Health Problems & Solutions

Q. I get frequent headaches at work. I got my eyes checked. I don’t need glasses.

Ans: A headache may be due to the air conditioning in the office causing blocked sinuses, room fresheners causing allergies or lack of ventilation. It can also be because of dehydration or hunger, especially if you are so involved with your work that you forget to eat and drink. Take steam inhalations before leaving for work and after reaching home. Keep a bottle of water and a fruit or two as a snack at your desk. (Samosas, biscuits and other high-calorie foods are not a good idea as they lead to weight gain.)

Q: I am very scared because my neighbour developed flu, had to be admitted in the ICU and died.

Ans:You can take a flu vaccine to prevent the disease. And if you get the flu despite immunisation, the attack is usually mild. The vaccine has to be taken every year, preferably from October to March (the flu season). It needs to be administered to all children and older adults, especially those with diabetes or other chronic illnesses. Frequent handwashing decreases the likelihood of contracting the flu as does taking steam inhalations once a day and gargling with warm, salted water.

Q: I was told that I need to breastfeed my baby for only six months as she would get all the immunity she requires in that time. I was also told that the newer milk formulas are equally effective, if not superior, as they contain trace elements and essential amino acids. Is this true?

Ans: Breastfeeding protects the baby from infectious diseases and provides easily digestible food. It offers a wealth of benefits for the mother too. It protects against breast and ovarian cancer, delays the onset of type 2 diabetes as well as some forms of arthritis. If possible, a baby should be breastfed for at least a year.

The writer is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore and author of Staying Healthy in Modern India.

Source: The Telegraph, Kolkata (India)

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