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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Week of June 30, 2003

    Question:   I am a 43-year-old woman with chest congestion that has been present since January 2003. At first, I was put on antibiotics. This did not help. Chest X-ray and pulmonary function tests had normal results. Then I tried Advair for 2 weeks with no change in symptoms. Two weeks ago, my physician diagnosed me with post-nasal drip and gave me Flonase to try for a month. In the 2 weeks, I did experience 3 days with no symptoms--hooray! But then the congestion returned. I don't have a cough or fever, but feel the need to clear my throat or force a cough to try to remove the phlegm. Do you think my doctor is on the right track? Do these symptoms sound like post-nasal drip? How long should it take for the Flonase to work? Is there anything else that I should consider?    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer

    Question:   My 6-year-old daughter has episodes where her heart rate gets really high and she gets very tired or she faints. She has only had about 5 of these episodes in the last year and they first started about a year ago. A doctor ordered some tests and the EEG came back abnormal. We then went to a nuerologist who said she has epilepsy and put her on Depokote. How do I know for sure that she is having seizures or that she has epilepsy? I am worried about her taking this medicine and I also wonder why she started having seizures in the first place. Should all of my children have an EEG done? My 4-year-old son has hearing, speech, and vision problems. Can you help?    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer

    Question:   I think my fiancÚ has a food allergy. If he eats foods with red sauces, garlic or high fat content he will be in the bathroom within 10 minutes after dinner with bloating and sometimes severe diarrhea. Would these be the symptoms and how can we find out what to avoid? If it's not food allergy, what else could it be? Could it be gallbladder problems?    Dr. McLaughlin's Answer