General Medicine

Featured topics

Flu vs Cold

Measles

Ear Infections

Abscesses

Tonsillitis

Thyroid disease

Insomnia

Vitamin D deficiency

Common Cold

The common cold is caused by a virus called Rhinovirus

 

The cold is not usually accompanied by fever

 

Sneezing is common

 

You may have mild fatigue and muscle aches

 

The cold usually lasts 3 - 4 days

Flu

The flu is caused by a virus called Influenza Virus

 

It is usually accompanied by fever

 

Sneezing may occur

 

You can have severe muscle aches & fatigue

 

The flu usuaully lasts about 6 - 7 days

 

 

Remember to cover your mouth when you sneeze and wash your hands regularly!

The Fly Vaccine is now available at our rooms! Thi s is a great way to prevent Flu.

Treating the flu and common cold

Unfortunately there is no cure for the flu and common cold! 

 

They are both treated symptomatically.  This means each symptom is addressed individually. 

 

Fever is treated with paracetomol or ibuprofen or a combination of the two.  

 

These medications can also be used to treat muscle aches, however, other combination pain medications are available.  

 

Vitamin C and anti-oxidants are important in fighting infections and can be taken when you ill.  

 

Your flu / cold will resolve within 7 days.

The "Flu" and the "cold" are both viral infections.  A virus is a bug that doesnt respond to antibiotics.  Only bacteria respond to antibiotics.  Viral infections are easily spread from person to person.

 

 

Measles

Measles is caused by the measles virus

 

This infection develops about 10 days after you are exposed to an infected person.  It is spread by coughs and sneezes.  

 

Early symptoms of Measles are:

  • Very high fever

  • Runny nose

  • Red eyes

  • Cough 

 

After a few days, white spots may form in the mouth.  These are called Koplik's spots. 

 

The next symptom that develops is a widespread, flat, red rash on the body.  It is contagious from 4 days before developing the rash to 4 days after it resolves. 

 

Sometimes, measles can be complicated by pneumonia. 

 

The Measles vaccine is effective in preventing Measles infection.  It is usually given in combination with the vaccine for Mumps and Rubella.  You should receive this vaccine in childhood.  

 

No specific treatment is available and management is largely symptomatic.  This means individual symptoms are addressed.

 

Vitamin A supplementation is also implemented. 

 

Thyroid disease

March 10, 2016

The Thyroid is a gland in the neck.  It is in charge of making hormones that control your metabolism.  

 

Some people may produce too much thryoid hormone and some may produce too little.  Symptoms  of thyroid disease can be significant.  You should report any symptoms to your doc, especially if you feel a growth on the front of your neck.

 

Signs of too much Thyroid hormone are:

Anxiety 

Palpitations

Hair loss

Abnormal menses

Diarrhoea

Weight loss

Trouble sleeping

 

Signs of too little Thyroid hormone are:

Fatigue and lethargy

Depression

Abnormal menses

Constipation

Weight gain

Sleeping too much

 

A simple blood test is done to assess whether you are making the right amount of Thyroid hormones. There are medications available to treat thyroid conditions.

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Abscesses

June 11, 2016

An abscess, commonly known as a boil, is a skin infection. Any breach in the skin allows bacteria to get in and cause infection.  It is a very common problem.  It may start as a small "pimple" and grow to become a boil.  

 

Usually, you will experience pain, reddness and swelling around the area.  The centre may be yellowish in colour due to the presence of pus.  

You can get an abscess anywhere on the body.  It is important not to squeeze or pop an abscess!

Treatment

A doctor must examine your boil and decide whether it requires "incision and drainage" together with antibiotics or antibiotics alone.  

Incision and drainage involes making a cut in the abscess and allowing the pus to drain out.  This is sometimes necessary as antibiotics to not penetrate the boil very well when there is alot of pus inside.  

Abscesses can recur! 

Trouble sleeping

April 6, 2016

Insomnia is a sleep disturbance which may occur either due to medication, as result of another medical condition or as a medical problem in its own right with no clear cause.  

 

There are 3 patterns of insomnia:

  • Trouble falling asleep

  • Poor quality of sleep

  • Early morning wakening

Treating insomnia

There are many wyas in which you can improve youe sleep cycle. The first step is called "Sleep Hygiene" which is a list of good sleep habits.  

 

If these do not help, you should seek medical advice.  Medical conditions must be excluded as the cause of you sleep trouble.  

