The People's Pharmacy
Could a mouthwash mix cure the fungus among us?
Q: You receive many letters about nail fungus, and I wanted to share my experience. Our daughter contracted a foot fungus while swimming...
Q: You receive many letters about nail fungus, and I wanted to share my experience. Our daughter contracted a foot fungus while swimming at a local club when she was 6. We've tried a lot of different anti-fungal products, but I didn't want to give her oral medicine.
The podiatrist suggested a mixture of half white vinegar and half Listerine. I dab it onto her toes every morning with a cotton ball. Finally, her toenails are pink and healthy-looking. It works, but it takes a very long time.
A: We first wrote about using a mixture of white vinegar and Listerine for nail fungus in the spring of 2005 after hearing about its potential from one reader. Some people dab it on their nails, while others soak their feet in the solution. (It can be reused several times.)
The herbal oils in Listerine have anti-fungal activity, as does the alcohol. Vinegar makes the toes acidic, which discourages the spread of fungus. Perhaps they provide more power together than individually.
Q: I have high cholesterol, and I prefer not to take any medication. Some of my friends have experienced serious side effects with these drugs. What can I eat to help bring it down?
A: A diet with plenty of soluble fiber from oat bran or vegetables like eggplant and okra can help quite a bit. Adding psyllium, another source of soluble fiber, is also useful. Fish oil, pomegranate juice, walnuts, almonds and even a little dark chocolate can be part of a cholesterol-lowering diet.
Q: As a physician, I want to offer my perspective on the "sticker-shock" problem in the pharmacy. I am very conscious of the fact that my patients may not be able to afford medications I prescribe.
Almost all medications have alternatives, and I wish I knew which would be cheapest when I am writing the prescription. Patients with drug coverage could save a lot of time and money if they brought the list of drugs covered by their insurance to every doctor visit.
I also want to know how much patients pay for drugs. I wish they would call the office if the prescription is too expensive. Most of the time, I'd be able to identify a cheaper alternative to prescribe.
A: We appreciate your thoughtful approach. A recent study showed that many doctors don't discuss the cost of prescriptions with their patients (American Journal of Managed Care, November 2006). If more patients brought their insurance company's drug list to their office visits, it would facilitate these discussions.
In their column, pharmacologist Joe Graedon and nutrition expert Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or e-mail them via their Web site: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.
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Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.
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