DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I will soon be 85. There is a possibility a friend may need a kidney transplant. Would I be considered a good donor at my age? Would you be a donor at my age? – T.M.

ANSWER: The age cutoff for organ donation varies from program to program and state to state. It also depends on the organ. Kidneys from older people are less likely to be accepted by the new host. They also have more mileage on them – a gratuitous observation. However, in 2002, more than 61 kidney donors were older than 65.

You can get specific information on the age requirements for your area by calling the head of the organ-procurement program at your local hospital.

There are other body parts that are not so age-dependent. The corneas of the eyes, bones, tendons, heart valves and veins have more liberal age limits.

Would I be a donor at your age? I don’t know if I would be as generous as you are. Your altruism swayed me to put your letter in first position for the day. Would that the rest of us could have the thoughtfulness and kindness you demonstrate. The list of those anxiously waiting for a donated organ grows daily.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: What I would like to know is how long it takes for alcohol to be completely out of your system. I weight about 170 pounds and am 5 feet 8 inches tall. Let me make it even more specific. How long would it take for three small glasses of beer or two shots of scotch to work themselves out of my system? I mean no traces of alcohol left. Is there a fee for this information? – R.S.

ANSWER: No fee, just your undying gratitude.

Twelve ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of liquor have just about the same amount of alcohol — 12 grams. In one hour, a man’s body metabolizes (gets rid of) 120 milligrams for each 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of body weight. Those are the basic facts.

You weigh 170 pounds (77 kg). Let’s say your three small glasses of beer hold a total of 24 ounces — two cans. That’s 24 grams of alcohol. To get rid of 24 grams, it takes a 170-pound man about two and a half hours. It takes the same amount of time to get rid of two shots of scotch. If you drink the beer and then down the scotch, it’s going to take five hours. I’m not suggesting you drink both the beer and the scotch consecutively; that’s way too much alcohol.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: How likely is someone to contract herpes through sharing a cigarette or a pipe? Is it possible? – L.L.

ANSWER: Just about anything is possible.

You’re referring to the herpes-1 virus, the virus that causes cold sores. The infection is spread from intimate contact of lip to lip or from saliva containing the virus transferred to an uninfected lip. The virus dies fairly quickly at room temperature.

If a person with a visible cold sore was smoking a cigarette or a pipe and handed you either one coated with a film of the virus, I would say transmission is possible. You have to have little brain activity to share a cigarette or a pipe with someone who has a visible cold sore.

You should know some other facts. By age 40, almost all adults have been infected with the herpes-1 virus, so avoiding it is all but impossible. Most of these infected people don’t break out with cold sores, but they can still disseminate the virus. Sharing cigarettes or pipes is not the greatest idea – visible cold sore or not.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am allergic to deodorants. I kept body odor at bay by using a mixture of talcum powder and baking soda. Now this mix gives me a rash. Do you know any other home remedy? – L.N.

ANSWER: Have you tried pure antiperspirants, ones that contain only aluminum chloride? One brand name of such an antiperspirant is Certain Dri, made by Numark Laboratories of Edison, N.J.

You could also try baby powder or cornstarch.

Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Readers may also order health newsletters from www.rbmamall.com.


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