Private GP answers your most commonly asked health questions.

10 July 2017

Dr Joanna Longstaffe a leading GP has answered some common questions that she has experienced in clinic this month.

I’ve got psoriasis on my elbows and knees. What’s the best treatment?

Psoriasis is a skin condition which causes skin (especially over joints) to be red, dry and flaky. It can also be often itchy and uncomfortable – and may cause joint pain as well.

The knees and elbows are common areas to be affected by the condition.

Finding the right treatment for each individual can sometimes prove tricky and the method of treatment your GP will recommend first really will depend on the severity of your condition. If it is mild, topical creams such as emollients and steroid creams will usually be tried, and if they don’t make a difference after six weeks, your GP will likely try stronger creams and sometimes refer you to a specialist. UV light or ‘phototherapy’ is often helpful for more severe psoriasis and sufferers often report the symptoms getting better in summer months when their skin is more exposed to the sunshine.

If you still show no signs of improvements there are systematic treatments that can be injected or taken orally, as well phototherapy which exposes the psoriasis to ultraviolet light in a bid to clear it up.

Do talk through your options with your doctor.

Do you have any tips to avoid jet lag?

Jet lag affects your body clock and can play havoc with your sleeping patterns, your appetite and your energy levels.

You can’t prevent it, but there are things you can do to minimise its effect. You should try to sleep and relax during the flight, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoid drinking too much alcohol.

After a long flight your body will need to adjust to the new time zone and the new routine that comes with it. Try and get in to this new routine as soon as you can. If it’s breakfast time in your new destination, eat breakfast – even if your body thinks it’s time for tea! Stay active and try to get outside in natural light to help your body to adapt. Although the first thing you may want to do is sleep – don’t, unless it is actually bed time.

Jet lag won’t normally cause any long-term health issues and should disappear within a day or two.

I’ve just booked my summer holiday and want to get in shape. Any tips to get a 'bikini body', healthily?

First of all, you shouldn’t think of it as getting ‘fit for the summer’, it should be about getting healthy for life and making lifestyle changes rather than crash diets. Simply put: you need to eat less and exercise more to lose weight.

There is no quick fix. Ensure you’re eating regularly and that what you’re eating is healthy and balanced. Most of us know what is and isn’t good for us. Avoid foods that are processed and high in fat, and hidden calories such as sugar in fizzy drinks and alcohol.

Protein-rich foods such as chicken and oily fish will help you to stay alert through the day, as will seafood, eggs and pulses. The good thing is that you can eat as many vegetables as you like, so long as they are not fried! Fruit is also very nutritious.

Exercise is important, but don’t rush into anything. Find something you enjoy that gets you moving – walking or dancing for example.

I can’t promise a ‘bikini body’ in time for the summer, but I can guarantee that by making simple lifestyle changes you’ll feel a whole lot better for it.

If you feel well and are eating healthily, you can rock that bikini look whatever size you are!


If you have any health concerns then please visit your GP. Alternatively if you cannot wait then please book into Spire Bristol Hospital’s private GP service, which is now available five days a week. We will aim to see you the same day of enquiry. For more information contact the Independent General Practice.  


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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