Sunny season calls for sunscreen: From healthy fluids to vitamins, Dr. Frank Rhode has answers to reader questions

Dr. Frank Rhode

I’ve never had any trouble being in the sun and I actually like a decent tan during the summer months. Is it something I should avoid now or is a little sun good for the soul? Sunlight exposure for about 15 minutes a day helps with Vitamin D supplementation. However, sunlight is a promoter of skin cancers, many quite dangerous, and causes the skin to lose elasticity over time — making your skin look old. You should use sunscreen freely when outside.

I have a hard time sleeping at night, even when I’m really tired. Is there an over-the-counter sleep aid that is safe and effective? Benadryl (diphenyramine) at 25 mg to 50 mg before bedtime can help to induce sleep, as can melatonin at a dose of 2 mg to 5 mg. Both are available over the counter. Regular use can either promote dependency or become ineffective if used daily over an extended period of time. Good sleep hygiene is really the key to getting to sleep more easily — check out the American Sleep Association website at www.sleepassociation.org and search on “sleep tips.”

It seems everyone is trying to find the easiest way to lower their cholesterol, but what is the most effective way to do so? Follow the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) Diet, which you can find on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/chol/chol_tlc.pdf. If this doesn’t get you to goal then a prescription statin drug is your best — most proven and effective — option. Some people are not tolerant of these medications, and further recommendations can be made by your health care provider.

To continue reading, please subscribe or purchase a copy of NNY Living at your local Big M Supermarket.

Dr. FRANK RHODE is a Watertown resident who practices internal medicine in Watertown. He is a board-certified internist with Internal Medicine of Northern New York. This column is provided for informational use only and not intended as medical care. See a licensed medical provider to address any health concerns.