Daily Health Tips: How Can I Help My Fiancee? She Has SS Genotype And I have AA Genotype.

Q: Good day Doc. Dr I am dating an SS genotype girl and I am AA. I really love her and soon I’m gonna marry her, God willing. Please doc, any advice on my marriage and how I can handle her sickle cell crises, because, as of now, she has frequent headaches, confusions, and her voice is whiny and cracked…..PLEASE DOC HELP!
A: Well, affairs of the heart are generally not easy to delve into. And so, the decision about your marriage has to be taken by you. I can help out with the medical information though :)

With your fiancee’s SS genotype, she stands the risk of having sickle cell crises. What does this mean? Usually, your blood cells are round, flexible and pliable moving through vessels easily. People with sickle cell anaemia, however, have cells that are sickle shaped, rigid and sticky. These blood cells are now able to block the small blood vessels found in hands and feet (leading to swelling), eyes (leading to problems with vision), chest, joints and abdomen (leading to pain). These sickle cells also damage the spleen (an infection fighting organ) leading to frequent infections.

Pregnancy in a woman with sickle cell anaemia is classified as high risk because the stress of pregnancy increases the risk of crises, pregnancy-induced hypertension, miscarriage and having a pre-mature baby. She would need to be in a centre that has medical personnel who are experienced with care of pregnant women with sickle cell anaemia.

The babies born to both of you will be carriers of the trait, having the AS genotype. When these children want to get married, they have to ascertain the genotype of their partners as marrying someone else with the sickle cell trait (AS) potentially opens them up to the possibility of having a child with sickle cell anaemia. Genetic counseling will be required here.

What can you do to help your fiancee? Ensure that she takes her folic acid supplements regularly to ensure that her body is producing sufficient red blood cells. She has to eat lots of green leafy vegetables too. Make sure she avoids places that are too hot or too cold and that she drinks sufficient water. If she travels long distances, she should move her legs frequently. Lack of any of these will precipitate a crisis. Definitive cure is through bone marrow transplant.

Whenever she experiences any of the symptoms of confusion and headaches as described above, please take her in to see her doctor asap.

For more on sickle cell anaemia, please click on the links below:

http://chatwithdrketch.com/2013/06/29/love-is-blind-is-it/

http://chatwithdrketch.com/2014/06/24/daily-health-tips-my-fiancee-and-i-have-as-genotype-should-we-get-married/

Have a good night. Y’all :D

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Daily Health Tips: Can I Use Gripe Water For My Baby’s Tummy Ache?

Q: Good morning, Doctor. My wife is doing exclusive breast feeding but my daughter sucks intensively, an average of 14hrs everyday…she could suck from 12am to 4am sometimes, making it difficult for the mom to do any other thing.

1) Can we start introducing a little water so that I could help wife some nights?
2) Can we give her gripe water? Mother insists it helps babies to ease stomach upsets that is normal with babies.

A: Trust me…you’re not the only husband who wonders whether their new babies are on a mission to deplete their wives of their very lives given their frequency of sucking! When I had my last baby, I would jokingly say that I felt light-headed after breast feeding him…he sucked that much :D So, I know exactly what you’re talking about! And thank you so much for being a caring husband that feels for his wife and wants to lighten her burden. You’re a gem :)

When your baby is born, feeding should really be on demand and so that’s as often as they want :D The feeling you have that your baby feeds all the time is probably because breast milk is so easy to digest that it moves pretty easily through your baby’s digestive system and also be because your baby’s tummy is really tiny requiring only little food at once and then needing to feed more often. But the good news is that a good number of babies sleep through the first couple of days and frequent feeding helps boost your breast milk production. Unfortunately, your baby does not appear to be one of those sleeping through the first few days  For those parents who do have those babies that sleep through, please be sure that you never let them sleep more than 3 hours without waking them for a feed.

However, the good news is that as your baby grows older, his feeding pattern will become more established and she will generally feed every 2 to 3 hours. Sucking from 12am to 4am sounds almost like comfort sucking where the baby is on the breast but not sucking or swallowing and sometimes just playing with the nipple. In the early days, it may not be a bad idea to allow this as you bond with your baby but later on, you’ve got to make breast feeding time to be about ‘eating’ and find other means of comfort.

So, should you introduce water? No. The fore milk is made up of a significant quantity of water…so trust me, your baby is not thirsty. Then, it’s also important that your wife alternates between the two breasts during each feed and go for about 10 minutes on each side depending on how hungry your baby is. This ensures she’s getting the fore milk (mostly water) and the more calorie-dense hind milk.

