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Answers to your health queries

Runny nose; Exercise indoors; Cholesterol control
A person with a nose bleed should be made to sit up, the nose pinched shut, ice applied to the outside of the nose and a vasoconstricting nasal spray (Otrivin or Nasivion) used, if available

Dr. Gita Mathai   |     |   Published 15.04.20, 03:02 PM

Nose bleed? Apply ice

My daughter suddenly started bleeding from the nose. I was scared and made her lie down but that made the bleeding worse.

A person with a nose bleed should be made to sit up, the nose pinched shut, ice applied to the outside of the nose and a vasoconstricting nasal spray (Otrivin or Nasivion) used, if available. Most often the bleed is due to “epistaxis digitorum” or picking at dried up mucous in the nose. But, do go to the hospital and get it evaluated.

Cholesterol control

Both my cholesterol and triglyceride levels are elevated. I have been given medication. How long do I have to take it?

You may find that your lipid levels have lowered after taking medication for a few months. However, if you stop the medication at this point, the levels will rise again. To naturally lower lipid levels, you need to attain and maintain ideal body weight, exercise aerobically for 40 minutes a day and reduce oil consumption to 500ml per month, in addition to medication.

Prostrate problems

I had to pass urine frequently and get up several times in the night. The doctor found that my prostate was enlarged and started me on medication. It has been a week now but there has been no improvement. Should I have surgery?

It can take 2-3 months for prostate medication to take effect. Sometimes, combinations of two or more drugs may be required. Surgery is indicated only if there is no response to medication or if the prostate is very large. It is better to wait and give the medicine time to act, as surgery also has side effects such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.

Exercise indoors

I live in a small apartment. How can I do aerobic exercise indoors?

There are several free videos on YouTube that you can check out. They help you to walk or jog in place varying the intensity so that you get a good work out in 30 minutes. There are also videos of stretches available. If you do not have dumbbells, replace them with a one-litre bottle of water in each hand. One litre of water weighs approximately 1kg. If you are used to heavier weights, increase the number of repetitions.

Runny nose

My daughter has a runny nose all the time, 365 days a year. The bottom part is red from constant rubbing and itching. I have tried all kinds of antibiotics.

Antibiotics only work if an infection is caused by a bacteria. It will not work against viruses or allergies. Try to avoid exposing your daughter to second-hand tobacco smoke. Do not use room fresheners, agarbattis, or mosquito repellents in any rooms. She should take steam inhalations twice a day. Teach her breathing exercises (pranayam). She should exercise aerobically in the fresh air for 30 minutes a day. If she is anaemic, start iron supplements. Zinc as lozenges, tablets or syrup is also beneficial.

Frozen shoulder

If I try to lift my right arm to comb my hair it is excruciatingly painful and the shoulder is stiff.

You probably have a frozen shoulder. This occurs when shoulders are overused and the muscle fibres around the joint are not stretched regularly. It tends to occur in middle age and is commoner in women and diabetics.

You must get your shoulder evaluated. The doctor may prescribe tablets, injections into the joint and physical therapy. Keep in mind that physical therapy should be continued regularly even after structured treatment is over as it can recur either on the same side or in the opposite arm.

The writer is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore and author of Staying Healthy in Modern India. If you have any questions on health issues please write to


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