Help me to quit
QI have recently found out I am pregnant. I smoke about 10 cigarettes a day. I want to stop as I know it can affect the baby. What can I do to help me stop?
AWell done for bringing yourself to the point where you want to stop smoking, for this is the usually the hardest part.
The NHS has a very good stop smoking service and I would strongly recommend that you get yourself referred to that.
The details of your service will be available from your GP or pharmacist.
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Most services will allow you to self-refer.
Stopping smoking is never easy and it is important that you are prepared mentally for it.
It is a good idea to tell family and friends that you are stopping and then set a date when you want to stop.
As you are pregnant, nicotine replacement therapy is only recommended if you really feel unable to stop without it.
It is worth remembering that, while nicotine replacement in pregnancy is not ideal, the risks to your baby if you continue to smoke are far greater.
So, if you felt unable to do without I would recommend that you use some form of nicotine replacement therapy to prevent you from relapsing while also relieving the symptoms of your nicotine withdrawal.
The sooner you do this, the better for you and your baby.
QI have a lump in my eyelid. My doctor has told me that it is a meibomian cyst. I have now had it for two months. Is there anything I can do to get rid of it?
AA meibomian cyst is a very common condition of the eyelid.
The lump that you see and feel occurs as a result tiny ducts on the surface of the lid becoming blocked.
They usually occur on the upper eye lid and typically are 2mm to 8mm in diameter.
The cyst is not serious and usually will either resolve itself on its own or with some simple treatments.
Compression with a warm flannel for about 10 minutes three to four times a day is the mainstay of the treatment.
Massaging the cyst (downward toward the eye lashes) and cleaning the eyelid (moistened cotton bud) have also been shown to be beneficial.
The cyst can last up to six to eight months and it important to be aware of that.
If the cysts persists beyond that time or is large and affects your field of vision, your GP may decide to refer you to have it surgically removed.
It is worth remembering, however, that surgery is not definitive and the problem could still recur at a later date.
QMy four-year-old complains of an itchy bottom which he says is worse at night.
He has never had anything like this before.
I have an appointment with my GP, but that is not for another two weeks. I have had a look and there is nothing that I can see. Should I be worried and get him seen sooner?
AItching that is intense, worse at night and in the absence of any skin rash, is highly suggestive of threadworm infection.
Threadworms are common in children and are not serious. The threadworm gets its name from its appearance; a thin, white, cotton-like worm that is usually no bigger than 1cm.
They are sometimes visible in the stools but usually come out on to the anus in the night, hence the reason for the itchiness.
There is an adhesive tape test that you could do which basically involves you pressing some clear tape on to the anus area first thing in the morning, before washing and bathing, to see if it picks up any worms or eggs, but this is not always required.
As for treatment, all members of the family will need to be treated and for those older than six months this involves taking a single dose of a medication called Mebendazole.
Your GP may ask you to repeat the dose seven days later if it has not completely cleared.
This needs to be combined with strict personal hygiene measures which involve not only washing oneself but also all bed linen, towels and children's soft toys.
QI am 20 years old and am really struggling with my body odour.
I find that despite using lots of deodorant my armpits and forehead always seem to be sweaty.
This is no starting to affect my personal confidence. I am embarrassed to seek help. Please can you help?
AExcessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis as it is known medically, is a common but very disabling problem. I am sorry to hear of the impact this is having on you.
It is very important that you go and discuss this with your GP as there are many causes for excessive sweating and it is important that these are firstly excluded.
That said, it sounds very much like you are suffering from primary focal hyperhidrosis and this is where the sweating is symmetrically confined to the palms, soles of feet, armpits and face.
For this type of hyperhidrosis, you should try to avoid known food and drink triggers (caffeine products, spicy food, chocolate, spicy food, alcohol, food or drink containing citric acid).
Instead of a deodorant, I would advise you to use an antiperspirant, as this reduces the release of sweat rather than just masking the smell. You should also avoid wearing tight clothing or those made from man-made fibres such as Lycra and nylon.
There are also sweat shields that can be purchased for armpits that help absorb sweat and make it more manageable.
If the above does not work, your GP will usually recommend you try an antiperspirant that contains 20 per cent aluminium chloride hexahydrate.
If that also does not work there are other options, such as Iontophoresis, and it is worth exploring this treatment with your GP.