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Run the attack away

Get up every one hour from your desk, take 20 deep breaths and spot jog or walk briskly for 30 seconds
Try to run or jog 4km a day
Try to run or jog 4km a day
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Dr Gita Mathai   |   Published 01.09.21, 12:37 AM

My father and uncle died of heart attacks. I run for half an hour a day, but I have a sedentary desk job.

It is good that you exercise regularly. Try to run or jog 4km a day. Do not rely on this alone. Get up every one hour from your desk, take 20 deep breaths and spot jog or walk briskly for 30 seconds. Check your blood pressure, lipid profile and sugars every year. 


Baby’s urine pain

My six-month-old son strains while passing urine and his face turns red.

Take your son to a physician. It may be a simple problem like a tight foreskin. Usually, that clears up with proper hygiene. It may also be due to the posterior urethral valves at the junction of the urethra and bladder. They can block the free flow of urine and even cause a reverse flow. This will eventually harm the kidneys. So it needs to be diagnosed and tackled at the earliest. 

Typhoid twice 

I am 26 years old, and I have had two attacks of typhoid in the past one year. I am forced to eat out a lot as I live away from home.

Typhoid is a preventable infectious disease. You need a single dose of the typhoid vaccine. The old one had to be repeated every three years, but the new vaccine works for seven years. The chances of an infection are reduced if you do not drink unpurified or contaminated water. If you have to eat out, stick to piping hot foods, and avoid cut fruits or vegetables.

Sometimes the gall bladder acts as a nidus — a place in which bacteria have multiplied or may multiply. The presence of gallstones can also cause recurrent infections. 

Swollen gums

I have swollen gums that bleed on touch and sometimes spontaneously. Neither my doctor nor the dentist could find anything wrong.

Mix 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 a teaspoon salt, and massage your gums with it. This will help harden the gums. Eat a raw tomato every day. This will provide you with all the Vitamin C (its deficiency can cause bleeding gums) and antioxidants that you need.   

Depression medicines

I was started on antidepressants last year. I feel better, so I want to stop. 

You are probably feeling better because of the antidepressants. They help you sleep better, function efficiently and think clearly. They even help with pain relief. Do not stop the antidepressants on your own. Let the doctor decide whether you are doing well enough to have your dose tapered and stopped. 


I develop terrible bouts of sneezing and coughing whenever the weather changes, and sometimes for no reason at all. I am on antihistamines but they make me drowsy.

You can try some natural remedies. If there is a strong breeze or pollen in the air, keep the windows and doors shut. Stay far away from people who smoke. Do not use vaporising chemical mosquito repellents. Take steam inhalations twice a day. Do the breathing exercises in yoga regularly.

Dizzy bouts

I feel dizzy quite often and am worried about it.

There are many reasons for feeling giddy: abrupt change in position from lying to standing or getting up from sitting, a sudden movement of the head, low blood sugar, anaemia or dehydration. There may be problems with the inner ear and its nerve connections to the centre of balance in the brain. See a physician to arrive at a diagnosis. Correction of the underlying disorder will cure the problem.

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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