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Wed, 12th October 2016

Each morning my daily "health walk" passes a bus stop. It is usually filled with 10 to 20 people. All are simply standing motionless, mute, looking anything but happy, carrying their laptop or lunch in a black bag, eyes right, as that is the direction from which the bus comes. The motivated ones are babbling into their mobile in a language unidentifiable; the "bad people" are twenty metres down the road sucking on their coffin nails.


On a cool day recently I felt "Action" would be a novel idea. As I approached in a loud voice I yelled out "Hi guys. How are you all? You look cold and miserable. What about a bit of action. Iím, the local GP from down the road (I spied a couple of patients)". Dumb stares turned from right to left. "Yep", the brave one continued. "Lets warm up. Here, try this".


I then started to go through a few simple exercises. Come on, guys, Come on. A few giggled. The mobile snapped shut, and she started mimicking the exercise. Then a few more did the same. Then a few more. "Come on guys. This will make you feel great." Even the coffin nail people came aboard. Before long, we were in some semblance of order, all doing knee bends, body twists, taking deep breaths, trying to touch toes, arms out at right angles, then back across the chest. Then a slight roar from the right, as the bus appeared and they all jumped aboard waving frantically as though they'd just seen a ghost and had a heroin hit.



I have an office at the side of my home fronting a laneway. Electricity poles and a heap of wires are strung along these, which are no more than 3-4 metres from where I sit all day long. Is there any risk of electricity waves giving me brain cancer or some other horrible disease?


All power cables emit an electromagnetic field. How far out this extends usually depends on the volume of power in the wires. I would think the risks of suburban wires nearby wouldn't have much negative affect. It's the huge pylons I don't care for, and despite all the "yes-no" babble, living near a TV tower would not be my first choice either. Incidentally, harmful rays emitted by the sun are far more dangerous!

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Some friends with fertility issues managed to produce several fertilised embryos. One was implanted and went on to produce a lovely little boy. The rest stayed in cold storage. Blimey, they decided he needed a sister, so out of the freezer, into the womb, and lo and behold, he now has a twin sister two years younger.


Such is the current magic of current IVF technology. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great will be your burdens and financial hardships as they grow! It sure beats the alternative where your best friend is the family dog.

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We often heard about pneumonia, but it seems to be much less common these days. Is it still about?


It was once called "the old persons friend", and an extremely common cause of death in the pre-antibiotic era. The pneumococcus germ is ever present, and probably half the populations have it thriving in their throat. The body immune system keeps it at bay. However, getting a sudden chill, poor nutrition, general ill health, reduces immunity, it suddenly multiplies. "Community acquired pneumonia" is the current common kind. It kills a relatively large number of older people annually. A single "Pneumovax" vaccination every 3-5 years offers good protection. It is readily cured with antibiotics from getting a foothold.

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Not long ago, media reports were saying no cough mixture is much good. In fact, with all the sweetening and colourings could actually be harmful. So what's a simple "cough remedy"?


The medical journals likewise said the same thing. Chemicals called pholcodine and codeine (a derivative of morphine) have been the standbys for decades. Best remedy? Make sure the room is warm. Some have a little machine which boils water making the air slightly moist. Another old timer (and I still find excellent) is to sit in the bathroom filled with water vapour. Simply turn on the hot and cold taps until the room fills with "fog". Warm moist air sooths irritated airways. I'm not kidding. Slowly licking a tsp of honey is also good. Better if added to lemon, either neat or in a glass of hot water. These costless measures have been used for 100 years or more. Your doctor will scoff at the idea. No script needed.

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If my child has red flavoured drinks, he'll be climbing up the wall a bit later on.


What's new. Heaps of flavourings, specially yellow and red fire up the neurons (the naughty ones), and many kids go off the planet. A doctor in New York wrote a book about it forty years ago. Cola does the same, and with added sugar and caffeine, you have the recipe for a bad day. Water is costless, does not harm, rehydrates and is devoid of these crazy useless chemicals and additives. It's even worse with ADHD prone kids, or in fact may be the trigger.

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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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