At Home Christian Jessen 2014 - 302

She's squeaky clean

Q

My daughter repeatedly
catches head lice from her
primary school. She has long
hair, which is washed regularly
and kept really clean, but this
doesn't seem to help. Is there
anything I do to prevent her
from catching them again?

ELLEN ARDEN, 37, HULL

A

HEAD LICE IS SPREAD
BY DIRECT CONTACT
WITH INFESTED HAIR

302 | JULY 2014

IF A RELATIVE HAS
DEMENTIA, IT DOESN'T
MEAN YOU'LL DEVELOP IT

Hereditary disease?

Q

If my grandmother had
Alzheimer's, are my mum and
I at greater risk of suffering from
this disease in later life?

BRENDA SMITH, 28, BRIGHTON

A

As the various types of dementia,
including Alzheimer's, are so
common, many of us will have a relative
living with the condition. This doesn't
mean, though, that we'll automatically
develop it, too. Dementia is caused
by diseases in the brain and, in most
cases, our likelihood of developing
dementia will depend on our age,
lifestyle and the environment we live
in, as well as the genes we have.
To date, scientists have found versions
of more than 10 different genes which
are associated with an increased risk of
Alzheimer's. However, having one of
these versions may only have a small
effect on our risk, and there is still a lot to
be understood about these genes and
their importance. There is no genetic test
currently available on the NHS because
many of the genes discovered so far only
have a small effect on risk and people
with them may still not develop Alzheimer's.
Equally, people without them can develop
the disease, so a test wouldn't be useful.

FEAR
NOT

SOME
WOMEN
HAVE
CYSTS OR
THICKENING
OF THE
BREAST
TISSUE,
WHICH IS
NORMAL

Breast checks

Q

When I check my breasts,
there are times when they
feel tender and slightly lumpy,
which makes me panic. How
do I know when I should be
concerned and when it's OK?

SARAH DARLINGTON, 31,
BEDFORDSHIRE

A

The first thing to say to you is
that you should never panic.
The vast majority of breast lumps
(around nine out of 10), turn out to
be benign. The time of the month
when you examine your breasts
plays a part too: if you are on or
near your period, your breasts may
naturally be slightly more lumpy and
tender, so try examining them a
couple of weeks after your
period to see if this makes a
difference. The simple point
of checking your breasts is
for one real reason only:
to ensure that nothing much
has changed since the last
time you looked. It's as
simple as that. If you're
concerned, your GP should
be able to check and
reassure you.

WORDS: DR CHRISTIAN JESSEN | PHOTOGRAPHS: GETTY IMAGES, SHUTTERSTOCK

To be quite honest, it's difficult
to completely guarantee your
daughter won't catch head lice if
other children at school have them.
But, as they move by crawling (they
cannot hop or fly), they're spread
by direct contact with the hair of an
infested person. Your daughter is at
greatest risk if she comes into
head-to-head contact with someone
who already has head lice. Spread
by contact with a hat, scarf or coat,
or personal items such as a comb,
brush, or towel of an infested person
is uncommon, though it can happen.
So educating your daughter to try
to avoid these sorts of situations may
help, but at the same time, I wouldn't
want to encourage her to ostracise
other children with lice. Remember
that personal hygiene or cleanliness
in the home or school has nothing
to do with getting head lice.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of At Home Christian Jessen 2014

At Home Christian Jessen 2014 - 1
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