DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I got a sudden attack of dizziness that landed me in bed. I couldn’t stand. Finally, with the help of my husband, I got to the doctor, who said I had a viral infection called vestibular neuritis. I am taking medicine and am somewhat better, but the dizziness isn’t completely gone. Will it go? When? — L.T.
ANSWER: I have to warn readers that the causes of dizziness are diverse, and vestibular neuritis, while common, is only one of many causes. The vestibule of the inner ear has three fluid-filled canals that work like a carpenter’s balance, that gadget whose center contains a fluid-containing tube with a bubble in it. The balance tells the carpenter if a piece of wood is aligned. The inner ear canals tell people if they are aligned. They send signals to the brain that keep us balanced. A viral infection of those canals or of the nerve that sends signals to the brain makes people feel like they’ve been put in the spin cycle of a washer.
Not only are affected people dizzy, they become nauseated and often throw up.
Symptoms of vestibular neuritis lessen in two to three days, but full recovery can take up to six or more weeks.
A cortisone drug taken within the first three days of illness can ease symptoms. And medicines like promethazine relieve dizziness and nausea, but they make some people so drowsy that they prefer the dizziness.
The booklet on dizziness discusses vestibular neuritis as well as the other dizziness causes. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue — No. 801W, 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.
l DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Can you give an explanation of and recommendation for cure of a health problem I have? Being over the age of 65 and in reasonably good health, I suff er every winter from painful cracks in my fingertips and the soles of my feet. — R.V.
ANSWER: The cracking indicates your skin is drying out. You can restore moisture to your fingertips with a light coat — just a dab will do you — of petroleum jelly (Vaseline or another moisturizer) before going to bed. Put Band-Aids over your fingertips, and leave them on all night. You can do the same during the day, but it’s a bit inconvenient. In about three days, the cracks should be filling in. Continue this treatment every third or fourth night.
The same thing works for the feet. You don’t use Band-Aids, but you do cover your feet with socks before going to sleep. Don’t apply petroleum jelly during the daytime. It might make you somewhat unsteady. It takes longer for feet to heal.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Does the consumption of foods packaged or wrapped in aluminum foil pose a risk for contracting or accelerating Alzheimer’s disease? — M.E.
ANSWER: The answer is no. The brains of some Alzheimer’s patients have more than the usual amount of aluminum. Some have interpreted that as indicating aluminum as a cause. Few scientists hold to that theory.
Readers may write Dr. Donohue or request an available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
©2010 North America Synd.