Dr. Linda Thorpe : Columbia Africa Preventative Health Chat -MumsVillage

Quote of the day

When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful Malala Yousafzai
Pregnancy & Parenting

Dr. Linda Thorpe : Columbia Africa Preventative Health Chat

Columbia Africa’s Dr. Linda Thorpe took part in our WhatsApp Preventative Health Chat answering questions from mums in our community and these were the highlights:

Opening Question — What are the top 3 Family health issues you’re seeing at the moment ?

Dr Linda: Currently it’s throat and chest virus/ bronchitis and also gastroenteritis, that we are seeing. Common things in general are the lifestyle diseases like hypertension, and actually quite a  lot of stress/ burnout depression.

  • I got a premature baby (32) weeks. So we have been on breast milk and fm 85 supplement. How long does it take to gain weight? She was 1.4 kg yesterday and how do I prevent her from losing weight?

Dr. linda: That’s a tricky one as I am not a neontologist but if she is feeding well and settled and gaining weight along the percentile she is which should be being measured by your own doctor then they follow a gentle gain and losses will be followed by a catch up period!


  • How can I stop my 2 year old from pulling her hair out?  

Dr. Linda : It’s a tricky one with 2 year olds, it can be a sign of stress, and also becomes a habit. You could use distraction also if they are a boy you could consider short hair for a time..If it’s a real problem see your Paeditrician


  • Is green tea unsafe ? My baby is 9 months.

Dr Linda: I would not use it on a baby. If it’s for your self that is okay and if you are breastfeeding it’s fine… it’s got no nutritional value, so use water.


  • I have a 1year old with mild eczema. Any natural remedies to cleanse her body?.

Dr Linda: Mild eczema you don’t need to cleanse, that may make it worse as drying is not good for the skin. So I would use moisturizing unscented products such a as oilatum designed for  eczema. Lots of bathing is not good again the water is very hard. Best time to moisturize is after a bath…


  • Does otitis media with infusion affect speech and after its treatment how is speech gained in a two year old child?  How long does it take to catch up and since he had not said any words only ‘Mum’ does he need speech therapy he’s 2 years 2 months?

Dr Linda : It can if they cannot hear, because they could have a glue ear, perhaps get a hearing test to check and see and they will catch up fast if all is okay! Boys are sometimes not as quick as girls, and delays can run in families with speech, if his ears are okay then you could wait and see for a few months he also needs to have lots of one to one chatting.


  • How can I help a 1.7yr baby bring up spectrum that’s congested on the throat?

Dr Linda: You can’t really help them. Ensure you keep them well hydrated as that will make it less sticky perhaps a steamy room can help too, they have small passages but they will also be able to pass it themselves that’s why some, cough and vomit.


  • Can sauna cause miscarriage first trimester?

Dr Linda: No, but any big changes in temperature are not that great for pregnancy.. so not good but won’t be a cause..


  • My one year old son has a dry cough and a running nose. What home remedies should I use to treat it?

Dr Linda: You can use saline drops for nose and paracetamol if he is in discomfort. Otherwise just let it run its course.


  • My one year old vomits after feeding. I noticed the vomit is mucus like,is there any remedy and what is the cause?

Dr Linda: Does he have a cold? They can have quite sensitive gag reflexes…. mucus wouldn’t worry me to much if he does! Is it just recent?

Mum: No cold. Happened for three days now.

Dr Linda: If he is not unwell then don’t worry.  He may have a post nasal drip irritating him..


  • How often should kids (3 -5 yr olds) be de-wormed and what are the pros and cons?

Dr Linda: Everyone seems to have their own formula- in an urban setting with little play in dirt or animals it’s not as necessary anymore- in rural areas it was prevalent and causing low blood counts! So some advocate 6 months but there doesn’t appear a guideline. You would be safe with this. 


  • Why is there such a big difference between the EDD from the doctors’ and the one after the ultrasound scan?

Dr Linda:: The doctors go on your dates of menses which sometimes are usually an estimate. 


  • Ever since I gave birth (CS) I’ve been having terrible back pains. I don’t do strenuous work or pick heavy objects but my back pain is terrible. Any home remedies or painkillers I can use?

Dr Linda: Sorry for you. It can happen sometimes from spinal/ epidural and from long labour. Ibuprofen is good for pain if you have no allergies, asthma or gastric issues. It is worth seeing a Physiotherapist..


