A Question of Health

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The Independent Culture
WE WANT to go abroad for one last holiday before our first baby's born in December. What's the latest time I can fly?

Airlines begin to get nervous about pregnant women in their last two months, but not, as many believe, because flying is inherently dangerous for them. Airlines don't want to take the risk a woman might give birth in a crowded plane. BA will ask for a doctor's letter that you are fit to fly after you're 28 weeks pregnant. After 36 weeks, they'll probably refuse to carry you. Whenever you travel, take your antenatal records in case you need medical help.

As I get older (I am now 69) I worry increasingly I'll eventually find myself in a nursing home or hospital bed, being fed through a tube, unable to look after myself - my idea of a living hell. Is there any way I can ensure I'm not subjected to this indignity?

Every mentally capable adult has the legal right to decide what treatment to receive. None is legally compulsory, including tube feeding. The best way to ensure you receive only the treatment you want, is to complete a living will - saying what you want if you become mentally or physically incapable of giving consent. Living wills have only limited legal standing, but doctors are likely to respect them.

More details from Voluntary Euthanasia Society, 13 Prince of Wales Terrace, London W8 5PG. Tel: 0171 937 7770. E-mail: ves.london@dial.pipex.com

I often get twitching around my eyes and eyelids, particularly when working at a computer. It rarely happens at home, and disappears when I have a week off from work. Would a screen filter help?

Tiny twitches around the eyes are usually caused by contractions of minute muscle fibres. They may tighten up if your vision isn't in perfect focus. You should have an eye exam from a qualified optometrist. If you have a small refraction error, the problem may only affect you at the computer screen.

I doubt if a filter would help, but stop work regularly to gently massage muscles around your eyes. Under 1992 Health and Safety Regulations computer users can ask for eye checks.

Send your questions to A Question of Health, `The Independent', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL; fax 0171-293 2182; or e-mail them to health@independent.co.uk. Dr Kavalier is unable to respond personally

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