Some Health Quaries & Answers

My nose leaks all the time
Q: I fell down and hit my head on the washbasin, after which there was a nosebleed. Later, I found that my nose leaks all the time. It is a watery, odourless fluid with no sneezing. No treatment has helped. Finally, a doctor said the cerebrospinal fluid is leaking out from a crack in the skull bones and that I need surgery. What if I do not opt for an operation?

A: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak — also called rhinorrhea — can be a result of blunt head trauma. This occurs in 2-6 per cent of patients with head injury. Most cases of CSF rhinorrhea that begin soon after a head injury cease spontaneously within 180 days. If it does not clear up, a brain infection called meningitis can occur in 25-50 per cent of the cases. That is probably the reason your doctor has advised surgical repair.

Long-term pill
Q: I am 62 years old with gas and acidity problems. I was prescribed Pantoprazole 40 once daily. I have been taking this since 2003. Is it okay to take the pill for such a long period?

A: Pantoprazole is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) and works by blocking acid production in the stomach. It is used to treat acid-related stomach and throat (esophagus) problems like acid reflux, GERD, erosive esophagitis and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Some of these conditions require long-term treatment.

If such a medicine is consumed for more than three years, it can cause vitamin B12 deficiency. This causes a type of anaemia called megaloblastic anaemia with numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Consult your physician for further advice.

Grinding teeth
Q: My son grinds his teeth at night. The noise disturbs our sleep. But more important, his teeth are getting worn down to the gums. He wakes up in the morning with a mouth pain. He has been dewormed five times, but this has not helped. Please help.

A:
The exact reason for bruxism (grinding teeth) is not known. It is associated with certain personality types, people who are high achievers and frustrated by failure. The important thing is to prevent damage to the teeth until the stress issues are resolved. A dentist can fit him with a “mouth guard” to prevent damage to the teeth.

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Water therapy
Q: I drink four litres of water everyday as part of water therapy. I feel bloated after that and vomit out the water. Is this good or harmful?

A:
Water therapy is advocated by some systems of medicine to cleanse the body of impurities and toxins. However, you do not seem to be following the specifications correctly. You are supposed to drink 1.5 litres (not four) first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Also, you should not do this if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or liver or kidney failure.

IPV or OPV?
Q: My daughter’s paediatrician has advised injectable polio vaccine (IPV). It is more expensive than oral polio vaccine (OPV). Is it worth it? Why doesn’t the government provide them free?

A: OPV has to be transported and maintained properly at the correct temperature to keep its potency intact. Also, the uptake is variable in normal children and not good in those with diarrhoea. Keeping these limitations in mind, many developed countries have switched to IPV, which is a killed vaccine and does not entail these problems. We should do likewise. The government has introduced it in a few states, but cost is a major constraint. It is definitely superior to OPV and should be given to your child if possible.

Pimples on my back
Q: I have a lot of acne on my back. I also have dandruff. Please advise.


A:
Dandruff aggravates acne. You need to tackle the dandruff by washing your hair everyday with anti dandruff shampoo. It is probably best to keep varying the shampoo. Buy three brands like Selsun, Nizral and Head and Shoulders, and keep alternating them. For your back, bathe twice a day, using a loofah and Neko soap. Avoid talcum powder as it blocks the skin pores and aggravates the acne.

Human bite
Q: I was bitten by a co-worker during the course of an argument. I am apprehensive even though the company doctor said “there is no need to worry”.

A:
Human bite wounds are often underestimated and under treated. A person’s mouth is full of bacteria. Saliva contains as many as 1,00,000,000 organisms per ml, belonging to more than 200 species. Approximately 10-15 per cent of human bite wounds become infected by these bacteria. Potentially dangerous diseases like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, herpes simplex virus and tetanus can also be inoculated into the wound. Early cleaning of the wound and aggressive treatment are needed to prevent infection and its associated complications. Immunisation against tetanus and hepatitis B is available.

Source : The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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