Some mornings I sneeze violently and then cough like a hyena! Why does this happen? — Sanju

When you sneeze, mucus slips down the back of the throat, irritates the soft lining and…cough! goes the hyena! The trick is to blow and clear your nose as soon as you sneeze. Never swallow the phlegm, rid yourself of it immediately in the wash basin. Gargle every morning with warm salt water. And stick to hot drinks, Sanju – cold beverages, ice creams et al are b-a-d news for sensitive throats. Gyaan: Avoid yoghurt. Have warm milk instead. Finally, your immune system needs to regain its fighting spirit and disallow sneezes, irritations, inflammations. Power it with a vitamin C tablet daily.

Since I have a hectic study schedule, I often skip lunch. Mom says my migraines are due to my erratic eating. — Rajji

True, Rajji. Skip lunch and your blood sugar fluctuates wildly and triggers a migraine. Also, the stomach secretes digestive acids to break up the food to extract nutrients. No food means the unemployed acid goes haywire and creates acidity and bang! starts the migraine.

The rule: don’t keep more than a 3-hour gap between meals. Plan B: Grab an apple/ energy bar to stave off acidity. Plan A: Sit down. Have lunch peacefully!

My upper arms – triceps – hurt. Reason: unknown. Please suggest an exercise I can do between classes to ease the pain. — Tara

Triceps follow the same rule as all other muscles: if you don’t use them, you lose them. Stretch and strengthen those truant triceps 3 times a day this way: Sit straight. Extend both arms straight out in front, palms facing outward, fingers pointing down – a “What’s happening?” pose. Hold for 30 seconds and feel your triceps harden. Next, clasp fingers of left hand with right hand and gently tug the left arm towards your right as far as possible, keeping both elbows straight. Hold for 30 seconds. Whew! Now, repeat with other hand.

(The writer is co-author of the book Fitness for Life.)

(This article was published on April 7, 2013)
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