Health Problems & Solutions

Some Health Quaries & Answers

Popping antibiotics for diarrhoea

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Q: My eight-year-old son has frequent attacks of diarrhoea. The doctor always prescribes antibiotics. Are so many antibiotics needed?

A: Children often develop diarrhoea when they go to school. They may be sharing food with other children. They may run out of water and drink unhygienic water from any source they find. They may have a little money with them and buy eatables from roadside eateries.

The diarrhoea and vomiting may be due to food poisoning or a viral infection. It may not be an infective bacterial diarrhoea that requires and responds to antibiotics.

Before going to the doctor, try some home remedies. Stop all milk, sugar and wheat. Take equal quantities of rice and dal in a pressure cooker and cook it well. Mash it and feed it to your son, two teaspoons at a time every 10 minutes. If the vomiting and diarrhoea persist, or if he has not passed urine for eight hours, please go to the doctor. Otherwise this may be all the treatment he requires.

Too many pills
Q: Whenever anyone in the family has fever, our doctor prescribes two to three antibiotics. Is this normal?

A: A combination of two antibiotics may be prescribed for a life threatening infection, where a blood culture has grown more than one organism. This may be the case in individuals whose immunity is insufficient — as in cancer patients or those infected with the HIV virus. Most people need only a single appropriate antibiotic in adequate dosage and duration.

If you develop fever, wait for three days. Take paracetamol when the temperature rises above 100.5 degree F. If the fever persists consult your doctor, but ask for a diagnosis before taking any medication. Also, maintain a file with dates, diagnoses and a list of prescribed medications.

Chest pain
Q: I am 22 years old and have pain on the left side of my chest. It appears with exercise. I am scared I might have a heart attack.

A: At the age of 22, the chest pain you are experiencing is unlikely to be a heart attack, but stranger things have been known to occur. Take a plain X-ray of the chest as well as an ECG, treadmill and echo. The results are likely to be normal, but the tests will help put your mind at ease.

Chest pain can occur in a localised area of the chest wall owing to fibromyalgia or costochondritis. Press your chest and see if you can elicit the pain. If so, the diagnosis may be one of these two conditions.

Physiotherapy will help ease the pain. You can also apply a capsaicin containing gel to the area followed by application of ice.

Yeast for health
Q: I read that yeast is good for health. Can I eat baker’s yeast?

A: Baker’s yeast is used for fermentation, so that the bread rises and becomes soft before baking. The same yeast is sold as a medical supplement under the name Brewer’s yeast. It is a rich source of B-complex vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine and pantothenic acid. It is one of the few natural foods that contain folic acid and biotin. Brewer’s yeast also has essential minerals like chromium and selenium. It is available as powdered flakes and tablets. The usual dose is two tablespoons of the flakes or one 300mg tablet three times a day. It is a harmless food supplement which may confer some health benefits. But it should be avoided by people on psychiatric medications and those who are suffering from gout.

Red groin

Q: My baby has developed redness in the groin area. It looks inflamed and pains when I touch it.

A: What you are describing is a type of diaper rash. You need to —

Bathe the baby with a non-irritating mild soap and not a medicated antiseptic one

Make sure the area is wiped dry with a soft towel

Apply a cream containing Clotrimazole as a single ingredient. It should not be combined with steroids

Avoid using talcum powder

Wash the baby’s diapers with a Neem-based washing soap. This is available in Khadi and Village Industries outlets. Avoid soaking the clothes in antiseptic solutions.

If possible, switch to disposable diapers.

Ambient noise
Q: We live very close to a railway station. The loud sound of passing trains makes the whole house vibrate. We have had a baby recently. Will it affect her?

A: Children become accustomed to the noises they hear in the womb. And those sounds do not disturb their sleep.

Therefore, the trains and the vibration will not affect the baby’s sleep as she is acclimatised to it. But the disadvantage of living with loud ambient noise is that it causes progressive loss of hearing. This will affect you, your wife and eventually your child. It also produces stress in adults.

Source: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Healthy Tips

Nutrition for Healthy Skin

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Along with hair and nails, skin is the fastest growing and most superficial tissue in the body. As such, it has a high demand for nutrients in order to continuously replenish itself with rapidly developing immature skin cells from the layers below. Even a marginal deficiency of nutrients such as vitamin A, the carotenoids, vitamin D, vitamins B1 and B2, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin E, vitamin C or essential fatty acids can result in impaired development of skin cells, resulting in skin that is less smooth, prone to lesions, less elastic and more likely to suffer accelerated aging.


