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7 February 2011
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Dr Jonty visits Oxford's covered market

The Street Doctors visit the beautiful university city of Oxford.

It may be a centre of learning but that doesn't mean that there aren't health issues for its residents. The life expectancy of the people in Oxford is lower than the average for the South East of England, 80 percent of the population don't get enough exercise and rates of testicular cancer in Oxfordshire have doubled in the last 30 years a particular worry for young men.

Dr Jonty visits the covered market where he meets student Christina who's developed a mysterious itch!

She shows Dr Jonty the itchy spots on her arms and says she's no idea where they've come from. Dr Jonty soon deduces that the spots are actually bites caused by bed bugs as they appear in the classic 3 clusters breakfast, lunch and dinner.

He shows Christina a picture of a bed bug which are about 5mm creatures that don't actually live in the bed but in the cracks and crevices around the room. They are quite hard to treat and generally the room needs a professional fumigation.

Want to check for bed bugs? Dr Jonty suggests:

- Looking out for blood spots on bedding and clusters of bites on exposed areas of the body.

- If you're in any doubt, hot wash all bed linen to kill any eggs and seek professional help from your local council's pest control team.

Dr George explores the university and comes across Ashling who has a rash on her face which she's been told is psoriasis and isn't healing.

Dr George inspects the butterfly-like rash and also where it's affecting her hair and scalp which has some scaly patches and hair-thinning. He thinks that the problem is not psoriasis but in fact systemic lupus erythematosus where the body's defence mechanism has turned on itself.

This is because when Ashling goes in the sun the rash gets worse and burns whereas with psoriasis it would tend to get better. However he advises she needs to see a skin specialist to get a definitive diagnosis and stay out of the sun in the short term.

Of course the Street Doctors couldn't visit Oxford without seeing if any of the students need a consultation and Dr Jonty visits the Oxford Union where he meets a group of male students wanting advice about testicular cancer.

As this is the most common form of cancer in men aged 15-44 they're interested in self examination. Dr Jonty tells them the best time for a check is when you're relaxed after a warm bath or shower. You then take one testicle at a time between your thumb and the first 2 fingers of both hands - you feel the surface which should feel quite smooth. If you feel any lumps or hard bits you should definitely get them checked out by a doctor.

Dr Jonty recommends monthly self examination:

- Watching out for a hard lump in one testicle

- A heavy or dragging feeling in the groin and a change in size of one testicle.

- If in any doubt, visit your GP.

Related Links

Parasites of Man
Excellent information about parasites including human fleas, bed bugs, body lice and many more.
Medinfo - Psoriasis
Symptoms, causes and treatment for this common skin condition.
Guide to Self Examination for Testicular Cancer.
Action Against Male Cancer
Highlights the issue of ignorance surrounding cancer affecting the male genitals, with diagrams showing how to check for key symptoms

View exclusive video from Oxford


Dr George

Health Tips

from Dr George

  • Don't smoke.
  • Take up an exercise you'll enjoy - swimming, jogging, running.
  • Keep your intake of alcohol down - 14 units per week for women, 22 units for men.
  • Get your blood pressure checked every 3-5 years.

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