Your health ask dr rosemary leonard
got a medical problem or need health advice? ask gP Dr Rosemary leonard
this Month… Itchy skin • Splinter removal • How to boost good cholesterol
QI accidentally purchased biological washing capsules recently and they seem to have caused a reaction on my skin. I rewashed all my bedding and my doctor has prescribed aqueous cream, which is helping, but how long will it take for this terrible itch to go away?
Aone 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, including not only bed linen, but also clothing is important, and it can help to put everything through an extra rinse cycle. make sure you use a non-biological, 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
Q AWhat is the best way to remove a splinter?
though 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, with the surrounding area becoming sore and red. so it’s best to remove a splinter as soon as possible. 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, then grab the protruding end with tweezers and pull gently at still, don’t use any at all. moisturising cream, applied at least twice a day, can be helpful, but if itching persists, then adding in 1% hydrocortisone often brings relief. i usually prescribe this as an ointment, which is more lubricating than cream, and also contains fewer preservatives that are likely to irritate your skin further. you can buy this direct from your chemist but, as always, if the itching persists, go back and see your doctor.
the same angle as it went in. if the splinter is embedded, clean the skin, ideally with an antiseptic wipe (but soap and water will do), and use a sewing needle (cleaned in the same way) to 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 vaccination was introduced in the uK 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.
QI have high combined cholesterol (8) but cannot tolerate statins so have been advised to boost my good cholesterol to improve the ratio. Can you advise me how I do this?