Why parents used to stop us from touching cats’ hair

Cats may also carry outdoor allergic substances such as pollen


BY Dr Vincent Karuhanga


I like the simple explanations you give your readers. I ask why is it that the parents of long ago used to stop us from touching cats’ hair. That we would cough?

Dear Shaban,
An allergy is the body’s over-reaction to the usually encountered substances.

Skin itching with or without a rash, a running nose or even an asthmatic attack may indicate an allergic reaction.

There are substances that are more likely to provoke an allergic reaction, including pollen and dander (dead skin from the animal).
But contrary to popular belief that it is cat’s hair that cause’s allergies (and therefore the warning by parents not to touch cat hair), it is proteins in the cat’s saliva, urine, and dander (dried flakes of skin) that people with cat allergy react to.

Cats may also carry outdoor allergic substances such as pollen.

Today with so many allergic reactions, when children have severe allergies including to cats, it is advised that victims of allergy avoid exposure to cats by keeping them outdoor, washing them or in the extreme avoiding keeping the cats.

I always had water but nowadays I don’t. This scares me and I think my husband will get another woman. I was given Lasix tablets by a local nurse but I have not improved. What can I do to preserve my marriage?

Dear Louisa,
Much as you only fear for your marriage, vaginal dryness may lead to painful sex, leading to loss of sex drive apart from failing to reach orgasm or risking urinary tract infections. Also, vaginal dryness may result from diabetes or Sjögren’s syndrome requiring proper investigation and treatment.

That said, the dryness may be due to hormonal problems of menopause, breastfeeding, childbirth and hormonal contraception. These may require use of water-based lubricants to stem.

Many Ugandan men do not romance much, especially after they have erected hence failing to make a woman properly aroused leading to dry sex.
Lasix may cause one to produce and pass more urine. Instead of improving vaginal lubrication, Lasix may actually worsen the dryness if one does not replace the water lost through over urinating.

I am a 24-year-old man but I have breasts like a woman. Could it be because I enjoy women sucking my breasts?

Dear Sam,
Development of big breasts in men (gynaecomastia) can be a source of great distress in adolescent boys and especially when the breasts produce milk.
Breast prominence can result from increase in breast tissue, chest skin or fat tissue or a combination of all. Today, many MEN have big breasts because of obesity with excessive fat in the breast area (pseudogynaecomastia).

Gynaecomastia can occur physiologically in new-borns, adolescents, and in the elderly due to related imbalance in sex hormones. Female hormones (Oestrogens) lead to development of breast tissue and male ones (testosterone) suppress this.

If male hormones reduce as happens with aging, castration and obesity (fat changes male to female hormones) or female hormones increase, breast development inevitably occurs.

Breast enlargement is mostly benign requiring only counselling. That said, the enlargement has to be investigated and addressed appropriately according to the cause. Where gynaecomastia is related to puberty but not due to obesity, the breast development shrinks or disappears with time.

With obesity, one has to cut weight to reduce the problem, though even then one may never regain a flat man’s chest. In case of the breasts causing much distress surgery to remove excess breast or fat tissue may be appropriate.

Why are people who suffer from diabetes encouraged to take honey instead of sugar yet honey is sweeter?

Dear Amos,
When a person eats food rich in carbohydrates or sugars, they are digested into a simple sugar called glucose, which gives us energy. This sugar may become too much in the blood if the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or produces ineffective insulin leading to glucose accumulating in blood and getting too high.

Diabetes is mostly caused by lifestyles that lead to obesity. In this case, the pancreas will not produce enough insulin for a bigger body.

Controlling blood sugar levels is the major goal of diabetes treatment, and involves a suitable diet, physical exercise and monitoring blood glucose levels.

Though the total amount of carbohydrates in food affects blood sugar levels more than the source of carbohydrates (whether the source is a starch or sugar), generally, there is no advantage of substituting honey for sugar when one is diabetic.

Both honey and sugar will increase the blood sugar levels, with honey being the worst offender because it is even sweeter than sugar.

It is true that honey is more nutritious than sugar and when sugar is well controlled (or is very low), one may take honey once in a while but it is better to leave it out all together if it has to be taken routinely or when one’s sugar is high or out of control.

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