DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Exactly what is prickly heat? Do adults get it? If they do, I think I have it. — M.K.
ANSWER: Adults do get prickly heat. It looks like red dots or tiny blisters on the skin. The rash itches or feels “prickly.” Sweat ducts have become plugged.
Prevention comes with dressing as coolly as possible in light cotton clothes. Air-conditioning is the ultimate answer. Second best is having a fan blowing on you. If you have a breakout, coolwater compresses take away the itch or prickliness, as do cortisone creams, which are found in all drugstores.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My husband has some kind of sleep disorder. He doesn’t believe he has a problem. I know about restless leg syndrome, but he has something beyond that. About four nights a week, his legs kick all over, and he throws his body in every direction. The bed bounces like a trampoline. In one month, he made large holes in two quality flannel sheets. Several times, he has hit me across the face. What is this problem? — M.L.
ANSWER: You describe periodic limb movements of sleep, PLMS, which used to be called nocturnal myoclonus. Most of the time, only the legs are involved. The toes, ankles, knees and hips involuntarily bend and straighten during sleep. The movements happen every 20 to 40 seconds, and each episode lasts from a few minutes to hours.
Restless leg syndrome is a crawling sensation beneath the skin of the legs. The person has to get up and walk around to put an end to the annoying sensations. Sometimes it is associated with iron deficiency, and sometimes restless leg patients also experience periodic limb movements. Pramipexole or ropinirole treat both conditions. Your husband should see a doctor.
The booklet on restless leg syndrome and nighttime leg cramps explains these conditions and their treatments. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue — No. 306W, 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.
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© 2010 North America Synd.