What you need to know:
- Choosing a family planning method is very individualised because it depends on current health condition, possible health risks, lifestyle and habits, affordability, convenience, availability, future fertility concerns, age and weight, the method’s effectiveness and potential side effects as well as acceptability to your partner.
- It is best to choose a contraceptive method in consultation with a doctor following an assessment and detailed evaluation of each method.
My friend got pregnant despite being on a contraceptive (IUS). Does it mean that some methods don’t work and what should I consider when it comes to family planning methods?
The only contraceptive method that is 100 per cent effective is abstinence. All the rest have a small failure rate, which goes up if the method is not used perfectly. The intrauterine system, intrauterine device, implant, injection, daily combined pill, patch, vaginal ring, tubal ligation and vasectomy are more than 99 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy. Natural family planning and the progestogen-only pill have 99 per cent efficacy if used perfectly; male condoms 98 per cent efficacy, female condoms 95 per cent efficacy, diaphragms and caps 92 per cent efficacy with perfect use. If a contraceptive method is not used as it should, then there is a much higher chance of it failing.
Choosing a family planning method is very individualised because it depends on current health condition, possible health risks, lifestyle and habits, affordability, convenience, availability, future fertility concerns, age and weight, the method’s effectiveness and potential side effects as well as acceptability to your partner. It is best to choose a contraceptive method in consultation with a doctor following an assessment and detailed evaluation of each method. It is also advisable for you to involve your partner in the decision making.
Hi doc, I need tips on how to get my three-year old daughter to drink water. She hates plain water but doesn’t mind taking tea or fruits like watermelon. Do these provide enough water for her dietary needs?
Toddlers tend to be very picky in what they eat or drink. A three-year-old needs between two to four cups of water per day depending on level of activity and weather. The best drinks for her are water and milk. Additional healthy options are fruits and vegetables that have a lot of water like watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, strawberries, lettuce, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes and zucchini. To entice her to take water, you can put it in fancy containers and get her to sip a little at a time; or you can add mint, lemon, berries or cucumbers to the water to improve taste; you can freeze some fruit in ice cubes or puree it and make popsicles. Other drinks like juice, soda and flavoured milk should be limited because of the sugar content plus other ingredients.
. Is it safe to sleep with the heater on? I have been doing so for a few nights now in an attempt to keep of the biting cold. Of late, I have developed a dull headache in the morning and I am wondering if this is connected to the heater.
It is risky to sleep with a heater on overnight. This is due to risk or rising carbon monoxide levels, fire danger and damage to the electrical outlets. High carbon monoxide levels reduce the amount of oxygen available for your body to use and can lead to headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, weakness, loss of consciousness and death. Having the heater on for long can also cause dehydration, dry skin causing redness and itchiness, dry irritated eyes, irritation of the airways, chest pain and heart problems.
The safest heaters are the oil/convection heaters and these can be left on throughout. The other heaters include ceramic heaters, infrared heaters, fan heaters and conduction heaters.
To reduce fire risk, place the heater on a firm hard surface in an open area away from any clothing, furniture, curtains or highly flammable materials and switch it off before sleeping. To reduce the risk of dehydrating the skin and eyes, place a container with water in the corner of the room or use a humidifier.
Dr Flo, I have had an eye problem since I was 10. I have visited so many hospitals and the only thing opticians did was to provide me with spectacles, which I am not a fan of. Is there another remedy for my shortsightedness or does it mean that I will have to rely on my spectacles forever? I am now 22.
For us to see, light enters the eye through the cornea and the lens of the eye, which bend (refract) the light to focus the rays of light on the retina at the back of the eye (similar to camera film). When you are near sighted, the rays of light end up being focused somewhere in front of the retina, so you do not see the object very clearly. This can happen because the eye ball is too long or there is a problem with the cornea or the lens, causing less effective light bending. As a result, you have a problem seeing things that are far, but you can see near things clearly. It may also cause straining of the eyes and headaches. The eye sight grows worse until around 18 years of age, when you stop growing.
You need to see an eye specialist (ophthalmologist), where some tests will be done to assess the level of short sightedness and if there is any other problem. The near sightedness is easily corrected using spectacles/glasses or contact lenses. Using the spectacles does not worsen the problem, neither is it addictive. And they can be an excellent fashion statement too!
There are other ways to correct the eye sight, like use of intraocular lenses (lenses placed inside the eye) and refractive surgery, like laser surgery, which can be done in some people.
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