The article "Welcome-Home Illnesses" [On the Spot, by Catharine Hamm, Feb. 17] was informative and helpful. However, I would caution those who become ill to contact medical help after three days, not five. My husband and I returned from a cruise around South America two years ago, and each of us developed severe intestinal problems. Imodium and a bland diet did not help. We contacted our physician three days after our symptoms began but were too ill to go into his office.
This week Google unveiled its new symptom cards, which will pop to the top of your search results the next time you try to search for your various ailments. Currently only on the Apple or Android Google apps, this feature will eventually be available through web browser searches too. Google developed its symptom cards with the help of doctors at Harvard medical school and the Mayo Clinic. Other symptom checkers, perhaps driven by medico-legal concerns, feed the fears of hypochondriacs. They list scary and rare diagnoses alongside the most probable.
For some women, the menopause and the years leading up to it, can be a time of troubling emotional and physical symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) eases symptoms like hot flushes and sweats, but it's not suitable for all women. Now, a small study published in BMJ Open suggests acupuncture may be worth considering. The Danish study found that five weeks of acupuncture in women with menopausal symptoms reduced hot flushes, night sweats, sleep disturbances and emotional problems. Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark cautioned that they couldn't rule out that the results were down to the placebo effect.