Q. I have been using a baby sun screen for my 22-month-old son. It has an SPF of 30. Whenever we go out in the sun I slather the stuff on and then slather on more throughout the day.
Someone recently told me that sun screen can be absorbed through the skin and get into the circulation. Is this true? Are there any dangers in using sun screen daily on a toddler?
A. Researchers have found that some popular sun screen ingredients are absorbed from the skin and can be measured in the urine (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, July 2004).
Concern has focused on possible estrogenic activity of some sun screens. This research did not demonstrate any changes in hormone levels in adults, but the authors caution that young children may be more vulnerable to such effects.
You may want to consider a sun screen containing a physical sun blocker such as zinc or titanium. They can be found in products like Blue Lizard Australian Suncream-Baby, Clinique Super City Block and Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock.
Q. My doctor prescribed amitriptyline to relieve the pain in my feet. I take one pill at bedtime.
This medicine is causing the strangest experience: I hear music all day, both classical and rap. No one has ever heard of such a reaction. I have tried stopping the amitriptyline for several weeks and find that the music fades out when I do this.
A. Drug-induced hallucinations (visual or auditory) are uncommon but disturbing side effects. To be on the safe side, you should probably have a neurological work-up to rule out any other underlying problem.
If your doctor determines that the anti-depressant amitriptyline is indeed the culprit, he may want to consider another approach to deal with your nerve pain. An anti-seizure medication like Neurontin may help ease your discomfort without making music in your head.
XIn their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org or via their Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.org.
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