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Dr Dreena Kelly nursed children in Africa before becoming a doctor while caring for her invalid sister and bringing up her son on her own. Named as Woman Of The '90s last year, Dreena, 38, answers all your medical queries.

Q I HAD to cancel my summer holiday this year because I had a heart attack and the doctor said I wasn't fit to fly. When will I be able to travel by plane again?

A AFTER a relatively small and uncomplicated heart attack, a person would normally be fit to fly after about two weeks. But if your heart attack was major, and you're still having chest pains, angina or shortness of breath when walking, then it may take longer.

There is a slight drop in oxygen levels in the passenger cabin, so any medical conditions associated with reduced oxygenation to tissues, such as a heart attack or stroke, could be made worse. Recent abdominal surgery, severe lung conditions and ear problems should also be considered as possible reasons not to fly.

Q MY gums have been inflamed and sore for more than a week now. Would gargling cure the problem or do I need antibiotics?

A IT sounds as though you have gingivitis - an inflammation of the gums which is a major cause of tooth loss. Consult your dentist without delay. He will be able to make a definite diagnosis, and give you immediate treatment.

Q MY son has a cough that sounds like a dog barking. I've been told he might have croup. Can you tell me what this is?

A DOCTORS use the term croup to describe a group of breathing difficulties in children characterised by a dry, barking cough, hoarseness and inspiratory stridor, which is a harsh noise on breathing in, indicating partial blockage of the airway.

Viral infections often produce localised swelling in the larynx and trachea, restricting airflow in and out of the lungs. Inhaling pulls the inflamed sides together causing temporary restriction of airflow and the characteristic stridor.

It typically follows a day or two of cold-like symptoms and fever. It normally requires no treatment, and most children make an uneventful recovery.

Q I WAS taking steroid therapy and had to carry a card, in case I was ever treated by another doctor or a hospital. The treatment has finished, so why have I been told to go on carrying it?

A If you have taken steroids by mouth for longer than a month, you have to carry a card giving details, in case you have an accident or sudden illness. This lets any doctor make allowances for your treatment. But the effects of the drug last after the course has stopped, so for the same reasons, you should carry the card until your doctor tells you to stop.


Jan De Vries is the country's foremost name in alternative medicine. The naturopath and author trained as a pharmacist before qualifying as a homeopath and herbalist. He guides you through the full range of homeopathic treatments.

Q I TAKE several painkillers for arthritis, but they upset my system. I take Adizem Capsules and Sotarol tablets, since I had a heart bypass operation several years ago. Could you recommend an alternative? I am 71 years old.

A I SUGGEST you take a sodium-free Glucosamine preparation at a dose of one capsule, twice a day. You should also avoid acidic foods such as rhubarb, tomatoes, vinegar, red meat and port.

Q I HAVE been troubled with Non-Specific Urethritis for four months and there seems to be no sign of it ever going away, despite two courses of antibiotics. Abstaining from intercourse for three weeks didn't even help. Can you suggest anything?

A THE preparation Co Enzyme Q10 at a dose of one tablet, twice a day, should help. I suggest that you also take the preparation Molkosan, which you could use as a mouthwash. Both the medicines should be available from your local health food shop, but if you have any difficulty in obtaining them, let me and I will send them out to you.

Q I AM in the early/mid stages of the menopause (I'm 47) and I am not taking HRT. To combat the hot flushes, mood swings, etc, I have been taking one of each of the following tablets every day: Selenium Ace, Vitamine E200iu, Zinc (15mg), Oil of Primrose (1000mg). Can you let me know if there is any one particular tablet I could take that has all the above in it?

A THERE is a very good natural alternative to HRT from Enzymatic Therapy called Phytogen, and I would suggest that you start off on this at a dose of one capsule, twice a day. Further free information on this produce can be obtained from HHC, FREEPOST, Hadley Wood, Barnert, Herts, England.

Q I AM a 71-year-old woman and I have a terrible burning pain in my eyes. I went to the optician, but she couldn't find anything wrong. What can I do to ease the burning and the pain?

A I WOULD suggest that you start taking two preparations which should be available from your local health food shop. Firstly, Arterioforce at a dose of two capsules, twice a day, and along with this Harpagophytum (Devils Claw) at 15 drops, twice a day, after meals.

Q I AM a 50-year-old man and I have been sufferig from tinnitus for the last 18 months. I have significant hearing loss in my right ear, but I am trying to hold down a job in a noisy factory. I have tried hypotherapy and reflexology without any success. Can you suggest anything?

A I WOULD advise you to start off on the preparation Ginkgo Biloba at a dose of 15 drops, twice a day, before meals. Along with this, take one tablet of Hexaniacin, twice a day, before meals, and one last thing at night. Please let me know if you have any difficulty obtaining them.

Q I AM a 76-year-old pensioner and I have been told that I have several worn discs in my back. My doctor prescribed Co-Codamol, but the tablets don't relieve pain entirely. Can you recommend an alternative?

A TAKE the preparation Alchemilla Complex at a dose of 15 drops, three times a day, before meals. It should be available from your local health food shop.

Q MY GP thinks I may have an underactive thyroid gland, which he is looking into. If this turns out to be the case, is there any herbal remedy you could recommend?

A IF indeed you have an underactive thyroid gland, I would suggest that you take the preparation Nasturtium at a dose of 15 drops, three times a day.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Kelly, Dreena; Vries, Jan De
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 23, 1998
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