Health Advice



Is it safe to switch vaccines for your COVID booster?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm 71 and have had both Moderna COVID-19 vaccination shots. When I called my doctor to inquire about a Moderna booster, I was told one was not available now but that I could take the Pfizer booster. Can you confirm this? I'm a little wary of taking another type of booster shot. -- A.M.

ANSWER: The immunity to COVID-19 from the ...Read more

Sensitivity and specificity: Taking the measure of at-home tests

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: How reliable are home COVID-19 tests? I've read one article that said that if you tested negative you could be certain that you did not have COVID-19, but if you tested positive there was a significant chance of a false positive. Another article said exactly the opposite. What are the facts? -- A.L.

ANSWER: You're asking about ...Read more

Natural COVID immunity does not outshine vaccination benefits

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am told by doctors that the natural immunity your body develops by having had the COVID-19-19 virus is just as, or even more, effective at protecting you as one of the three vaccines that you are pushing people to get. Like I've read up on, natural immunity is science also. Will you please confirm or deny that statement? -- J.B...Read more

Diabetes complicates COVID risks with or without vaccine

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I'm a 67-year-old male who was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I have had both Moderna doses for COVID-19. I have read all along that people with diabetes are at a much higher risk for complications with COVID-19, and I've read that the breakthrough infections, for the most part, are not nearly as severe as those for ...Read more

Too many bathroom trips overnight is a quality-of-life issue

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 69-year-old woman in good health. For a couple of years, I have had increasing trouble sleeping because of having to get up during the night to urinate. It is now four to eight times per night. I am careful not to drink much after early afternoon. I have a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise. My primary physician ...Read more

Cartilage inflammation is one source of ear pain

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: The rims of my ears both get so sore I can't even sleep on them. What can I do? -- W.W.

ANSWER: There are many causes for pain in the cartilage of the ear, including trauma and infection. However, when both ears are involved, it raises the concern for a rare but serious disease called relapsing polychondritis. This is an ...Read more

The complicated relationship between pain and blood pressure

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have sciatic pain. I do my best to mitigate the pain with exercise. The only painkiller I can tolerate is aspirin. I have been approved for physical therapy, but that doesn't start for another six weeks. When I stand up, the pain is intense, and I just force myself to walk, because then it goes away. My blood pressure is now ...Read more

How much sun exposure is needed to make vitamin D?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Does our skin make vitamin D from sun exposure through a car's windshield? Sometimes I expose my stomach for about 10 minutes while driving or riding in a car, but I'm not sure if the skin responds the same way through glass as it does with direct sun exposure. -- S.R.

ANSWER: Sunlight allows our skin to convert 7-...Read more

Unrelenting back pain was a red flag symptom of cancer return

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: My father died two years ago at age 73. For about six months, he had been experiencing excruciating back pain, which surgery didn't help. A few years earlier, he had been treated for bladder cancer. He was due to have a follow-up appointment with his cancer specialist but didn't because he was overwhelmed with the back pain and ...Read more

Sister insister: Visitors to 95-year-old dad should be vaccinated

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am one of four daughters, ages 69 to 61. Our dad is 95 and still lives independently, although one of us four girls comes each night to have dinner with him. He doesn't drive anymore, and we do all of his shopping and errands for him. He is frail and has Parkinson's disease. Our dad and three of the girls have been fully ...Read more

Reader: What makes the COVID vaccine so great?

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I had COVID-19 in February 2021. I had no fever, no loss of taste or smell, lasted two days with no persistent symptoms at all! I was cold and tired, and that is all that I experienced.

I am a healthy 66-year-old and take no medication. I have natural God-given immunity, and I do not want to be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine...Read more

Person-to-person main COVID risk

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I belong to a garden club that meets in a local indoor hall. We have one member who has been driving herself crazy worrying about COVID-19. She wants us to meet outdoors even in the winter, because she says we can't be sure the building is clean enough and we don't know the status of others who may have used the building while we...Read more

Infection usually treated with incision and drainage

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I watch a lot of skin-care videos by dermatologists. Sometimes they will have a patient who has a very infected and inflamed blackhead, boil or cyst, etc. It seems like the main treatment is oral antibiotics. My question is: How come we don't inject antibiotics into infected areas like this? Why do we take them by mouth or IV? ...Read more

Hair growth vs. skin irritation

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: You recently wrote that minoxidil (Rogaine) provides some benefit for hair growth. My friend broke out in hives after using it. Would you please print the pros and cons associated with Rogaine? -- T.A.

ANSWER: Topical minoxidil is generally well-tolerated. The most common side effect was what your friend had, a local skin ...Read more

Spasms may be unrelated to angioplasty

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 71-year-old male. I had a heart attack at age 50, and my doctor inserted four stents in my heart. I was overweight at that time, and the doctor told me if I do not change my lifestyle, I will need open heart surgery in five years. I lost 40 pounds and changed my diet and started exercising. Two years ago, another stent was...Read more

Embarrassed by incontinence? Your doctor has heard it all before -- and can help!

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a woman, in my late 80s and have been healthy my whole life. I don't take any medications for any conditions. However, I have one issue I would like to ask your advice on. Over the past few years I'm afraid I have become incontinent. When I feel the urge, I have to go to the bathroom right away or I might have an accident, ...Read more

Despite breakthrough infections, it's the unvaccinated who are perpetuating the pandemic

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: You recently replied to a question regarding vaccination among health care workers by saying "they are ethically obligated to get the vaccine in order not to infect their patients." But isn't it true that the vaccinated are getting COVID and also infecting others? It is protection for the vaccinated, but it's not protection for ...Read more

Five ways to correct your posture that won't cost you a thing

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: Now that working from home has become very commonplace, I've noticed a lot of people raving about posture correcting devices. They seem particularly popular with social media influencers, but some media companies frequently feature them in their articles with links to shopping platforms for you to buy them without consulting with...Read more

Tight bra straps in youth led to shoulder arthritis

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 75-year-old female suffering with very painful "end-stage, bone on bone" osteoarthritis with bone spurs of both shoulders and rotator cuff damage (tendonitis). This shoulder arthritis seems strange, because I have little or no arthritis in my hips, knees, etc. I'm wondering if the cause of this shoulder damage could be ...Read more

Vitamin cocktail for COVID is harmless, but not helpful

Health Advice / Keith Roach /

DEAR DR. ROACH: You stated in a recent column that there is no evidence to support taking vitamins D, C and zinc when treating/preventing COVID-19. I recently spoke to an infectious disease doctor who told me that doctors are giving this very vitamin "cocktail" to hospitalized patients with COVID. Lots of resources say having these vitamin ...Read more



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