DEAR DR. GOTT: I have read that drinking the appropriate amount of water each day is good for my health. I also see a lot of information about how much water is enough. Now I get an email from a friend who forwarded a message that drinking cold water with a meal is bad for heath but drinking warm water with a meal is good for it.
Does it matter whether I drink cold or warm water with a meal? Does it matter whether I drink cold or warm water without a meal? Thank you.
DEAR READER: If I am correct, the email you received was about cold water causing cancer and may have had some information about heart attacks thrown into the mix. Both Hoax Slayer (www.hoax-slayer.com) and Snopes (www.snopes.com) classify this as false, and I agree.
Cold water will not solidify the stomach contents because it does not remain cold. As it is consumed, the water warms to the same temperature as the body. So drink cold or warm water with or without a meal. It doesn't really matter.
Now as for how much water to drink daily, I have previously talked about this. You can read the article on my website at www.askdrgottmd.com/do-water-intake-recommendations-change-with-weight/.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I developed eczema on my hands about six months ago, at the age of 46. It seems to be getting worse every week, with sores and my skin splitting. It hurts so badly that I feel I would be better off cutting my hands off. I have tried three different prescription creams and oil, to no avail. Do you know of anything else that I can try? I would appreciate any help.
DEAR READER: Eczema is the itch that rashes. It typically starts with a patch of excessively dry skin that begins to itch. As you scratch it, it becomes red and inflamed.
It is important to keep the skin moisturized. Preventing the initial dryness can prevent scratching and the resulting rash. Because your hands are affected, this can be especially difficult since we, as humans, use our hands for just about everything.
First, when washing your hands, doing the dishes or even showering, use cool or lukewarm water. Don't rub the skin dry, but gently pat it. Follow that immediately with a moisturizer. Whenever you feel that your skin is becoming dry, apply more. My readers have had success using mentholated chest rubs, regular ChapStick, Bag Balm and glycerin on dry, cracked or chapped skin. You may also choose to use a good-quality lotion or cream, particularly one with a petroleum or lanolin base. Perhaps a short trial of a hydrocortisone would help. Avoid fragranced or dyed products because these may further irritate your already sensitive skin.
It may take some time to adjust to the new routine and for results to be seen, primarily because you appear to have a severe case. Stick with the regimen for at least a month. Then if you fail to see improvement, make an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss other options, including testing to determine whether what you have is really eczema.
Readers who are interested in learning more about skin disorders can order my Health Report "Dermatitis, Eczema and Psoriasis" by sending a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order to Dr. Peter Gott, P.O. Box 433, Lakeville, CT 06039-0433. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form off my website's direct link at www.AskDrGottMD.com/order_form.pdf.
Dr. Peter H. Gott is a retired physician and the author of several books, including "Live Longer, Live Better," "Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet" and "Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Cookbook," which are available at most bookstores or online. His website is www.AskDrGottMD.com.