  • My daughter is constantly getting canker sores?  What can I do? They are inside the lining of her mouth. So painful. She’s been getting them on and off, at least thrice in a month.

Dr Linda:: Sometimes they happen for no reason if they persist see a doctor it could mean she is low on iron. 


  • What causes the whitish substance in baby girl’s private part and how can one clean the place?

Dr Linda:: It is probably just a build up of her own excretion and normal. You can gently clean with cotton and water. Don’t use soaps it will make it worse. Don’t over clean… it’s quite a normal occurrence.


  • What causes spinal bifida given that folic acid was taken immediately after realising one is pregnant? Can you avoid re-occurence in sequence pregnancies?

Dr Linda:: It’s thought to be folic acid deficiency meaning spinal fusion doesn’t happen properly…. Some people need a higher dose at times and even taking it when first realizes one is pregnant isn’t always enough To avoid a re-occurrence,  it is recommended to make sure you take 5mg folic acid 3 months before you even start planning.


  • What are the best foods to eat for someone who has a hyper-acidity problem?

Dr Linda: Its more about avoiding big meals spicy meals and sometimes easier to use a food diary and see what aggravated it,some people avoid acidic fruits etc… boring bland food sadly is usually better. 


  • When you’re given medicine can you stop taking once you feel better? Both for parents and kids.

Dr Linda:: If it’s antibiotics no, finish course. Other medicines like painkillers usually you can always check back with your doctor!


  • I don’t seem to gain weight no matter the diet. I eat well, no stress but instead I lose weight some times. What can i do? I really want to gain a few kgs.

Dr Linda:: This is tricky in a way as can’t really answer quickly but if you have more calories than you need you will put on weight. If you are not then you should probably see your family doctor and run some thyroid tests and a few more.


  • Why would one have heavy bleeding three months after blighted ovum miscarriage?. There was no D&C carried, miscarriage passed naturally. 

Dr Linda: You should get checked as could simply be a  hormonal imbalance but you may also need to see your doctor.


  • At what age do I start brushing baby’s teeth with toothpaste?

Dr Linda: Good to start when the teeth appear to develop good habits. Go for very low fluoride and appropriate toothpaste for that age..


  • My baby is 1yr 6 months he has refused to eat just taking fluids what might be wrong?

Dr Linda:: Has he taken some solids? They can be like this at times. 


  • Can family planning methods that are hormonal interfere with breastfeeding? Do they reduce milk flow?

Dr Linda: Use only progesterone hormones as oestrogen combined can interfere with your milk supply. 


  • Which is the best family planning method to use after giving birth?? And after how long should you start using it once you’ve had your baby??

Dr Linda: It’s different for every individual and you should chat to a professional there is choice from coils to pills to depot…. you should use it as soon as you are coming sexual again.


  • Is non hormonal coil the best family planning method?

Dr Linda: Based on individuals after a visit to their doctors. You can look on patient.co.uk and look at contraception it will help! It is a great website for other ailments too


  • Since i gave birth I’ve noticed am always having discharge which is smelly and extremely uncomfortable I try to keep clean by changing panties severally during the day but it doesn’t help is it something that will stop eventually or do I need to see a doctor??

Dr Linda: See a doctor, I suspect you may have bacterial vaginosis which is just a build up of bacteria causing a smell and does not mean you are dirty. It just happens when the environment changes so you need treatment.


  • My 3.7yrs boys keeps on nose bleeding especially at night. What’s the problem?

Dr Linda: He may be picking his nose and therefore lifting the scab forming on the very thin area with lots of blood vessels esp when they have colds etc. If it continues for longer see your doctor.


  • What’s the remedy for smelly feet after wearing closed shoes during the hot season?

Dr Linda:: Wash and dry them often change socks often wear leather not plastic use powder and you can also stop them sweating by using antiperspirant products, designed for this..


  • My baby is 9 months now and we were sick sometime back.  When she was 3 months got admitted for almost 2 months on oxygen. Before this, her milestones were okay she had even started to lift herself up. But since we got out she has regression and we now can’t even sit yet and she gets spasm and we are underweight too… What’s your take on what I can do to help her regain her strength back and appetite. We are also on therapy.

