Q: I have been suffering from a strained hip flexor for the past month. What do you suggest to relieve this pain? Thank you!


A: Strained muscles can be very frustrating, especially if you are an active person. First and foremost, you must rest and avoid the activity that caused the strain. Anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, should be taken on a regular basis for at least a week. Ice the area as often as possible. Also start a good stretching routine that targets that area. Many can be found online or contact your doctor. A short course of physical therapy can also help target this area and help prevent any further injuries.


Q: Hi Dr. Cooper! High blood pressure runs in my family. What are the risks?


A: Many factors go into determining what your risk factors are for heart attack and stroke. A family history in immediate family members is just one of them. Other risk factors include age, race, gender, smoking history, high cholesterol and diagnosis of diabetes. Make an appointment with your family doctor to discuss your possible risk factors and what you can do to decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke. Prevention is the key!


Q: I have suffered from chronic earaches in my adulthood. When I get one, I head to the Dr. for drops and that clears it up. Is there any way to prevent the earache from occurring?


A: It really depends on what type of ear infection it is. Otitis Externa (aka swimmer's ear) is very common, especially in the summertime. It is caused by water becoming trapped in the external ear canal and becoming a pool for bacteria to grow in. The best way to prevent this is to use an alcohol based prep after showering and swimming in the ears. Also make sure you keep them free of wax by using a ear wax softner weekly. Never place Q-tips in the ear! If you are suffering from Otitis Media, or infection of the middle ear, it might be time to ask for a referral to an ENT doctor. These infections can only be cleared with oral antibiotics, not drops, which leads me to believe you suffer from the first condition discussed.


Q: Is there truth in feeding a cold and starving a fever?


A: I wish there was some truth to this old wives' tale! The common cold is caused by a number of different viruses. Symptoms include sore throat, congestion, cough, headache, and upset stomach. Sometimes it will produce a fever (a temperature above 100 degrees) but this is more likely seen with the influenza virus. The important thing to remember is that viruses have to run their course, which is usually 7 to 10 days. Antibiotics only work against bacteria and misuse of them for colds and flu lead to resistance in the bacteria. The best thing to do is increase your fluids, take over-the-counter cold preparations for your symptoms and get lots of rest. You should see your doctor if the fever lasts more than 5 days or you have not improved after a week.