Ask My Dad

Questions may be asked at the bottom of the page.


Dear Dad:  Which Covid 19 vaccines are safest? Least side effects. Not using fetal tissue to make the vaccine, etc.

     Astrocenika and Johnson & Johnson both use fetal cells meaning injections may include human tissue, rna, and dna. That could cause an autoimmune response and is therefore not recommended.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are human cell free. Pfizer has a lower site side effect than Moderna. The difference is minimal but are both above 60%. mRNA vaccines are new. Safety of these vaccines is not yet fully established. The newest information from observation is that those currently vaccinated with the Covid vaccine are actually more susceptible to the mutated strains.

I myself will not be vaccinated and do not recommend it for family members.

Dear Dad:  My car has begun to make noises in the dashboard of my car. The noises seem to be worse when I turn. The car is becoming hard to steer; I think it’s the power steering fluid. What should I do?

     Check the power steering fluid: Pop the hood and find the power steering reservoir. Twist the cap of the reservoir to remove it; lift it carefully so the fluid does not splash. There will be a dipstick attached to the cap. Read the dipstick to ensure that you have power steering fluid.

     If your power steering fluid is adequate, the power steering pump has failed and needs to be replaced. When you replace your power steering pump, you must do your best to flush out the old fluid and replace with new. It is advisable to put an in-line filter in the return line to prevent contamination of the pump and early failure.

     However, if your power steering fluid is low, the fluid may be leaking; if so, the leak is likely from the front shaft seal of the power steering pump. In this case, of course, the power steering pump must be replaced. If no leak is located at the power steering pump, the leak may be at the power steering rack. Usually problems in the steering rack must be handled by a mechanic; once this problem is fixed be sure to get an alignment. Other possible locations of the leak are power steering hoses and lines; these may be replaced as needed.

Dear Dad: My granddad recently had a lens transplant in his eye, and I was wondering: Where does the lens come from? And what is it made of? It really makes his eye sparkle; is it made of glass?

   There are multiple manufacturers for lenses and many different types of artificial lenses. Some lenses have one focal point; some are bifocal; and some lenses have the ability to change focus, just like the original lens in the eye, only not as effectively. Artificial lenses are primarily made of plastic and are not necessarily anchored to the eye, except in the case of the focusing lens. Bonus fact: During installation, the plastic lenses are put through a very small hole into the eye. In order to fit the lens through the hole, the lens is rolled up; once in place, it is allowed to unroll.

Dear Dad,

   What does Benadryl do, and where does it come from?

   Benadryl (diphenhidramine) is an H-1 anti-cholinergic antihistamine. Histamine is what your body releases when you're having an allergic reaction or when you are stung or bitten by insects. Therefore, diphenhidramine is good for treating allergy symptoms. It will also cause pupil constriction, slowed heart rate and sleepiness. Benadryl is considered safe for anyone under the age of sixty-five. Accidental benadryl overdose tends to only lead to over-fatigue. Over the age of sixty-five, benadryl overdose can lead to low blood pressure as well as confusion which can lead to others believing that they are crazy.

   Diphenhydramine is synthesized from hydrocarbons from crude oil. It has two benzene rings; benzene occurs in crude oil and is also used for plastics and synthetic rubbers.

Dear Dad,

   I have anemia. What should I do?

   The most important thing to do with anemia is to find the cause. There are two primary reasons for being anemic: blood loss and failure to make blood.

   Blood loss is usually caused by ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract, especially the stomach and small intestine. It can also be caused by tumors in the large intestine. (Not all tumors are cancerous.) Although hemorroidal bleeding can be significant, it does not often lead to anemia. Another cause of anemia in women is heavy bleeding. This can be treated using anti-inflammatories, although that would appear to be counter-intuitive. See your doctor for further information.

   Failure to make blood can be caused in several ways. In older people, the bone marrow may be being replaced by fat, which can lead to decreased blood creation. Also, it may be that you have a bone cancer or cannot absorb iron. All of these problems would have to be evaluated by a laboratory study.

   If your problem is blood loss, you can increase the iron content in your blood by eating foods with high iron contents or taking supplemental iron. Iron is best absorbed in an acid environment; it may be best not to take antacids when taking iron supplements. While taking iron, drink lemonade or another acidic drink. Severe anemia may require a transfusion.

Dear Dad,

   What is iodized salt, and where does it come from? Also, isn't it better for you to eat sea salt?

   Iodine is a metal which is found while mining. Iodine is required for your thyroid to function normally. This metal is therefore added in very small amounts to table salt (which is also mined) to ensure adequate dietary sources are available to prevent thyroid problems, such as Grave's Disease. Iodized salt should not be used for canning, as it will give a bitter, metallic taste to your food. Iodine in high doses can be toxic.

          Sea salt is evaporated sea water, wich contains salt and other metals including mercury and is not the best salt for human consumtpions. Himalayan pink salt has many mineral impurities, and may or may not be good for you depending on what kind you get.

Dear Dad,

   My automatic transmission in my car has started to shift erratically. Should I get my transmission rebuilt?

