This was in the news recently when a British father of two was awarded compensation after he suffered a stroke following a shampoo at his local hairdresser. The problem is caused when a blood clot forms due to pressure from the rim of the backwash basin damaging an artery at the back of the neck. Vascular surgeon Mr. John Scurr says that ‘it could be an issue in susceptible people with underlying problems, such as high blood pressure or a previous transient ischaemic attack [mini-stroke]’.
The risk of stroke aside, some salon basins can provoke significant discomfort in your neck, as I know from personal experience. The simplest option is to ask your salon whether it offers a neck pillow (invariably made of rubber) and, if they don’t, to take one with you. You can find several inexpensive options online or opt for HeadBed, a head and neck support cushion designed by an Australian naturopath, principally for salons and residential homes. HeadBed supports the weight of the head at the heaviest point, ‘like a golf ball on a tee’. It is not cheap, but could prove a worthwhile investment. £72 plus postage/headbeduk.com.
Q. I tripped recently and tore a layer of skin off both my knees. I realised that I didn’t know the protocol for dealing with this small but painful injury. What should I do next time?
A. Most cuts and grazes are minor and can easily be treated at home, according to NHS Choices (nhs.uk).Here is a guide:
• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
• Stop any bleeding Apply pressure using a clean, dry, absorbent material (eg, a flannel, hanky or piece of bandage) for several minutes. If the cut is on your hand or arm, raise it above your head; if to a lower limb, lie down and raise the affected area above the level of your heart.
• Clean the wound under running tap water (if you are abroad, ensure it is drinking quality). Don’t use antiseptic as it may damage the skin and slow healing. If there are any residual fragments of grit, remove them with tweezers.
• Pat the area dry with a clean towel and apply a sterile adhesive dressing, eg, a plaster (waterproof plasters mean you can take a shower). Change the dressing daily if possible.
• Go to your GP or minor injuries unit if you think your wound is, or could become, infected. Go to your nearest A&E if you cannot stop the bleeding or if the wound is large – particularly if it is on your face or the palm of your hand. Check with NHS 111 if you need further medical advice.
Bowel Cancer UK (bowelcanceruk.org.uk) is campaigning to raise awareness of Lynch syndrome, a genetic condition with no symptoms that is estimated to cause 1,000 cases of bowel cancer annually, many in those under the age of 50. It also increases the risk of other cancers including endometrial (womb), ovarian and stomach, among others. ‘Lynch syndrome may be suspected if a person has close blood relatives who have developed bowel, womb and ovarian cancer over several generations,’ according to Bowel Cancer UK . The charity advises anyone under 50 who has been diagnosed with bowel cancer (or one of the other types listed above) to ask their healthcare team if they will be, or have been, tested for Lynch syndrome. According to the charity Lynch Syndrome UK (lynch-syndrome-uk.org), one in 340 people carries the genes for the condition,but 95 per cent are unaware.
BOOK OF WEEK: Eat Well Stay Well: What to Eat to Beat Common Ailments (Connections, £12.99*)
This well-designed paperback by GP and nutritional therapist Dr. Sarah Brewer is packed with practical information. Part one lists 20 superfoods to include regularly, plus tips on how to prepare them, while the second part describes which foods to consume and avoid to help alleviate and, hopefully, prevent 50 common conditions, from bloating, colds and flu to high blood pressure and rosacea.