Medical Hotline: April 2007


Sun-smart head

Wearing a hat is very important when outside.
Any sort will work, but the floppy fabric ones are very comfortable. The wider the brim the better.
This shades harmful UV rays from the skin, including forehead, nose and ears—common sites for skin spots and cancers. Caps do not have this range, and lots of kids wear them with the peak facing backwards, which gives no protection to key parts. Wearing sunglasses is also a very good idea.

Male breast cancer

It is possible although uncommon for men to develop breast cancer. Each year breast cancer accounts for three or four male deaths. Any lump in the breast area requires medical evaluation and intervention. A growing lump anywhere in the body must be managed at once.

Germs on glasses

Germs are commonly passed from one person to another by drinking from the same cup or glass. Probably the most common is helicobacter, which may cause ulcers in the stomach and intestines.
It is very common, up to 70 per cent of the population are purportedly infected, but do not develop symptoms. Serious germs like hepatitis B and HIV are transmitted via body fluids, therefore unlikely to be transmitted on a glass. Rinsing the rim before drinking is a good idea. Using a straw in public venues is a good idea.

Beach running

Consistent running on sand can cause joints to wear out more quickly. Exercising regularly through life is important and should continue, but longevity is important. Bear some thought for the enormous strains thrown on your joints. The continual pounding adversely impacts knee cartilage. If you have damaged cartilage, glucosamine with chondroitin may help revive the cartilage. These are available at pharmacists and health food shops, but are expensive. Paracetamol is a quick therapy for pain relief.

Pulling hairs

Many young people pull hair out of their heads for various reasons. Fortunately the hair root regrows, but only at the rate of one centimetre a month. Some teenagers, often with underlying stresses, have this habit and pull out a lot of hair. It is called trichotillomania. Often with parental encouragement, stresses can be overcome. Others need psychological counselling, relaxation therapy or cognitive therapy.
Most stresses in life settle down in time.

Remote control

Depending on ages, it’s not a bad idea if Mum (or Dad) rules the airwaves.
This ideally commences early in life, before the youngsters take over.
Nevertheless, a decision can be made at any given time. Many families set a TV time limit, say 30-60 minutes. Homework and chores should come first.
It is all part of the training program—your children, in time, will educate their children and life moves on—smoothly or in chaos. Having the TV off at mealtimes is a good rule. This is when many healthy families socialise and debrief their day.

Postnatal Depression

Q: I am 25 and my daughter is a few months old and I seem to have developed depression. I know this is common, but can it be treated

A: Many doctors believe during pregnancy the devolping baby needs lots of omega 3 fatty acids. Unless this is present in the diet, it ma be drained from the mother. The brain contas a huge supple, which may become deficient. Eating fish regulaly or fish oil capsules (at least six a day) can help. Psychological counselling, relaxation therapy and medication all have place in postnatal depression management. Pregnant women should include more fish in their regular diet to stay healthy.

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