Health Quaries

Some Medical Questions and Answers by Dr.Gita Mathai

Dealing with motion sickness:-

Q: My son vomits every time we travel, whether it is by car, bus, train or in a plane. It is exhausting to us and irritating for other passengers.

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.A: Your son has the classic symptoms of motion sickness. In some people like him, movement by all the modes of transportation you have mentioned causes a dissociation in the information that the brain receives. The person is immobile, seated in a chair, but is actually moving. The balance centre in the ear becomes affected, causing dizziness, nausea and eventually vomiting.

Simple methods like facing forwards or smelling a lemon may ease motion sickness

Simple methods like facing forwards, or sitting in the centre of the vehicle may help. Smelling a lemon or sucking on ginger-flavoured sweets helps some people overcome the nausea. Medications like Dramamine or Avomine taken half an hour before the journey usually stop the vomiting. Consult your paediatrician, who will be able to prescribe appropriate medication if required.

Fortunately, some children outgrow motion sickness as they grow older and travel more frequently.

Blocked nose :-

Q: One side of my nose is permanently blocked and if I get a cold I cannot breathe at all.

A: If your nose has been blocked from birth, there may be a congenital absence of the opening, a condition called chonal atresia. This requires surgical correction. If the block is recent, you need to consult an ear, nose and throat surgeon to evaluate the nasal passages. He will be able to tell you if the obstruction is due to a mechanical cause like a deviated nasal septum or nasal polyps or a reactive intermittent block caused by a local response to allergens. Just using nosal drops and sprays is not the answer. Many of the chemical drops cause rebound congestion. The saline drops are safer but they are milder and short acting.

Insect stings :-

Q: I got stung by a wasp and the sting remained in my flesh for a long time. Please advise.

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A: An insect sting can be very painful and may cause allergic reactions. The proboscis (stinging apparatus) should be quickly removed. The easiest way to do this is to apply ice to the site of the injury. The swelling subsides and enough of the sting is usually exposed to facilitate removal. If there is redness and itching, calamine lotion can be applied. If the allergy is severe, antihistamines many need to be taken.

Some people can develop life-threatening allergic reactions to insect bites or stings, with swelling in the lips, tongue and throat and breathing obstructed. They need immediate medical attention.

Varicose veins :-

Q: I have ugly blue veins on my legs which swell up when I stand. What can I do?

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A: The swellings you describe are varicose veins. This condition is commoner in women. It tends to get aggravated during pregnancy. It is due to weak and faulty valves in the veins of the leg. Many patients can manage this with weight reduction, exercises and elastic stockings. If there is constant pain and repeated ulcer formation, it is better to opt for surgery.

Pregnancy after a caesarean :-

Q: I delivered my first baby by caesarean and was advised to wait for three years before the second baby. As I did not menstruate for seven months, I thought I did not need contraception. Now I find I am pregnant. Can I have a medical termination of the pregnancy?

A: Unfortunately, after vague post natal instructions stating   “come for a check up after six weeks   or  use contraception  (details unspecified) for three years, most couples are left to their own devices. Here, unfortunately, old wives   tales   You cannot get pregnant as long as you breast feed the baby.” “I did not become pregnant for three years and neither did your grand mother.” “If you have not menstruated, you are safe.” “If you have intercourse infrequently, you will not get pregnant.”

None of these theories has any scientific basis. Even a single act of intercourse can result in pregnancy. In your case, options are limited. Return to the obstetrician who performed the first caesarean and follow her advice.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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