Q: In the past 18 months I’ve been suffering from really dry eyes – I can’t
even cry any more. I’ve tried eye drops, which help for a little while, but
my eyes soon dry out again. What’s wrong with me? Joanna, 29
A: It sounds as if you have a condition called dry eye syndrome, also
known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. The glands around our eyes secrete a
watery substance that makes tears. But in people with dry eye syndrome, the
glands produce less fluid, making the eyes feel dry and itchy and, in severe
cases, cause blurred vision. The glands can stop making tears for various
reasons such as hormone changes, certain medications or if you’ve been
Your doctor can carry out the Schirmer’s test to measure how many tears you
are producing. This involves placing little strips of paper into both eyes
for a few minutes.
But don’t worry, in most cases dry eyes can be treated easily by bathing the
eyes with artificial tears, which you can buy from the chemist. Keeping the
surface of your eyes moistened by regularly applying these drops means there
should be no long-term effects.
Q: I had a Caesarean a year ago and was told at the time that the area
around the scar would stay numb at first but I should regain feeling after a
while. A year on I still haven’t got any feeling back. Should I be worried?
A: It can take the tiny nerves that have been cut during a Caesarean
six to nine months to join up again and for you to regain the ability to
feel. However, if the cut ends were too far apart when the wound was
stitched up, sometimes the nerve endings don’t line up again. Unfortunately,
this means the area will remain numb to the touch.
This is a common side effect of surgery so don’t panic that something’s gone
seriously wrong. It usually only affects a small area and you get used to
the loss of sensation. The good thing in your case is that feeling elsewhere
is not affected, so it’s nothing to worry about.
Help! My child has a temperature
Use a thermometer to get an accurate reading of your child’s temperature. A
normal range is between 36–36.8ºC, but minor infections can raise it up to
38ºC. If it goes above 39ºC, or is over 38ºC for more than three days, call
A fever will make a child sweat and become dehydrated, so give them lots of
fluids. Don’t worry if they have no appetite for a day or so. A
paracetamol-based medicine such as Calpol can lower a temperature.
However, if your child has other symptoms such as a rash, stiff neck or
continuous vomiting, call your GP immediately as it may be an indication of
something more serious.
Aspirin or A&E
Symptom: Blood in your stools
You think it’s: Bowel cancer.
Don’t panic: Bright red blood in the stools is usually caused by
piles – swollen veins in the rectum that can occur due to pregnancy,
constipation or being overweight. Mild symptoms can be treated by eating
more fibre and drinking plenty of water but, if necessary, the piles can be
Head to A&E: If the blood is dark red, this could be a sign of
bowel cancer, so see your GP. Bowel cancer is common – one in 20 people in
the UK develop it – and is curable if it’s caught early.
Compiled by: Jo Upcraft, Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith Photography: Alamy do not
take aspirin if you’re under 16