Breathing problems: Car crash related?

My 13-year-old son says that when he lies flat on his back he has difficulty breathing, but he is fine with a pillow under his head. We were involved in a car accident last year where he had seatbelt injuries and I wonder whether it could be anything to do with that. He is not keen to go to the doctor as he thinks this will involve having tests/scans (which he had a lot of after the accident as he suffered from double vision). Should I take him to the doctor despite his fears?

Bronchiectasis: Is there any treatment?

"My husband has bronchiectasis, which causes constant coughing. It is very tiring and tiresome, both for him and for me. His consultant has signed him off and says there is no treatment. Is there any way of helping him?"

Ultrasound: Scan has left me concerned

"I've just had a 24-week scan that shows my baby's kidneys are mildly dilated. We have been told that the baby could have urine infections and might even need surgery after birth. What does this all mean? Can dilated kidneys cure themselves, or do they always cause problems?"

Adhesions: A second opinion

For years my mother has suffered from adhesions in her stomach. The attacks happen every few weeks and can be severe, requiring emergency morphine injections. Her GP does not think there is any solution and refuses to consult another doctor. She has prescribed amitriptyline, an antidepressant for the elderly (my mother is 66). Can we demand a second opinion, or make a formal complaint?

UV protection: Clothing for children

Friends in Australia told us about clothes that have an ultraviolet protection rating. Does this apply to normal children's clothes?

Car sickness: what works?

Everysummer, my husband and I travel abroad by road. Our daughter is nowsix, and we'd like to take her with us this year, to France. But I'mconcerned that she might suffer travel sickness. What are the best waysto protect her from this, in a "chemical free" way if possible?

DVT: how to prevent it

My legs tend to swell up on aircraft and I'm fearful of developing a thrombosis. Is it worth taking an aspirin before a flight? Are travel stockings effective? Any other suggestions?

Beta Thalassaemia: a genetic legacy

"I've been having tests for anaemia, and the laboratory has discovered that I carry beta thalassaemia. I've been told that this won't cause me any problems, but my parents and grandparents were born in the UK and, as far as we know, there is no Mediterranean or Middle Eastern ancestry in our family, so how is it possible that I have this condition, which is supposed to affect only people from other parts of the world?"

Blood Pressure: how to control it

"I have been taking blood-pressure tablets of one kind or another for more than 20 years. Over the past year, I've lost nearly a stone, and have been able to stop one of my two daily tablets. I am now only taking ramipril. I would like to stop the tablets altogether, and control my blood pressure with diet and exercise. Is this an unrealistic hope? What should I be eating? And what exercise should I do? I am 49, female, and my BMI is now just below 25. I don't smoke, but probably drink a bit more than recommended, some weeks at least. My favourite exercise is walking."

Pain Gone Pen: too good to be true?

I have received literature about the Pain Gone Pen, which is supposed to be amazingly effective in treating everything from travel sickness to shingles to sciatica. Does it work?

Impetigo: a recurring problem?

When there was an outbreak of impetigo at their school two months ago, both of our children, aged seven and nine, got it. The younger girl was treated with antibiotic cream and got better quickly. The older boy had a worse attack, with spots on hands and face, and had to take antibiotics for a week. Since then, he has had two further attacks on his face, which have both cleared up with cream. Will he continue to get impetigo?

Binaural Hearing: am I going deaf?

Whenever there is background noise I have difficulty hearing people. The problem seems to be an inability to pick out the sound of the person talking to me. What can I do to get round it?

Steroids: will I be able to cope without them?

For nearly seven months I've been on steroid tablets to control my polymyalgia rheumatica. I've just discovered that if you take them for too long, your adrenal glands shut down because they are no longer needed to produce their own natural steroids. Do they ever recover? If not, how will I ever manage without the tablets?

Menopause: could I still get pregnant?

How long after the cessation of a women's menstrual cycle is it possible to have unprotected sex without the fear of pregnancy?

Neck lumps: could they be harmful?

My daughter has a lump in her neck, which affects her breathing when lying down. The doctor said it was just gristle, but now she has one on the other side. Can you help?

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