle of glacier mountain water on a plane trip. Imagine my surprise when on the reverse side it had a "Use By" date imprinted on the plastic bottle. What ... from water which had supposedly been frozen for the last billion years?

A: 

"Use By" dating is now on most packages whose contents find their way into the mouth. It is not a bad idea. Probably the packagers think some evil chemical may be absorbed from the plastic container. Ideas vary on every known subject and today everyone is running for cover before blame is allocated.

 
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ROSACEA

Q: 

I am 35 and have a skin rash like acne, but surely this is not possible at my age.

A: 

This is probably adult acne, called rosacea. The superficial fat glands and blood vessels are affected, and may cause flares and pimples. Treatment is similar to juvenile acne, with antibiotics heading the list. Rozex ointment maybe applied, and this often helps it to settle. Gentle daily washing with a non alkaline soap and carefully dabbing helps. Do not squeeze pimples. Variety of treatments is available from your GP. It often takes time to eradicate and may recur. Sun and swimming in the surf may help.

 
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WOMENS BUSINESS

Q: 

I have been advised to undergo hysterectomy due to very heavy prolonged bleeding, but fear this will adversely affect my libido.

A: 

The horrible fatigue that often accompanies heavy blood loss will suddenly vanish, and most claim they feel like a "new woman". It is an extremely effective surgical intervention. Libido normally wanes during the forties and fifties, but many say womb removal gives them a resurgence of spark and sensitivity. Today, laparoscopically assisted surgery is often carried out, reducing time spent in hospital.

 
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MALE MUTILIATION

Q: 

I was circumcised as a child. I had no say in the matter, but now as an adult, believe my parents simply followed the mass culture of the time, and had my top lopped. Which, I believe, has greatly reduced my sexual capacity.

A: 

Although "female genital mutilation" (the female equivalent, removal of the clitoris) is banned in western countries, it abounds in certain cultures. Likewise, in years past most western born males were circumcised, but this has now greatly lessened. Certainly, the foreskin protected the sensitivity of the glans, the head of the penis. Both measures (him and her) should be outlawed in any civilised society, as many believe it is unnecessary and barbaric.

 
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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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