No saccharin, please :
Q: I am diabetic and use a branded sugar substitute in coffee, milk and juices. I am breast feeding and want to know if it is safe for my baby.
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A: Any medication or chemicals that you consume crosses over into the breast milk and reaches the baby. Common artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame are classified by the US Food and Drug Administration as class “C”. This means they should not be used during pregnancy or lactation unless they are absolutely essential to the health and survival of the mother. This is not the case with artificial sweeteners. Human beings are very adaptable. You may try unsweetened coffee, tea and juice. That is healthier for you as well as the baby.
Thyroid pill :-
Q: I was not conceiving and then was diagnosed as having hypothyroidism. Once I started taking Eltroxin, I became pregnant. Do I need to continue the medicine?
A: Eltroxin needs to be continued all your life as your thyroid gland is not producing enough eltroxin for your own needs. The blood hormonal levels need to be monitored during pregnancy. Eltroxin can cross the placenta to the baby. Too little will affect you adversely and too much will be harmful to the baby. Your baby needs to have a thyroid test soon after birth. The eltroxin you are taking will not affect the baby’s test results.
My feet burn :-
Q: The soles of my feet burn every night. I leave them uncovered but that does not help much. My sleep is disturbed and I am left feeling irritable all day.
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A: Diabetes can cause burning feet. So can a disease in the blood vessels, kidney or liver failure, vitamin deficiency or alcoholism. Remove your shoes and socks as soon as you return from work and soak your feet in tepid water. Take calcium and vitamin supplements. If there is no improvement in a week, consult a physician.
Q: I feel that my son is becoming deaf. He does not respond when he is called. He seems to live in a world of his own. The problem started after we bought him a new mobile phone.
A: The new mobile phone may have an MP3 player which might be the reason your son is glued to it. If he has been using “in-ear” earphones at a high volume for long periods of time, it is possible he has developed some hearing loss. The condition can be evaluated.
Your son may become socially withdrawn as he has his music and SMS friends. This is now an international social problem. Encourage him to be more physically active. Also, you can consider spending more time talking to him and listening to what he has to say.
Obstetric care :-
Q: My wife is pregnant with our first child and I am at a loss as to how to deal with things. I want a good hospital so that the mother and child are safe.
A: Before choosing a hospital (and an obstetrician) you need to scout a few places to see where you are likely to receive the best care. Preferably, there should be several duty doctors following a “shift” system. A single doctor, however good, cannot be “on call” night and day. If he or she is tired or busy, you might wind up with an unnecessary Caesarian section. Also check if the hospital has a paediatrician.
Ear block :-
Q: My left ear gets blocked whenever I swim. I have had the ear checked and there is no wax blocking it.
A: After getting out of the pool, tilt your head to the left and hop on the left leg a few times. This usually does the trick. If that doesn’t work, hold your nose, close your mouth and breathe out through the nose.
Fractured collar bone:-
Q: My four-year-old grandson fell down a couple of stairs and fractured his collar bone. The doctor says it will heal and gave him just a cloth sling. Is this enough?
A: Collar bone fractures are common in babies, children and adolescents. The only treatment is rest, a figure-of-eight bandage, a sling and analgesics for the pain. Healing usually takes around 12 weeks but a painless bump may persist for many months.
Active brain :-
Q: Is there any way I can keep my brain active? I am scared of dementia.
A: Several studies show that memory games, memorising poetry and regularly doing Sudoku puzzles keep the mind active and prevent deterioration of the grey matter. Most newspapers regularly feature puzzles. You can also access them on the Internet.
Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)