Dr Bernadette Carr is here to answer your questions

Q. I took antibiotics for a chest infection two weeks ago. A few days ago, I developed red areas in my mouth, which are sore. What should I do?

A. The symptoms might be oral thrush. This is an infection caused by a yeast germ that lives in the mouth. It’s called Candida albicans. There are a number of reasons for oral thrush and these include:

* Dentures — if they do not fit well or are not clean.

* Lack of saliva, which can lead to a dry mouth.

* Oral thrush is common in babies.

* A lack of iron or certain vitamins.

* Smoking.

* Having diabetes or anaemia.

* Using an inhaler for asthma.

* Overuse of antibacterial mouthwash.

* Long-term usage of inhaled steroids.

* Pregnancy.

* Malnutrition.

Antibiotics kill the germs and bacteria in the mouth, but do not kill Candida albicans, which then multiplies, causing oral thrush. The classic symptoms of oral thrush, when it results from antibiotics, are the sore, red areas that you have.

Other symptoms are:

* White spots, which can turn grey or yellow.

* Taste can be affected.

* Redness under dentures.

* Babies who have oral thrush tend to drool.

A burning sensation and pain, which may make eating difficult.

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and six-monthly dental check-ups will reduce the risk of developing oral thrush.

If you smoke then you need to stop.

The treatment for oral thrush is anti-fungal medication. I would advise you to make an appointment with your GP, who can examine your mouth and make a diagnosis.

Your GP can then advise on the most appropriate treatment for you.

Q. I wonder if my seven-year-old daughter is short-sighted? She told me that she can’t see the blackboard in school and, on a recent visit to the cinema, she said the screen was ‘blurry’. My husband is short-sighted and has worn glasses since he was a teenager?

A. Short-sightedness, or myopia, is a very common condition of the eyes, particularly in children and teenagers.

It does tend to run in families; children with one parent who is short-sighted have a greater risk of developing myopia and the risk is higher if both parents are short-sighted.

For anyone who is short-sighted, their close vision is normal, but their distance vision is unclear and objects appear blurred or fuzzy.

Young children often do not realise that they are having a problem with their sight, as they may assume that whatever vision they have is normal.

In your daughter’s case, she may have no problems with reading or other close work.

The problem becomes evident in not being able to see the blackboard and their school work may suffer.

When you look at an object, light rays from it pass through the eye to the retina, and then down through the optic nerves to the brain, so that you can see. With short-sightedness, the eye is too long, from back to front, so light doesn’t reach the back of the retina, just the front, and objects appear blurred.

Corrective prescription lenses, either glasses or contact lenses, are the most common way to treat short-sightedness. There may even be a slight reduction of myopia in late middle-age.

To maintain good eye health, it is important to have regular eye tests. Ideally, adults and children should have their sight tested every two years.

As your daughter has mentioned the problems she is having, you need to arrange an eye examination for her soon as possible.


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