How Bad It Is, Doctor?

BEFORE YOU RUN TO THE SPECIALIST TRY THESE SELF – TESTS TO RANK AILMENTS FROM SO-SO TO SERIOUS

Sensitive tooth, or a cavity?

Self-test Example the tooth in a mirror. If it appears shinier than the teeth near it (or if its gum line has receded more), you may have worn away the enamel or gum by over brushing, says Dr Shruti, senior dentist at Max Hospital, Dehradun. But if the tooth has a cavity, it may still look just like the neighbouring teeth.
FOLLOW-UP See a dentist if you suspect a cavity. If you have sensitivity, don’t worry. It’s common and may improve with time. (Consider a toothpaste like Sensodyne. And don’t over brush.) A dentist can verify the diagnosis at your next visit.

Fracture, or sprain?

Self-test Use the tip of your finger to press where it hurts, and then press the surrounding area. “If you put pressure on the bone and it doesn’t hurt as much as, say, the area next to it, it’s probably a sprain,” says Dr Rajeev Sharma, an orthopaedic surgeon at Fortis Hospital, Dehradun. But if touching the bone itself causes more pain, it’s likely a fracture.
FOLLOW-UP Monitor your pain. Due to inflammation, a sprain will be worse the day after the injury. If you suspect a fracture or it doesn’t improve within 48 hours, see a doctor as soon as possible.

AB strain, or hernia?
Self test Bear down as if you’re having a bowel movement, and feel the area in question. “At times you can feel a soft protrusion where intestines have poked through the abdominal muscles,” says Travis Stork BF’s emergency-medicine advisor. That’s hernia.
FOLLOW-UP If your abs are strained, lay off exercise for a few days and they should recover. But if the area suddenly becomes more painful, particularly after you cough or lift something heavy, you could have a strangulated hernia. That’s a medical emergency, see a doctor.

Jock itch, or herpes?
Self test Scratch the inflamed area. If skin flakes off, or if the area becomes warmer and itchier after a sweaty workout, you probably have jock itch, says Ahmad Ansari, M.D., BF’s dermatology advisor. Jock itch also worsens over time. By contrast, a herpes outbreak looks like a cluster of red bumps capped with clear blisters. Plus the area will clear up between outbreaks.
FOLLOW-UP  Jock itch typically stays in the folds of your skin and can be treated with an over-the-counter cream. Herpes can spread around any area of your genitals, and while medication can prevent outbreaks, there is no cure. See your doctor and talk to your partner.Toenail fungus, or runner’s toe?
Self test Trim the affected nails. “With toenail fungus, the nail is frail and crumbles like chalk when trimmed,” says Dr Ansari. “The nail also lifts easier, leaving a gap between the nail and the nail bed.” the final test, give it a sniff. Fungus stinks, runner’s toe doesn’t.
FOLLOW-UP Toenail fungus goes away after treatment. If you have a case of runner’s toe, you can prevent it from returning by wearing narrow shoes. “The less space in the sneaker,” Dr. Ansari says, “the less your foot will slide and jam into the wall of the shoe.”  

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