Never knowingly under-dressed, Madonna lived up to her Material Girl nickname last week after she was pictured on a beach in Ibiza in a rashie – a long-sleeved Lycra top favoured by surfers – underneath a floor-length black-and-white patterned gown and matching wide-brimmed hat.
Sir Paul McCartney’s lovely wife Nancy Shevell has also been spotted wearing a rashie, and who could forget Nigella Lawson in her burkini?
But I agree – safety first, girls. You can slather on as much factor 50 as you like but the only real way of avoiding the damage wrought on the skin by UV rays is to stay out of their way – and this is one seemingly eccentric celebrity health trend I hope will catch on.
No rashing around: Madonna was pictured on a beach in Ibiza in a rashie, a long-sleeved Lycra top favoured by surfers, which she wore under her dress
While you may look gorgeous in a string bikini and be as brown as a berry on the beach, you will look far less appealing missing half of your nose after a surgeon has to cut out a skin cancer.
For people with nut allergies, planes can be hazardous places.
Some airlines don’t serve nuts but there isn’t any consistency, and last week one family was allegedly asked to leave a United Airlines jet for asking cabin crew not to serve nuts.
When will firms realise this is a potentially fatal condition, and families are not just making a fuss?
My son has had a yellowish tinge on the skin around his eyes for a few months. His GP suggested it was something to do with him wearing sunglasses and it was left at that, which seems odd. I’m not happy about this at all, and I worry that it could be a sign of liver problems.
This is certainly a curious problem and I can understand why you want an answer. With any consultation – whether with a GP or a specialist – it is always important to go back if you don’t feel satisfied with the answers you have been given.
I understand this is not easy, and there are certainly not always definitive answers to symptoms, but it sounds as if you have little confidence or satisfaction in the consultation. Perhaps your son could seek a second opinion from another GP at the practice – this may also not reveal an answer, but it would offer some reassurance.
As to the yellowish tinge you describe, you mention that it could be liver-related, implying this is actually jaundice. Jaundice can often be seen as a tinge within the white of the eyes and affect the whole of the skin.
It would certainly be unlikely to focus on one area of skin around the eyes, and generally jaundice would coincide with other more obvious symptoms such as nausea or abdominal pain.
A more likely cause for yellow skin around the eyes is a condition called xantholasma. This is usually associated with cholesterol problems, and blood tests are always taken to measure the cholesterol of those with this condition.
Your son could ask for a second opinion on his skin condition including blood tests. Medicine is not a precise science and doesn’t always reveal exact answers, but patients are still entitled to expect satisfaction from a consultation which clearly you have not had.
My husband has trigeminal neuralgia for which he takes a daily pill, amitriptyline, but still suffers from extremely painful attacks. Is there anything that will eliminate them completely?
I am very sorry to hear about this: trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is considered by doctors to be one of the most painful conditions known to man. Affecting the trigeminal nerve, which branches down the side of the face, attacks feel like a stabbing, electric shock and can last for several days or months. We don’t usually know what causes the condition, but the pain can be brought on by eating and even a cold wind.
Amitriptyline is an antidepressant that is used widely for nerve pain. However, current scientific data implies that it is not helpful for TN. The most effective drug treatment we use for TN now is actually an anti-epilepsy drug called carbamezipine, which is gradually built up to a level of pain control.
I’m not sure whether it was in your husband’s case, but this should be offered first as other more typical painkillers do not work at all. In cases like these, it’s important to discuss things with a GP as the standard treatment and at the right level can eliminate attacks.
If medicines do not work, referral to a specialist and surgery could be the next step. This involves relieving the pressure on the affected nerve, although there are a few different procedures to achieve this.
While surgery may seem drastic, the pain of TN is debilitating and depressing and destroys quality of life.
The operation eliminates the pain in more than 90 per cent of sufferers who have it. If medicines don’t work, it should be considered.
Grin and wear it
I’m left infuriated by the plethora of useless gadgets and gizmos aimed at new parents these days, marketed along with claims that we need them in order to have healthy children. It’s cynical exploitation, pure and simple.
How did we raise them safely before without slip-proof baby knee pads? Perfectly well is the answer.
But I must make an exception for the Boba Vest, formerly known as the Peekaru. As you can see from the picture, it will undoubtedly have the health benefit of making any exhausted new mother burst out laughing every time she looks in the mirror while wearing it…
It's Alien!: The Boba Vest covers you and your baby when your child is in a carrier
Stars can help with the stigma och depression
The death of Robin Williams continues to provoke comment, both positive and negative. Many people have commented that ‘it was such a surprise’ to discover he was so severely depressed – but Williams spoke frankly about his addictions and stints in rehab, and his comedy roles were, after all, merely roles.
In reality, showbiz stars have more opportunity to be open about mental health problems than us ordinary folk – they’re allowed to be tortured. But my patients are often worried about telling colleagues or even close friends about their mental illness over fears for their job or being judged.
Fifi Geldof, who lost her sister Peaches this year to a heroin overdose, has spoken out since Williams’s death about her own depression, calling to end the stigma. She wrote on Twitter that she wore ‘a permanent mask’ so as not to give away her true feelings.
Any mental illness is difficult to endure, but even more so if sufferers feel they have to keep it a secret, which adds to their shame and isolation.
I hope revelations of mental illness in these idols go some way to removing the barriers that everyday sufferers face, and allow those not in the public eye to disclose their illness without fear of repercussions.
Do you have a question for Dr Ellie?
Email DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk or write to Health, The Mail on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT. Dr Ellie can only answer in a general context and cannot respond to individual cases, or give personal replies. If you have a health concern, always consult your own GP.