Here are some of the more common skin problems and the nutritional supplements that can help you get rid of them:

For sun- and chemical-induced free-radical damage that causes premature aging of the skin, wrinkling, cancerous conditions, other forms of skin damage, the appropriate supplement contains optimal levels of antioxidants to help protect your skin from the aging and damaging effects caused by the sun: Antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium and zinc intercept and neutralize free radicals and defend skin cells from these damaging effects. Antioxidants also protect skin from ultraviolet light damage.

For skin disorders such as dermatitis (skin inflammation problems), lack of smoothness, seborrhoea-like scaly lesions, irregular pigmentation, the appropriate supplement contains B vitamins at sufficient doses to ensure the healthy development of skin cells: B-vitamin supplementation corrects these skin problems and successfully treats a wide range of dermatitis problems. B vitamins also help to improve the smoothness and texture of the skin.

For unhealthy skin, acne and other conditions, the appropriate supplement provides adequate daily doses of zinc and selenium to enhance your skin’s vitality and appearance: Zinc improves oil gland function, local skin hormone activation, wound healing, inflammation control within the skin and tissue regeneration of skin cells. Selenium plays a key role in antioxidant protection and in the prevention and management of various skin conditions.

Healthy skin is an important step toward a healthy, happy you, so what are you waiting for? Ask your doctor about how to give yourself an “inner facial” with the right nutrition.

You may click to  learn more

Source:to your Health : April 13. 2010

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A Painful Night Visitor

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It is not unusual to get a sudden spasm or cramp in a muscle, causing excruciating pain and a temporary inability to move. The condition, however, has an unusual colloquial name in the US and the UK — charley horse. This may be because the pain resembles the kick of a horse. The ailment is not confined to Western nations or horse riders. It affects 70 per cent of people over the age of 50 and 50 per cent of women during pregnancy.

These leg cramps usually last less than a minute — though it may seem much longer as the pain is severe — but the contraction may take several minutes to subside. It may leave a residual dull ache. It can occur once — as a never-to-be-forgotten single incidence — or several times a month, or disturb the person’s sleep night after night.

Although any muscle can go into such cramps, it commonly occurs in bigger muscles that cross two joints, like the hamstrings and quadriceps which cross the knee and hip or calf muscles which cross the ankle and the knee. It can occur in the fingers and toes as well.

The exact reason for cramps is not known. Older people, especially post menopausal obese women, and smokers are more prone to them. Improper footwear while exercising aggravates the problem. Medications — such as statins (for high cholesterol), some drugs for high blood pressure, diuretics and steroids — may cause cramps. People of all ages can develop cramps, especially if they change their mode of exercise and suddenly increase its intensity, type and duration.

Cramps are a result of electrolyte imbalance in the body. This causes defective functioning of the muscle-nerve reflex arc. It is rather like traffic lights going out of sync and causing a jam. The electrolytes involved are sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium. Cramps occur if the ratio among these minerals changes. Proper functioning of the reflex arcs also requires biochemical reactions in the body, mediated by enzymes. The latter are affected by diseases like diabetes and malfunctioning of the thyroid gland. Deficiencies in the B group of vitamins, alcohol consumption, excessive caffeine intake and smoking also affect the enzymes.

If you have several attacks of leg cramps a month, consult your doctor. You need to tackle treatable conditions and change medication that may be aggravating it. If the cramps are due to pregnancy, they usually disappear once the baby is born.

If all the tests are normal, you may try a few simple measures:

* Try eating three to four helpings of fresh fruit and raw vegetables every day. It will correct any potassium and vitamin B deficiency.

* Eat a handful of nuts. It will take care of your requirements of magnesium and zinc.

* If you are anaemic, take iron and folic acid supplements.

* Most people do not get enough calcium from their diet and this needs to be supplemented. Around 1,200 mg of calcium needs to be taken daily, preferably at bedtime.

* Keep yourself well hydrated. Drink at least three litres of water a day and at least 250 ml before going to bed.

* Finish all your exercise at least an hour before bedtime.

* Soak the legs in warm water for 10 minutes before bedtime, and place a pillow at the end of the bed so that you sleep with your feet propped up.

* Some stretches done morning and evening prevent cramps. Stand on the floor with your feet apart. Stretch your hands up over your head and rise up on to your toes. Holding this position, rock backwards and forwards on your feet for a minute.

* Always warm up and cool down before and after exercise.

* The stretches done as a part of yoga prevent cramps.

If you develop spasms despite all this, immediately try to push the foot upwards. Massage the affected leg and apply moist heat. Sometimes, stretching the unaffected leg helps.

