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Really Doc?!: Medical Myths, Facts And Tips

Really Doc?!: Medical Myths, Facts And Tips

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Really Doc?!: Medical Myths, Facts And Tips

Lunghezza:
170 pagine
2 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 13, 2013
ISBN:
9789810754747
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

“Can too much sugar cause diabetes?”
“Isn’t high blood pressure normal when you get old?”
“Can staring spread sore eyes?”
“Do I need antibiotics every time I have yellow phlegm?”
“Is heatiness the cause of my frequent sore throats and styes?”
“Is the rain causing my joint pains and headaches?”
“Butter the Burn...Coffee powder on the Cut...Metal spoon for the ‘fitting’ epileptic.....do they actually work?”

All this, and much more, will be covered in this handy health book, packed with useful facts that will help debunk common fallacies and misconceptions about your health! In addition, each chapter ends with practical self-care tips and advice on when and why you may need to see a doctor in each of the situations. (BONUS: the doctor shares her personal tips for keeping well and advises how you can maximise your short consultation time with your doctor!)

This book will equip you with the right information to let you take charge of your health!

About The Author:
Dr Bina Kurup is a well-respected Family Physician with more than 25 years of clinical experience. She has authored several chapters in medical handbooks for doctors, and contributed health related articles for newsletters, magazines and newspapers. She is active in teaching and mentoring both undergraduate and postgraduate medical students. She firmly believes that education is the key to many good things in life, including your GOOD HEALTH!
Editore:
Pubblicato:
May 13, 2013
ISBN:
9789810754747
Formato:
Libro

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Really Doc?! - Dr Bina Kurup

Conclusion

ACUTE CONDITIONS

Acute conditions generally refer to medical problems that have either a rapid onset or those that don’t usually last long. Many confuse the term ‘acute’ to mean severe, when actually it refers to the time frame of a particular medical condition, rather than its severity.

On the other hand, though acute conditions are generally short term, they can be recurrent as with some of the problems to be discussed e.g. diarrhea and headaches.

This, the first section of the book, will look into the misconceptions and myths surrounding some of the most common conditions seen in the GP’s clinic.

For ease of discussion, they have been divided to cover common infections, aches and pains and first aid problems. These are all health issues that would have affected each of us at some time or other in our lives.

As doctors, we see a wide spectrum of patients whose approach and response to their illness can vary greatly. This ranges from those who do nothing to those who do too much when afflicted!

In some instances, old wives tales and grandma’s advice may just work, and as long as it does no harm, you may opt to follow such advice. However, in some other situations, following such practices may actually delay your recovery or lead to unnecessary complications.

So, how do you decide who to follow and what to do? This is where you will find this book extremely helpful, as the relevant facts of each condition will be discussed, to help dispel the myths and misconceptions more clearly. The section on self-care will elaborate on what you can do for yourself and it is this, together with your doctor’s treatment that will ensure a speedy recovery in most cases.

After the section on First Aid myths, I have included a brief note on the contents of a first aid box, as well as what your medicine chest should contain. This was done as I feel it is important that every household has a properly stocked first aid kit and medicine box. One never knows when the need may arise, and it is certainly best to be prepared in any case.

INFECTIONS

Infections form a very common reason for consultation with a doctor.

Presence of an infection is usually suggested by the occurrence of fever, together with other symptoms, specific to the organ or system affected.

However, it is important to remember that not all patients with infections will have a fever. Relatively minor infections like the cold, diarrhea or sore eyes are often not accompanied by fever. On the other hand, the elderly, the diabetic or the immune compromised may have serious infections but be unable to mount a fever response.

Conversely, there are inflammatory conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis and SLE¹, as well as certain types of cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma, that may present with fever, without an associated infection.

In the next few chapters, I will be discussing some of the commonest infections seen in the GP’s clinic. Almost everyone would have experienced a cold, diarrhea or sore eyes at some time or other in their life. Many seem to have their own ideas about how best to manage these infections and often will try home or non-orthodox remedies first before seeing a doctor.

I am sure you will identify with some of the common myths and misconceptions presented and be considerably enlightened by the facts and tips shared.

¹ SLE: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

CHAPTER 1

COMMON COLD/ ‘FLU’

  MYTHS

Doc, I got caught in the rain last night! I think that’s why I’ve got the cold today!

I’m sneezing so much…I better not bathe till I’m well!

Doc, I just took my flu jab last month! How can I still get the flu now?

Doc, my runny nose has lasted a week…don’t you think I should take antibiotics?

But Doc, the mucus from my nose is yellow…I’m sure I need antibiotics!!

I take my Vitamin C supplements so regularly…how come I still get the cold?

Doc, I’ve got sinus!where the patient equates any case of runny nose as ‘sinus’.

