Q. I just read your column on plantar warts. My doctor suggested I use fingernail polish, covering the wart twice a day for three weeks. I believe the wart died within 10 days of doing that treatment. It was easy and painless. Have you ever heard of this and do you know why it worked?
A. We’ve heard of using fingernail polish or instant glue on warts to “smother��? them. We doubt if that is why it works, though, since the virus that causes warts doesn’t need to breathe. Whatever the mechanism, this trick seems to be effective for some people. Anyone who tries it should be careful to keep the nail polish only on the wart and not on healthy skin.
Q. I suffer from restless leg syndrome (RLS), which is aggravated now that I am recovering from foot surgery and am immobilized. A friend suggested I take potassium and magnesium. This cured my RLS, but it affected my sleep: I have vivid dreams and am sleeping eight to nine hours a day instead of seven. Are there other side effects I should know about?
A. We have heard from others that magnesium promotes sleep and may help RLS. Perhaps the additional sleep accounts for your vivid dreams.
Magnesium is not appropriate for people with kidney disease. One side effect everyone should know about with magnesium is that too much can cause diarrhea.
Potassium supplements should be taken only under medical supervision. They can interact with some blood pressure medications.
We are sending you our Guide to Leg Pain, which discusses many other treatments for leg cramps and restless leg syndrome. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $2 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (63 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. RLS-5, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It can also be downloaded for $2 from the Website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.
Q. One person wrote you that he takes vitamin C pills to protect him from the sun. I mix vitamin C powder with hot water to dissolve it, let it cool, then put it on my skin. It works a whole lot better than any commercial product! It doesn’t have the chemicals that the commercial products do, which are absorbed by the skin. And it is a whole lot cheaper. It washes off in water, though, so protection while swimming or sweating is a problem.
A. While we appreciate your vitamin C approach to sun protection, we think it is also important to use an effective sunscreen. Products that contain zinc or titanium create a physical barrier against the sun’s rays. Brands include Blue Lizard (Sensitive Skin), emerginC Sun and Total Block.
The FDA recently approved Anthelios SX, which contains ecamsule (Mexoryl). This compound blocks ultraviolet A radiation which causes premature aging and skin cancer as well as ultraviolet B which causes sunburn.
Even with effective sunscreens, it is important to stay out of direct sunlight during the middle of the day (10 am till 2 pm).
Q. I had dry mouth for more than a year, especially at night. I’d get up several times for water.
Then I read that toothpaste can cause dry mouth. I quit using toothpaste and instead started brushing my teeth with baking soda.

I’ve been using baking soda for weeks and no more dry mouth. This tip may help others as it helped me.
A. Baking soda has long been used to clean teeth. Thanks for sharing this tip. It may help someone else with dry mouth symptoms.

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