regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 July 2024

Lock away that mobile phone

You have to restrict the amount of time the child spends on his cell phone

Dr Gita Mathai Published 26.04.23, 06:26 AM
Representational image

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My son does not study at all. He spends all his time on his phone. Unfortunately, we had to give him a smartphone because classes were online during the Covid epidemic.

It can be challenging to lay down ground rules, especially for older children. You have to restrict the amount of time he spends on his cell phone. You could take it away, lock it up and then hand it over to him for half an hour daily. That is all the time he should spend on it, especially as he will have board exams very soon.


Chair backache

I sit in office all day. By evening my back hurts.

Check that your chair is designed for computer use. Place a small cushion or rolled-up towel at your back while sitting. Stand up every hour and stretch. Do core strengthening exercises regularly.

Pain in legs

I tried stretching and exercising before bed, but I still wake up because of tingling and pain in my legs.

You could add regular aerobic exercise an hour before bedtime and follow it up with a warm bath. First, though, check if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or are iron or calcium deficient.

Sugar free

I like a little sugar in my tea and coffee. However, I have been advised to avoid it as I am diabetic.

You need to cut sugar out of your diet. You cannot use jaggery or palm sugar either. There are, however, many sugar substitutes that you can use.

Remember that it is not the intake of sugar alone that causes diabetes. You need to reduce your total intake to 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day (depending on your lifestyle), eat a healthy balanced diet and exercise regularly.

Wrong fit

Whenever I exercise wearing my sports shoes, I develop pain in my big toe.

The shoe may be the wrong size. If it is too loose, the feet slide up and down, hitting the tip. Also, if your big toenail is too long, it will push against the tip of the shoe and cause pain. Check if the tip of the nail extends beyond the flesh of the toe. If so, cut it immediately.

Hair loss

I am losing hair from all over my head. My hair has become scanty. I have done all the blood tests and can find no reason for this. I am not anaemic, hypothyroid or diabetic.

Sometimes the shampoo that you use may be unsuitable, and it may cause your hair to fall. Always take a one rupee coin size quantity of shampoo, put it in a vessel, add water, dilute it and apply to the top of your head, not to the front near the forehead. Do not leave the shampoo on for a long time, but rinse it off immediately. Shampoos should be paraben and sulphate-free.

Itchy groin

I have uncontrollable itching in my private parts. I sometimes have to leave the room to scratch.

You need to check to see if you have diabetes or a fungal infection (tinea cruris) in the groin area. Itching can also occur if your partner has an infection. It may be due to the detergent you use to wash your innerwear or because you’re putting some antiseptic chemicals in the water for the final rinse. Please consult a physician to get the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Stiff fingers

My fingers are stiff and painful in the mornings.

You could dry soaking your hands in warm salted water for a few minutes and then squeeze a small rubber ball 20 times.

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

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