Dear Annie: I am in my mid-20s and recently became engaged. For years, I have suffered from hyperhidrosis — extreme sweating of my hands, armpits, eyebrows and upper lip. When I say extreme, I mean sweat dripping down my hands, visible beads of sweat on my brow, etc. It is embarrassing. Needless to say, I do not like to shake hands or touch people. Fortunately, my fiance loves me the way I am and couldn’t care less about my sweaty hands.
I have tried different medications and a prescription antiperspirant, but these only provide minor relief. From what I understand, there is nothing that can be done besides major, scary surgery, where they deflate your lung to sever a nerve in your spinal column.
Most people are nice about it and discreetly clean their hands after touching mine. Sometimes, however, a rude person will make a comment. Now that I have an engagement ring on my finger, everyone will want to see it. I know this means they will extend their hands to touch mine. What do I do? I love showing off my beautiful diamond ring, but I don’t want to be touched.
— Getting Anxious
Dear Anxious: We’re glad your fiance is mature enough to overlook this. It’s perfectly OK to tell people you have a medical condition and would prefer that they didn’t make physical contact. And it might help to show off your ring by extending your fist, which will discourage people from trying to hold your fingers. You also might be interested to know that the Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.org) has developed a minimally invasive surgical procedure for hyperhidrosis that is slightly less “scary.”
Dear Annie: I have a 12-year-old son who is grossly overweight, as is my wife. I’m worried that my son will become an obese adult.
My wife blames her obesity on her childhood and believes if we say anything to our son about his weight, it will only carve it into stone. But it seems not saying anything might be just as bad.
My wife’s brothers were chubby until they became teenagers and then thinned out. But everyone in my family grew up fat and stayed fat. My son is sensitive, so I don’t want to say anything that would make him feel like less of a person. What do I do?
— Worried Dad
Dear Dad: Your son’s biggest problem is the fact that both of his parents have weight issues. The most effective way to help your son is to model healthy behavior. Get rid of the junk. Cook nutritious meals with lots of fresh vegetables. Have fruit available to snack on. Eat the way you want your son to eat. Then take him with you for bike rides, neighborhood runs, basketball games and softball practice. You will teach your son the good habits he will need for the rest of his life — and improve your own health in the process.