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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.

ROSACEA is a common skin condition which affects about one per cent of the population.

Symptoms can occur in the teens, but most sufferers are fair-skinned females aged 30-50. Some estimates suggest as many as one in 10 middle-age women is affected.

Rosacea usually starts with temporary facial flushing after drinking alcohol, eating spicy food, consuming hot drinks or entering a warm room.

It can easily be mistaken for hot flushes occurring around the menopause.

If the condition is allowed to progress without treatment, the skin becomes permanently red and pustules start to appear.

In severe cases, there is a persistent eruption on the forehead and cheeks, with redness, puffiness and prominent blood vessels.

The eyes may be affected to cause conjunctivitis and inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis). In some people - especially older males - the skin on the nose becomes thickened and red with enlarged follicles. This leads to a bulbous swelling of the nose, known as rhinophyma.

The cause is unknown, but rosacea has been linked with infection of sebaceous glands with a skin mite, Demodex folliculorum.

It may also be linked with abnormal sensitivity of blood capillaries in the skin. It is made worse by exposure to the sun.

Topical application of antiseptic oregano oil or tea tree oil is helpful in many cases. Sometimes cutting out tea, chocolate, cheese, yeast extract, eggs, citrus fruits and wheat is beneficial.

Applying Aloe vera gel twice a day will help to reduce inflammation.

If you think you have rosacea, tell your doctor. Antibiotic drugs will help to suppress symptoms. In non-responsive cases, referral to a specialist for more powerful treatment is necessary.

Q MY four-year-old son's lips swelled up after eating a peanut butter sandwich. How long should I keep him from eating nuts?

A THE number of people with hypersensitivity to peanuts has doubled over the last 10 years and one child in 75 tests positive for a nut allergy. If you believe your son is at risk, it is important to seek medical advice so he can be referred to an NHS clinic for allergy testing. This will identify if your son is allergic to tree nuts such as walnuts or pistachios, for example. For further information, contact the British Allergy Foundation, Helpline: 0208 303 8583 or

Q WHY, when the rest of my body is warm, I often have a cold section on my right leg, between the knee and ankle?

A COLDNESS in parts of the body may be due to poor circulation or to problems with reduced sensitivity of a nerve, perhaps because it is being compressed. It is important to have this checked by a doctor in case you need further investigations to find out the cause. If all seems to be well, try massaging the area with a warming sports cream to see if this helps.

Q HOW can I stop my daughter biting her nails? They look quite red and sore.

A NAIL biting is a common way for children to relieve tension and most children grow out of the habit. If she wants to stop biting her nails, offer her a really good prize for each full-grown nail she achieves. Often biting is subconscious, so arrange a pre-agreed signal such as gently touching her on the shoulder when you notice her doing it. Bitter-tasting nail biting solutions (from chemist shops) are also worth a go.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 28, 2001
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