Ask the Doctor

Dear, my girlfriend is extremely wary of taking morning-after pills. She says most women who have taken them have either become infertile or produced children with abnormalities. I recently bought a morning-after pill and read instructions on it and it seems one is not allowed to used more than once in one menstrual cycle.

Dear Doctor,

My girlfriend is extremely wary of taking morning-after pills. She says most women who have taken them have either become infertile or produced children with abnormalities. I recently bought a morning-after pill and read instructions on it and it seems one is not allowed to used more than once in one menstrual cycle.

Is there one most important golden rule to be respected if one decides to use morning-after pills as an emergency contraceptive method? -- Ebenezer

Dear Ebenezer, 

The morning-after pill is a means for emergency contraception after unprotected sex. Ideally it should be taken just after such an act but at the most within 72 hours. They contain high doses of hormones in various combinations. They can interrupt the menstrual cycle and hence ovulation and fertility. But effect is transient. 

The fertility shall return to normal in next cycle. Besides that it can cause nausea, vomiting, giddiness as side effects. They should be taken only when one is sure of not being pregnant. But birth defects do not occur as after effect. It is always better to use planned contraception before intercourse. That way, one is sure of being safe. Morning-after pill is as such very safe but the few side effects it has may be multiplied when one takes them frequently. 

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Dear Doctor,

I work an 8pm to 7pm job. I eat healthy but no longer have time for gym as juggling work and family is quite a handful for me. I have started putting on weight which I guess is because I sit behind my computer for all those hours. Are there any simple ways I can keep healthy and exercise without necessarily going to the gym? -- Batamuliza

Dear Batamuliza, 

You are facing the same problem as majority of desk workers globally. By sitting for long hours, one tends to put on weight, particularly over hips, thighs and stomach. But this can be avoided. You need not go to the gym. Avoid eating foods high in calories like deep-fried substances and other junk foods. Try to walk some distance whenever you find time. Even during office hours, move around for 10 to 15 minutes. This shall definitely help you.

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Dear Doctor,

Is it true that heavy wallets in our back pockets are harming our backs? I heard that when I sit with a heavy wallet in my back pocket for a long time I could be hurting my back. A few days ago, my back was hurting and I heard friends say one has to stop the habit in order to keep a healthy sitting position. I stopped the habit and I now feel better. Could there have really been a connection between my back pocket wallet and backache? -- Jado

Dear Jado,

Sitting in any other posture than a straight supported back for long time puts strain on back muscles leading to backache. A heavy wallet or any such object held behind prevents such a straight posture and can result in backache. Always try to sit with the back straight and well supported from behind. 

Avoid chairs with fancy and thick cushions behind as the alignment of back does not remain in good proportion with this. Also avoid bending from back. With just these small precautions you shall be fine.

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Dear Doctor,

Whenever my daughter catches a fever and needs first aid, my mother and I always argue on whether to use a warm or cold wet cloth to cool her temperature. We both have different ideas on what’s the right thing to do. So is it better to use the warm or cold wet cloth? -- Bishumba

Dear Bishumba, 

Fever is the body’s defence mechanism to indicate that there is infection needing to be removed. Hence nothing much needs to be done. However, high fever can be dangerous for body. More so in case of children. Hence it is good to do tepid sponging. This involves compression by using towel or cloth soaked in water slightly cool (in warm weather) or at room temperature. Forehead, hands and or wrists can be used for it. However, in high temperatures (more than 40 degrees Celsius), one can put a cold cloth over entire body for few minutes. The sponging is done until the temperature is reduced.

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Dear Doctor,

I am considering buying dogs and cats to stay with at home because my children love them. Does living with pets provide certain health benefits? What about possible health hazards as well? -- Gisele

Dear Gisele, 

Having pets at home is a good idea. Children enjoy them and also learn to share and care with pets at home. One theory states that by keeping pets and being exposed to them from a young age helps to build the immunity of an individual. Regarding health hazards, there is risk of acquiring infectious microbes from pets. Teaching the kids to maintain good hygiene, i.e. good hand washing after handling the pet and keeping mouth far from their bodies, can minimize this.

The only risk remains is allergy to the fur of cats and dogs manifesting as recurrent cold, asthma or skin rashes. But someone with such allergy can still maintain pets. Avoid keeping them indoors or allowing them to be on beds and the sofa  where there is risk of their hair falling and getting stuck, thus exposing one to close contact with hair.

 

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