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November 3, 2007

Health Q&A

By Emily Bennett

Curing dishpan hands, reversing salt intake, avoiding TSS with tampon use, and more.
If you have a health question, submit it to Emily at

Dishwashing is destroying my hands

Dear Emily,

I feel like I spend most of my day washing dishes and my hands are beginning to look like it. They look dry and scaly, and I was hoping you could give me some pointers on how to make them look beautiful again.


Hi Yolanda,

There are a few ways to minimize the effects that water and household cleaning agents are having on your hands. First, buy some rubber gloves and use them any time you do dishes, whether it’s a plate and a glass that need washing, or a sink full of dishes.

Next, keep a moisturizing cream by the sink. After you finish cleaning up, put some cream on your hands to soften your hands.

Finally, you can always buy a dishwasher! If it’s getting to the point where you’re spending the majority of your day on dishes, a dishwasher is a worthy investment.

Finally, at least once a week, before bedtime, apply a thick amount of cream to your hands, put on some thick wool or cotton mitts and go to bed. This will help restore your hands’ youthful appearance.


Salt intake reversal

Dear Emily,

I do my best to avoid salt because I know that too much of it is no good for me. When I go over to someone’s house (read: my mother-in-law), however, I am sometimes forced to eat salt-laden foods (well, I just don’t want to be rude). Is there any way to remove the salt from my body afterwards by eating or drinking something?


Hi Mina,

It becomes difficult to keep up our good habits when we’re guests at another person’s house, especially our mothers-in-law! But there is a way to reverse large amounts of salt that you ingest.

First, drink lots of water – double what you’d normally drink. This will flush out your system and remove the impurities from your body.

Second, purchase dandelion tea, which can be found in natural foods stores. According to renowned dietitian Elizabeth Cerqueira, dandelion tea will flush your system of unnecessary salt and sodium, and hydrate it.

Hope this helps,

The tampon issue

Hi Emily,

A friend of mine swears by tampons and has never even used a sanitary pad. I, on the other hand, was taught that tampons are dangerous and leave women prone to infection and other vaginal complications.

Can you clear up my confusion?


Hi Emma,

You’re not alone; a lot of women I speak to, especially the old school ones, agree with what you were taught. Fortunately, all these rumors about tampons are not true.

The one problem that may arise from tampon-use is TSS, or Toxic Shock Syndrome. TSS is a potentially-fatal disease that results from a bacterial toxin. There were only five cases reported in 1997 and it’s very rare, but if you use a super-absorbent tampon and are having very light days, you may develop TSS.

As for infections and vaginal complications, there have been no reported cases of such. So long as you change your tampon every few hours and use the lightest absorbency necessary for your flow, there is no danger in using them.


Weird menstrual cycle


Sometimes I get my period on time with no problems; other times I get it late, it lasts for about 11 days and I’m in pain for most of them. What’s the deal and is there any way to regulate it?

This has been the story of my life for about 12 years now. I’ve had two children and plan to have more. Any help is much appreciated.


Dear Georgia,

The only thing that can help regulate your period is the birth control pill, but since you want to have more children, taking it is out of the question.

Every woman’s body is different and although the pill would have us believe that a woman’s period should run every 28 days, women’s periods are actually anywhere from 24 to 35 days apart.

If your period is giving you this much grief, I recommend that you find yourself an endocrinologist and have him study the hormonal changes throughout your cycle.

I don’t recommend that you treat yourself, but rather consult a professional and find ways to regulate your period and minimize the pain associated with it.

Good luck,

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