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Byline: Dr Sarah Brewer

Dr Sarah Brewer is here to solve your problems in The Max. Sarah graduated from Cambridge University as a doctor in 1983. She was a full-time GP for five years and now works in hospital medicine.

She writes on all aspects of health, and has written more than 25 popular health books.

Sarah is married to Richard and has a four-year old son, Saxon, and baby twins, Roman and Sapphire.

Write to her, in confidence, with any problem your family need solved, at The Max, Daily Record, One Central Quay, Glasgow G3 8DA.

CHLAMYDIA are micro-scopic organisms.

Like a virus, those that infect humans can only reproduce inside one of our body cells, but like bacteria, they can be killed by certain antibiotics.

Some forms of chlamydia cause respiratory infections and conjunctivitis and have also been linked with heart disease. The most important chlamydial disease in the UK, however, is infection of the reproductive system, usually passed on during unprotected sex.

Chlamydia infection often produces no symptoms, but in males may produce a discharge from the penis, or discomfort on passing urine.

In females, it may produce a mucky vaginal discharge, but at least six out of 10 people infected don't notice any problems. If left untreated, chlamydia infection can spread to cause inflammation of the prostate gland or testicles in males, and in women can produce severe lower abdominal pain due to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

After a single attack of PID, around one in eight women will have difficulty conceiving naturally as a result - the risk increases with further attacks.

If you do get pregnant after PID, there is an increased risk that the fertilised egg will get stuck in a Fallopian tube on its way down to the womb. It then starts developing in the tube rather than in the womb to cause an ectopic pregnancy.

A baby can also pick up chlamydia during childbirth and develop a form of conjunctivitis which must be treated.

If you have been at risk of a sexually-transmissible disease, contact your local genito-urinary medicine clinic for a check-up.

If chlamydia infection is diagnosed, special antibiotics are needed and your partner should be treated, too. If you are at risk of a sexually-transmitted infection, always use condoms.

Q I SEEM to catch a cold too often. I am 50, a non-smoker and have mild asthma. Can you help?

A IT is possible you are experiencing rhinitis - inflammation of the nose due to an allergy to something to which you are regularly exposed. Symptoms include stuffiness, blocked-up nasal passages, increased secretions and sneezing. Your doctor should be able to help you sort out whether your symptoms are due to an allergy or recurrent infections. If it is recurrent colds, then an immune boosting remedy such as Echinacea or Siberian ginseng will help.

Q I RECENTLY had septicaemia after my appendix burst. What exactly does this mean?

A SEPTICAEMIA is the medical word for blood poisoning and is due to bacteria multiplying in the blood stream. This is a serious condition which can trigger low blood pressure, poor circulation, high fever and collapse - a condition known as septic shock.

Once suspected, urgent investigations and treatment with antibiotics and intensive care are essential to help you make a full recovery.

Q IS there anything to help my six-year-old daughter cope with her cat allergy?

A THE ideal answer is for cats to be found alternative homes. But it takes several months before the home is free of the allergens found in cat fur, shed skin, urine and saliva. Washing the cats once a week will help. If your daughter is using anti-asthma inhalers, ask your doctor for advice on using the sprays. Call the National Asthma Campaign helpline on 0345-010203, 9am-9pm Mon-Fri.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 14, 2001
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