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Maybe it's the fast-approaching Wimbledon fortnight that is making people flock to join tennis clubs.

Or perhaps it's the Euro 96 football tournament and the coming Olympics which are responsible for stirring up a bit of sporting interest.

Whatever the reason, the good news is that young people seem to be getting the message about exercise!

They have been turning to sports in their thousands and the numbers in gyms and sports clubs are growing all the time.

That's great because there's a lot of evidence that if you exercise hard when you are young you may avoid or at least postpone heart attacks and strokes when you get older.

But there is a downside. For example, do you know how to deal with sports injuries? Do you know which sports are right for you (for example, for your particular build)?

And do you know how to train to get the best from your exercise and to keep yourself fit?

If you hate sport, these questions still apply to you - because you still have to exercise your body to keep it reasonably fit. You can turn over on an ankle stepping off a pavement or injure yourself running for a bus.

The first rule of sport is always to take time to warm up first.

Watch the stretching exercises footballers and athletes do just before a game or a race. They need to do them - and they are already super- fit! So it's much more important for you to do them.

Funnily enough, the next rule is a warm-down.

Don't flop as soon as you have finished a run or a game of football.

And definitely don't flop to the ground at half time - you may find that your muscles have become so stiff that you can't start running again.

The third rule is not to carry on if you start feeling pain. You can't "run through" a pulled muscle - it will just get worse.

The cure for any pulled muscle is the RICE rule - that stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

The commonest injury in most sports is to turn over on your ankle. It swells up like a balloon and is very painful and very tender.

RICE is simple to apply. You lie down (Rest), get someone to pack the injury round with crushed ice from the fridge (Ice), preferably with a thin towel underneath so the ice is not in direct contact with the skin.

That is then firmly wrapped round in a bandage (Compression) from foot to mid calf, and the leg is raised above heart level (Elevation).

The rest phase after injury should last 24-48 hours, depending on its severity - and then you start to exercise again. Once the bruising is away, you need to use, rather than rest, the damaged tissues.

The next rule in sport is to know what to do if anyone has had a knock on the head.

If they have been knocked out, even for the shortest time, they must not be allowed to continue.

They should be seen by a doctor, who will examine their nervous system and organise care.

Anyone who has had a head knock and then develops blurred vision, is dizzy, vomits or has a headache, should see a doctor immediately.

Most of all, in any sporting activity, make sure there's a first aid kit... and it would be helpful if you knew how to use it!

Polio may become extinct by the year 2000, after a worldwide campaign of immunisation. But there are still holiday destinations where polio is found. So, if you intend travelling to them, make sure you are protected. A few years ago, there were dozens of cases in a Dutch community whose religious beliefs did not allow them to immunise their kids.

Restless legs, in which unpleasant sensations force people to move them all the time, have been linked with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. There is no link with depression or anxiety. American experts suggest treatment with drugs used in epilepsy or Parkinson's disease to settle the nerve irritability which may be the cause.


Q My mother had a spinal disc removed 12 years ago. Since then she has had bouts of excruciating pain, needing hospital care. She has lost the feeling in one side of her foot and she limps. A scan shows the disc beneath is prolapsed. Will her foot trouble be permanent? And can the pain be prevented?

A It looks as if a nerve has been damaged at its exit from the spine, presumably because of the disc disease. The new prolapse may be causing the pain - and your doctor may consider referring her for another operation to deal with that. Even this is unlikely to reverse the changes in her foot, so she may have to live with the numbness and the limp.

Q I have had high blood pressure for years and have had two heart attacks. How often should my blood pressure be checked?

A most practices check the blood pressure in people like you once a month and, if it starts to rise, the drugs are changed accordingly and the pressure taken more often.

Q How can my husband stop sweating when we go for a sunshine holiday? He sweats easily and is embarrassed by it.

A He shouldn't try. Our bodies need to sweat to control temperature. He should simply stay in the shade, keep in the breeze, wear loose and lightweight cotton clothes, use an under-arm deodorant and drink plenty of watery fluids.

Q I have a small area that feels "jaggy" on the left lower side of my back when I put on my clothes, wear trousers or have a shower.

A Likeliest cause is an irritated nerve, possibly from a minor spinal problem. But it could be an old shingles irritation, or even something like a splinter just under the skin.

Q My daughter is at the end of her tether over her children's headlice. Lyclear and Prioderm have not worked. Can you recommend anything else?

A They must be getting re-infected by someone close to them, who has not been treated. Lyclear and Prioderm used properly will get rid of all headlice. But the children will be infected again if they stay in contact with the source.
COPYRIGHT 1996 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Smith, Tom
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 16, 1996
Next Article:Queen Ella is dead.

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