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DR GARETH: My fear of wasps and bees makes summertime hell.

Byline: DR GARETH SMITH

QI DREAD going out as the bees and wasps have come out and I am terrified. I don't want another summer ruined. What would you suggest?

AABOUT eight per cent of the adult population have a phobia of some sort, and they can be very disabling.

If your fear stops you enjoying the summer, then you should seek help.

Treatment involves something called systematic desensitisation.

Your therapist may ask you to begin by looking at a picture of a wasp and, over a few sessions, help you to work toward being close to one without being scared.

It works in almost all cases, and your GP will be able to refer you to a psychologist in your area who specialises in this kind of treatment.

QI DEVELOPED a severe pain in my left foot that left me unable to put any weight on it. It has spread to my knee which is now swollen and also my right heel. What could be causing this? A YOU may have arthritis. There are several causes of pain in joints, from osteoarthritis to deposits of crystals in the joints that cause conditions such as gout and pseudogout.

I would ask your doctor to refer you to a rheumatologist who will examine your joints with X-rays and they may take a sample of fluid from the swollen joint.

In the meantime, your GP can give you a blood test that can establish if you have arthritis.

QI WAS prescribed warfarin for blood clots in my leg. How long will I have to take them them for? A IF there is nothing else to complicate your case, the average length of treatment for deep venous thrombosis is three to six months on warfarin. You will need regular blood checks so discuss this with your GP.

QI HAVE two patches of hard skin on the sole of my foot that seem to be getting bigger. I am 72 and don't want to bother my doctor if it's just old age.

Can I buy something to treat it myself?

A IF they are distinct, circular patches you may have a verruca treatable with over--the-counter medication.

Hard skin can be treated by soaking feet in warm salty water and rubbing the area gently with a pumice stone. If this doesn't help, see your GP who may refer you to a podiatrist. QMY wife was recently diagnosed as having cyclothymic disorder and the doctor told her she may need medication. Can you tell me what the condition is and the kind of treatment she will get? ACYCLOTHYMIC disorder is best thought of as a mild form of manic depression. It means that your wife suffers from a mood disorder.

She may experience periods when she feels a little elated or depressed. Like manic depression, the treatment is usually with a mood stabiliser. However she may need additional medication such as an antidepressant if she is having a low spell.

Her condition should be monitored by a specialist who should be able to answer specific questions about the length of time she will need to be treated

QMY son has asthma. We have moved house and now have carpets instead of laminate floors. Will that make it worse

A HOUSE dust mites (a cause of asthma) are found in higher numbers in carpets. Some people find their asthma improves if they change carpets for rugs that can be beaten or if they have wooden floors
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 1, 2005
Words:579
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