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ASK THE DOC: Your questions on common ailments answered by an expert

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Q. My wee one gets earache once in a while, and they find it really upsetting. What causes earache, and should I be worried?

A. Earache is a common problem, particularly in children. It can be worrying, but it’s usually only caused by a minor viral infection and will often get better in a few days without treatment.

Earache can be a sharp, dull or burning ear pain that comes and goes or is constant. One or both ears may be affected.

It’s not always necessary to see your GP if you or your child have earache. Your local pharmacist is always on hand to offer help and advice on how you can manage the problem. The pain will often improve in a few days and there are things you can do to help in the meantime.

You should contact your GP or local out-of-hours service if you or your child also have other symptoms, such as a high temperature (fever), vomiting, a severe sore throat, hearing loss, swelling around the ear, or discharge from the ear.

You should also get in touch if there is something stuck in your or your child’s ear, or if the earache doesn’t show signs of improvement within a few days.

Q. How do I get diagnosed with lactose intolerance?

A, It’s important to visit your GP if you think you or your child may have lactose intolerance, as the symptoms can be similar to other conditions.

Before seeing your GP, keep a diary of what you eat and drink, and what symptoms you experience. Tell your GP if you notice any patterns, or if there are any foods you seem particularly sensitive to.

Your GP may suggest trying to remove lactose from your diet for two weeks to see if it helps. This will provide further evidence of whether you’re lactose intolerant. Your GP may sometimes suggest further tests.

Visit www.nhsinform.scot for details.

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