DR. ROACH WRITES: I wrote a column on cracked fingertips, and received a wealth of suggestions from readers.
For prevention, some suggestions I liked included avoiding too-hot water for handwashing, antibacterial soaps and wool gloves, all of which can remove protective oils from your fingers. A humidifier in the house can prevent drying of all the skin.
Home-treatment remedies included flax-seed oil or B vitamins by mouth. (I don’t know if these are effective, but they should be safe.) Most people recommended emollients to the hands, specifically Preparation H, O’Keefe’s Working Hands, Bag Balm, CeraVe, Chapstick and Carmex Healing Cream. Plain petrolatum (Vaseline) works very well for many people and is inexpensive. The area can be covered at night by a bandage or glove.
Several people recommended saltwater soaks. One noted that the pure mountain water of Colorado Springs cured him in three days. Finally, one person recommended trimming the nails quite short. These home remedies have helped many.
DEAR DR. ROACH: After an extreme case of vertigo, including vomiting and being taken to the emergency room, my unsteadiness remains. Over a week later, I need to use a walker to be safe. I am 79, and this happened once four years ago, but without the aftereffects. Any suggestions? — M.W.
ANSWER: The major causes of vertigo, acute labyrinthitis and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, often continue to produce attacks that tend to lessen in severity up to a month after the initial severe attack. A walker may be a useful precaution while recovering. If the problem persists, I strongly recommend a visit with a physical and/or occupational therapist for vestibular rehabilitation, which is physical therapy to restore balance. It also might be necessary to revisit your doctor to confirm the original diagnosis.
The booklet on vertigo explains this disruptive condition in detail and outlines its treatment. Readers can order a copy by writing: Dr. Roach — No. 801W, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 15-year-old son was just admitted to the hospital for depression and ADD. His thyroid tests came back abnormal. There is thyroid disease in the family. Is that the cause of his illness? — Anon. ANSWER: Thyroid conditions, including both hyper- (too much) and hypo- (too little) thyroid hormone are common in the general population, but more so in people who are diagnosed with a wide variety of psychiatric illnesses, including depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. I have read that up to a third of people in new admissions for psychiatric conditions have thyroid abnormalities. It isn’t always clear whether the thyroid problem caused the psychiatric illness, and probably most often there is a large combination of factors, including genetics, environmental and medical conditions that affect the development of psychiatric conditions.
It is clear that sometimes, but not always, treating the underlying thyroid condition can make managing the psychiatric symptoms much easier.
©2017 North America Synd.