Dear Doctor: I have a throat congestion that requires me to cough or clear my throat all the time. Doctors have treated me for allergies, excessive stomach acids, bronchitis, sinusitis and postnasal drip, but with no success. Could this be a serious infection or is it one of those conditions that have resisted treatment?
Dear Godfrey: What you call throat congestion can be caused by allergies, which may as well affect the nose (allergic rhinitis), the sinuses (sinusitis), throat and the lung airways (bronchitis).
This, if complicated by regurgitation into the throat by stomach acids can be dangerous, and will require these acids to be controlled before you get better, that is why the doctors addressed all the above.
Acid regurgitation on its own can cause throat and other symptoms, and may also be caused by drugs for allergy such as prednisone.
Allergies make doctors look bad because when the cause is not identified, the allergy will strike whenever a person is exposed to what they are allergic to.
This is not helped by visiting too many doctors because then, there may not be proper follow-up.
It is unlikely that you have a serious infection that requires taking strong antibiotics because even people with allergies end up reacting to antibiotics, which should be taken only on a doctor’s prescription.
Kindly visit an ear, nose and throat specialist before you develop a lump in the throat, which is usually due to fear that you could have a serious medical problem, including cancer of the throat.
Dear Doctor: My child gets fever every evening but plays well during the day. When a test is carried out, it turns out to be malaria. What can I do to prevent this?
Dear Samalie: Malaria is a disease caused by plasmodium parasites, which is acquired through bites of infected female anopheles mosquitoes.
Children and pregnant women have a high risk of suffering from malaria. Prevention of the disease involves eliminating the anopheles mosquitoes and giving preventive and curative treatment to those who are sick, so that they do not spread the germs.
Anopheles mosquitoes enter the house between 5 and 9:30 pm, and also during the early morning hours, when most people are sleeping. By keeping the windows and doors closed during this period, a person can prevent the entry of mosquitoes into the house.
Cutting nearby bushes and draining ponds and bottles, which have stagnant water in them can also prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
The most effective protection, however, is sleeping under an insecticide treated mosquito net. Indoor spraying may also be helpful, except that many of the mosquito sprays we have these days are no longer effective.
The parasites attack the red blood cells and feast on blood cell pigments, only for them (cells) to burst, releasing the parasite and debris which result in substances that lead to fever. While the body can clear this debris and the fever wanes, other cells can be attacked and when they burst, this leads to another bout of fever.
The period it takes to cause fever depends on the type of malaria parasite that has attacked a person.
The classic symptom of malaria, as a cyclical occurrence of sudden cold, followed by a shiver, fever and excessive sweating (called a paroxysm) is what led to the disease being named according to when the cyclic events re-occur. When it happens after every 48 hours or two days, it is called tertian fever. And when it occurs after every three days, it is known as quartan fever. Therefore, between these attacks, a child may play as if it is not sick.
The more severe and common form of malaria, caused by plasmodium falciparum is sometimes referred to as malignant tertian malaria.
Dear Doctor: How many times should a baby breastfeed every day?
Dear Nightangel: Many mothers wait for the baby to cry from hunger before they can breastfeed. This is wrong. Sometimes, the baby may take long to cry when it is hungry, or may cry for other reasons rather than hunger. It is important to start breastfeeding a newborn baby as soon as possible, to help boost early milk production.
Because newborn babies have smaller stomachs and breast milk digests easily, a baby may feel hungry more often than an adult. It is therefore recommended that during the first month of life, a newborn baby should breastfeed up to 12 times a day. After one month, this can be reduced to eight times a day, as the baby’s stomach grows bigger and is able to feed longer.
Frequent breastfeeding, at least every three hours helps to stimulate milk production and prevent unwanted pregnancies (natural family planning), if done exclusively for the first six months.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor