I GOT a cold, three weeks after my last one, is this normal?

Colds usually last 3 to 7 days, but sometimes they hang on as long as 2 weeks. If you’re under the weather for longer than that, you might not be getting enough rest because sleep helps keep your immune system working, as it should. Stress also takes a toll on your immune system. You might not be able to fight off viruses as well as you normally would. Ongoing stress makes your body less able to respond to cortisol, a hormone that controls your body’s response to threats like the virus that causes the common cold. You only really need to contact your GP if your symptoms persist for more than three weeks, your symptoms get suddenly worse, you have breathing difficulties or you develop other symptoms that are concerning you. It might also be a good idea to see your GP if you're concerned about your baby or an elderly person, or if you have a long-term illness such as diabetes or COPD. You can also check symptoms at NHS Inform: www.nhsinform.scot

IS it dangerous to dye your hair?

There have been media reports of women who have experienced serious allergic reactions to hair dye. It's important to be aware of this risk, and know what to do. Reactions to hair dye are avoidable if you follow some simple safety advice. Some people are prone to a skin reaction called dermatitis. This means their skin becomes inflamed when they come into contact with a particular substance. The substance may either be an irritant, directly damaging the skin, or an allergen, triggering an allergic reaction that affects the skin. Many permanent and some semi-permanent hair dyes contain a chemical called paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which is a known irritant and allergen. This is the culprit of most reactions to hair dye. Hair dyes containing PPD are safe to use, providing safety instructions are followed. These products are strictly regulated and there's a maximum limit to the amount of PPD the product can contain. If you ignore the safety instructions that come with the dye, you could put yourself at risk of a serious reaction. Always carry out a patch test before using a permanent or semi-permanent hair dye, even if you are using your regular brand. Follow the instructions that come with the dye. If you develop any irritation or feel unwell after the patch test, don't use the product. You should be able to return the product to the shop for a full refund.

WHAT is Mucositis?

Mucositis is a condition characterised by pain and inflammation of the body's mucous membrane, the soft layer of tissue lining the digestive system from the mouth to the anus. The condition a relatively common side effect of chemotherapy. It's also sometimes caused by radiotherapy.

Mucositis commonly comes in two forms, oral mucositis and Gastrointestinal mucositis.

The symptoms of oral mucositis usually begin five to 10 days after starting chemotherapy, or 14 days after starting radiotherapy. The tissue inside your mouth will feel sore, and It's also likely you will develop white patches or ulcers on the lining of your mout. In some cases the patches and ulcers can appear on your tongue and lips.

The symptoms of gastrointestinal mucositis normally occur 14 days after you start your chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and they include diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea and bloating.

The clinician looking after you can make a diagnosis of mucositis upon disclosure of your symptoms and after a physical examination.

There is no single treatment for mucositis. A combination of medications and stringent self help tips work best to successfully rid yourself of the condition. For cases of oral symptoms, it is important to adhere to high levels of oral hygiene, and alter you eating habits to avoid pain from any oral ulcers you may have. Changes in eating habits include eating moist food, warm food instead of hot food and avoiding spicy, acidic foods. For pain relief in milder cases, medication such as paracetamol or aspirin may be recommended. For more severe cases, codeine may be prescribed by your GP. To help control pain associated with rectal ulcers and bleeding, a specialist medication can be prescribed to numb the area and reduce pain.