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8 essentials your GP keeps in the cupboard over Christmas

I just don't want to go dashing out looking for a pharmacy or supermarket once I have left work and declared myself to be on holiday over Christmas.  Here are a few things that I will be keeping handy, and I am sharing them in case it might be helpful for anyone else.

1. Paracetamol - we've seen the first of the nasty flu-like illnesses this week so make sure you are prepared.  And children's versions can save a big hunt for an open pharmacy over the Christmas break - so worth stocking up

2. Zantac - this is great for the effects of overeating and also works well for hangovers.  Available over the counter and if you find that you are susceptible to a bit of indigestion after a large meal this is worth having in your cupboard

3. Some 6cm x 7cm 'Opsite Flexigrid' dressings.  This stuff is amazing.  It is like a second skin and looks like cling film that has been stuck on.  Peel off the backing and slap it on to superficial burns (instant pain relief) and also grazed kne…

What a Headache!

What a Headache! Google ‘headache’, and you will very likely convince yourself you have a brain tumour. The list of worrying diagnoses that can cause a headache is staggering. These, however, are the rarities. As unpleasant and annoying headaches can be, the vast majority are safe and best of all treatable. In fact, headache is not even listed as a symptom in the 2015 NICE guidelines on early diagnosis of cancer. When we see people attending the surgery with a headache it is usually because it is not going away, keeps coming back, or is severe and upsetting. Sometimes the headache will be joined by other symptoms like nausea, visual changes such as blind spots or sparkling jagged lines and even numbness in the body or slurred speech. When these headaches occur repeatedly, and last (anything up to 72 hours) we have a bona fide case of Migraine. Though a miserable and upsetting type of headache, migraine is very treatable. We are very lucky these days, as we have at our disposal severa…

Dr Marcus Gleave on Male Problems "Downstairs"

Some men are reluctant to come and see their doctor, particularly if the problem is ‘downstairs’. 
Here’s a brief summary of some of these (treatable) problems:
Erectile dysfunction/impotence Happens to almost every man at some point.  Common causes are alcohol, stress, tiredness and relationship problems.  If it only happens occasionally it is not something to worry about, but if it is worsening or happening increasingly frequently, it is important to see your doctor. 
General measures to improve erections and sexual function include reducing alcohol, stopping smoking, losing weight and taking more exercise.In addition there are effective treatments that can be prescribed, the most well known being sildenafil or ‘viagra’. 
When you see your doctor for treatment we will also try to determine the likely cause of the problem – it may be psychological in which case you can be referred to a specialist.  Erection problems may be due to restricted blood flow to the area, which may require yo…

Vitamin D - top tips for staying healthy year round!

Vitamin D is essential for our bone health.Lack of vitamin D is the cause of rickets in children, and it can cause ‘thinning’ of the bones in adults, increasing the risk of injuries such as wrist and hip fractures.It may also play a part in maintaining cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of neurological conditions such as dementia, but the evidence for this remains unclear. Up to a quarter of the UK population is deficient in vitamin D, with rates higher in older adults and up to 94% in adults of south Asian extraction.Most people do not experience any symptoms, but deficiency can cause pain and muscle weakness. Vitamin D is largely made by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, it is also present in some foods including oily fish, some breakfast cereals and dairy products. People at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency include those who are not exposed to enough sunlight, people with darker skin, children, pregnant ladies and people taking certain medications such as cortico…

What is Psoriasis and can it ever be effectively managed?

Do you have psoriasis or know someone who suffers with this condition? About one in 30 people in the UK have psoriasis and it can have a devastating impact on their lives. The dry itchy patches are uncomfortable and disturb sleep, scratching leaves traces of blood on the sheets and large amounts of scale can be shed onto clothes and carpets.
All too often I hear people, including doctors, saying there is not a lot that can be done – ‘it’s the way you are made and you will have to put up with it to varying degrees for the rest of your life’. That is rubbish! I had psoriasis quite badly as a teenager – I even needed hospital based treatments. However, some simple lifestyle changes is all I need now to keep it at bay and I haven’t had a hint of psoriasis now for over 30 years. It needn’t be a miserable disease, suffered in silence and destroying relationships.
Psoriasis can be mild, but it often affects sensitive areas or skin that can’t be hidden. This has far-reaching effects on patien…