Few Health Questions and Answers

Q: Regarding weaning food. Many varieties are available in the market. What do you recommend I start with?

Weaning can begin with simple preparations like powdered rice cooked in water and milk with a little sugar .

A: Weaning should not be started till at least the 120th day. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding exclusively for six months. Homemade preparations are superior to the packaged, ready-to-eat premixes available in the market. You could begin with powdered rice cooked in water and milk with a little sugar and no salt. The consistency should be like that of breast milk. Start with one feed, gradually increasing the number after a week or so.

Careful dosage :
Q: How is the dosage of medicine for children calculated? My mother says I can give my daughter, aged seven, half a tablet of the usual adult medicines.

A: Dosage of medicine for children has to be carefully calculated based on the body weight; it is not a matter of giving one tablet to an older child and half to a smaller one!

In case of Paracetamol, the dosage is 10-15 mg/kg/dose every 4-6 hours. For many antibiotics, it is 20 or 40 mg/kg/day while for others it is 8 mg/kg/dose. Consult a paediatrician who will weigh the child and assign the dosage appropriately. Do not self-medicate.

Unlatching baby
Q: My baby sucks so hard at my breast that I am unable to pull his mouth loose when needed. Please advise....click & see

A: Pulling yourself backwards or trying to pry the child loose will not work. Instead, insert your little finger into the corner of his mouth to reduce the suction effect. His mouth can then be pried loose.

Master check-up
Q: I am a 50-year-old woman. I want to have a master health check-up. What tests should I ask for?

You need the following tests in addition to the regular ones offered as part of the check-up

Get your weight and height measured to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). This should be between 25 and 27. A high BMI indicates obesity and places you at risk for diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, osteoporosis and cancer

Blood tests to screen for diabetes, cholesterol and triglycerides

A bone densitometry if you are post menopausal

A pap smear for cervical cancer

Breast evaluation by mammogram and monthly self-examination

Dental check-up

Eye check-up

The normal values are usually noted on the side. If any of your results are not in the normal range, please follow it up with the concerned consultant. If the follow-up of check-up is not done adequately, your money is wasted.

Facial hair
Q: I am a 23-year-old woman. My problem is that I have a moustache. I think it was there earlier but of late it has become very noticeable. My mother says I should leave it alone. However, I feel self-conscious. What should I do?

A: Please check with an endocrinologist/dermatologist/gynaecologist if you have other associated symptoms like menstrual irregularities or more-than-normal hair on your arms and legs. In the meanwhile, you can always go to a beauty parlour and have the hair on your upper lip removed by threading or waxing. Hair-removing creams can cause allergies. Also, please avoid shaving.

Foul odor

Q: I have terrible body odor in summer. Please help.

A: Perspiration is odourless. The smell arises due to the action of skin bacteria on the sweat. To avoid this .

Wear cotton clothes which will allow the sweat to evaporate and not trap it inside

Bathe twice a day with Neko soap. The bacterial cell wall is destroyed by this soap

Do not apply the soap directly. Use a loofa or wash rag

Avoid talcum powder

Use a deodorant stick or spray.

Nagging cough
Q: I have diabetes and hypertension. Both are well controlled with diet and medication. I have a terrible hacking cough though. I have seen several doctors but to no avail   all they have done is take X-rays and prescribe antibiotics. I do not have fever or sputum so I don’t think I need these antibiotics.

A: Some anti-hypertensive medications cause cough. You can try adding Vitamin C 500 mg at night to your current medication. Also, you can take a cough suppressant like codeine linctus. Avoid exposure to allergens such as incense sticks, cigarette smoke and mosquito repellents (mats, coils as well as liquids). Take steam inhalation twice a day.

Tummy trouble

Q: My stomach sticks out, making me look very ugly. Will a tummy trimmer work?

A: Spot reduction of the stomach alone is not possible unless you opt for liposuction. You need to go on a diet, exercise and reduce weight overall. In the process, you can also tone up your stomach with crunches or a trimmer.

Answered by :Dr Gita Mathai ,paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore.India

Published in the Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

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