BY JOE GRAEDON, M.S., AND TERESA GRAEDON, Ph.D.
Q. My poor chihuahua has suffered from skin problems her whole life. We’ve taken her to the vet numerous times and have tried every treatment the vet has given us. Most of them work well enough to get rid of the worst of it, but it always comes back.
I looked online for a different remedy that I could try at home and came across the Listerine mixture. After just three days, I noticed a big difference in her skin, and within a week, her hair was coming back.
After three weeks, most of her worst spots are closer to being healed than ever, and the smaller ones are gone. I can’t believe it took me seven years to find this!
A. Many years ago, we heard that a mixture of equal parts amber Listerine, baby oil and water could be sprayed on a dog’s “hot spots.” It seems that many of these problem areas are triggered by fungus, and Listerine helps fight the fungus.
Sores that don’t heal should be checked by a vet. The Listerine mix is not a cure-all, but it seems to be a very versatile remedy. Some humans even find it helpful for fungal infections.
Q. I live in Florida, where there are lots of fire ants. I garden, which means I periodically get bitten.
I have tried everything from Diprolene (a corticosteroid) to crushed walnut shells to immersion in a swimming pool, without much success.
I recently tried benzoyl peroxide (10 percent). I did it as a controlled experiment, in that I had four bites and treated two of them. The next day, the two treated bites were much smaller and less itchy than the controls.
I applied the benzoyl peroxide within an hour of being bitten. I scraped off the top of the bite and rubbed the cream into the open bite and surrounding area.
I am a physician and Army Reservist. My theory is that this drug penetrates the skin well, so the peroxide can get to the toxins, oxidizing and neutralizing them.
A. Benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient in over-the-counter acne products. Your experiment is fascinating, and we hope others will test it and report back.
Bug bites are a challenge at this time of year. During the past 35 years, we have collected lots of simple treatments, from baking soda and vinegar to raw onion and toothpaste, in our book “The People’s Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies” (online at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com).
Q. I am in my late 70s, and my breasts are very large. In hot weather, I used to have a serious problem with heat rash. Various creams and lotions didn’t help much. Then I tried milk of magnesia, and that took care of the problem.
As soon as I dry off after my shower, I rub milk of magnesia into my skin. No more heat rash.
A. Thank you for sharing your solution to this common complaint. Many women have found that “bra itch” is just as troublesome for them as jock itch can be for men.
One reader told us: “I am a man who has used MoM [milk of magnesia] to quickly and effectively treat both underarm rash and a rash in the genital area. The doctor recommended treating them with standard antifungal treatments, to no avail. I saw this and tried it, and now swear by it. What a relief!”
Milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) has drying properties when used on the skin. People report success using it for under- arm odor, seborrheic dermatitis and acne.
2012 King Features Syndicate, Inc.