Leg cramps occur specifically at night. That is what distinguishes them from pain that is due to nerve disorders or damage, slipped discs or blocked blood vessels which reduce blood circulation to the legs. These diseases cause pain all the time, day and night.

“Restless legs” are different from leg cramps. This is a peculiar condition where both the legs develop pins and needles and sometimes a creeping pain several times during the night. It wakes up the person, and relief can be obtained only by moving the leg or standing up. Sleep is disturbed and inadequate. This needs to be evaluated by a doctor and treated with medication.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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News on Health & Science

Folic Acid for Women Between 16 to 45

Women between 16 and 45 should take folic acid even if they don’t plan to become pregnant, say experts..

A pregnant woman takes folic acid. Now a spina bifida charity says ALL women of child bearing age should take the supplement just in case

All women of child-bearing age are being advised to take extra folic acid after a rise in spina bifida cases, a national charity said today.

The Scottish Spina Bifida Association (SSBA) issued the warning after it was revealed the number of new babies suffering from the disease born this year had doubled.

Research already suggests that folic acid supplements help prevent the condition. Women planning a pregnancy are recommended to take folic acid for three months prior to conception and during the first few months of pregnancy.

However the charity is warning that  unplanned pregnancies can mean the vitamin is taken too late.
‘Any sexually active woman of child bearing age should start taking folic acid now,’ a spokesman said.

Spina bifida causes vertebrae in the backbone to form incorrectly, often leading to paralysis from the waist down and other damage to the nervous system.

SSBA chairman Dr Margo Whiteford told the BBC: ‘This year we’ve had as many contacts from families in the first half of the year – a total of 15 – as we’d expect to see for the full year.

‘We don’t know if this is down to folic acid but we do know that most women don’t take enough folic acid at the right time.

‘Ladies do know about folic acid preventing spina bifida but they wait until they’ve missed a period before they start taking it.

‘The spinal cord develops within the first four weeks of pregnancy so by that stage it’s too late – if the baby’s going to have spina bifida it will already have developed it.’

It is not known whether there has been a similar rise in spina bifida cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Food Standards Agency currently recommends pregnant women take a daily 400 micrograms folic acid supplement until the 12th week of pregnancy.

This is as well as eating foods containing the natural form of folic acid such as green vegetables, brown rice, and breakfast cereals.

Currently, it is not mandatory in the UK to add the vitamin to food, although experts are assessing the evidence to make a decision.

Food that contain folate in high doses include leafy green vegetables, oranges, orange juice, dried beans and legumes. If  a food contains the sign ‘enriched’, it is likely it contains folic acid. In the US, grains such as flour, rice, pasta, cereals and bread are enriched with folic acid.

You may click to learn more :->Women Needs 400 Micrograms of Folic Acid Every Day

Learn More About Folic Acid

Scottish Spina Bifida Association

Source: Mail Online. Sept.2 ,2009

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News on Health & Science

Folic Acid Food Cuts Birth Defects

Fortifying flour and pasta products with folic acid appears to cut the number of babies born with congenital heart disease, the most common   of all birth defects, Canadian researchers said on Tuesday.

While food fortification is not mandatory in Europe, a 1998 Canadian requirement has led to a 6 percent drop each year in the number of such defects in Quebec, they reported in the British Medical Journal.

“These findings support the hypothesis that folic acid has a preventive effect on heart defects,” Louise Pilote of McGill University in Montreal and colleagues wrote. “Public health measures to increase folic acid intake were followed by a decrease in the birth prevalence of severe congenital heart defects.”


Currently 67 countries fortify wheat flour, 47 of them by mandate, Helena Gardiner of Imperial College in London and Jean-Claude Fouron of CHU Sainte-Justine University Hospital Centre in Montreal noted in an editorial. Folic acid helps the body make healthy new cells.

It is important that women get enough of it before and during a pregnancy to prevent major birth defects involving a baby’s brain or spine. Leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans peas and nuts contain folic acid. It can be added to grain products or taken as a dietary supplement.

Even with fortification, many women do not get enough folic acid. In their study, Pilote and colleagues identified all infants born in Quebec with severe congenital heart defects between 1990 and 2005.

Their analysis showed no change in how many babies were born with severe heart defects in the nine years before fortification. But there was a 6 percent decrease annually for each of the seven years after fortification began.

The dip may seem modest but given the complex treatment for the often fatal heart defects, even a small reduction can significantly reduce costs health care costs, the researchers said.

:The Times Of India

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