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Wed, 25th May 2016

A woman blind from birth miraculously had her vision restored. When asked the most amazing event she had witnessed replied "the human nose"! We take it for granted. It is part of the body. We all have one. There are no sexual connotations, so there is no need to hide it from others. But the human nose is host to thousands of issues. It is there primarily to inhale air containing life giving oxygen. Hairs protect unwanted foreign matter from entering. But a long list of weird events can occur. Watch any kid or adult, and invariably fingers inch up to the nose, specially when driving a car and waiting at red lights.


Pick, fiddle, scratch, rub. The right index finger has a happy knack of probing. The finger nail can gently sweep round the entrance (called the external nares), and dig out bits of solidified mucous, the natural nasal lining moisturiser. Some wipe this on their hanky, trousers or blouse. Kids roll them into boogies and flick them at their best friend. In kids, an eternally running nose, specially if smelly indicates infection. This is commonly due to foreign objects shoved into the nostrils. Like beads, bits of cotton, shell, grass, food. If left, infection occurs and discharges until removed usually by the doctor.

Sometimes the nose becomes very itchy, specially in "atopic” people. That means allergy prone. Histamine collects causing itch and the mad desire to scratch. Applying a cold facecloth can give temporary relief. Non sedating antihistamine medication can also help. Bad cases are referred to an immunologist. Causes (often grass pollens) are often implicated. Drops, injections and other interventions are often successful in all age groups. This "de-sensitises" the body to the offending stuff called an allergen. Blocked running noses are often due to "polyps". The roof of the airways becomes moist and sags like a little bunch of grapes. Steroid sprays often help. Some are cauterised or surgically removed by the nose specialist. With age, hairs grow more rapidly, stick out and look ugly.


This can be aggravated by taking zinc, which many do for general health, and is a good idea. It simply means more frequent chopping of the nasal hair is needed. Don't stop the zinc (40 mg tablet a day can improve general health, but also makes ear and scalp hair grow more quickly too. Simple nosebleeds, often terrifying, usually stop with pressure from index and forefinger for ten minutes, with a 30 second respite each 2 minutes. Recurring bleeds need investigation. Occasionally a large vessel on the septum needs cauterising. Occasionally it indicates a blood disease. Running nose is often a prelude to a cold, common after a sudden chill in cold weather. Avoid chills, keep warm and dry in cold or wet weather. And finally, being a "Nosey Parker" is simply a fact of life but that is the other person, never you!



Is the new remedy to help quit smoking which went onto the NHS in 2008 safe and effective?


Champlix is yet another in a huge list of predecessors. If a person genuinely wants to smoke, one simply stops - cold turkey. Millions have, realising each ciggy probably chops 9 minutes off the end of life. However, it is worth a try - yet again. Before starting any new remedy, positive mindset is essential. Set a goal well in advance, use mental therapy techniques, drink lots of water, have a list of activities for idle fingers. How good the newcomer will be, time alone will tell. Doctors hope it will help many.

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My two children are eternally sms-ing. Now, they have very painful joints, specially at the thumb base.


Doctors and rheumatologists have long since flexed for the increasing stream of arthritis from excessive SMS use. Only cure is to stop, or greatly reduce the cause. Alternately, try alternate hot and cold water soaks for 10 minutes a day, massaging with aspirin cream or voltaren (and similar) gels, and taking paracetamol for pain. Doctors do not like prescribing the NSAIDS which are a potent gastric irritant, and aspirin for kids is a No No.

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My 8 year old mouth breathed and her voice is not real clear. There is also irregularity of her teeth. Otherwise full of fun and vitality and does well at school.


Adenoids tissue growing at the back part of the nasal airways is often massive in childhood, preventing normal nasal breathing, and it may affect speech and dentition. Tissue is there to produce blood cells, a vital part of the bodys normal immune system. Removal may help. A speech pathologist may also assist.

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My male libido is flagging. Any suggestions, and do I need testosterone.


There are heaps of known reasons for reduced libido. Smoking is the worst, and this may be an early fore-warning of blood vessel and heart disease not far down the track. Too much plonk, excessive working hours, inadequate sleep, not enough recreation - especially out in the open come next and are under your control. It is a side effect of several doctor prescribed medications. Such as some stomach acid suppressants, sedatives, blood pressure and anti-depressant medication. Added testosterone is unlikely to help, unless blood tests indicate a very low level.

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I have a hernia in the groin and the doctor recommends surgical repairs. Is this a big deal today?


Today, laparoscopic repair and insertion of special mesh to seal up the hole or abdominal wall weakness is now pretty standard. It is now often a day only procedure, the tiny skin incisions ("portals") rapidly healing. However, avoid heavy lifting for several weeks, for the inside tissues must all settle down.

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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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