Q. My granddaughter is a ballerina, and she has problems with warts on the bottoms of her feet. I had seen a remedy in your column, but I had no idea I would need it. Please repeat it for my granddaughter's sake.
A. We have collected dozens of wart remedies through the years. One mother had success treating her daughter's warts with vinegar and duct tape: "Apply the vinegar on a tiny piece of cotton ball, place it on the wart, cover it with duct tape and leave it on for a few days." Other people skip the vinegar and just apply duct tape directly to the wart.
Another reader shared this: "I had success making a poultice out of grated ginger and grated raw potato. I applied the mixture to a plantar wart under a bandage overnight. It took several weeks, but it worked."
You will find more details about other wart remedies at www.peoplespharmacy .com. Because plantar warts can be painful to walk on, we can only imagine how uncomfortable they must be for a dancer. We hope one of these remedies solves the problem.
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Q. My vitamin D level is low, and my doctor said I should spend more time in the sun. He didn't provide details, and I don't like to sit outside in direct sunlight. Is indirect sunlight (under an umbrella) just as good?
A. Most dermatologists would shudder at your doctor's recommendation. They worry because excessive sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer.
Indirect exposure, however, will not allow your skin to make vitamin D. It doesn't take long to get enough vitamin D from sunlight. In the summer, 10 to 15 minutes two or three times a week often does the trick.
We are sending you our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency so you can learn more about the dangers of inadequate vitamin D, how to analyze lab results and the optimal oral dose for good health. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (No. 10), stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Graedons' People's Pharmacy, No. D-23, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be downloaded for $2 from our website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
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Q. I have an unemployed friend who has no health insurance. He had an outbreak of shingles on the right side of his face that made his ear and jaw ache.
I have your book "Best Choices From The People's Pharmacy." In researching shingles, I came across a one-paragraph mention of using Listerine on shingles. We thought this sounded logical, and he tried it.
After only 72 hours of applying the Listerine three times daily, the results are pretty remarkable. The sores have dried up and are scabbing over, his pain is almost gone, and he is healing nicely. This really worked in his case.
A. It is possible that your friend's improvement with Listerine was a coincidence and that the outbreak would have healed without treatment. We have heard from several people, however, that old-fashioned Listerine can ease the pain of shingles.
Early use of an antiviral medicine such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir) or valacyclovir (Valtrex) is the best treatment for shingles. When it comes to shingles, it is best to see a doctor early enough to get a prescription, even though this might be a challenge without insurance.