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Ask Dr. Gott 8/18

Several options for relieving eczema

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Posted: August 17, 2007 4:11 p.m.
Updated: September 1, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    DEAR DR. GOTT: I've had a really bad time for years with an itch problem. It's only on my arms. They say it's eczema, but I have no red bumps, no sores, no nothing! Just itching. I have tried everything I can think of. I have been to so many doctors that I have lost track of them. If you can, please help me! Thank you.
    DEAR READER: From your brief note, I agree with your diagnosis.
    Eczema is not a rash that itches; rather, it is an itch that "rashes." This means that the more you scratch the itch, the more likely you are to develop a rash. The itch develops because of patches of dry skin that appear no different than the surrounding, unaffected skin.
    Many people with eczema find relief by using over-the-counter creams and lotions, such as Eucerin. The cream is applied every day.
    If this approach fails to relive the itching, ask your dermatologist for a prescription of hydrocortisone cream. This medication is applied after the daily cream/lotion and only to the areas with the most intense itching.
    Ask you dermatologist about this. He or she may have new information or medications available for the treatment of eczema.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Eczema and Psoriasis." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: In the past, patients diagnosed with diverticular disease have been advised not to eat nuts. Now I have read in several sources that this is a myth and that it is OK to eat nuts. What is your opinion? Can a high-quality, all-natural peanut butter be as beneficial as nuts?
    DEAR READER: Diverticulosis is a medical term that refers to a common intestinal condition (tiny sacs in the bowel lining) that is both harmless and painless.
    Unfortunately, on occasion, these sacs can become inflamed, leading to diverticulitis (bowel infection), which is harmful and painful.
    The traditional opinion has long been a simple prohibition: people with diverticulosis can avoid diverticulitis by not eating poorly digestible food, such as nuts, fruit with seeds and other edibles that could become wedged in a diverticular sac and cause infection.
    This prohibition has been modified and relaxed. Nuts that are chewed thoroughly should not cause problems. So is peanut butter. Experts are less confident about endorsing strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and other fruit seeds. It is best to chew thoroughly and eat prudent servings.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Diverticular Disease." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.
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