Letter: Aaaaaaah, breathe in not out

Dear Editor

Dr Liam Farrell's column (GP, 10 March) struck a chord.

One of my betes noires of GP and hospital medicine is how no one has been taught how to examine a throat: all the registrars I meet (even those who have done ENT) do the 'aaaaah'.

This requires vibration of the vocal cords and exhalation. Considering we are looking for a variety of nasties in there, it is not surprising this method exposes the poor doctor to considerable personal risk of infection - remember your first few years in practice?

Can I suggest we promote the following technique?

'Open your mouth (not wide) and breathe IN'.

Watch how the tongue drops and the uvula lifts.

Hey, there will be no germs for the doc, and a tongue depressor will be helpful for the few awkward ones.

Dr David Polkinghorn, Verwood, Dorset.

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