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Dear Dr. Roach: My mother had the measles. She also had mumps and German measles. She stayed home for a few days, and went back to school a week later. But some doctors quickly learned that if they didn’t pretend that these viruses were deadly, they wouldn’t make any money. Anyone fearful of these viruses is a product of brainwashing. How many people in this country have died of measles this year? ZERO. But many had measles. So what did we learn? Measles is not deadly.

M.F.D.

Dear M.F.D.: If you were to think of a deadly disease, you might think of something like Ebola, some outbreaks of which have killed 90 percent of people who are infected.

measles doesn’t come to mind for most. Few Americans under the age of 50 have seen a case. Only about 1 person per thousand dies of measles in North America. (Another 1 per thousand may develop encephalitis, a severe inflammation of the brain. One in 2,000 or so will develop subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, a uniformly fatal late complication.) With measles rates having been low in the past few decades, measles deaths in the U.S. are indeed rare.

However, worldwide, it’s another story. Every year, 146,000 people die of measles, dwarfing Ebola or rabies as a far deadlier disease. There are ongoing outbreaks in Europe right now, with multiple deaths.

Doctors push hard for vaccination, despite the fact that vaccines make doctors little, if any, money. We do not want the days of rampant measles back again, with hundreds of thousands of sick kids per year and hundreds of deaths. Anyone with a sense of history rightly fears measles. Fortunately, measles could be completely eliminated from the planet, the same way smallpox was, with appropriate vaccination.

Dear L.B: Amlodipine, like similar calcium channel blockers, works by relaxing blood vessels. This reduces pressure, but it can allow fluid to leak out of the vessels. The fluid tends to be pulled down to the feet by gravity. People worry about it because foot swelling can be a sign of serious liver, kidney or heart disease. However, the swelling from amlodipine usually is just annoying, and can be managed by raising the feet periodically or wearing compression stockings. Rarely, people can develop chronic skin changes.

Dear Dr. Roach: I went gluten-free four years ago for “health” reasons. I had no irritable bowel issues or celiac disease. After this amount of time, is it OK to reintroduce wheat and gluten? Does going gluten-free when you do not have celiac disease cause you to become more gluten-sensitive because its reintroduction would be like a foreign substance to your system? I fear I may have caused myself to become gluten-sensitive by avoiding it when I didn’t have to. Can you please advise?

Email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu.

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