DR ELLIE CANNON: Could my eye disease jabs be the reason for frequent dizziness?
I have macular eye disease, and the treatment involves injections into my eyes. I also get dizzy spells which result in me falling, how long does it take penicillin to work for tooth infections and sometimes I get very sick, too. My GP prescribes all types of pills but they don’t help. Could my problem be something to do with the injections? I am 83.
It’s not unusual for patients who get dizzy to have regular falls.
Doctors refer to such events as ‘drop attacks’, and they require investigation at any age. But falling is particularly concerning for the elderly because it is a major cause of disability, hospitalisation and fractures.
A discussion with a GP or eye specialist would be crucial to see if there are alternative medicines and to establish what are the risks of stopping medication altogether.
When dizziness or an attack of vertigo accompanies vomiting, the problem may be the inner ear disorder Meniere’s disease. There may be other symptoms, such as changes in hearing, tinnitus and even a feeling of blocked ears. With Meniere’s, dizzy spells usually last about three hours. However, it can take a couple of days for the symptoms to resolve completely. There is no specific test for Meniere’s disease, and unfortunately there is no cure, either. Instead, patients are given tablets to control the dizziness and vomiting, while antihistamines can be used to reduce the feeling of vertigo.
Today’s reader has macular eye disease and wonders whether their frequent dizzy spells is as a result of the treatment
Meniere’s is a tricky condition to live with and it can have a debilitating impact on a person’s quality of life. Support is available from the Meniere’s Society on 01306 876883 or via its website, menieres.org.uk.
I am 77 and have a terrible problem when I get bitten by mosquitoes. Wherever I am on holiday, the bites tend to spread all the way along my arms and legs, and I end up needing steroid injections to calm the itching and swelling. I take the antihistamine loratadine daily and try to use mosquito repellent most days while away. I want to do more travelling but I now feel as though I can’t. Can you help?
Some people suffer very badly with mosquito bites, and many of factors play into how much anyone is affected, including skin type, previous reactions and genetics. The easiest way to tackle this problem is to avoid getting bitten in the first place.
More from Dr Ellie Cannon for The Mail on Sunday…
First, cover yourself up with sleeves, socks and trousers – early evening is a key time to do this. Also, avoid using fragrances such as perfume and scented toiletries as these attract insects. In tropical countries, insect nets are a good idea to avoiding being bitten at night. You should also take anti-malarial tablets in countries where this is advised.
Wherever you are, insect repellent containing 50 per cent of the active ingredient DEET is the most effective.
Taking antihistamine tablets can help reduce the body’s reaction to bites.
Non-drowsy types, designed to be used during the day, are the best option, as you can take these more than once a day with your doctor’s approval.
A good bite cream also helps reduce reactions – the most effective ones contain a steroid or antihistamine, and you can buy one per cent hydrocortisone creams over the counter to put on bites that are starting to swell. Some people claim that taking a Vitamin B supplement helps to prevent bites – there is little scientific basis for this, but a daily tablet won’t cause problems, so it is worth a go.
Over the past year I’ve noticed that small bumps have begun appearing around my eyes. They don’t hurt but they affect my confidence. I’d like to get them removed but I worry about damaging my sight. I am 72.
Removing anything from the skin comes with the possibility of scarring and damage to the area – even if it is a minor procedure –and it is true that any surgery involving the eye area could affect the sight.
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Dr Cannon cannot enter into personal correspondence and her replies should be taken in a general context
Having said that, many thousands of procedures and operations involving the eye area are performed every year in the UK and are very successful.
Bumps around the eye usually form near the lash line. They could mean a number of things. The most common type of bump is a stye – an infection in the eyelash follicle. These are normally very painful. Another is a chalazion, which is when the glands of the eyelids become blocked. They can develop from a stye that is no longer infected.
A condition called blepharitis, where the eyelids are generally inflamed and crusty, could also be to blame. Treatment involves warming, massaging and cleaning the eyelids – perhaps with a warm flannel – to remove the oils and crusts and allow the follicles to drain.
Something called milia can also form near the lash lines. These are tiny, protein-filled bumps and will often go away on their own.
The risks and benefits of any procedure should be weighed up with a professional.
When’s the right time to move on?
Is it ever right to begin another romantic relationship if your husband or wife has dementia and can barely recognise you?
It’s a question I’ve been thinking about after reading last week about the divorce of Wolfgang Porsche, the billionaire executive of the luxury car company.
The 79-year-old divorced his partner of 16 years two years after she was diagnosed, according to last week’s reports. He couldn’t cope with the changes in her behaviour and reportedly has moved in with a new 59-year-old girlfriend, Gabriele Prinzessin zu Leiningen.
Your instant reaction might be one of horror. But caring for a loved one as they slowly slip away from you is tough. I know of dementia patients who insist that their partner finds someone else when they become desperately ill.
There are others who won’t consider a relationship after their partner dies, because it would feel wrong.
Have you been accused of moving on too quickly? Or perhaps you never want to?
Whatever your experience, write and tell me at the email address below.
Wolfgang Porsche, pictured right, with Gabriele Prinzessin zu Leiningen, left, reportedly divorced his former wife two years after she was diagnosed with dementia
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