Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Cheshvan 5764 - October 29, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

Diplomate, Board Certification of Emergency Medicine

More readers' questions. Acne: we have discussed this before, so we'll just review. Pores, small holes in the skin where hairs grow or where sweat glands are located, often clog with debris, dirt, oils and secretions. This can lead to infection, and small abscesses form. These are called acne, and it is common in teenagers and in those who sweat a lot -- especially overweight people. Chocolate does not cause problems, but hormonal influences, male gender, and hygiene do cause more acne. There is definitely a hereditary component to it.

Benzoyl peroxide works very well, it dries out the skin. Topical antibiotics also work well. The best drug for acne is from a family called the tretins, but it can cause major birth defects. Women who could become pregnant must avoid this drug.

Eczema is an allergic condition seen more often in kids. It causes a flaky, itchy rash which likes skin folds, especially the elbow crease and behind the ears. It too may be inherited. This condition responds particularly well to our sponsor's medications: Dermovate, Eumovate and Betnovate. These are steroid creams that work locally, are not absorbed well into the body and thus are safe. Betnovate is the mildest and should be the first place to start.

Skin allergies to metals are very common. The most common is to a very cheap metal called nickel. Often, silver plated or chrome plated watches are plated on top of nickel, causing a rash under the watch. Gold is also a cause of allergy. Generally these respond well to the above creams, or to antihistamine creams. One must of course cease wearing the jewelry that caused the problem.

Our writer also asks about allergies to cleaning fluids. This might be, but there may be a local reaction to the cleaning fluid because of its caustic properties. Many cleaning fluids contain phenol which can cause a burn. In Israel, 0-0 is a cleaner used in the bathroom. It is very caustic and does not come in a childproof container. BE CAREFUL!

Just a note on another problem in some religious neighborhoods in Israel: Supermarkets try to be cheaper in religious neighborhoods, but sometimes this comes at the expense of cleanliness. Many of these stores are poorly lit, and have roaches, mice, dirt and flies. A little personal research revealed that one of these chains has been cited for health violations, but nothing came of it. Voices must be raised to protect ourselves.

I am asked about weight gain in infants. Israelis are well fed and yes, there is overemphasis on weight gain to the extent that nursing is discouraged. Most kids do well, and all you need is a well-trained pediatrician to guide you. Keep in mind that if Mummy is petite and Tatty is skinny, baby will not be roly-poly. As long as everyone is eating nicely and there are no signs of neglect, most kids do just fine -- and grow up to be healthy adults.

One last quick question to answer: yes, I do write a weekly column, but space considerations do not always allow the newspaper to print it. Write me in care of the Yated.

GlaxoSmithKline is the sponsor of this column.


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