For more on breast feeding, please click on the link below:

http://chatwithdrketch.com/2014/05/06/daily-health-tips-please-help-my-wifes-breast-milk-is-not-enough-for-our-baby/

And now to gripe water, honestly, the benefits are more in our imagination than in actual fact. The stomach aches that babies have (colic) can be very distressing for a parent to watch but perhaps understanding what it’s about may be helpful. Colics usually start occurring in some children between 3 to 6 weeks of age and disappear between the 3rd to 4th month of life, without any treatment. Some modifications may help reduce their severity:

• Be sure to burp baby after each feed
• Hold baby and gently rock her after a feed
• Hold your baby upright during her feed
• Check your diet: reduce caffeine-containing foods and sometimes, it may be the dairy in your diet that you baby is reacting to. Taking dairy off your diet for a week or two may lead to improvement in symptoms.
Remember to see your doctor where in doubt as to what is wrong with your baby, especially if you’re a newbie mum/dad :)

So, with or without gripe water, this colic shall pass :D

Have a great night, y’all :D

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Daily Health Tips: Stress And Other Matters Arising

Q: On stress: In response to how to strengthen the immune system, I mentioned that coping better with stress can help strengthen the immune system. I was asked how to cope better with stress.
A: Well, the first step is understanding your own stress and the things that constitute stressors in your life. Then, it’s important to objectively determine whether these are issues you have control over or not. Solve the ones you can and decide what to do about the ones you have no control over.
Build up your stress resistance by getting an annual check (the year is almost spent; how many people have gone for their annual checks this year?), create me time (take a vacation, visit the spa, create a home spa for yourself etc), learn to start no…you’re not super-human and pretending that you are, definitely adds to your stress.
Then exercise as this leads to the release of feel-good chemicals which help fight stress. Make a conscious effort to eat lots of fruits and vegetables (stress usually leads to bad diet choices and bad diet choices inevitably worsens stress).
Finally, don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh at yourself and remember the serenity prayer:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Q: On Ebola: Thanks for the information on the discharged medical doctor. My question is this: since she has been discharged does that mean the virus died? If no, can she transmit it to others?
A: If a patient is discharged from the Ebola isolation center, it means that the person’s blood has tested negative to Ebola (the test could be done to identify the virus, or antibody to it etc) and the person has been free of symptoms for at least 3 days. So, this patient is basically not able to infect other people. However, in men, there is still a danger of transmission through semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery. Thus, men who recover from this should either abstain from sexual intercourse for this period or use condoms.
Good night, y’all :D

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Daily Health Tips: More On Ebola

Q: Please Dr, has there been any cure for the Ebola disease?

A: Unfortunately not. Nothing has changed on that front. The experimental drug, Zmapp has shown promising signs given that the two Americans who had the drug administered appear to be doing well. However, this drug is not officially noted as a treatment for Ebola. Indeed the doses of this drug available are few and far between. It does give hope that perhaps we’re not too far from a cure/vaccine. Clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are due to start next month.

In the meantime, the only treatment for Ebola remains supportive treatment and this involves anticipating all probable problems and pre-empting them. So, these patients have their blood pressures and other vitals being checked and maintained frequently.

The good news is that with this supportive therapy, one of the doctors who initially tested positive for the virus has been discharged from the hospital and declared fit. That’s awesome!

Q: Please, how can we prevent Ebola in hospitals especially when taking vital signs like blood pressure and temperature?

A: Great question! Given the fact that hospital devices can get contaminated with germs, this is a valid question.

In the wake of Ebola, a lot of hospitals have invested in infra-red thermometers. As for blood pressure, disposable cuffs would be the way to go. The cuff is that part of the sphygmomanometer that is inflated when the blood pressure is being checked.

Have a great week ahead, people :D

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Loya Saturday Challenge: Stand A Chance To Win N2000 Airtime!

Loya Saturday Challenge

In our second episode of the week which featured on Wednesday 13th August (Silverbird TV) and on Friday 15th August (AIT), we gave tips on knowing your milk portions per day.

For a chance to win N2000 airtime, please answer the question below:
How much milk should children 1-2 years of age take daily and what kind of milk should they take?

The first person to answer correctly, will win our prize.

Terms and conditions:

Participants must be fans of this page. If you’re not a fan, like our page to qualify.

The first correct answer is the winner of the prize.

Only one answer per participant will be accepted.

If a participant provides more than one answer, the first answer will be used.

Edited answers will be disqualified.

This challenge lapses by 11.59 pm on Monday the 18th of August, 2014.

So, what are you waiting for?! Best of luck, guys!

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Daily Health Tips: Strengthening The Immune System And Treating Hormonal Imbalance.

Q: Good morning, Dr, please what type of food or drug can boost one’s immune system? Secondly, how can hormonal imbalance be treated? Remain Blessed.

