Encourge your child to exercise

NOTE: The information contained in Dr Bernadette Carr's column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor.

¦ I’m concerned my son isn’t active enough and recently he’s been complaining of back pain. Could there be a link between the two?

>> Back pain in children could be related to bad posturing or injury. I would advise you to make an appointment for your son to see his GP, who can carry out an examination and take a history of the back pain to establish its cause. You could also ask your GP for advice on how to increase your son’s activity levels.

It’s important you set an example so that regular exercise becomes a life long habit, and that physical activity every day becomes the norm. Exercise builds strong bones and strengthens muscles, reduces body fat and helps to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases later in life.

Ideally children (five to 18 years old) should have at least one hour of physical activity every day which should include moderate intensity aerobic activity, (walking), and vigorous intensity aerobic activity, (running).

This does not have to be done all at once but can be spread throughout the day.

Once your GP is happy for your son to exercise then there are two approaches that you can take.

Firstly, talk to your son about his taking up a sport, pick a time when you are less likely to be disturbed. Some children prefer team sports others solo sports, the important thing is that it is something that he likes and will enjoy. Secondly, build physical activity into family life.

Here are some suggestions to consider:

¦ Encourage everyone to walk whenever they can, going to or from school and to visit friends.

¦ Have balls, a skipping rope, Frisbees and kites which can be used in the garden or local park.

¦ Join in and organise some games in the garden.

¦ As a family organise some physical activity together at the weekend

The example you set is very important, seeing you enjoying exercise will encourage your children to do the same. Wrap up and go for a brisk walk or swim at the nearest indoor pool. You can walk along the beach throughout the year or on a local forest trail and cycling around the park.

¦ I am in a woman in my 40s and over the last few months I have had a problem with watering eyes which seems to be getting worse. A friend suggested it might be blocked tear ducts. What do you think?

>> Watering eyes are common and can occur either because of an excess of tears or a blocked tear duct. This is most common in young babies and in people over the age of 60. It can occur in one or both eyes.

Tears are produced all the time by the lacrimal gland to keep the eyes moist. The tears drain away through small channels (tear ducts) on the inner side of the eye into the nose. If the tear ducts become blocked or the ducts are too narrow, the tears will not be able to flow away and instead flow out of the eyes.

The most common reason for watering eyes is a blocked tear duct and the reasons for this include:

¦ Inflammation in the duct which has caused it to narrow.

¦ Allergy such as allergic conjunctivitis.

¦ Piece of dirt or grit which has lodged in the eye.

¦ Small scratch to the front of the eye

¦ Ingrown eye lash at the front of the eye.

I would advise you to make an appointment with your GP particularly as you’ve had this problem for a number of months.

In the meantime, avoid contact with any irritants such as peeling onions and any strong chemicals. Avoid using any creams or cosmetics close or on the eye area, if you use makeup brushes, wash them regularly with a suitable cleaner.

I am sure that your GP will be able to reassure and advise you on the most appropriate management.


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