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Stick 'em up

Take a shot at getting over your fear of needles.

I'm terrified of needles and dread going to the doctor. What can I do to calm my fears?

Even Dr. Sonja Grey once had a mega fear of needles--and she's now a doctor! To ease the pain, she suggests telling your doc you're scared and requesting the smallest needle possible--like a butterfly needle. It burns less if the alcohol dries completely before the shot. And don't look at the needle! Prepare yourself for N-day by looking at pictures of needles and then people getting injections. Then, look at actual needles. Imagine yourself getting a shot and not feeling it a bit. That whole mind-over-matter thing can really work. Dr. Grey also warns against a total freak-out-it can actually make it hurt more!

I have dark hair on my stomach, but I don't want to shave it. What do you recommend?

Body hair is totally normal. But, for some girls, it's totally unwanted. Definitely don't shave! Stomach stubble is the worst. Try hair-bleaching creams, like Jolene, or use a special depilatory for sensitive areas (bikini formulas work). For longer-lasting solutions, you can get your belly waxed or electrolysized at a salon. But, both methods are costly and time-consuming. Hey, there's nothing wrong with going au natural!

I get these red sores in my mouth, and they hurt. What are they, and how can I get rid of them?

If the sore has a white or gray base with a red border, you have a canker sore. Canker sores are caused by almost anything--braces, brushing too hard, biting the inside of your mouth. "If a canker sore doesn't go away in four to seven days or constantly reappears, you might have a poorly functioning immune system or vitamin deficiency," says dentist Dr. Sinaida Kniter. Rinse with an anti-microbial mouthwash to reduce irritation. Try Rembrandt's Canker Pain Relief Kit or Canker Prevention Toothpaste if you're prone to outbreaks. Meantime, avoid spicy and acidic foods, and keep up good brushing and flossing habits to ward off bacteria.

I was diagnosed with keratosis pilaris. What is it, and what can I do to make it better?

This is a fairly common skin disorder that causes clustered spiny, dry, white bumps on the skin's hair follicles. Oddly, nobody knows what causes it. But don't freak. It doesn't itch or hurt, and should improve as you get older. And it's not contagious. Says dermatological surgeon Dr. Andrew Kaufman, "Apply an emollient cream like Eucerin Original right after bathing, before you're fully dry to trap moisture into the skin." Or see your dermatologist for a prescription.

Think straight teeth means years of heavy metal? Not anymore. Align Technology has developed the Invisalign System, which uses clear plastic "aligners to straighten teeth. The virtually invisible aligners need to be worn 22 hours a day but are just as effective as braces. Here's how it works: Using 3-D computer technology, a new set of aligners is made every two weeks until your teeth are in the desired position. "The system is ideal for mild to moderate front crowding or spacing," says Dr. Frank DeQuattro, an orthodontist in Rhode Island. Here's the catch: Invisalign is only recommended for patients with a full adult jaw (ages 15 and over). But it doesn't hurt to ask your orthodontist if he's trained to use Invisalign.
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Title Annotation:brief health care notes
Publication:Girls' Life
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2001
Previous Article:FASHION Q&A.
Next Article:GUYS Q & A.

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