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Article
Sun, 24th June 2018
 

Q & A

 
SORE BACK

Q: 

Everybody develops a sore back. But when should one visit the doctor?

A: 

Nearly all sore backs are due to musculo-skeletal causes. The muscle fibres become over stretched, strained, chilled or twisted. Often this causes an imbalance with the muscles of the opposite side. One lot contracts, the opposite ones are over-stretched. Pain is inevitable. Mild passive exercises often help. Keep active -do not lie in bed. Alternate hot and cold showers are good. So is massage, physiotherapy or acupuncture. Paracetamol pain relief helps. If pain persists after say 7-10 days, see the doctor. In most events imaging does not show any serious cause.

 
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SKIN PROTECTION

Q: 

I often wonder how many germs there are on the hands which can be transferred to others.

A: 

The skin is covered with a natural anti-bacterial film which tends to kill sporadic germs. This offers an ongoing protection. But it will not stop a major assault, for example touching infected sores on another, coughing gunk and goo into the hand, of handling kids toys which may abound in threadworm eggs. Washing the hands ideally with soap and warm water after visiting the loo and before handling food is a good idea.

 
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LOOK MUM NO HANDS

Q: 

Children often like to show off and ride their push bikes "no hands". Is this safe?

A: 

Of course it is not safe, but most did it when young. Although most roads are reasonably good these days, hitting a sudden obstruction or pothole can only lead to an accident, and possibly a serious fall and fractured limbs. But it is amazing how few times this occurs. Wearing helmets is essential when riding with hands or no hands. Educate the children from a young age.

 
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WOLF WHISTLES

Q: 

I have a very prominent chest and am often embarrassed when guys whistle and make obscene cat calls.

A: 

Two possible approaches: Ignore them entirely and walk on your way. This will probably send them into grater paroxysms. Or wiggle yourself around a bit, give a wink and a nod, and see what happens. This will send them even more crazy. Young guys are pretty harmless in a crowd, but love looking at shapely women. It is irresistible, and simply their over juiced hormones screeching out! In short - it is part of the normal "mating process" - just watch birds in spring.

 
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CYCLING

Q: 

My dad has fairly bad osteo-arthritis of both knees, and wonders if it is OK to cycle.

A: 

The answer is yes. This means gentle exercise of the inflamed joints, without weight bearing. Many guys do it regularly, and say it reduces their arthritis pain. Glucosamine and paracetamol today are standard effective remedies.

 
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CYSTITIS

Q: 

Are there some simple remedies for cystitis?

A: 

Cranberry capsules often help. It can kill the germs. Barley water has been used for centuries, and alters the pH, destructive to germs. Drinking lots of water is important. Avoid sweet foods. A pathology "culture" will often indicate the germ and an appropriate antibiotic which may be taken for a week. Sometimes a smaller dose is taken for some months in recalcitrant cases.

 
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SMOKING CESSATION

Q: 

I have smoked for several years. Is there any value if I stop now or is the damage all done?

A: 

It is never too late to quit smoking. It is often said that after five years, the lungs may have returned to their normal pre-smoking state. However, irritation of tissues will stop immediately, especially the lung but all other organs also. Importantly those in the immediate environment will no longer inhale the smoke your cigarettes generate, and this is very worthwhile.

 
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WALKING SCHEDULE

Q: 

When is the best time to walk for health reasons?

A: 

Any walking programme must be individualised. There is no best time, although early in the morning is when the body is refreshed by sleep. Some complain snarling dogs are then at their fiercest. It may be cold in winter, but fine in other seasons. Aiming for 30 minutes brisk walk a day is the ideal, but more is also better. The quicker the movement the more beneficial.

 
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TESTES

Q: 

My left testicle hangs at a lower level than the right. Is this significant?

A: 

The answer is no, providing both are the same size, shape and volume. If worried, check with your doctor. Sometimes cysts, lumps, cancers, jumbled veins called varicocele may be present, which could require intervention. Any abnormality here is usually quickly detected and managed successfully.

 
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SHAPE

Q: 

I was proud of my shape in my non-pregnant state, but having reproduced, I find that the normal shape has changed dramatically for the worse.

A: 

This is life, and hormonal changes during pregnancy alter shape, often permanently. However, the more you work at it, at home or the gym, higher are the chances you may regain what you appear to have lost. Many women put on 12 kilos.

 
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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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