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Article
Sun, 28th July 2019
 

Questions & Answers

 
WHOOPING COUGH

Q: 

I am an adult, have developed a terrible cough which the doctor says is whooping cough. I thought this was only for infants?

A: 

Once a terrible and fatal disease in infants under one, it largely vanished with universal immunisation at 2, 4, 6, 15 months and 4 years. But since a UK scare several years ago, many mothers refuse child vaccination. There is now a whooping cough epidemic and adults are often affected, spread by droplets from coughs and discharges, it is treated with erythromycin. Water vapour (in the bathroom), and warmth help alleviate the cough. It is still serious.

 
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FINGERNAILS

Q: 

My fingernails often bend, flake or crack. What am I to do?

A: 

Ideally protect them from water, especially when washing up with detergents. This plays havoc with nails, causing them to swell, then shrink, split and flake. Applying Hard-as-nails often helps. Ideally wear cotton gloves, then rubber or latex ones when immersing hands. When bathing, use a non-alkaline soap. Avoid nail polish removers for these increase perils. A multi-mineral tablet each day will help also.

 
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BLOATED

Q: 

After eating I often notice a lot of gas in my stomach, causing discomfort and distension.

A: 

Each time we swallow, be it saliva or food, air enters the stomach often up to 750 mls. It accumulates, and distends causing discomfort. Eat slowly; avoid fizzy drinks, and laughing when eating. Fried foods, leafy greens, and legumes tend to aggravate and form more gas. De-gas, antacids, and a drink of dry ginger ale often helps burping. Plenty of water, daily psyllium helps eliminate gas trapped in the lower bowel.

 
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BUILDING UP

Q: 

How can a person build up their immune system, and reduce risks of recurring viral infections, coughs, colds and flu?

A: 

Sensible food intake heads the list. Fruit, veggies, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), lean meat, fish, soy products, seeds, shoots, nuts, are excellent sources. Lots of water, adequate rest at night and regular daily exercise is helpful. Walking heads the list. Swimming, cycling and gardening are also fine. I take supplemental vitamins each day, and rarely become ill. Last flu bout was in 1971!

 
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EMPHYSEMA

Q: 

I huff and puff even with relatively slight exertion. I still smoke 50 fags a day and my GP says emphysema, Crook prospects.

A: 

Smoking is the single commonest cause for destroying the microscopic air sacs in the lungs, causing them to coalesce. Breathlessness (dyspnoea) inevitably results, worsening with time. Stop smoking at once. Antibiotics reduce infection, aerosols improve respiration. Severe cases now respond well to surgical excision of the over-inflated lung segments. This is carried out in thoracic units at major capital city hospitals.

 
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PSA

Q: 

My blood PSA level is markedly elevated. Does this mean cancer?

A: 

PSA, Prostate Specific Antigen, elevation indicates prostatic activity. Often an ultrasound examination and maybe with a biopsy, will indicate if either a simple enlargement, common in men over 50, or cancer. In any case, surgery, or other treatments are readily available to help treat the condition, whatever it is. Ideally,all males over 50 should have either an annual digital examination or PSA. Talk to your GP.

 
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ALLERGIES

Q: 

I suffer from dry irritable skin, running eyes, nose and parched throat. The skin turns red if scratched. I am sure it is an allergy but my doctor disagrees.

A: 

A check to eliminate diabetes and other hidden nasties is a good start. In any case, use neutral non-alkaline soap, body warmth water and dab skin dry after showers. Apply a weak cortisone based cream to itchy areas, take a non-sedating antihistamine 1-2 times a day, and drink lots of water to eliminate histamine, the common troublemaker. I will bet this will help.

 
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BUSTED BACK

Q: 

I have a fractured vertebra. Will it heal OK? It is painful.

A: 

Many older people, especially women, suffer from sudden crush fractures of the large vertebral bones of the back often for no obvious reason. Sudden pain may occur, relieved by analgesics, but gradually wanes. Osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) is common with reduced oestrogen production after age 50. HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is vital. So is an increased intake of calcium. Dairy products (best low fat milk) is a rich supply. Continued exercise is also important. Talk to your GP.

 
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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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