My His husband is suffering from an itchy, dark-red rash that has been raging since August. 

The pain started at his back and spread to his armpits, knees, ankles, hips, and fingers. 

Ointments and tablets – such as fluconazole – have yet to work. Are there any other options?

Itchy, sore rashes can destroy patients’ confidence – especially when they affect several parts of the body.

Dermatitis is a condition that causes itching and skin to split.

Dermatitis is a condition that causes the skin to become inflamed, dry and itchy. 

There are different types – eczema is one type, and another is called contact dermatitis, which means the rashes appear in reaction to an irritant coming into contact with the skin. One common example is washing power.

If the rash is itchy and features bits of the skin splitting, doctors would think about diagnosing a skin condition called dermatitis. In dermatitis, the skin becomes inflamed and dry.

Doctors might diagnose dermatitis if the rash causes itching and shows signs of skin peeling. Dermatitis is a condition where the skin becomes dry and itchy.

Sometimes, dermatitis can become worse due to a fungal or bacterial infection. This needs to be addressed along with it.

The two most common treatments for dermatitis include creams. 

To soften the skin and moisturize it, use an emollient (or moisturising) cream such as Cetraben, Doublebase or Doublebase. You should apply this generously, at least 3 times per day. 

For a short time, a steroid such as Betnovate and Hydrocortisone is used to reduce inflammation. 

Dermatitis is usually treated with two creams. Firstly, an emollient or moisturising cream, such as Cetraben or Doublebase, to soften and hydrate the skin. [File image]

Two creams are usually used to treat dermatitis. To moisturize and soften the skin, use an emollient, or moisturising, cream like Cetraben. [File image]

You might also consider other treatments, like a shower cream or antihistamine tablets to help reduce itching.

Patients often have difficulty keeping up with the regimen and find applying the creams difficult.

In cases of underlying infections, antifungal or antibiotic treatments may be used. If the underlying infection is not clear, a dermatologist can recommend a specialist clinic for skin conditions.

I have taken antidepressants for two years, but I can’t seem to work out which type is best for me. Flupentixol was the first – but I got the shakes. 

After that, I switched to Citalopram. Although it seemed to work well, doctors advised me to try venlafaxine. However, this caused panic attacks. 

I’ve also tried sertraline and duloxetine but had bad side effects with both. What should I do?

Doctors often suggest that patients switch to another antidepressant when a specific one causes side effects.

However, it’s not very common for doctors and pharmacists to make changes to medications multiple times in a short time span.

Do not chop or change medication. It can lead to withdrawal symptoms and unwanted side effects. Particularly for medication that treats mental illness, this is true.

It is very unusual for doctors to change medications four to five times over a few years, especially when a drug appears to be working well. Chopping and changing medications is not sensible, and often results in unwelcome side effects and withdrawal symptoms. [File picture]

Doctors will rarely change medication four to five times in a short time, particularly if the drug seems to work well. It is not a smart thing to cut and change medications. This can often lead to unwanted side effects or withdrawal symptoms. [File picture]

Even if the patient feels well, sometimes it’s necessary to alter a medication. 

As the NHS moves towards safer and cheaper alternatives, this has been more frequent. But a patient’s symptoms and tolerance for the drug should always be the priority.

Flupentixol, an antipsychotic drug, is prescribed for schizophrenia and other mental disorders that involve intrusive thoughts. Flupentixol isn’t usually prescribed to treat depression. 

Doctors will not usually recommend a flupentixol change if the patient is well on their medication.

Use of the medication should be stopped slowly. The correct dosage can take up to 3 months.

Sometimes it takes months before you see any effects. Each pill has not had a fair trial.

In such cases, it’s likely that it’s the stopping and starting that is causing unpleasant side effects – rather than the pills themselves.

A long-term problem with osteoarthritis in my left leg is gradually getting worse. 

My GP won’t see me and said I don’t need a scan nor any other treatment.

But I’m in agony. How can I help?

Osteoarthritis patients should not be left to their own devices.

While there may be no cure for the condition – where the joints become painful and stiff – there are things we can do to control the pain.

If there are doubts regarding the diagnosis, a scan is not worth it. You have a couple of options when it comes to treatment.

Weight loss can help reduce the pressure in the knee osteoarthritis.

It is also possible to exercise your muscles, strengthen them and prevent injuries from happening.

Patients with osteoarthritis should not just have to suffer with it. While there may be no cure for the condition – where the joints become painful and stiff – there are things we can do to control the pain. [Stock image]

It is not enough for patients with osteoarthritis to have to deal with their condition. While there may be no cure for the condition – where the joints become painful and stiff – there are things we can do to control the pain. [Stock image]

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A simple form of pain relief, such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatory medication (e.g. topical Ibuprofen gel), can help. Patients can be referred to specialist by their GPs. 

NHS provides local physiotherapy services or musculoskeletal support for people suffering from knee osteoarthritis. 

They can offer personalised exercise and physiotherapy programs, along with steroid injections that may be offered at the doctor’s office.

There are also options for knee arthritis surgery. It can include a total knee replacement or the possibility of cleaning the joint.

It is best to get a second opinion from another doctor if a GP does not offer any of these services.

Staff of the NHS have no problem finding a job, and no jabs.

I’m becoming disturbed by reports about doctors who say they’re willing to lose their job to avoid having a Covid jab.

Despite pushback from MPs, the Prime Minister is sticking to his guns on a vaccine mandate for NHS workers – and from April it will be no jab, no job.

Despite pushback from MPs, the Prime Minister is sticking to his guns on a vaccine mandate for NHS workers – and from April it will be no jab, no job. Pictured: Health Secretary Sajid Javid meets staff in a Covid ICU at Kings College Hospital, London on January 7, 2022

Despite pushback from MPs, the Prime Minister is sticking to his guns on a vaccine mandate for NHS workers – and from April it will be no jab, no job. Pictured: Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, meets with staff at Kings College Hospital in London’s Covid ICU on January 7, 2022.

I have yet to meet a doctor, or any NHS worker for that matter, who is so averse to the vaccine that they’re willing to lose their job over the issue. 

I get the impression that most of those who take this stance are outliers – perhaps they work largely in private practice, just like Dr Steve James, the consultant anaesthetist who challenged Health Secretary Sajid Javid about the matter at King’s College Hospital.

This view is not one I can sympathize with. 

It is well-known that vaccines can be safe, effective and will provide protection for vulnerable patients. It is time to get this done.

But I’d like to know what you think. 

Are you willing to have your doctors and nurses treated like a pig? Or do you believe they should be allowed to choose between you and them?  

How to obtain an aorta scan 

In last week’s column I answered a question from a reader who was worried her husband had missed out on his regular NHS screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms.

The letters were received by readers who felt they, too, had been missing something. 

So, to clarify: the programme – sometimes referred to as AAA screening – is a check to spot the first signs of a potentially life-threatening swelling in the main blood vessel that runs from the heart down through the chest and tummy, the aorta. 

Men over 65 years old are welcome to have a quick scan. The purpose of this is to determine the size of their aorta. If a problem does arise, more frequent checks will be necessary. 

It’s important every man over 65 has at least one check – visit and search ‘AAA screening service’ to find where you can get one.