TODAY   |  April 08, 2014

‘Sand in eye’ feeling: Surprising illness symptoms

Dr. Roshini Raj joins TODAY to chat about listening to what your body is trying to tell you, and some physical symptoms you should be paying attention to.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we all suffer from unusual symptoms or pains now and then. for example, tamron sneezes on the air sometimes. most of the time, though, it's nothing serious.

>> but there are certain signs you should pay attention to that may require you to see a doctor. so here to help us understand what our bodies are telling us is dr. raj. good to see you. we have to say off the bat if you feel you have a serious issue, see your doctor.

>> absolutely, when in doubt, check it out. there are some symptoms that you may not realize are representing something a little bit more serious.

>> what about a canker sore ? feels like something pretty minor, although it hurts a lot. can it be something more serious?

>> it potentially could. a canker sore , a sore in the lining of your gums, your mouth can be annoying when you're chewing. it's painful. usually it's caused by either some minor trauma to your mouth, like if you bite your gum, or sometimes people get it with food sensitivities with citrus fruits . could be a viral infection. they usually do heal within two weeks and it's a benign thing. if it doesn't heal after about three weeks, you need to worry because it could be a sign of oral cancer . especially if it's painless, ironically. if you don't have any pain, that means it could be something more serious.

>> all right, let's move on to the feeling of sand in your eye.

>> it's a horrible feeling, that sort of gritty something's in your eye, you can't quite get it out. well, maybe you do have something in your eye, like an eyelash, for example. rinsing it with some saline solution . but if it's not going away, it could be a cornual abrasion. this is a scratch on the cornea. and you definitely need to see a doctor right away about this because an abrasion on your cornea if infected could lead to some vision loss . you never want to play around with your eyes, so get it checked out.

>> how do you treat something like that? just drops?

>> it's usually antibiotic drops. you want to prevent it from being infected. you'll also stop wearing your contact lenses until it's fully healed.

>> when should you see a doctor? the canker sore , you said a week or two. how long should you wait on something like this?

>> if you're feeling something in your eye that's really not going away within a few hours, then you may have an abrasion, you should go get it checked out.

>> i get to ask you about frequent burping. what does it mean?

>> well, burping, a lot of people do it, obviously, if you've eaten too quickly, swallowed some air. when we're burping or belching, we're expelling air from our stomach through our mouth. however, if you're burping more frequently and you don't really feel like you just had a soda or something, it could be a sign of irritation to the lining of your stomach. something like an ulcer even. or acid reflux . this is one of the common symptoms of acid reflux . it's important to know if you have that. because chronic acid exposure in your esophagus could cause pre-cancer.

>> how often should your body naturally expel the gas? burp a couple times?

>> couple times a day. chewing gum causes you to swallow a lot of air. if you're drinking a lot of carbonated drinks. if you're eating quickly, all of those things will make you swallow air where you'll burp more often. if you're not doing any of those things and burping more than a few times a day, you should get it checked out.

>> the next one can be very serious. a swollen, painful leg can mean what?

>> a deep vein thrombosis. many people develop this after they've been sitting a long time, in a plane or a car. you may think well, i'm just swollen because i've been sitting. but this is a potentially life-threatening situation. the clot in your leg, part of it will break off and travel to your legs. it's very serious. could even be fatal.

>> lastly, quickly, the swollen lump under the arm. what could that mean?

>> so we have lymph nodes. could be a swoellen bump. could be an ingrown hair. a bad cold could do it. but if this persists, this could be one of the signs of breast cancer , so you really want to take it very seriously.

>> interesting information. dr. raj, thank you so much. up next,