These include Thyroid conditions, Depression, Bipolar disorder, Anxiety disorders, chronic pain, etc.  If a medical cause is found then this condition will be treated and your insomnia should resolve.  

 

A sleeping tablet is the last resort as these have many side effects including dependence.  

 

Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in the body.  Synthetic melatonin is widely available in tablet form to promote sleep.  This now requires a presription from your doctor as it is a Schedule 4 drug in the class "Sedative / Hypnotic agent".  It has close to no side effects and does not cause dependence.  

Sleep hygiene

10 Tips to help you get ready for bed

 

  1. Avoid napping during the day.

  2. Establish a regular bedtime and waking-up time.  Your schedule should remain the same (+/- 20 minutes) every night of the week.

  3. Avoid Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime. Remember: chocolate, fizzy drinks and tea all contain caffeine.  Opt for Rooibos or caffeine free teas.  

  4. Vigorous exercise is best done in the morning or late afternoon.  A more relaxing exercise, such as yoga or pilates, is better closer to bedtime.   

  5. Ensure you bedroom is completely dark and silent at night while sleeping.  This stimulates Melatonin to be produced which stimulates sleep.  

  6. Ensure that you are comfortable.  If you feel too hot or too cold whilst in bed this may interfere with falling asleep.  

  7. Associate your bed with sleep.  Do not watch TV or read books whilst in your bed.  The bed is reserved for 2 things - sleep and hanky panky!

  8. It is suggested that if you find your mind racing or you are worrying about not being able to sleep during the middle of the night, you should get out of bed and sit in a chair in the dark.  Do your thinking in the chair until you are sleepy and then return to bed. Do not watch TV during these periods. That will just stimulate you more than desired.  

  9. Do not watch the clock at night.  If you do, keep your clock out of sight.  

  10. A warm shower/bath or meditation can help to relax you before bed.  

Tonsillitis

March 30, 2016

Tonsillitis can occur in children and adults.  

 

You may have any of the following symptoms:

 

  • Discomfort on swallowing food and liquids.

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Glands / lymph nodes on the neck

  • Fatigue and feeling generally unwell

 

When your doctor examines your throat, he/she will see redness and enlarged tonsils.  A very large tonsil can even push the uvula (the little punching bag in your throat) to one side.  Sometimes, the tonsils can have ulcers/ holes in them.  

Tonsillitis is usually treated with Penicillin; either in the form of tablets or injection.  You need a prescription for all antibiotics as conditions that require antibiotics must be diagnosed by a doctor.  

 

Amoxil and Augmentin® are both types of antibiotics that contain penicillin.  

Ear Infections

Ear and throat infections are one of the most common complaints throughout the year.  Kiddies are usually affected but adults can suffer with these infections too.

 

If you experience one or more of the following symptoms you may have an ear infection:

  • Ear pain

  • Discharge from the ear

  • Lymph nodes near the ear, head or neck

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • Fever

 

Swimming causes water to enter the ear.  This create a moist environment for bugs to grow.  Bugs (like bacteria) love warm, moist areas of our body!  This is how swimming may cause ear infections.  You should avoid swimming while you have an infection or it may take longer for your ear infection to clear.  

Check you kids ears often and clean them once a week. We do need some wax in the ears to keep them lubricated and hydrated.  

Children often insert objects into their ears and nose! I have seen so many different types of foreign objects inside children's ears ranging from tiny lego pieces to cotton earbuds.  Most of these objects need to be removed by a doctor or nurse by "syringing" the ear.  The ear is flushed with saline through a syringe.  The object will float in the saline and then will then exit the ear.  

When these aren't removed timeously they can result in pain and ear infection.  

Vitamin D Deficiency

June 2017

Vitamin D is also known as the Sunshine vitamin.  Deficiency is very common but underdiagnosed. 

 

Cause

Vit D deficiency is most commonly caused by low intake of the vitamin in the diet and inadequate sun exposure.  

The role of Vit D in the Body

Vit D is involved in calcium and parathyroid hormone metabolism.  Low vit D can cause low calcium and parathyroid hormone levels. This influences bone health, muscle contraction and more.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms you may experience include:

  • Muscle weakness

  • Muscle twitches

  • Hair loss

  • Low mood / depression

  • Bone pain

Vit D deficiency is not the only cause of these symptoms so you should see your doctor to discuss other causes. 

Investigation

A blood test needs to be done

Management

  • Increase sun exposure

  • Eat foods rich in vit D (e.g.:milk, fatty fish)

  • Vit D supplements 

© 2020 Dr M Raboobee

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