Dear Dr. Roach: I live in a very dry climate and I struggle with dry skin all over my body. Recently, I have noticed that the skin of the ear canal is very dry and peeling. I have no ear pain, no itchy ears. I believe I have dry skin in my ears, and I have been advised by medical professionals to put a few drops of olive oil in my ears.
I’ve looked in the pharmacy to see if there’s something like a hydrating ear drop to help with flaky skin, but I can’t seem to find one. Should I see my doctor for this, or is it safe to put olive oil in my ears for this problem?
Dear NES: The skin on the lining of the ear canal can dry out, just like the rest of the skin on your body, so it makes sense to apply something to help keep it moist. However, the ear is also susceptible to infections, both by bacteria and by fungi; to eczema; and irritation by allergens such as in shampoos or cosmetics. An evaluation by a general practitioner or ENT specialist is probably a good idea. If you agree, applying olive oil in the ear daily is an effective way to keep the skin moist.
Dear Dr. Roach: If I got my second shingles vaccine more than eight months after the first, will I need a third dose?
To JM: Is not. It is still considered a valid dose. Ideally, the second dose is given two to six months after the first dose, but there are times when a second dose should be given early – for example, it can be given after a month for someone who is about to start treatment. immunosuppressive. system. After eight months, I think the dosage will be equally effective, but the evidence we have is only six months maximum.
I regularly receive letters from readers who have had complicated shingles, begging me to tell my readers to get vaccinated. I cannot stress how terrible the pain after shingles can be, and it can last not months, but years, even a lifetime in some unfortunate cases.
In addition, both the European Medicines Agency and the Food and Drug Administration recently approved the newer shingles vaccine for use in people over the age of 18 who have an illness or compromised immune system.
Dear Dr. Roach: Both my toes feel cold and numb. What could make them feel that way?
Dear CC: Noninvasive circulatory testing, such as an arterial brachial index ultrasound, is appropriate to perform in a person with cold feet, if the person is older, or has other risk factors for arterial blockage. .
Most of my patients with numbness in their legs are concerned that they have a circulatory problem, but it is more likely a neurological problem. There are several types of neuropathy – that’s a general term for conditions affecting peripheral nerves – but when it’s in both legs, I would worry about neuropathy from diabetes or a lack of vitamin B12, although there are many other possibilities.
The first place to start is your regular doctor to see. A careful physical exam can often point your doctor to the right diagnosis, but more complicated tests are sometimes needed.
Readers can email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu.