Week of:
Jan 20, 2017

Safety of gel and shellac nail manicures

Hi Alice!

I love getting my nails done with a gel or shellac manicure. The polish doesn't chip at all and stays shiny for weeks. I'm just worried about the UV light used to seal the manicure - it is almost like a mini tanning bed for your hands. What are the risks? And are there any bad chemicals in the polish?

Thanks, Alice! Dazzling Diva

What's up with waxy fruit? Are they safe to eat?

Dear Alice,

I get the apples provided in the dining hall on campus every day and have noticed that they are completely coated with wax (scratching the surface produces white flakes). I was wondering, how harmful is the wax if I eat two or three apples a day?

Tattoo safety guidelines

Dear Alice:

I am planning to get a tattoo. Can you please give me some guidelines to follow so this can be accomplished safely, as I do not want blood poisoning or any diseases as a result?

— Ink Virgin

Safety of prophylactic antibiotics for those without a spleen

Dear Alice,

My sons are 16 and 18 and have Hereditary Spherocytocis, a disorder that makes the red blood cells spherical instead of "bialy" shaped like they should be. The condition is essentially cured my removing the spleen. They both have had their spleens removed and were prescribed prophylactic penicillin twice a day for an indefinite period of time. This is supposed to protect them in case they become infected with certain bacteria that can be a serious threat for a person without a spleen. With the latest information on the overuse of antibiotics and how it's affecting our health (e.g., healthy bacteria in the gut is killed, resistance builds to other antibiotics, etc.), I'm concerned about this. I've stopped giving them the penicillin daily. What is your understanding of this trade-off? Which is more harmful in the long run, not taking penicillin at all or taking it every day of their lives?

Thank you!

Safe to take expired prescription medication?

Hi Alice,

I wanted to know the dangers of taking expired pills. For instance, Xanax that expired over five years ago. I'm sure you're wondering why someone would still have them but I am curious what would happen if you took them now.

Thank you,