Smog and pollution in the air can either cause or aggravate asthma. Most cities have a high level of aerial pollution. The black or invisible gunk that comes from every car exhaust is full of unwanted chemicals. These mix with other pollution in the atmosphere, including pollens, which sensitise the cells and often lead to constriction of the airways. This can aggravate a cough and wheeze, the common symptoms of asthma. It may affect up to 20 per cent of Australian children, probably more. Some fortunately overcome it, and symptoms decrease with age. With many others, it persists into adult life. Today, the use of the puffer has revolutionised asthma treatment.
Sestamibi is a heart intervention aimed at detecting any damage to the cardiac muscle, which may not be picked up by other means, such as the usual ECG. A special substance is injected into the blood vessels, goes to the heart and is absorbed by damaged cardiac fibres, which show up on a screen. There is a certain amount of radiation, but risks are usually outweighed by the advantages. Treatment will be varied according to these results. The intervention is usually requested by a heart specialist.
Doctors say you should never put anything inside the ear canal smaller than your elbow! Which means, do not fiddle, poke or prod the canal. The main risk is causing abrasion, infection or damaging the very sensitive drum at the far end. This can easily occur. Often getting the shower directed into the canal can clean out accumulated dirt and grime. Softening with drops like peroxide or cerumol can help loosen hard stuff, but this is best done by the GP, who may also syringe the canals if obstructed. Never clean your ears with a hairpin!
Nearly everybody will develop cataract, or clouding of the normally crystalline clear lens of the eye, in due course. It is merely a matter of time. It is related to age, and irrespective of what measures are taken, will occur, ophthalmologists say. However, it can be aggravated by sunshine, so may be common in those working outdoors. Eye protection is a good idea. The more direct the sun’s rays, the greater the risk.
go for a walk
Thirty minutes of fairly brisk walking a day is recommended. But for many a 30-minute time block may be impractical. So, if you add up all the time and the total reaches 30 minutes it is also effective. The more vigorous the activity, the better. It leads to weight reduction, improved muscle tone, reduced ill health, freedom from depression and greater longevity.
Psittacosis is a fairly severe chest infection caused by a germ carried by birds, commonly the parrot family, but also others. If untreated it can lead to serious chest infection. Any chest symptoms that do not quickly clear up must be checked by your doctor.