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Your Health Q&A

Your Health Q&A

Issue 57 June 2009

Q. My daughter seems to have chapped lips almost all the time. What causes chapped lips? Is there anything I can do to prevent or treat it?

Many individuals suffer from chapped lips from time to time, which can be caused by:
• Dehydration
• Exposure to harsh weather conditions, such as the wind,sun, or cold, dry air
• Breathing with an open mouth (when suffering from a blocked nose)
• Licking your lips
• Contact with irritants or allergens in products


 Here are some tips on how to prevent and treat chapped lips:
•  Protect your lips: Use an oil-based lubricating cream or lip balm.
• Preparation: Apply lip cream or balm that contains sunscreen   prior to going out in the sun.
•  Avoid licking your lips: Saliva evaporates quickly. This leaves   lips drier than before you moistened them with your saliva.
•  Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids, and moisten the air in   your home/work with a humidifier.


Q. I have recently had a baby and am trying to lose the extra weight I have gained.  I have joined a gym and would like to start eating a healthy diet.  Do you have any simple advice for my hectic lifestyle?

The main method to lose weight is to maintain a balance between your calorie intake and calorie expenditure.  Your recommended daily calorie allowance depends on your age, sex, height, weight and physical activity. Incorporate fruit, vegetables and whole grains into your diet.  It is important to keep portions moderate and make sure you drink enough water.  Our bodies often confuse thirst for hunger, so try drinking a glass of water first.
Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is good as it gives your body time to work those calories off.  Try to eat small and healthy meals throughout the day, rather than three large meals. This can help keep your energy levels up and help you to avoid unhealthy snacks.  Keep your intake of sugar to a minimum. It is added to many different types of food so it is important to be aware of the content of your meals and drinks.  Whilst trying to lose weight ensure that you take new goals on one at a time and that you have realistic expectations. 

Q. I have seen various posters about Malaria in my GP surgery.  How can I avoid mosquito bites, or reduce the number of bites?

Malaria is a serious infection caused by a parasite that lives in mosquitoes. This parasite is passed to humans from a mosquito bite. The type of parasite varies between different parts of the world therefore the medication will vary depending on the country you visit.
General advice:

• Mosquitoes are most active at dusk and in the evening, so make sure you apply insect repellent to exposed parts of the skin.
•  Light colours are better as they are less attractive to mosquitoes.
• If you sleep outdoors or in an unscreened room, use mosquito   nets impregnated with an insecticide. Ensure the net is long enough to fall to the floor all round your bed. It is important to check mosquito nets regularly for holes.
• Spray the bedroom with insecticide just before evening. This kills mosquitoes that may have come into the room during the day.

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