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.

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From midnight munchies to mono, Dr. Gregory Healey takes questions from readers

Dr. Gregory J. Healey

With spring comes pollen and grass and I always feel the onset of allergies. What’s the best way to minimize the effects of allergies without something like allergy shots?

Allergens and irritants like pet dander, perfume and smoke can be avoided. But good luck if it’s the family cat. Most pollens, mold spores and house dust mites cannot be completely avoided but basic cleaning, removing broadloom carpeting and closing windows at night help. Dehumidifying the basement and humidifying the interior air in the winter helps, too. Drug therapy includes over-the -counter antihistamines such as fexofenadine, prescription drugs like Singulair and topical nasal sprays with steroids or antihistamines. Do not use over-the-counter nasal decongestants as your nose will become addicted to them. Allergy shots do work but they are time consuming and you will get to know every patient in your doctor’s practice as you wait the half-hour after each shot in the waiting room.

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Is it a cold, or something worse?

Dr. Jason F. White

I’m a healthy 32-year-old who only goes to the doctor as a last resort when I’m sick. At what age should I consider getting an annual checkup or physical? The benefits of annual physicals have recently been debated, however, seeing a health care provider annually provides an opportunity to discuss age-appropriate preventive medical services, to develop a comfortable rapport and to address non-urgent questions about your health.  If you have any new health concerns arise, you will have an established relationship with your provider to be sure it is effectively addressed.

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