Ask The Doctor
Doctor's Column: Am I allergic to groundnuts?
Posted Thursday, January 10 2013 at 00:00
Dear doctor, I have had diarrhoea for some time now. It tends to come when I take milk as well as groundnuts. Are the groundnuts not clean or has the milk been spoiled by crooks who add water to it? Should I stop taking milk or groundnuts?
Dear Kakyeshoro, both milk and groundnuts are very nutritious and unless they cause serious health problems, they should be part of any adult’s balanced diet. As much as we may dislike it, diarrhoea is one way the body tries to protect itself from invading germs and detected toxic substances by flushing them out. Allergies occur when we react to harmless substances including foods which the body may then try to flush out with diarrhoea. An allergy to milk or groundnuts may lead to diarrhoea, abdominal pain, bloating and other symptoms like an itchy skin rash. Such allergies are very common with groundnuts but many times occur with dairy.
With an allergy, even small amounts of the implicated food will cause symptoms which increase with severity the more one eats the food. Avoiding the food completely, mostly helps. As one ages, food allergies reduce or even cease, though they can reoccur afterwards. Sometimes, diarrhoea may occur because of failure to digest some contents of the eaten food including those found in dairy and groundnuts. The so called food intolerance will also lead to diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating without the associated itchy skin. Milk intolerance happens in cases of failure to digest lactose in milk so that this is presented to intestinal bacteria leading to products that cause diarrhoea and the said symptoms. In most cases, someone who has food intolerance can eat small amounts of the food with only mild symptoms, such as indigestion or heartburn.
Your problem requires an investigation so that if it is an allergy, the implicated food is abandoned, but if is it an intolerance smaller amounts can be taken.
Dear doctor, what is this “nomoceline” which was given to the late Butaleja MP? Could it have caused her death?
Dear Katwire, what you call “nomoceline” is normal saline, a sterile fluid containing salt (saline) that is approximately like the salt (sodium chloride) amounts in our blood. Normal saline is commonly given in the veins (intravenous fluids) to rehydrate a person who is dehydrated especially after loss of water through diarrhoea or other conditions that leave one severely short on body water or blood volume.
The normal saline (salt) concentration is 0.90 per cent of sodium chloride and is most unlikely to have caused sudden death even if too much of it was given, too much air entered the blood, or even if it was not sterile or was expired.
Dear doctor, why do babies cry at birth? Is it because of the cutting of the cord?
Dear Kyaligonza, a good cry of a baby immediately after its birth is taken as a sign of good health. A baby cries as this helps open up the lungs for its first breath of air. No cry or a weak cry means the baby’s health is in danger. It is true that when humans feel pain, they may cry out loud, sob or merely shed tears but a new-born does not feel the pain of cutting the umbilical cord and therefore does not cry because the cord is cut.