My washing detergent is making me itchy, what should I do? DOCTOR ROSEMARY answers

Posted on Jan 30 2018 - 7:26pm by admin

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Perfumed detergent can be an itch instigator, so switch to a fragrance free one for less itching

I rewashed all my bedding and my doctor has prescribed aqueous cream which is helping but how long will it take for this awful itching to stop?

A

ONE of the most common reasons I see for “total body itch” is biological washing detergents.

And older people who tend to have dry skin are especially at risk.

Rewashing everything is also important and it can help to put the load through an extra rinse cycle.

Make sure you use a nonbiological, unscented detergent suitable for sensitive skin.

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Avoid itching by switching to a fragrance free detergent

Make sure you use a nonbiological, unscented detergent suitable for sensitive skin

No matter what the packaging may suggest, if you can smell the detergent when you open the machine, then it contains added perfume.

Only use conditioner suitable for sensitive skin or, better still, don’t use any at all.

Moisturising cream, applied at least twice a day, can be helpful but if itching persists, adding in one per cent hydrocortisone cream often brings relief.

I usually prescribe this as an ointment which is more lubricating than a cream and also contains fewer preservatives that are likely to irritate your skin further.

You can buy this directly from a pharmacy but as always, if the itching persists go back to see your doctor.

Q

I AM 74 and have a high combined cholesterol level of eight.

However I cannot tolerate statins so I have been advised to boost my good cholesterol to improve the ratio.

Can you please give me some advice as to how best to do this?

A

CHOLESTEROL is carried round the body by particles called lipoproteins.

There are two main types: low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and high density cholesterol (HDL).

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There are other methods for lowering your cholesterol if you don’t want to take statins

LDL is often known as “bad cholesterol” as high levels can increase the risk of fatty deposits occurring in the walls of arteries, narrowing them and increasing the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.

HDL, on the other hand, works in the opposite way and can help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Whenever you have your cholesterol measured, it’s important to get the levels of each of these.

LDL should be below 3mmo/L, and HDL above 1.2. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (that is the level of total cholesterol divided by the HDL level) should be 4.5 or less.

This means that for your total cholesterol level, your HDL level should be above 1.77. The best way of reducing a raised LDL level is with statins but if you can’t tolerate these, altering your diet, cutting out saturated fats and having more oats can help a little.

You can boost your HDL levels by avoiding trans fats (found in some ready-prepared baked goods made with shortening, fried foods and some margarines) and increasing the amount of exercise you do.

Changes in levels can usually be seen in people who manage to do at least one hour of moderate intensity exercise (that is, exercise that makes you quite puffed) each week.

Moderate use of alcohol has also been shown to increase HDL levels but make sure you do not go above 14 units a week or you are likely to do more harm than good.

Drugs that are used to lower fatty acids levels, known as fibrates, can also increase HDL levels and these may be an option for you to try.

They are only available on prescription so see your GP again.

Q

WHAT is the best way to remove a splinter?

A

ALTHOUGH many splinters do eventually work their own way out, the reverse can happen and they can become further embedded in the skin.

Splinters are often from dirty objects and if left in place can cause infection, causing the surrounding skin to become sore and red.

So it is best to remove a splinter as soon as possible.

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If you can, remove a splinter ASAP

If you can see an end sticking out, all you may need to do is push the other end but if this doesn’t work, grab the protruding end with tweezers and pull gently at the same angle as the splinter went in.

If the splinter is embedded then clean the skin, ideally with an antiseptic wipe (although good old soap and water will do), then using a sewing needle (cleaned in the same way) break the skin over the splinter and free it up, then use tweezers to pull it out.

Clean the skin thoroughly afterwards. It’s also worth checking when you last had a tetanus injection. Routine tetanus vaccinations were introduced in the UK back in 1961, so it’s older people who may be at risk.

Once you have had a primary course of three jabs then you need boosters every 10 years but once you have had five jabs in all, you do not need any more. 

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