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Itch fighters’ guide

Apply a mixture of 250ml coconut oil, 250ml sesame oil and 100ml castor oil and leave it for 10 minutes and bathe in lukewarm water

Dr Gita Mathai   |   Published 22.12.21, 02:00 AM

My skin is dry and cracked. It itches, and sometimes I scratch so hard that it bleeds.

Dry skin can be familial or due to medical conditions such as ichthyosis , psoriasis, underactive thyroid or ageing. Addressing the medical condition will help. Nonetheless, apply a mixture of 250ml coconut oil, 250ml sesame oil and 100ml castor oil. Leave it for 10 minutes and bathe in lukewarm water. Add 30ml of coconut oil to the bucket of bathwater. Don’t use harsh soaps. Apply liquid paraffin at night.

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Irregular periods

My periods were always irregular. Nowadays, if they are significantly delayed, I feel I might be pregnant and I don’t want a baby now.

Consult a gynaecologist. It might be thyroid problems or polycystic ovarian syndrome. A diagnosis will enable the doctor to advise you on medication and lifestyle to keep your periods regular.

Heel fissures

The skin of my heels is fissured. At times the deep cracks are painful.

Cracks can get infected and be painful. Soak your feet for 10 minutes in saline water. Scrub with a soft plastic brush or loofah. Then, apply liquid paraffin. Wear socks all day to seal in the moisture.

Weight gain

In the last two years, I have put on eight kilos. Could it be because I work from home now?

Working from home means general activity has decreased. Snacking may have increased. The same amount of calories (food) is now utilised less, leading to weight gain. You could stop all snacks. Set an alarm, stand up every hour and jog in place at the rate of 60 steps a minute for five minutes. That’ll be 300 steps. Try to hit 10,000 steps. This may prevent further weight gain and keep you healthy even if confined to the house. 

Recurrent typhoid

I have had typhoid seven times in the past year.

An attack of typhoid can recur a week after the antibiotics course is over. In rare cases, people can become typhoid carriers. The bacteria settle in the liver, spleen or gall bladder. They are usually asymptomatic and can spread the disease through faecal contamination. Typhoid is a preventable disease. A single jab of the typhoid vaccine provides protection against the disease. The newer vaccines work for up to seven years.

Hand, foot and mouth disease

My three-year-old daughter has fever and ulcers all over her mouth and hands. The doctor  said it is “hand foot and mouth disease”. 

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious viral infection. Most children get it before five years of age. It spreads through contact, is usually harmless and disappears in 7-10 days.

Ungainly slouch 

I am 42 years old, and I notice that I am hunching forward. 

Aesthetics apart, a slouch or hunched posture is bad for your lungs, heart and abdomen. Check with your doctor to see if it is due to calcium or Vitamin D3 deficiency. If so, correct it. Practise standing and sitting straight. Do core strengthening exercises regularly. 



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