Ask the Doctor: Itchy hands, shingles vaccine effectiveness, tickle in throat

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 1:04 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dr. Bob Cassady from the South Bend Clinic joins us every week on 16 News Now at Noon to answer your medical questions.

Question #1 (from Sheila): “My hands itch like crazy. Between my fingers and the palms of my hands. I don’t see any little blisters. it drives me nuts.”

DR. BOB: Often times when our hands itch, it can be from a allergic dermatitis.

Our hands encounter a lot of things through the day – soap, shampoo, hair products, cleaning chemicals, etc.

Over time our skin can develop an allergy to these chemicals. Usually there will be itching, redness, and a rash.

If you think you have an allergic dermatitis, it is important to try to determine what is causing the allergy and to avoid it. You can also try over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.

Question #2 (from Connie): “If someone gets the shingles vaccine, does it mean that you will never get shingles? Or if you do get it, it won’t be as hard on you?”

DR. BOB: Shingles is a reactivation of the chicken pox vaccine that causes a very painful rash. Rarely, it can cause blindness or a brain infection.

The goal of the vaccine is ideally to prevent shingles entirely. Sometimes, people still get shingles after the vaccine, but usually it is less severe.

The vaccine is very effective. It decreases the risk of developing shingles by 90 percent and the risk of complications by 90 percent.

The shingles vaccine is recommended for everyone 50 and older.

Question #3 (from Linda): “Lately I’ve been getting a tickle in the back of my throat on and off. It makes me dry cough, and nothing seems to help. What could this be?”

DR. BOB: Most likely this is either a viral upper respiratory infection or allergies.

A viral infection should get better on its own in a week or so. Allergies should respond to a nasal steroid spray or antihistamine like Claritin. You could try these medicines.

If you don’t improve in a couple weeks, it would be good to see your doctor to have your throat examined for other conditions.