Ask the Doctor: with George Crooks

Q I am 67 and have been depressed on and off for most of my life.

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The usual anti-depressants do not work. I can't seem to express myself to my GP and feel nervous and shy. diazepam and nitrazepam make life bearable but I can't get high enough doses of them.

A It is important for those with depression to ensure people involved in your management understand your thoughts and feelings.

If you feel more time with the doctors managing your case might help or, indeed, if you felt seeing a different GP would make it easier to speak, you could explore this with your practice.

While the medicines you mention can be helpful short term solutions, they do not solve any underlying matters that can make feeling nervous and depression worse.

Breathing Space is a free, confidential phone and web based service for people in Scotland experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety.

Call 0800 838587 or find out more at:

QWill I be able to go on holiday abroad eight days after I get my thyroid removed?

A Surgery of this type will require a general anaesthetic and some people find it takes a few days to recover from this.

Sutures will need to be removed after the appropriate amount of time and the healing process of the scar will be observed at this point and possibly in between.

It would be advisable to speak to your surgeon and ask about the travel such a short time after the operation. He/she will give you the best advice based on experience.

If the surgeon gives the go-ahead, it may be a good idea to speak to your travel insurance provider to ensure you are covered for any eventuality.


The sinuses are small, air-filled cavities behind your cheekbones and forehead and sinusitis is the inflammation of the lining of the sinuses, caused by a viral or bacterial infection.

The most common cause of sinusitis is a cold or flu, where the cold or flu virus spreads to the sinuses from the upper airways.

Sinusitis typically causes a high temperature, pain and tenderness in the face, and a blocked or runny nose. It is a common condition and can affect people of any age.

Sinusitis often clears up by itself, and about two thirds of those who get the condition do not need to see their GP. On average, it takes 2½ weeks to clear.

Over-the-counter painkillers and decongestants can be used to relieve facial pain and a blocked nose. Antibiotics are unlikely to help unless the sinusitis becomes persistent.

See your GP if symptoms do not improve after seven days, if they are getting worse, or if the sinusitis keeps coming back. In these cases, treatment options can be antibiotics or steroid sprays or drops.

Your GP may also refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist.


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