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14 - 20 Apr , 2012
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expertadviceHeart TO Heart
For relationship advice and more, talk to your super-smart Sis.

Q: My husband is 70 years old and I am 65. We live with my daughter-in-law, my only son works abroad and the three of us live together. My daughter-in-law is arrogant and spoilt and is a very difficult person. I do all the cooking and supervise the maid. She lazes around, watches TV, gossips with neighbours and goes shopping with friends, but when my son phones, she behaves as if she is exhausted from doing all the housework. My son doesn't really believe her but he keeps quiet in order to ensure that his father and I are treated well. My problem is that my daughter-in-law keeps very odd hours. She gets up very late and so eats her meals very late. She doesn't like it if we eat before her. I can manage, but my husband has low sugar levels and feels very hungry sometimes. However, I am afraid to give him his food. What shall I do? Atiya Hussain, Karachi
A:
Learn from your daughter-in-law and lie! The next time that your son calls, tell him about his father's low sugar problem. Then tell him how worried his wife is about her father-in-law and how she insists that he eats first even though she likes the three of you to dine together because this increases family closeness. Your daughter-in-law will then be forced to agree to her father-in-law eating when he is hungry. But as you grow older, other problems are going to arise. For example, you may not be able to continue to run the house by yourself. So the next time your son comes home, you should talk to him frankly about your old-age problems. But do it without seeming to complain about his wife. Talk to him when the EXPERT ADVICEtwo of you are alone and then let him deal with his wife as he feels best.

Q: I am a widow aged 65. I live with my married son and his family. My daughter-in-law is affectionate but rather lazy and so I have to help out with the housework a lot. My daughter resents this and tells me that I should be firm with my daughter-in-law and tell her that I am getting old and that she should manage the housework herself. It is true that I feel rather tired these days, but I am nervous about antagonising my daughter-in-lay. My son is very loving and dutiful, but what would I do if my daughter-in-law asked me to leave her home? Worried Saas
A:
Why are you seeing problems where there don't seem to be any? It is good for older people to be active and so it is good that you help with the housework. But if you are feeling tired these days perhaps you are trying to do too much and you should cut back on your work. Since your daughter-in-law is affectionate and your son is loving and dutiful, there is no need for you to fear that they will turn you out of your home if you do this. Perhaps you will need to employ a maid, perhaps your daughter and son will have to take on some of the work you did earlier, but something can definitely be worked out. Your daughter should not interfere and cause problems in your home.

Q: I strongly believe that my mother is having an illicit relationship with my father's brother who is unmarried. I am 45 years old. This results in tension in our relationship, as both of them are dependent on me and living with me. What should I do? Shagufta
A:
If you're 45, your mother must be in her 60s and I presume your father has passed away, as he is not mentioned. I personally think you need to think a little out of the box on this one. Your mother is probably lonely and in need of love, nurturing and caring. And it's nice that she can lean on a trusted family member. Why don't you, for a moment, pause and ask yourself why she can't have a love-filled, content life when you can? How does it harm anyone? Why are you holding her age against her?
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Dermatologist
Dr Shah Hussain

Q: I'm 32 years of age and I am still getting persistent spots (mild acne) around the mouth area, especially on the chin. I was treated successfully for mild acne in my early 20s with a combined contraceptive pill. The spots are sore and visually unattractive. Can you make any recommendations on what can be done? Nadia, Islamabad
A:
Many people think of acne as a teenage problem but many people continue to be affected by this embarrassing skin condition into their twenties, thirties and beyond. You say that the spots are sore, which raises the possibility that you might need oral antibiotic treatment. If inflamed pustules are present on your chin this increases the likelihood that antibiotics will be needed. It is also possible that a further prescription of the combined contraceptive pill might be helpful to you, assuming that you are not a smoker. I would suggest that you return to see your GP and have your condition properly assessed. It might be necessary to recommence treatment for some months but I would be very confident that your EXPERT ADVICEcondition can be satisfactorily controlled.

Q: I have been suffering from ringworm on and off for more than two years. It occurs on my legs above my knees. I have been using an antifungal cream containing a steroid but the rash keeps coming back. I have no pets therefore I don't know why this keeps happening. The longest I have been clear is a couple of months. Any suggestions for this? Saarim, Karachi
A:
The term ringworm means different things to different people and I am assuming in answering your question that we both understand that we are referring to a fungal infection of the skin. In my experience modern antifungal creams are very effective in eliminating fungal infection and I wonder if your diagnosis is correct. If you have not already done so I would suggest that you visit your GP in order to have the diagnosis confirmed. It is possible that you have a skin condition other than ringworm. You could be suffering from psoriasis or eczema in either of which case the steroid in the cream you have been using might give some temporary relief. Alternatively if your diagnosis is correct you might need to be treated systemically with tablets rather than applying a cream to the affected area. I note your comment about pets and that is very relevant because pets are a common source of ringworm. However, you can sometimes be re-infected with ringworm from items of clothing that have been in contact with the skin lesions. Therefore I would suggest that such items be cleaned in order to remove the possibility of contaminating areas of skin that have been successfully treated.

Q: I burned my arm and a blister formed. The blister burst in the shower and it is now very sore. Everyone is giving me different advice, cover the wound, don't cover it, put antiseptic cream on it, or leave it alone. What should I do? Tayyaba, Karachi
A:
The first thing to do if you burn your arm is to put it under the cold tap and allow the running water to cool the skin down. This will give some relief from the pain and more importantly will stop the hot outer layer of skin from burning the layers below. This simple first aid tactic may well have protected you from developing a blister. Since the blister has burst, the exposed tissue is now at risk of becoming infected and the area should be covered with a sterile dressing. This provides a sterile physical barrier, which reduces the risk of infection and also provides a protective coating so that clothing and other items are not chafing against the damaged skin. Plain gauze dressings are probably best avoided because you may pull off the superficial cells growing over the burn when you go to change the dressing. There are dressings available that are specially coated so as not to stick to the healing tissue. Your local chemist should have some in stock.
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If you want to discuss problems related to skin, hair and nails or if you have any health related queries that need to be answered, or if an onerous emotional problem is weighing you down, share it with us at askexpert@magtheweekly.com. Kindly mention your age and the column you have the question for in the subject line.


 
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