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Antivirals for cold sores

These are infections caused by Herpes simplex virus, which even after the initial attack, continues to live in your nerves
As soon as the initial pricking sensation appears, apply antiviral cream 2-3 times a day

Dr Gita Mathai   |   Published 24.02.21, 12:24 AM

I get blisters in the same place at the angle of my mouth 2-3 times a year. They are painful and take more than a week to heal.

It looks like you have cold sores. These are infections caused by the Herpes simplex virus. Even after the initial attack, the virus continues to live in your nerves. Outbreaks can occur with other viral infections or even stress. As soon as the initial pricking sensation appears, apply antiviral cream 2-3 times a day. If the attacks are severe, antiviral medication may have to be taken for 5-7 days.


Pantaprazole effects

My mother has been on pantoprazole for GERD for a long time. I am worried about its side effects.

Long-term pantoprazole treatment has minimal side effects. It has very little interaction with any other medications that a person may be taking. It can, however, interfere with B12 absorption, and after 2-3 years it can cause B12 deficiency.

Lung cancer signs

Both my father and his brother died of lung cancer. I am worried. Are there any symptoms I should watch out for?

A: If you have a chronic cough that has lasted a month or more, sudden onset of wheezing, coughing up blood or expectorating a lot of sputum, you need to be concerned. You can keep your lungs healthy by avoiding polluted areas, not smoking or hanging around smokers. Exercise for 30 minutes a day.

Stroke therapy

My mother had a stroke. What steps can help her in her recovery?

To regain lost motor skills such as walking, she needs exercise. A trained physiotherapist is required initially. Later, the exercises can be continued at home. Occupational therapy will help with the recovery of fine motor movements such as using hooks and buttons. Speech therapy will help co-ordinate speech. It is very important to take the medications regularly to prevent another stroke.

Muscle cramps

I exercise regularly, and sometimes I develop severe muscle cramps.

Tense muscles that do not relax fully form “knots” and cause painful muscle cramps. It is possible to massage them away. Cramps can be prevented after exercise with hydration and correction of electrolyte imbalance. Drink lightly salted butter milk or lime juice. Eat pumpkins, watermelons, melons and bananas — all are rich in cramp-preventing magnesium.

Smelly urine

My urine smells really foul. What can I do?

This can be due to insufficient water intake — the urine gets concentrated and gives off ammonia. It can also be due to a urinary tract infection, diabetes, liver or kidney disease, if it is persistent. Do a routine urine examination and consult a doctor.

Period syndrome

I become very tense and anxious before my periods. I shout at my family and give my colleagues at work a hard time.

Premenstrual syndrome is due to the cyclical hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle. It can be handled by avoiding stress, exercising regularly, eating 4-6 helpings of fruits and vegetables and limiting salt intake.

Stiff hips

My hips are stiff and hurt a lot.

The first step, though not the easiest one, is to lose weight so that you reach your ideal body weight. Stretch and exercise the joint. Instead of medication, try applications of heat and ice. Inactivity will make your hips more stiff and painful as it makes the supporting muscles weaker.

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

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