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The maker of Vicks VapoRub is very clear that the product is for external use only.

Q: You have sometimes written about ways to treat athlete’s foot, but you haven’t mentioned the best one – bleach. On the rare occasion that I get a toe fissure or itchy sole, I just pour several glugs of bleach into the shower and slosh about in it for a minute before I turn on the water.

Some people who react to mango skin also react badly to latex, as well as to poison ivy, oak and sumac.

Q: I got stung by yellow jackets last week and reacted terribly. I swelled up and broke out in hives all over my body. It was so unbearable, I had to go to the emergency room for treatment.

Q: When I was training for triathlons, I was told to mix a solution of alcohol, vinegar and glycerin in a squirt bottle. After swimming, I would shake the bottle and apply a few drops in each ear, letting it sit for a moment or two, then tilting my head to allow the mixture to run out onto a paper towel.

Infectious-disease experts are adamant that washing hands (and cleaning stethoscopes) before each examination is essential.

Sweating, nausea, dizziness, irritability and electric shock-like sensations (brain zaps) all have been reported as withdrawal symptoms from Duloxetine (Cymbalta).

Q: I have been experiencing an embarrassing anal itch for two months. My physician doesn’t seem interested beyond prescribing lotions that don’t do much after the first few minutes.

Q: I am writing to tell you how your advice helped solve a near tragedy. My husband and I were recently on a trip to Mongolia in a very remote location when he hit his leg on the sharp corner of a metal wood stove. He takes the anticoagulant warfarin, so the bleeding was horrific.

Q: Is it possible to overhydrate? When I was growing up, no one carried a bottle of water around. Now it seems as if everyone is constantly sipping bottled water throughout the day.

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Joe and Terry Graedon
Joe and Terry Graedon are authors of The People's Pharmacy book and host an award-winning health talk show on public radio.
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