DEAR DR. DONOHUE: You mentioned a solution to prevent swimmer’s ear. How do you apply it? — J.R.
ANSWER: The mixture is made with equal parts white vinegar and rubbing alcohol. The alcohol keeps the ear dry. The vinegar prevents proliferation of harmful bacteria. One or two drops are instilled in the ear with a dropper and allowed to stay in place for half a minute to a minute. The head is then tilted toward the shoulder to empty the ear canal.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Three months after the diagnosis, I began to become fatigued after slight exertion, and was short of breath. I’ve had to have a pacemaker implanted. I was told I probably have amyloidosis, the senile form. Is there any hope of my living a near-normal life? — L.M.
ANSWER: Amyloid is a protein produced by bone marrow cells. It can infiltrate a number of body organs. Many forms (20) of amyloidosis exist, and they all have distinctive longevity projections. Senile amyloidosis does not affect as many organs as do the other forms of this illness, so that is one thing in your favor. In this illness, when the amount of amyloid in the heart is great, the heart’s pumping action falters, and congestive heart failure is a consequence. Amyloid deposits often interfere with the generation and transmission of the electric signals that regulate heartbeats, so a pacemaker can be needed.
I can’t give you a prediction about the length of life. Of course, your life span is bound to be affected, but how greatly, no one can tell with certainty.
Lifestyle, physical activity and diet can all be important in limiting how serious congestive heart failure can become. To learn more, order the congestive heart failure booklet by writing to: Dr. Donohue — No. 103W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: In my 58 years, I never have had any problem with my scalp. My hair has turned a salt-and-pepper color. Due to vanity, I have been coloring it for the past several years. I have never experienced any problems. Recently I have had a rash of pimples forming on my scalp at the hair shaft. They hurt when the scalp is touched or the hair brushed.
I had a good friend look at my scalp with a magnifying glass, and he says they look like small pimples. He removed a hair with tweezers and a small discharge came out of the pimple. I am considering letting my hair grow back to its natural color to see if the dye has anything to do with this. Any suggestions? — N.N.
ANSWER: I like your approach. The dye might be irritating your scalp, and the hair follicles might have become infected secondary to the irritation. If things don’t clear up after going dyeless for a couple of months, have a doctor take a look. You might need an antibiotic prescription.
Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
©2009 North America Synd.