Dr Linda:: I think you need to see a Paeditrician to conduct some tests.


  • What is the treatment for food allergy ? Does it go away.? And how can one tell its food allergy.

Dr Linda:: Avoid the food that’s causing it.  One can always reintroduce after a period of abstinence to see if it has. It may be worth doing a food allergy panel which is a blood test but it is quite costly!


  • I’m having prolonged periods which started a month after giving birth via caeserean. What could be the problem? My baby is 10 weeks old.

Dr Linda: If it’s continuing please see your doctor could be just hormonal. Are u breast feeding? Need to make sure no infection which is unlikely if you are well!

Mum: Yes am breast feeding well but the periods went on for two weeks then stopped for three days and came back, its going to the third week now.

Dr Linda: I think get checked, for a strategy if it doesn’t ease….


  • How do you handle sweaty feet and palms in kids below 5 years?

Dr Linda: Encourage them to wash and dry them when they can. It depends if it’s bothering them or their friends.


  • I’m a Ghanaian Mum in the US. What are your thoughts on the cry it out method of sleep training? Trying to do a more interval approach to it. Hard to hear little ones cry!

Dr Linda: Some swear by it others it makes them weep! So personally most work with what works for them. U could try and give it 3 days…..


  • What are some of the healthy options to reduce belly in men?

Dr Linda: Exercise and reduce calories, there is no easy way.


  • What causes obstruction of labour?

Dr Linda:: Lots of things such as big baby,  small pelvis, wrong presentation of the baby abnormalities of uterus and so much much more depending on your pregnancy.


  • What is the treatment for hives?

Dr Linda: Usually long acting antihistamine but useful to see a doctor as sometimes it may be caused by underlying reasons. 


  • What is the ideal teething range for babies and when do we consider it as late? From what age?

Doc: Always tricky as this can be quite varied.


  • How do u prevent recurrent UTI? For what age?

Dr Linda: Cranberry juice, lots fluid, wash after sex and pass urine after sex.


  • When can one say a Caeserean wound healed well? What causes the itchiness?

Dr Linda: If it’s closed and no redness apart from the line. Itchiness can be sign healing so put some bio oil on the healing wound.


  • Whenever I use those public toilet or they don’t clean well the toilet at home I scratch myself on the outside. Is it good to apply candid -b to your vagina?

Dr Linda: If you have thrush yes. Also it can help if you have vaginitis because of the steroid but not for long term use. Try not to scratch have some bath in salt water. Have a salt water bath then use candid b twice a day for a maximum of 7 days.


  • My baby has fever and I just saw a tooth coming out,could it be the cause of the fever? 

Dr Linda: No teething doesn’t cause fever but it can cause distress and red cheeks. Drooling happens sometimes but would also be concerned if he has a sore throat. If the fever persists please get him checked. 


  • I have a boob that is smaller than the other and actually has very little milk so its like I am breastfeeding one boob. Is that normal? 

Dr Linda: It’s tricky as your body works in demand so if one is easier to use and one is there for use more more milk will be produced. Most of us ladies are a bit lopsided so don’t worry too much!


  • Why do some babies wake up with swollen eyelids? It goes down after a while but on waking up, the eyelids are swollen…no pain…

Dr Linda: As long as they are settling don’t worry


  • How long after CS can I start the stomach crunches? Baby is 1 year 6 months.

Dr Linda: Start slowly and steadily. 


  • Is it normal for a one yr old baby to wake up so many times over the night?  What can one do to help.?

Dr Linda: No they should be quite settled. Check with your paeditrician if there is something bothering them. But if not, you might have to use some sleep training tactics. 


  • My baby 18 months has this rashes all over her body. I thought it could be soap but even after changing still they are increasing.

Dr Linda: It could be allergy/ eczema. Its safe to see your doctor. 


  • What is the best family planning method for someone who is battling weight?

Dr Linda: Probably  a coil as you can get a non-hormonal. However, every individual gets different side effects


  • When does backache after a caeserean end it has been 1 year 6 months already?

Dr Linda: You need to see a Physiotherapist as. it should have settled.


You can visit Columbia Africa’s Health Check Program for a comprehensive preventative health check up that is designed to suit your needs according to your age group.

Pregnancy & Parenting

Are You Prepared Ready Planning For The New Baby?