Most coughs and colds do not need treatment

¦ My five-year-old daughter has developed a barking cough, which is particularly bad at night.

She doesn't have a temperature and otherwise seems to be in good health. Is there an over-thecounter medication she can take?

>> Unfortunately, there is no magic solution as coughs ease in their own time.

As common coughs and colds are usually caused by a virus, antibiotics are not appropriate. Most coughs and colds do not need any treatment but run their course. You should make sure that your daughter has enough to drink and does not become dehydrated.

Treatments which can ease the symptoms are paracetamol and ibuprofen. Both of these are available over the counter (OTC) in pharmacies in liquid form for children. Your pharmacist will be able to advise you as to the most suitable one for your daughter.

There are a number of advertised cough and cold remedies widely available. These contain a combination of various ingredients, for example, paracetamol, decongestants and cough remedies. However, to date, there is no clear evidence that these cough and cold remedies work and they may have side effects such as allergic reactions and can effect sleep.

In September 2011, the Irish Medicines Board advised that OTC cough and cold medicines should not be given to children under the age of six years as there are some reports of allergic reactions associated with their use.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are not classed as cough and cold remedies and they can still be given to children under six years.

If your daughter develops any of the following symptoms, then you must take her to your GP:

¦ Sore ears

¦ Irritability

¦ Breathing problems

¦ Drowsiness

¦ Difficulty swallowing

¦ Persistent high temperature

¦ A severe headache

¦ Chest pains or a rash

If your daughter has already had the cough for three to four weeks, you need to bring her to your GP — most coughs should ease within two to three weeks.

¦ I am in my 50s and suffer from rosacea. Recently, it has become more pronounced and itchy, which is very uncomfortable. I have an appointment to see my dermatologist in eight weeks' time.

Is there anything I can do in the meantime to alleviate the symptoms?

>> Rosacea is a skin disorder characterised by episodes of facial redness or flushing. It looks like a blush across the nose, cheeks, chin or forehead.

As time goes on, bumps or pimples appear on the face and small spider-like red lines appear on the cheeks, nose, skin and forehead.

Some people can experience symptoms on their necks, backs, scalp, arms, and legs. Rosacea can also affect the eyes causing inflammation of the eyelids and conjunctivitis.

The exact cause of rosacea is not known but flushing appears to be caused by an overreaction of the facial blood vessels and immune reactions in the skin may be involved.

You should look at any lifestyle or environmental factors which may aggravate the condition. These include: certain foods — especially hot or spicy foods; some drinks — especially alcohol and caffeine; exercise; temperature changes; exposure to the sun, rain or wind; stress.

Special care should be taken with the skin, treating it very gently and you should try not to rub or scrub it hard. If the skin feels sore, using a moisturiser will soothe the skin. Oil-based make-up, scented soaps, alcohol-based skin cleansers or hair products should be avoided as they may contain ingredients such as alcohol or fragrances which irritate the skin. Only use mild soaps and cleansers.

A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and with UVA and UVB protection will limit the damage to the skin from by the sun. You could also wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face from the sun or wear a scarf when the weather gets cold and windy.


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