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Sun, 29th July 2018
 

Questions and Answers

 
NASAL SPRAY

Q: 

I often suffer from clogged up nostrils but find this quickly clears by using a cortisone nasal spray. But is it possible to overdo it?

A: 

Nasal sprays should be used minimally. Although the mist is very fine, small amounts are absorbed by the system. Collectively, this can lead to adverse symptoms, such as fluid retention ("moon face"), stomach inflammation and ulcers and brittle bones! It sounds ominous, but continual use of a medication should be avoided. Many other nasal sprays cause blood vessel constriction (so the passages clear), but these too should not be used for more than a couple of days.

 
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OPEN WINDOWS

Q: 

My parents were always fussy about the top part of the windows being open, even on cold winter nights.

A: 

The belief was that impure air tended to rise, along with hot air. This could readily escape through ventilation in the upper part of the room. It makes good sense. Today, although many houses are air conditioned, germs can recirculate. This is common in large buildings, when colds and other viruses continue to be re-cycled often causing mass infection.

 
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POLYPS

Q: 

My nose is incessantly clogged up despite sprays and drops. Specialist looked inside and said "polyps", they need to come out! What does this mean?

A: 

Polyps, or mushy little lumps protruding from the roof of the nasal airways cause obstruction, and lead to mouth breathing and a dry mouth. Drops may temporarily shrink them down. They are more common in allergic individuals. Surgical removal usually eliminates them, but any underlying allergy must be managed, otherwise they will inevitably recur. Drink lots of water to remove demon "histamine" from the system.

 
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YAWNING

Q: 

I yawn a great deal, especially when sitting through boring lectures at Uni. If I look around, heaps of other students are yawning also.

A: 

Yawning means the body needs more oxygen, and is a natural reflex. This is often greater in poorly ventilated rooms or theatres, especially on hot and humid days. It is also catching, and there is a psychological reaction by others in the same boat - or the same environment. More oxygen to the brain usually means it works more efficiently. The brain cells object to inadequate oxygen, but usually respond well when their needs are met.

 
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TV CLOSE-UPS

Q: 

If I watch telly late at night, especially with lots of facial close-ups, I find it hard to sleep.

A: 

This is well known. Face close-up shots adversely stimulate the brain, leading to wakefulness and disturbed sleep patterns. Ideally do not watch telly late at night if you wish to sleep soundly. Take a warm relaxing bath. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil, which has a calming effect (called aromatherapy). Massage some into the skin for further relaxing benefits. Reading a book, keeping warm, non-caffeine hot drinks are also beneficial.

 
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GOLDEN FLUID

Q: 

I take a multi vitamin tablet each day and notice my urine is a very bright yellow for the rest of the day.

A: 

Riboflavine, or vitamin B2 is water soluble and notoriously and quickly turns urine a golden colour. It is OK, and does not indicate anything harmful. Ideally, the less colour in urine the better. That is why plenty of water each day is beneficial. It sweeps away unwanted toxins and the by-products of body metabolism. Incidentally one of the richest natural sources of riboflavine is in milk. Most people receive adequate vitamins each day in their daily food intake.

 
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PLACEBO

Q: 

I often hear the words "placebo effect", but wonder what it means?

A: 

It simply means "mind over matter". If the brain expects a certain outcome, it will often occur. For example, if a tablet is prescribed, and a certain effect is anticipated, often it will take place. If a patient is prescribed a sleeping tablet, sleep will be expected. This may happen, even though occasionally, a "placebo" or inert dummy pill has been taken. That is maybe why doctors once wrote prescriptions in Latin so patients were unaware of what they were taking. Maybe also why many "useless" products today are claimed by recipients to have marvellous beneficial effects.

 
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LENTILS

Q: 

We are constantly told that including more legumes in the diet is healthful, and lentils are often recommended. I was brought up in Italy where lentils were regarded as the food of the poor and destitute or even the animals.

A: 

Lentils are a rich source of protein. Although some countries regard them in a poor light, and fit for the destitute, this does not reduce their food value. Beans - there are over 150 different varieties, are also an excellent source of protein. So are peas, especially the lowly chick pea, also sometimes fed to poultry and cattle!

 
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SCROFULA

Q: 

I have read in older books of people suffering from scrofula, but today one rarely hears of the illness.

A: 

This was a form of tuberculosis, fairly common in the bad old days, and that includes the 1800s and early 1900s. Tuberculosis was rampant, largely due to poor hygiene, crowded and unhealthy living conditions and poor diet. This changed dramatically during the 1900s. However, TB is now re-emerging as a serious health issue, especially as some forms of the germ have become resistant to available antibiotics. It is often associated with HIV infection.

 
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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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