A: The immune system is a collection of specialized cells, organs and substances that help protect us daily from germs and diseases. In people with compromised immune system, this function is lost such that germs that may not have ordinarily caused disease, are able to cause significant damage to the body. Reducing or coping better with our stress helps strengthen our immune system as does getting adequate amounts of sleep daily.
Fruits and vegetables, generally, are filled with anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients which are substances that help fight diseases. So, loading up on these is always a great idea. Cooking the veggies minimally, juicing them and eating them fresh helps ensure that you are getting the maximum benefits from them. Remember that your vegetables should be washed with food safe disinfectant or salt and rinsed before cutting. Fruits should also be thoroughly washed before eating. Water melon and grape fruits are particularly good in strengthening and activating the immune system. Spinach, fish, cabbage, sweet potatoes, almonds, broccoli, mushrooms, oysters, garlic and low fat yoghurt are also immune-boosting foods

A collection of tissues called the endocrine system is responsible for the production of hormones which control various functions in the body like metabolism, sexual reproduction, mood etc. Treatment is dependent on the cause. Excess weight can lead to high estrogen levels. So, exercise and weight loss can be beneficial here. High levels of thyroid hormones can be treated with drugs, radioactive iodine or surgery. The stress hormone, cortisol is produced when one is stressed and so treatment is focused on stress management techniques. So, the doctor has to investigate to find out the exact cause of the imbalance and then treat accordingly.
On Ebola: Remember that using a hand sanitizer is not a substitute for proper hand washing. It is a measure to be used on the move when hand washing cannot be immediately done. However, visibly dirty hands should be washed with soap and water.

Have a great weekend, people :)

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Daily Health Tips: More Questions On Ebola

Hello y’all :) I hope you’ve had a good day.

More questions on Ebola continue to come in and I’ll address them today.

Q: Please Doctor I am desperate to know if one can be infected with EBOLA VIRUS through dead body (CADAVER). Thanks.

A: Absolutely, people can get infected by being in contact with the dead body of someone who died of Ebola. Generally, when the term cadaver is used, it refers to dead bodies used in medical schools for dissection. Medical students would usually dissect dead bodies to study the anatomy of the human body. Now, the medical schools would follow strict protocols in procuring these bodies, knowing fully well the routes of transmission of Ebola.
For other people, please have no contact with dead bodies belonging to Ebola victims. As a result of this route o transmission of Ebola, the Federal Government of Nigeria has banned the transport of corpses between states except those that have special waivers.

Q: Dr, I want to know if the nurse in question has tested positive to Ebola or she was under quarantine for observation due to her contact with the late Liberian? This is because right now in Enugu people are panicking. Thanks.

A: There’s no need for panic in Enugu. The nurse in question was involved in the treatment of the index (first) case reported in Nigeria. All the people she had contact with (primary contacts) and those who had contact with her primary contacts (secondary contacts) are under surveillance. Anyone under these groups would have already been contacted and placed under surveillance. Indeed, the risk for these people is only significant if they had contact with her body fluids: blood, stool, urine, saliva. Good hand washing and hygienic practices while being vigilant to watch out for sick people is key. Don’t play doctor and report suspected cases to the Ebola alert lines of the Federal Ministry of Health: 08037879701, 08037154575 or send an email to ebolainfo@health.gov.ng We must not let this virus move beyond the locations it has reached now.
Q: Thanks Doc. How do we know who has Ebola when symptoms have not shown up? We can’t tell who has severe fever, headache and weakness just from appearance now. Please, can u shed more light on this?

A: You can’t tell who has Ebola if they don’t have symptoms. Indeed, you can’t be infected by the virus if the ‘suspected’ patient has no symptoms. The infected person can only infect other people when he/she starts manifesting the symptoms we had described before: Headache, fever, sore throat, intense weakness and muscle pain. Later, diarrhea, vomiting, kidney and liver failure and bleeding internally or externally. So stay away from sick or ill people and advice them to visit the hospital immediately. If they have had contact with Ebola patients, this becomes even more of an emergency.

Q: Is it advisable for one to stop business just because of Ebola? You can’t avoid body contact in the market? What of school children?
A: This is a very valid question. But the truth is that Ebola has definitely changed the way we do things…and this will probably have to keep evolving until we kick this bug. The catholic churches have suspended ‘offering each other the sign of peace’ which involved handshakes with people all around you. In the same way, I see people becoming more orderly as they try to reduce body contact with other people in the market and outside of the market.

Should you stop business? Well, unless you have some other means of settling your bills, this may not be feasible :) because even as Ebola rages, land lords are collecting rent, workers still need their salaries….and generally, life is moving on; just a bit differently. Create your new reality. Limit your contact with your customers and always have water nearby to wash your hands frequently.

With you and I doing the right things, we can break the chain of transmission. This is not the time to bury our heads in the sand (as we usually like to do). Anyone contacted by public health officials as a contact should please heed the quarantine or surveillance call and not put even more people at risk of this virus.

Have a good night, people :)

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