Why does my nose block when it is cold?

Dear Doctor: When it is cold, I develop a blocked nose that causes difficulty in breathing and headache. What could be the problem?

Dear James: Rhinitis is a condition that involves a runny nose, sneezing, and nasal stuffiness. Often times, these symptoms are caused by an allergic condition in which case there may be other symptoms including itchy eyes, a sore throat or even asthma. When the symptoms are not caused by allergies, the condition is called non-allergic rhinitis. In non-allergic rhinitis, blood vessels in the nose expand, filling the nasal lining with blood and fluid. This then leads to a runny nose, sneezing and stuffiness, and consequently difficulty in breathing through a narrow nasal passage.

There are several possible causes of this problem including changes in the weather. One usual complication of non-allergic rhinitis is an inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis), whose symptoms include headache which, sometimes is confused with migraine headache.
Falling barometric pressure, a sharp increase in humidity or a sudden drop in temperature may also trigger migraine headaches in people already susceptible to the condition.

Doctors, especially those who specialise in treating ear, nose and throat conditions can aise you on what to do. In the meantime, avoid smoking or undue exposure to chilly conditions. Steam yourself or use over-the-counter anti-histamine nasal drops or tablets. But if they do not help, please visit a doctor.

Dear Doctor: Why do I develop stomach pain whenever I eat cold food? Is it also true that cold food causes diarrhoea?
James Katwiremu

Dear James: Stomach ache could be a reminder that cold food is more likely than the warm one to carry germs and cause intestinal or other infections, apart from carrying toxic germ substances (food poisoning). Food which has germs and toxic substances may cause diarrhoea with or without vomiting and abdominal pain. Eating warm and fresh cooked food is recommended to avoid food poisoning. Poorly stored food, even after it has been heated before eating may contain germ toxic substances that lead to abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhoea.

Dear Doctor: I had sex a week ago, and fear I could be pregnant. However, I conducted a pregnancy test, which turned out to be negative. Could this be possible? I am scared.
Dear Amina: The common tests conducted for pregnancy look for human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG) in urine. If a woman undertakes this test in the early days of the pregnancy, even with a sensitive test, the amount of hCG in the urine may not be high enough to be detected. Getting a false negative (test that says one is not pregnant and yet they are)an be stressful. Most strip urine pregnancy tests will give accurate results if it is carried out at the time when a woman is due to get her periods (about two weeks after ovulation).

A test may be negative for several reasons including the fact that a woman is not pregnant. Also, a woman may have ovulated later than she thinks and even when she is pregnant, not enough hCG will have been made to be able to detect pregnancy. Some women’s urine may still test negative for pregnancy at the time of a missed period, requiring them to repeat the test within a week. Substituting such a test for an ultrasound scan may not be helpful because then scans will not detect pregnancy at this time.

A gestational sac, which houses the unborn baby, first appears at about four weeks of pregnancy (two weeks after a missed period), and is the earliest ultrasound finding in pregnancy. A blood test can also detect hCG. Blood tests are more sensitive than urine tests and can detect pregnancy from about six to eight days after ovulation. However, doctors do not routinely do blood tests.

Dear Doctor: My six-month-old baby has diarrhoea. Could it be a sign that I am pregnant?
Jannete Kaliisa

Dear Jannete: It is wrongly believed that pregnancy makes a breastfeeding baby sick because of poisons released in the milk. Breastfeeding exclusively for six months is an effective method of contraception undertaken in many communities. When a baby is weaned or other feeds are added to breast milk, the effectiveness of the contraception is lost, and many women then become pregnant. Weaning or introduction of other feeds, in many cases is associated with diarrhoea due to unhygienic methods of preparing and giving such foods to babies. Also, the babies may get diarrhoea because their guts are not used to the foods.Because of this coincidence, many associate pregnancy with diarrhoea in infants.

In Asia, many women breastfeed throughout pregnancy, ending up breastfeeding two babies who are not twins in what is called tandem nursing. Unless a woman has recurrent miscarriages and is aised by an antenatal care provider against breastfeeding during pregnancy, the practice is largely harmless. When a baby is six months old, they start to develop teeth. Some people attribute a wide range of symptoms of teething, such as diarrhoea and fever. However, there is no research to prove such a link.

Your child needs to be properly hydrated using prepared salts, or by mixing salt with sugar to make a solution. If diarrhoea continues, take the infant for medical check-up and treatment. If you are still breastfeeding, please continue to do so. Many mothers stop breastfeeding when their babies develop diarrhoea, fearing the milk, which is associated with pregnancy, may worsen the condition.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor