doc

I FRACTURED my knee over three weeks ago.

My leg is now in a brace but my ankle and knee are still swollen. Is this normal?

YES, it is normal for there still to be a degree of swelling following a serious injury.

Clearly, the key part of your treatment is to immobilise the fracture site to allow the bones to heal up.

Years ago this meant using a full plaster cast. Today techniques still allow the fracture site to be protected but allow mobilisation.

The way blood in the legs gets back into the body and how fluid is prevented from pooling in the legs is through the action of the leg muscles.

Because you will not be using your leg as well as normal, this muscle pump action is not working as well as possible. It is important you mobilise as much as you can following the instructions given by your doctor and physiotherapist.

When sitting, make sure your leg is elevated with your foot above the level of your bottom as this will allow gravity to help reduce swelling too.

JET lag is a feeling of tiredness and confusion after a long aircraft journey. It's the result of your body finding it difficult to adjust to a new time zone.

Your body's 24-hour clock, which controls your sleeping, waking pattern, is disrupted after crossing several time zones. It also affects: hunger, digestion, bowel habits, body temperature, blood pressure, and can affect memory.

Symptoms last for no more than a day or two but to minimise them, get into a new routine as soon as possible, eat and sleep at the correct times for your new time zone, avoid napping and spend time outdoors to get natural light.

If you take medication at set times of day, consult your GP or pharmacist before travelling.

I AM terrified of the dentist but have heard it's possible to be sedated before treatment. What will this involve?

IT IS common to be frightened of the dentist.

You should discuss your worries with the dentist and he may be able to reassure you, minimise any discomfort or offer relaxation techniques that do not involve medication.

If these tactics do not work and treatment is essential other options are occasionally used.

Some people find simple inhalation sedation helpful. This is like gas and air given during childbirth but instead of being deliver-ed through a mask it is given via a nosepiece.

If you are extremely nervous, you may be given intravenous sedation (through an injection into your hand or arm). The drugs won't send you to sleep - you'll be awake and able to talk to the dentist - but they'll relax you so deeply you probably won't recall much of what happens.

You will usually need to have someone else with you if you are receiving sedation.