A face less equal
Q I feel that my face is asymmetrical and I am very self-conscious about it.
People do have asymmetrical faces. In some, it may be more pronounced. It can be present from birth, when one side of the face develops less than the other. It may come on later as a result of a viral infection (herpes), facial palsy or injury. It can occur because of sleeping regularly only on one side. It can also be due to bad teeth, as a result of which you tend to chew on any one side. It is possible to correct some of the acquired conditions. Sometimes surgery may be required.
Q I have a severe backache, and the doctor has diagnosed ankylosing spondylitis. Will it become worse?
Ankylosing spondylitis is a condition when the bones of the spine become stiff and rigid, leading to limited flexibility and eventually a "bamboo spine". It is more common in people who carry the HLA B27 gene and can run in families. Its symptoms are controlled with medication and regular physiotherapy, but it cannot be cured.
Q I am a 52-year-old woman. I work in an office and also care for my teenage children as well as my mother-in-law who has mild dementia. I find it all rather overwhelming.
Many women are caught in the never-ending spiral of caring. Remember, you also have to care for yourself. The important thing is to realise that you do the job out of love and not a sense of obligation. Look after yourself, and try to get in 30 minutes of aerobic activity, five minutes of meditation and 10 minutes of stretching every day. Unless you are healthy, you will not be able to care for others.
Q My son as he is starting college and I need to send a medical kit with him to the hostel.
It is more important that you son's immunisations against typhoid, hepatitis A, chickenpox and flu are up to date so that he does not go to college and immediately fall sick.
Other than this, paracetamol for fever, levocetirizine and a few ORS sachets for diarrhoea are probably enough.