DR ELLIE CANNON: What will keep me from getting so many lung infections?

I am 72 years old and was recently hospitalized for two weeks with pneumonia.

After finishing the antibiotics I was taking, I got another lung infection. I feel like I’m in constant pain.

Can I take something to boost my immune system?

A countless list of foods and supplements seem to be marketed as immune boosters, but in reality, there’s nothing to suggest they do much.

At best, they can help keep the immune system functioning as it should, but no more so than a healthy diet.

There are lifestyle factors linked to the proper functioning of the immune system: good sleep and low stress levels, as well as a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Exercise is also believed to be good for the immune system.

I am 72 years old and was recently hospitalized for two weeks with pneumonia. After finishing the antibiotics I was taking, I got another lung infection. I feel like I’m in constant pain. Can I take something to boost my immune system? (file photo)

When these are lacking, people suffer more infections, especially those related to weakened immunity.

Certain underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, can make you more susceptible to infections.

A GP should check for this and other conditions, such as lung disease or medication that may make you vulnerable to lung infections.

Smoking or being an ex-smoker could also be a factor. A chest x-ray and lung function tests would be helpful.

Heed Listeria Warnings

Pregnant women have been warned of an outbreak of listeriosis due to smoked fish and urged to avoid eating uncooked mackerel and salmon.

Listeria is a bacterium that can cause severe food poisoning, known medically as listeriosis. For most people, the disease is unpleasant but disappears after a few days.

But for pregnant women, food poisoning can cause major problems, leading to miscarriages or stillbirths as well as serious infections in newborns.

Listeria is commonly associated with sliced ​​meats and shellfish, which means many people are unaware that it can also be found in smoked fish.

Since 2020, only 12 cases of listeriosis have been linked to smoked fish in the UK. Although it is a small number, six of them have occurred since January, which is enough to qualify as an epidemic.

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2016 and suffer from a persistent tingling or crawling sensation under the skin on my upper body.

My doctor tried three different painkillers to no avail.

It affects my sleep – and my wife’s as well.

People with Parkinson’s disease, which is a brain disorder, often experience movement problems, tremors, and muscle stiffness.

But there are more than 40 other symptoms, including loss of smell, balance problems, dementia and difficulty swallowing.

Nerve pain is another – this is a very specific type of pain, sometimes called neuralgia or neuropathic pain.

People describe sensations such as burning, numbness, coldness and tingling as electric shocks.

If there is skin tenderness with a crawling sensation in someone with Parkinson’s disease, it could be related to the disease.

Neuropathic pains and sensations require specific pain treatments, as the standard type of pain relievers usually do not work.

We use nerve painkillers called gabapentin, pregabalin, duloxetine or amitriptyline with varying degrees of success. They are not without side effects, so they must offer a good level of help to be worth taking.

Capsaicin cream is a nerve pain reliever made from extracts of hot peppers – it can warm or slightly burn the skin. It’s worth trying, four times a day for two weeks, and if there is no reduction in pain, don’t continue.

This can cause a rash, which is another reason to quit. If helpful, however, it can also be ‘taken’ via a patch stuck to the skin, which slowly releases the active drug.

Pain that affects sleep is more debilitating than most, and this should be considered when choosing a pain reliever.

Something else to help with sleep, such as melatonin, may need to be used in combination with nerve therapy. Good sleep is vital for people with Parkinson’s disease.

For the past three weeks I have had terrible headaches. I have never suffered. I recently went for an eye exam as I thought my prescription might not be strong enough anymore.

I was told that I should have a scan called OCT to check for any serious issues that might be causing my headaches. It was £50 more so I declined.

Was it a bad idea?

Do you have a question for Dr. Ellie?

Email [email protected] or write to Health, The Mail on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT.

Dr. Ellie can only answer in a general context and cannot answer individual cases, nor give personal answers. If you have a medical condition, always consult your own GP.

OCT scans are offered by opticians to fully assess eye health, especially in people with diabetes or glaucoma, or who have a family history of eye disease.

They are specifically used to look for sight-threatening problems with the retina and eye structures rather than headaches.

But for a full assessment of headaches, an appointment with the doctor is necessary.

We all suffer from headaches from time to time, but new and persistent headaches for about a month would be reason to discuss the problem with a doctor.

These can be migraines – regular one-sided headaches, usually associated with nausea and blurred vision.

There are also tension headaches. Sufferers say it’s like having a band around your head, with pressure on both sides. This usually happens during times of stress.

There is also an unusual condition called cluster headaches, where people have excruciating headache attacks every day, usually for one to three months. It is a debilitating condition with very intense pain often on one side.

Other reasons for a new regular period of headaches may not be from the head at all. They can be due to poor posture – repeatedly bending your neck to look at a phone is a common problem – as well as poor eyesight.

Too much alcohol or high blood pressure will cause regular headaches and, oddly enough, taking headache painkillers can itself make headaches worse.

This is called “medication overuse headache” and can happen with many different pain relievers, including codeine, migraine treatments and even paracetamol, if taken enough. often.

Regular headaches are also associated with fluctuating hormone levels in menopause.

Calories count on menus target the wrong diners

The latest of the government’s anti-obesity measures is now in effect and major restaurants and cafes must display calorie counts on menus.

I have long supported public health measures that aim to reduce the burden of lifestyle-related disease by helping people lose weight and keep it off, but I disagree with that.

For one thing, there is no data to prove that calorie counts on menus will reduce obesity levels in Britain.

The United States has had similar measures for years and its obesity rates have continued to climb. More importantly, the potential harm is immense.

In my experience, obese people are unlikely to stare or obsess over calories. But the 1.2 million Britons who suffer from eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are.

We have already seen a 50% increase in the number of people hospitalized for these illnesses since 2019 – do we really need to add fuel to the fire?