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In the blink of an eye

The Telegraph provides solutions to health issues faced by individuals

Dr Gita Mathai   |   Published 30.11.22, 03:47 AM

I have frequent uncontrolled blinking of my left eye. Is it dangerous?

Blepharospasm (involuntary blinking) is usually harmless. It tends to affect older women. Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake and avoid cigarette smoke. Moisturise your eyes with saline drops. If the twitch lasts a week or longer, the spasms involve other facial muscles, or the upper eyelid droops, it needs further evaluation.

Joint pains
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I have arthritis and take medication to manage the pain. Unfortunately, it is not as effective as it used to be. I do not want to increase the dose.

Apply topical pain-relieving gels. Most contain menthol, capsaicin, eucalyptus oil, camphor or turpentine. When rubbed over the joint, they produce a soothing feeling of heat and relieve the pain. Although these gels are usually well tolerated, they can irritate the skin if used too often and applied too vigorously. Sometimes allergic reactions can also occur.

Clicking sound

When I open or close my mouth,  there is a clicking sound in my jaw. My dentist advised jaw surgery

These sounds are usually harmless as long as there is no pain and swelling. You can apply ice followed by moist heat to the joint for 15 minutes morning and evening, do temporomandibular joint exercises as demonstrated on YouTube and take NSAIDs. If there is no improvement after 2-3 months, you can opt for the suggested surgical intervention or injections into the joint.

Allergy

My one-year-old son developed a nasty rash when I gave him eggs. It is difficult to avoid eggs as they are added to cakes and other tasty snacks. Is this going to be a lifelong problem?

Many children outgrow their allergies. Allergies are mediated by the production of IgE (immunoglobulin E), which we produce less of as we age. Feed him an egg after six months. If he still develops a rash, wait for another six months before trying again. He might eventually outgrow the allergy.

Puffy eyes

I have puffy eyes. I got tested for anaemia, thyroid function as well as kidney and liver functions. Everything is normal.

Fluid tends to accumulate where there is least resistance. In your case, it is under the eyes. Since all your blood tests are normal, you can probably tackle this by keeping a small towel in the freezer till it becomes really cold. Then place it over both closed eyes for five minutes.

Long commute

I am driven to and from work in a van for an hour each way. By the time I reach home, my feet are swollen and my footwear is tight.

Gravity causes the pooling of venous blood and accumulation of fluid in your feet because of the long commute. Try moving your feet up and down even when seated in the van. Do this every hour in the office too. Elevate your legs when you reach home. When you sleep, place two pillows under your legs. Try to run or walk for 30 minutes daily so that your leg muscles efficiently pump the venous blood back to your heart.

Statin use

I have high cholesterol and triglycerides and have been prescribed statins. However, I don’t want to take them. Can I take omega 3 fatty acid or cod liver oil capsules instead?

It is better to take the statins as prescribed. They are safe with minimal side effects. After consulting your physician, you can take these supplements too. You can also reduce your lipids with exercise (30 minutes of walking a day) and by limiting your oil consumption to 500ml per month.

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



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