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Achy-breaky: I am getting headaches almost every day. I take ibuprofen, but it seems like they get worse. Why?

Believe it or not, some medicines for headaches can actually cause them. This is called rebound headache, and it's common. Over-the-counter meds, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil), help in the short term, explains Dr. Mark Green, director, Columbia University Headache Center, Columbia-Presbyterian Eastside, New York. But they can make matters worse if taken more than once or twice a week. Caffeine, sleep deprivation and stress also cause dull, thudding brain pain. The best way to rid headaches for good is to ditch the drugs and make a few lifestyle changes. Dr. Green suggests going to bed and waking up at a set time daily: "People with headaches find that they're worse when they sleep late." Carry snacks with you because hunger can trigger the problem. And exercise regularly to release endorphins, your body's natural painkillers. If nothing works, a doc can prescribe medicine in safe doses.

I have a cold sore on my lip that keeps coming back. What can I do about it?

Ouch. That nasty, festering splotch returns because it's caused by a virus called herpes simplex type 1. Like most viruses, it never goes away--once you have it, it can attack throughout your lifetime. Sounds scary, but it's not--one in four people gets cold sores, also called fever blisters. Herpes simplex type 2 causes a sexually transmitted disease that shows up "down there." That's not what you have. Type 1 is highly contagious, and girls can get it from sharing drinks or towels. Since a sore can stick around for 10 whole days, Dr. Jim Mitterando, South Shore Hospital, Weymouth, Mass., told us some ways to make it more tolerable: 1) Take Tylenol or Advil for pain, 2) put ice on the sore, 3) don't pick it under any circumstances, or 4) see your doctor for Zovirax, which can shorten the outbreak. There's no way to avoid cold sores since stress, your period and sunlight trigger them. But, as you get older, they'll assail you less often.

Whenever something really stressful happens, I feel like I am going to throw up. How can I make this go away?

Nausea is a natural response to stress. When under pressure due to an oral report, family issues, friendship strife or whatever, your body secretes hormones into your bloodstream, raising your heart rate, dilating your pupils and, well, making you wanna hurl like Kenny on South Park. Dr. Andrew Spooner, director of pediatrics, University of Tennessee Medical Group, Memphis, recommends relaxation techniques: Breathe deeply, holding your hand on your chest to make sure it doesn't rise. "Your belly will stick out if you're doing it right," says Dr. Spooner. Breathe, and tell yourself, "I'll be fine; I can handle this." Next, imagine a serene scene, like lying on the beach. Aaahhh ... If your anxiety is interfering with your life, see your doctor. Some medications might help.
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Title Annotation:Body: Q&A
Author:Kemp, Kristen
Publication:Girls' Life
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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