Q: I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and am on treatment. My mother also has osteoporosis. She recently fell down and broke her hip. I am afraid that I might suffer the same fate.
A: You can make a few changes to your lifestyle to guard against inadvertent falls.
♦ Wear sandals or "slip on" shoes in the house. Don't wear flip-flops or socks.
♦ Fit handrails in the bathroom so that the chances of slipping and falling are minimal.
♦ Make sure you exercise by walking for 40 minutes a day.
♦ Expose yourself to sunlight as much as possible.
♦ Get your eyesight and hearing checked so that you are less likely to fall.
Q: I have severe menstrual cramps. I do not like to take medication. Is there an alternative?
A: Drinking at least 3 litres of water a day and eating 3-4 helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables helps. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins E, B1, and B6, and minerals like magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the level of the prostaglandins partially responsible for the painful cramps. Heat applications in the form of a hot water bottle or a heating pad also help. Regular exercise has been shown not only to regularise periods but also reduce the incidence of cramps.
Q: am a weight lifter and I want to take "booster" injections to improve my performance.
A:"Boosters" are another name for anabolic steroids. They are misused for muscle building and performance enhancement. Short-term use causes unhealthy weight gain, puffy face, nausea, mood swings, insomnia, acne and an increase in blood sugar and pressure. Immunity is also suppressed, making the person susceptible to infections. Long-term use of steroids suppresses the body's own testosterone so that there may eventually be low sperm counts and infertility.
Q: I want to know what first aid measures I can take for my daughter with cold and flu.
A: You can prevent flu or reduce the severity by giving her a timely annual flu vaccine.
If a cold occurs, hydrate the child, keep the room ventilated and dress her in light garments. Use nose drops and paracetemol (10-15mg/kg/dose/ every 4 hours) if the temperature rises to more than 100 ° F. Give steam inhalations. In flu the temperature rises rapidly, is higher and she will appear more sick. You can safely wait for three days before going to the doctor unless she develops vomiting, severe cough or discharge from the ear.
Dr Gita Mathai is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore. Questions on health issues may be emailed to her at email@example.com