Medical Hotline: January and February 2007

 
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Kiss and tell

Kissing is a great way to express emotions, but also a common way of transmitting germs. Herpes (cold sores), colds and upper respiratory infections are quickly passed along this way.
Also the helicobacter germ, which can lead to ulcers in the stomach and duodenum.
This infects about 60 per cent of people, especially kids, and is readily transmitted. Fortunately, most are not adversely affected as a result. Cheek to cheek embracing is a safer option.

Kidney problem

The kidney is a common site for small fluid-filled cysts. They are usually innocuous, but occasionally enlarge. The solid tumours are the ones doctors do not like, as occasionally cancer may develop.

Internet info

Many wonder about the reliability of health information found online. It varies enormously. Some is extremely high quality. Other is rubbish, and cannot be relied upon. Many medical journals are now on the Net. It may take ages to identify your particular problem. When ill, see your doctor rather than relying on the Net for treatment. Many find it to be a good back-up after they have received instructions from their own doctor.

Itchy toes

Mushy, irritating, smelly spaces between the toes is often due to a tinea infection. Often other germs, yeasts and fungi can jump in and make it worse. There is a mad desire to scratch and pick, but this makes it worse and delays healing. Bathe regularly with a mild antiseptic. Then apply tolnaftate drops.
Tea-tree oil is also OK. Give them a good sunning, for this kills bugs. Change, wash and sun socks daily, for reinfecting yourself is common. Griseofulvin tablets help if everything else fails. Try paddling along the beach. Sand abraids the debris, and salty water is a mild antiseptic.

Chest disease

Over time, medical terms change. In yesteryear, tuberculosis was very common and a major killer of the young. It was often referred to as “phthisis,” which usually meant a severe disease, and maybe areas of destruction usually in the lungs. Today, tuberculosis is re-emerging as a serious disease. It is usually detected earlier with modern imaging methods, but treatment still takes many months. Drug therapy cures most.

The good oil

Tea-tree oil is a good natural antiseptic, produced in Australia from native trees. But beware with infants and children. If taken internally it is poisonous, and needs immediate intervention. Keep the bottle well stoppered and secured in a safe place.

Under-arm issues

Many women suffer from underarm rashes. Often it is due to their deodorant, which reacts adversely on the skin. A change of brands may help, after stopping the original for several days. The skin is a common way in which allergic reactions show. Some people inherit “atopy,” the allergic reaction. They may also tend to be sensitive to certain foods, colourings, dyes and certain chemicals. Ideally, avoid soap, which is high in alkaline, using a neutral cleanser that’s more gentle with the skin.

Q: I am in my mid-teens and find it extremly difficult to join in with the others as there is always somebody who knows more, speaks loudly, runs the show, is dominant and popular. I seem to crouch in the background, a bit scard of everything.

A: Teenage issues are a major challenge, and you are not alone. As time passes, often those who are a bit withdrawn like you, suddly sparkly. Many ultimately lead the field in achievement, popularity and assertiveness. It is part of the body’s hormonal system, the emerging neurones, the stresses of interfacing with others and the world at lare. Taking a positive attitude with a picture of succes in your mind helps.