Q. I read an article that stated even after getting the vaccine, you will need to wear a face mask so as not to spread COVID-19. I don’t understand this. Can you explain?
A. Both of the current vaccines have demonstrated that they can prevent serious illness from the coronavirus. In the clinical trials, most people who received a vaccine did not get sick.
The vaccine might not keep the virus from entering your body, but it should keep you from developing symptoms. You can’t catch the virus from the vaccine.
Some people who are immunized might become infected without symptoms. We know that asymptomatic spread is quite common, and the trials were not designed to rule it out. That’s why even after getting a vaccine to protect yourself, you should still wear a mask to prevent the spread of the virus to others.
Q. Thank you for describing how low iodine intake affects thyroid function. I have Meniere’s disease and never use salt of any kind. How else can I get iodine in my diet?
A. In the United States, salt is iodized to prevent iodine deficiency that can lead to goiter, a thyroid condition.
People like you, with the balance disorder called Meniere’s disease, are encouraged to restrict salt intake. As a result, you should make sure you are eating dairy products, eggs, fish or seafood. All are good sources of iodine.
You can learn more about keeping your thyroid gland healthy from our eGuide to Thyroid Hormones. This online resource is available in the Health eGuides section of peoplespharmacy.com.
Q. My daughter’s best friend had mysterious symptoms that were difficult to diagnose. She was pale and suffered chronic migraines, nausea and occasional vision loss (probably from the migraines).
She lost so much hair that she needed to wear wigs, had trouble keeping food down and had joint and bone weakness. She also had cognitive problems, as she was forgetting things and getting lost in midconversation.
Eventually, her doctors decided that the problem was her 20-year-old breast implants, which were filled with saline. She had them removed, and the surgeons discovered that the seams of the implants had leaked silicone into her system. Moreover, the saline was nasty and contaminated with mold. Once the implants were removed, she immediately began to improve.
Many doctors don’t like to admit that this is a thing, but it is. Meanwhile, insurance will often refuse to pay because breast implants are considered “cosmetic.”
A. The Food and Drug Administration recently (Sept. 28) issued labeling recommendations for breast implants. The agency acknowledges that it has received new information about adverse reactions.
The FDA now recommends that women be informed of symptoms related to “breast implant illness.” They include fatigue, brain fog, rash, muscle and joint pain. There have also been cases of lymphoma associated with breast implants.
Q. I have osteopenia, and my doctor wants me to load up on calcium to keep my bones from getting weaker. He suggested milk, cheese, ice cream or Tums. I prefer not to do too much dairy. Can I take too many Tums?
A. Tums are a good source of calcium in the form of calcium carbonate, but it is possible to overdo.
Excess calcium together with an antacid like Tums can lead to “milk-alkali syndrome.” Symptoms include loss of appetite and stomachache, as well as the formation of kidney stones.
In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32803, or email them via their website peoplespharmacy.com.
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