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Health Capsule

1. Are onions and garlic good for health?

Ans: Garlic is known to lower blood sugar levels and raise the level of `good` cholesterol, thins blood, lowers blood pressure and keeps heart diseases at bay. Certain chemical substances in onions slow down the formation of blood clots. The bulbs of both onion and garlic are known to inhibit tumor growth.

2. When should babies begin to use a toothbrush?

Ans : As soon as teeth appear. Brushing can begin after the first four incisors appear, but you need not use toothpaste. A very soft brush should be used.

3. I have a bad habit. Even though I am eight years old I still like to suck my thumb. Is sucking the thumb harmful?

Ans : Sucking is a natural reflex amongst infants and children, but sucking thumbs and using pacifiers can cause problems to your teeth. The alignment of your teeth may be spoilt.

4. What do I do for my irritating sore throat?

Ans : Warm water or salt water gargling helps in increasing the blood flow to the palate. The action of gargling helps to remove dead tissue, clean away pus or mucous, stimulates saliva production and lubricates and soothes the soreness.

5. Why do I sweat so much?

Ans : Sweating is nature`s way of regulating our body temperature. It reduces our body temperature because heat leaves the body when sweat evaporates. We sweat more when it is hot than when it is cold.

6. Why do I get sunburned so easily?

Ans : Melanin is a substance in our skin which protects us from the Sun`s harmful rays. When the sun is very hot, our body produces more melanin to block out the sun`s harmful rays and makes the skin dark or tanned. But if your skin does not have enough melanin, it will get sunburned and turn red and this will hurt.

7. I feel tired all the time. How can I increase my energy levels?

Ans : Try exercising. Its an effective way to increase energy levels. You don`t need to enroll in a gym for that. A brisk walk, a game which you enjoy or even playing hard with your friends should perk you up. Another way to feel more energetic is to think positive.

8. How much sleep is enough for me?

Ans : Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep, though it may vary a little from person to person. Young children need more sleep. Teenagers may sleep between 9-10 hours a day while a baby may sleep up to 18hours a day. Old people generally sleep only 4-5 hours a day.

9. How do I stop hiccups?

Ans : No one really knows what can cure hiccups. But a few things are sometimes known to work. A) Try holding your breath for as long as you can. B) Drink a glassful of water at one go. There is no real foolproof method, but hiccups generally go away by themselves after a while.

10. What do you mean by `lazy` eye?

Ans : `Lazy` eye is known as Amblyopia. It happens because of decreased vision in an eye that did not develop normal sight during early childhood. It can be corrected only if treated early in childhood.

11. Can the use of sunglasses prevent cataract formation?

Ans : There is some evidence that cataracts can be prevented in elderly persons if ultraviolet light - which is a part of sunlight- is avoided. So a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses or umbrellas should be worn when out in the sun.

12. What is Bruxism?

Ans : Bruxism is the act of involuntarily grinding the teeth, either while awake or asleep. Sometimes this can lead to neck pain or damaged jaws and teeth even. It is believed to result of stress.

13. Are cola drinks harmful for the teeth?

Ans : Cola drinks contain phosphoric acid that can eat into the teeth.

14. My palms sweat a lot. Is there any remedy for this?

Ans : Sweaty palms may be an inherited condition. The only remedy may be surgery which involves cutting the sympathetic nerve to the hand ! This is a rather drastic measure and should be avoided at all costs.

15. Does washing our hands with soap really kill the germs?

Ans : Ordinary soap does not kill germs but it helps to dislodge them from the hands. Care should be taken to keep the bar of soap dry. Soap that is soggy can itself be a breeding ground for bacteria.

16. Why doesn`t the doctor use his thumb while feeling a person`s pulse?

Ans : The radial artery of the wrist just below the thumb is the most common place to feel a pulse beat with fingers. The index finger is placed over the spot and not the thumb because the thumb has a pulse of its own and it would lead to confusion.

17. I like to drink boiling hot liquids, especially things like tea and coffee. Is it harmful?

Ans : Drinking very hot beverages could cause scalding. Apart from that drinking boiling hot tea can cause ulcers. In fact it has been declared a cause of esophageal cancer in Japan.

18. Can diabetes be cured?

Ans : First, diabetes is not a disease. It is a condition. There are quacks who claim to cure diabetes, but there is no cure yet. It can only be kept under control by proper diet, exercise and regular check ups.

19. While I need to evacuate my bowels daily, my brother does so only once in 2 or 3 days. He is quite comfortable with that. Is it normal?

Ans : If your brother is not holding back and is not constipated it is okay. Its probably just the way his body functions. While still in the body, the waste matter does not cause any harm or release any toxins, if that is what is worrying you.

20. Is varicose veins an inherited condition?

Ans : A tendency to varicose veins appears to be inherited. Young people whose job requires them to stand at one place for long periods of time are more prone to varicose veins than those who move around.

21. I have heard that children and young adults should not be given aspirin. Why?

Ans : Aspirin has known to trigger Reye`s syndrome, a life threatening neurological disease in young people.

22. My father snores very loudly. Will sleeping on his side reduce this?

Ans : Heavy snorers will snore in virtually any position. It does not matter whether they are sleeping on the backs or sides.

23. Does frequent shampooing cause hair loss?

Ans : Frequent shampooing does not cause hair loss as is commonly believed. If you have dry hair and use a shampoo everyday, it could lead to more broken strands. Use a gentle shampoo in that case.

24. If I can`t brush my teeth for some reason, can chewing gum be a good substitute?

Ans : Chewing a wad of gum could help if it is sugarless gum. As you chew, saliva will wash the teeth and neutralize the acid in the plaque.

25. Why do my eyes water when I yawn?

Ans : Tears produced by the lachrymal glands wash the eye and then flow to the lachrymal sac at the corner of the eye from where they are drained into the nose. When we yawn, face muscles squeeze this sac which cause tears to flow .

26. Does rubbing oil in the hair nourish it and make it grow?

And : Contrary to popular belief- no. The hair is made of dead cells so theres no question of providing it with nourishment. However, oil massages can be relaxaing and they also stimulate the circulation in our scalp.

27. Why do some people have curly hair and some have straight?

Ans : It all depends on the shape of their hair. A straight hair, when seen in cross section under a microscope will be seen to have a round shape whereas curly hair appears flat! The flattest hairs are the waviest or curliest.

28. Why should I sleep on a firm mattress and not a soft one?

Ans : Sleeping on a soft mattress could give you a backache. Sleeping on a firm mattress will ensure that your vertebrae do not sag and stretch the ligaments that connect the bones.

29. Do children always fall ill when they are teething?

Ans : Not necessarily. But children who are teething generally have a tendency to put things lying around in their mouth. They pick up germs in this way which may lead to infections.

30. Can food allergy lead to ear infections in children?

Ans : A food allergy can trigger chronic inflammation and swelling in the middle ear in infants and children. If a child has a persistent ear problem one should take him to a doctor.

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