  FACTS

The ‘common cold’ and ‘flu’ are terms often used interchangeably by many. Most people take it to mean anything from having one, or a combination, of symptoms like runny nose, cough or sore throat.

In actual fact, though both are infections (and so are not related to, nor caused by, weather or cold temperatures), they are separate entities caused by distinctly different types of viruses.

An infection with the Influenza virus (i.e. flu) usually makes you feel more ill and is the more serious of the two. It has greater potential for complications, like pneumonia (chest infection), encephalitis (brain infection) and even death!

There are several strains of the Influenza virus and they are classified into three groups viz. A, B and C. The strain types keep changing frequently through mutation, and hence you can come down with the flu several times in the year, and this despite being vaccinated! The flu vaccine will usually protect you against three strains each time, but has to be given annually for it to be effective.

But as all vaccines can only protect you against a specific virus and strain, it can be clearly seen why the flu vaccine alone cannot protect you against all causes of the common cold or cough!

The mucus from the nose in common cold infections can be yellow and can sometimes last up to a week. However, being viral, antibiotics do not work against them. In some cases though, antibiotics may be prescribed by your doctor, if he suspects a secondary bacterial infection.

Though Vitamin C, and other antioxidants, is generally good to boost immunity, it alone cannot prevent a cold. However, some studies have shown that once you are down with the flu or common cold, ensuring an adequate intake of Vitamin C may actually help you recover faster! But as most vitamins and minerals can be obtained naturally from well balanced meals, it is usually not necessary, nor is it recommended, that you take too much of these supplements!

  SELF CARE TIPS

• It is very important to maintain good personal hygiene, with regular hand washing and daily baths. This helps to both prevent, as well as minimize, the spread of viral infections. Do not touch your face, especially your mouth, nose or eyes, with unwashed hands.

Other members of your household should similarly be encouraged to wash their hands thoroughly and regularly, with soap and water.

• If you need to blow your nose or cough out your phlegm, use tissues instead of handkerchiefs. Dispose of used tissues straight away into closed bins.

Adequate rest and minimizing stress, helps to boost your natural immunity, which in turn helps you to fight these infections better.

Ensure adequate fluid intake. Consuming at least 8 glasses of water or fluids a day is generally recommended.

•   Generally, you can eat what your appetite dictates, unless your doctor advises dietary restrictions specific to your condition (e.g. you may be advised against consuming cold drinks and certain fruits if you have a ‘bronchitic’ cough).

• You should avoid doing vigorous exercises or strenuous physical activities when you are down with the flu or fever. There is an increased risk of damage to the heart e.g. myocarditis, which can even prove fatal!

  WHEN TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR

Prolonged symptoms of runny nose or cough, especially if it lasts for more than one week.

Your doctor will have to exclude sinus or chest infections if your symptoms are prolonged. He will also assess the need for antibiotics after a thorough examination which may involve blood tests or Chest and Sinus X-rays.

Runny nose with significant headaches or pain over the cheeks.

This may indicate a sinus infection, which usually warrants more aggressive treatment with antibiotics and even steroids or nasal sprays.

Runny nose with ear symptoms.

Both the common cold and sinusitis can sometimes be complicated by middle ear infections. This is because the opening to the Eustachian tube, which is the tube from the middle ear that helps to equalize pressure with the external environment, is close and just next to the back of the nasal passage. This explains the ease with which germs can travel from the nose to the ears!

Blood stained mucus or prolonged duration of green phlegm.

In this case, a course of antibiotics may be needed. More serious infections like pneumonias or tuberculosis may also need to be excluded.

If you feel ill, breathless or if there is significant weight loss.

Here, more serious complications like chest infections or sinister conditions, like cancer, need to be excluded.

Did You Know…?

The sinuses are actually air pockets or hollow spaces found within the bones of the face. There are four such pairs, all of which drain into the nasal passage. This explains why the common cold and sinus infections are so closely related. In both, a runny nose with nasal discharge is the common presenting symptom. However, they are not actually one and the same thing!

CHAPTER 2

DIARRHEA

  MYTHS

It can’t be the food we had last night! We only had home-cooked food and, anyway, my husband who ate the same thing is fine!

My stools are so loose…I better starve to let my intestines rest and recover!

Every time I take in even just fluids, I am passing out such watery stools…looks like even water is not being absorbed…I better just stop drinking anything till I’m better!

• "I’ll just take Panadol….I’m sure it’ll help my abdominal pain and diarrhea!"

  FACTS

Diarrhea refers to the frequent passage of loose or watery stools. It is a very common condition. It is most often caused by viral or bacterial infections, contracted through the consumption of contaminated food or water.

At times, it could just be a particular portion of the food shared that is contaminated. This can leave some affected while others may be spared even though they consume from a common source! Home cooked food, especially if there are leftovers or if the food preparation is less than hygienic, can just as easily cause food poisoning as ‘outside’ food!

It can also spread from person to person by the

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