My head’s full of ear gunge!

How do I get rid of waxy ears? They itch like hell.
Ricky Spann, via e-mail

As Jon Gardner of Deafness Research UK explains, “Earwax usually protects and lubricates, and only needs removing if it’s causing a problem such as dulled hearing, extreme itchiness or discomfort.” In which case an ‘irrigator’ is used to wash the wax out of the ears using warm water. And if the itching doesn’t stop? “You might have inflammation of the ear canal, known to doctors as otitis externa.” This is where the ear doesn’t clean itself properly, and it’s a common dilemma among swimmers. “Usually an ear spray containing acetic acid may help,” says Gardner.

Give it to me straight, doc…

Is it worth getting a full body MOT now? Would it pick up any early warning signs for anything dodgy or preventable?
Ally McPhelter, via e-mail

Absolutely. As Dr Sneh Khemka, Assistant Medical Director of BUPA ( says, “We carry out about 100,000 health assessments a year, and over a third of people find out they have an undiagnosed medical condition.” We’re talking high blood pressure, diabetes, early-stage heart disease and even some cancers, so obviously it’d be handy to find out about these blighters early. Dr Khemka also says that three quarters of the people they see end up changing their lifestyle, so if you’re at all worried about your health, getting yourself up on bricks is worth thinking about.

Booze makes me psychotic

Why is it that only certain kinds of alcohol make me aggressive, not others?
Peter Janstice, via e-mail

“I’m not convinced some types of alcohol do actually cause more aggression than others,” says Dr Sarah Jarvis, advisor to Alcohol Concern ( “Some drinks just enable you to get drunk more quickly.” So two pints of whisky will see you brawling a lot faster than a pre-dinner spritzer with the parents. And then there’s the effect all alcohol has on the body. As Sarah explains, “In small quantities, drink can act as a mood enhancer, but as you drink more it becomes a depressant.”

The Invisible Man keeps kicking my balls

I’m getting an ache in my arse, sometimes between there and my knob, but internally, like cramp. Have I got the Big C?
Shay Level, via e-mail

Probably not, according to Angus Somerville, Chief Executive of male cancer specialists Orchid ( “The symptoms you describe affecting your perineum do not fit with any that are linked to the presence of cancer. Testicular cancer, the disease men tend to worry about in that part of their body, normally presents itself at first in the form of a painless lump, or alteration in shape or mass of the testis itself. Talk to your doctor about it.”

I’m like Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable!

I broke my shin a year ago and am scared of running on it again in case it’s weakened. But my mate reckons it’ll have grown back stronger. Really?
Dharmish Bachu, via e-mail

Happily, you’ve got nothing to worry about, according to fitness guru Tommy Matthews of Optimal Life Fitness Group ( “After 12 months the bone will be well healed” says Tommy, “although it won’t be stronger than before. People say that because the healing process creates an excess of bone.” So has our man got anything to worry about? “After a year? No, the bone will be rock solid, unless he’s had a really, really unhealthy lifestyle. If it’s still sore, it’ll be down to a lack of physio.”

5 ways to cheat death. For now, anyway...

Beer kills
Research from Harvard University suggests that by having more than three drinks in a 24-hour period, you’re more likely to get atrial fibrillation, a condition that makes you five times more likely to have a stroke.

Bunk work
A new study by British spods reveals that men who went into work despite feeling poorly statistically doubled their likelihood of a heart attack. Get under that duvet.

Avoid luxurious poos
Don’t take the newspaper to the khazi. The US National Weather Service states that if lightning anywhere in the world were to strike within 20 metres of your home bog, electric vaults could travel through the plumbing and travel up your ring, killing you. Dignified.

Sleep off a heart attack
Eyes heavy? Computer screen blurry? Don’t resist. According to new research from Greek scientists, having a 30-minute nap decreases your chance of a heart attack.

Never wee in the sea
No one can see – why not just let yourself go? Don’t. According to marine biologist Alan Henningsen, wee is like an aperitif to numerous sea-dwelling predators, including sharks. No little you, no big you.

How to... Stem a knife wound

Whether it’s a slip of the butter knife over your index finger or a switchblade lodged in your neck, St John Ambulance spokesperson Sarah Jafar demonstrates…

Step 1
Put on disposable gloves if you’re treating someone else’s wound,” says Jafar. “If it’s a minor cut, rinse it under the tap.” A bigger gash? “Apply force to the wound with a pad or fingers until a sterile dressing is available.”

Step 2
Alternatively, raise and then support the injured limb so the blood draws back from the point of contact. “But take particular care if you suspect a bone is broken,” says Jafar.

Step 3
Next, bandage the pad or dressing firmly to control the bleeding, but not so tightly that it stops the circulation to the victim’s fingers or toes.” And if blood seeps through the first bandage? “Cover with a second,” says Jafar.

Step 4
“Depending on the severity of the bleeding, then dial 999 for an ambulance or arrange for a trip to hospital,” says Jafar. “The wounded may feel he or she’s fine, but they may just be experiencing shock.”