The People's Pharmacy

Joe Graedon, M.S.,and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D.

Q. I’d like to add my name to the people who have had warts disappear after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. I’ve had a wart on the knuckle of my right forefinger for many years. It was crusty and very ugly.

I got the Moderna vaccine on Oct. 4, 2021, and had many unpleasant side effects. However, when I read about people whose warts disappeared, I looked down at my finger. My wart was no longer crusty. Since then, it has healed, leaving only a slight red place on my finger.

A. We have searched the medical literature and could find only one article that linked the disappearance of warts to COVID-19 vaccination (Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, Oct. 26, 2021). In this case report, a woman with long-standing warts on her right thumb saw them disappear after COVID-19 vaccination.

On the other hand, we have heard from several readers about warts going away following vaccination. A possible explanation would be that stimulating the immune system leads to activation against wart-causing viruses.

Q. I was taking the antihistamine cetirizine every night for allergies and to help with insomnia. My husband was taking Benadryl for better sleep.

When we read that some antihistamines have anticholinergic properties, we immediately stopped the drugs. Within days, we noticed a major difference in brain function. All the “fog” cleared. There was no more “cotton” in the brain. In addition, I could recall names and words that very often escaped me previously.

My mom died of Alzheimer’s disease, and I remember thinking that I might be developing early-onset Alzheimer’s. Why aren’t people warned about the anticholinergic effects of antihistamines?

A. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter essential for cognitive function and memory. Anticholinergic drugs interfere with this critical compound. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is strongly anticholinergic, but cetirizine seems to be much weaker in this regard.

There are hundreds of medications with anticholinergic effects, including some popular antihistamines. Other drugs with this property include medicines for overactive bladder, Parkinson’s disease, motion sickness, dizziness and some types of breathing problems.

There are other strategies to ease insomnia. You will find them in our eGuide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep, available in the Health eGuides section of www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Q. I find that applying Noxzema to itchy scalp bumps about five minutes before showering and then lathering with a dandruff shampoo really helps relieve the itch and reduce the bumps.

A. Thanks for sharing your unorthodox approach. Many readers have told us that Noxzema can be very soothing on eczema, a skin condition that may show up as itchy red bumps like a rash or as dry cracked skin. In addition to oils that could provide moisturizing action, Noxzema contains camphor and menthol that probably help ease the itch.

Other readers are enthusiastic about dandruff shampoo to treat eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and other skin irritations. Selenium-containing shampoo such as the original Selsun Blue are especially popular for these purposes. Some people even report that using such a shampoo as a face wash can help against acne rosacea.

(In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, Fla. 32803, or email them via their website: www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.)

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