Q: My work is offering staff free flu vaccinations. I’m 25, fit, healthy
and have never had flu before, so is there any point in me having the jab? Emma,
A: There’s always a purpose in having a vaccination that protects you
from illnesses that can be inconvenient at best, and potentially
life-threatening at worst.
Seasonal flu isn’t usually dangerous for people who are fit and healthy, but
for those who are more vulnerable to illness, such as the elderly, or those
with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease or chronic
bronchitis, it can have serious consequences. These people get seasonal flu
vaccines as a priority, but when stocks allow, it makes sense for anybody
wishing to avoid winter flu to have the jab, and many private companies
offer this service.
The vaccine is very safe and cannot give you flu as some people think, because
it contains no live virus. It can sometimes cause slight tenderness around
the area of the arm that it’s injected into, but otherwise side effects are
rare. However, it’s not usually given to people who are allergic to eggs, as
the vaccine is developed on chicken egg membrane.
My six-year-old son has recently started waking up in the night,
crying and saying his legs hurt. I usually just give his legs a rub, and a
dose of Calpol if he’s particularly distressed. He’s always better in the
morning. I assumed it was just growing pains, but it’s happening more
frequently – could it be something serious? Leanne, 35
A: Growing pains occur in children because the growth of the tendon
struggles to keep up with the growth of the bones. But this normally happens
at puberty (at around 14 for boys). Therefore I don’t think your son’s leg
pains should be ignored.
It could be something as simple as him being anxious in the dark, having bad
dreams or even an excuse to get your attention. If he’s in real pain then
take him to your doctor for a check-up so he can rule out anything more
Help! I’ve…broken my tooth
If your tooth has come out completely, try to put it back in its socket in
your mouth. If the tooth is dirty, rinse it in milk first – don’t put it in
antiseptic or disinfectant. Keep it in place by biting down on a piece of
cloth and go to your dentist.
If you can’t put the tooth back in, or if you have chipped off a part of it,
keep it safe in a container and cover with saliva or milk. Go straight to
Depending on where the tooth has broken you may need root canal treatment to
remove any damaged blood vessels and nerves or your dentist may be able to
rebuild it with a tooth-coloured filling.
ASPIRIN OR A&E
Symptom: Stomach bloating.
You think it’s: Ovarian cancer.
Don’t panic: Stomach bloating that comes and goes is usually the
result of irritable bowel syndrome, trapped wind or food intolerance. Try
eating more fibre and getting more exercise to combat it.
Hit the hospital: With ovarian cancer, bloating is persistent and
progressive. If it coincides with symptoms such as back pain, irregular
periods, needing to urinate more frequently, or pain during sex, get your
doctor to refer you to the hospital for tests.
Email your health questions to email@example.com
COMPLIED BY: JO UPCRAFT, SARAH-JANE CORFIELD-SMITH,
PHOTOGRAPHY: REX DO NOT TAKE ASPIRIN IF YOU’RE UNDER 16