Ask the doctor.

Dr Tony Steele

Ask the doctor

Many people feel like they have to be properly ill to go and see the doctor. Many problems or worries can be solved with a simple question. Whatever your query our online doctor can give you free advice without making an appointment. Dr Tony Steele is a former GP with 15 years experience.Ask a question

General health

I took salbutamol and my throat got ichy, then few hours after taking it i got heart palpatation – is this normal?

This type of reaction is not usual. Please see the Patient Leaflets for Salbutamol Inhaler for details on side effects: We recommend making an appointment with your GP or specialist Asthma nurse.

Diarrhoea after taking tablets – will they still work?

Question About an hour 2 hours after taking antibiotic treatment I had really loose diarrhoea. Will this stop the treatment from working?

Answer Diarrhoea after antibiotics is not unusual. The tablets should work as normal. Their effectiveness in unlikely to be compromised.

How stressed is too stressed?

Stress is an important physiological response in response to pressurised situations. We often get stressed about situations that are important to us and university can be a particularly stressful time as it combines so many new experiences with more independence and responsibility. It’s natural to feel some pressure at times as a student. If you feel stressed over an assignment or exam this will probably be relieved when you’ve finished the task. Try talking to a friend and make sure you give yourself time to relax. Do something fun as soon as you’ve finished. However if you find that you’re stressed more often than not, or it’s affecting your ability to work during busy times, like exams or balancing a part-time job, then you’re probably too stressed. The exam period can be a particularly stressful time during the academic year and while it’s important to do your best and becoming too anxious or stressed can have negative effects on both your health and your ability to work effectively or think clearly. It’s important to make sure you have a healthy balance between working and socialising. Sleep is usually the first thing to be affected by stress. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, feel anxious or panicky or feel depressed then your student health service will be able to provide you with help and advice.

Sexual health

What is the best/most convenient and safe contraception method?

The best, safest and most convenient method of contraception depends on individual circumstances. Before starting new contraception numerous factors are taken into account, including past experience, personal preference, contraception requirements, infection risk (number of partners) and many others. It is always best to consult a doctor or contraception service before starting a new method of contraception. Oral contraceptive pills are the most widely used form of contraception for women, although not always suitable for all women. The contraceptive pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infection, which may be an important consideration. There are a variety of contraceptive options with various advantages and disadvantages. Your doctor or contraception service will be able to look at your particular circumstances and provide detailed advice.

How do I know if I’ve got an STI?

STIs are a wide range of infections so specific symptoms can be very varied. If you’re experiencing abnormalities with your genitals, it could be due to a STI. Common symptoms of STIs are persistent rash or itching, painful sores or blisters, pain during sex or when urinating, unusual discharge or smell and warts. Also a sore throat after oral sex could be a sign of gonorrhoea. If you feel or see anything unusual you should contact your doctor, even if it’s just for peace of mind. However some STIs, like chlamydia and gonorrhoea, can be symptomless or the symptoms could be hidden, in the case of internal genital warts for women. It’s best, in the beginning of a new relationship and with any new partner, to practice safe sex alongside regular sexual health check-ups. Remember that most STIs can be prevented with condoms. If you’ve had unprotected sex and are worried you have an STI, I’d recommend that you visit your GP surgery or sexual health clinic for further advice.

Travel health

What are the best malaria tablets to take?

All malaria tablets recommended for a particular destination are equally effective - non are 100% effective. Some tablets require a longer period prior to and after entering a malarial area. Tablets will have different side effects and will affect people differently. For further information see table comparing anti-malaria tablets.