   Erratic shifting is very different than gears not engaging or slipping. Erratic shifting is usually due to hydraulic modulators which are electronically controlled. The problem is usually that an electronic input is being interfered with; this could be either a computer input or a worn or shorted wire. Because this problem is electrical in origin, it may even be a battery with a bad cell not providing enough voltage, or an alternator not providing enough voltage. I would recommend taking the car to a car parts store and letting them check the electrical system before letting your mechanic do anything to the transmission. Modulators do fail on occasion, but it is very rare. Gears not shifting or not engaging would be more consistent with a clogged transmission filter, worn clutch disks or low transmission fluid, which would require further evaluation by a transmission shop.

Dear Dad,

   Since starting a new medication, I've been getting dizzy and light-headed whenever I stand up. Can you help me?

   Medications that cause vasodilation will cause blood to pool in the veins of the lower extremities (your toes), making it unavailable to central circulation (your heart), which provides blood to your brain. Medications that would cause this include: blood pressure medications, such as non-selective beta blockers and alpha blockers, nitrates for chest pain, medications to shrink the prostate, some anti-depressants, and others.

   To prevent light-headedness or potentially blacking out upon standing up, the blood must be moved from the lower extremities (the legs) and moved to the central circulation (the heart) thereby making it available to the brain, because when you stand up blood pressure drops in the brain because of the fluid shift. Before standing up, wiggle your toes and feet (and maybe the joint at the knee as well) because the muscles will pump the blood up to the heart, making it available to your brain. After about ten seconds of doing so you will be able to stand up with no symptoms or improved symptoms. If your sypmtoms are still severe, consider increasing fluid intake and consulting your doctor for a lower dose of your medication.

Dear Dad,

   A friend told me about a wonderful herb called arnica. She says it's great for pain relief, especially inflammation. What do you think about it?

          Arnica is derived from a species of sunflower and has been said to be a homeopathic use for throat pain and arthritis and to ward off upper respitory viruses. 

          Actual studies show that in a petri dish the arnica does mildly inhibit growth of staph bacteria. The dose is not documented and would be expected to be toxic to humans at the dose required to actually effect bacterial growth.

          Arnica is an alkeloid like opium and has anticholinergic effects blocking muscle activity. Very low doses applied topically will therefore help with pain and muscle spasm. If taken orally it can cause death through heart attack of respiratory arrest (you can't breath). Lower dose toxicity can cause diarrhea. It is not recommended orally or on open wounds.

          It has come to my attention that it is being used for sore throats. This preparation would have to be very low dose and will therefore be ineffective. Other ingredients such as eucalyptis oil or camphor and vitamin C will be more effective and are likely in the spray.

          My recommendation: Avoid arnica because of the risk. Use topical theragesic for muscle pain and spasms. Use cough drops of choice for a sore throat. I like Ricola Honey Lemon. Both honey and lemon have been proven scientifically to be of benefit for sore throat and cough.

Dear Dad,

   I have a mild, chronic cough. It's always worst in the wintertime. How can I get rid of it?

          The first thing to understand is what is causing the cough. The cough is usually caused by sinus drainage going down your throat and into your upper airway because of post-nasal drip due to allergy. This drainage causes irritation and inflammation because of enzymes it contains. The best treatment for stopping the drainage would be an antihistamine (I recommend Benadryl), which will also shrink down the inflamed tissue due to its drying effect. If this causes too much drowsiness, use it only at night. Also, I recommend taking a less drowsy medicine like chlortrimeton (which are called Chlor-tabs at Walmart) during the day. I would take one Chlor-tab with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and one or two Benadryl at bedtime. Expectorants and cough suppressants, such as Mucinex and Delsym, although they make your cough more comfortable (which is good for colds), do not treat the underlying problem and are therefore ineffective for cedar fever or other allergy. Non-sedative, mild antihistamines are usually ineffective for significant allergy symptoms.

Dear Dad,

   I would like to sell my car and need to know how much it's worth. How do I do that?

   The first thing you need to do is inspect the car for wear. Next, look at the milage; with that information go to KBB.com. Enter in your vehicle's information: the year, make (manufacturer), model (name of car), and mileage, and then you will be asked about "options." "Options" is the name given to non-essentials such as power steering, a sun roof, automatic transmission, or all-wheel drive. Kelly Blue Book will give you the value of your car in order for you to sell your car privately.

Dear Dad,

   I am missing some of the tips on my umbrella. I am appending a picture to illustrate what the missing tips look like. The tips are black; they have two holes in the bottom for the ribs and a hole through the sides (the hole throught the sides goes all the way through). Do you know where I might be able to find more? This umbrella has a lot of sentimental value and I'd hate to throw it away.

   You might use the caps that come on pens. The gray bic pens are probably your best candidate; cut the caps down to about half-size and drill the hole throught the sides with a drill.

Thanks, Dad! That worked really well. Here's a picture of the finished product.

Dear Dad,

   My wooden door is cracked, and its hinges are loose: they cannot be tightened because the door is cracked. How can I fix my cracked door so I can tighten my hinges?

   The door will have to be fixed before you tighten the screws on the hinges. Remove the door from the hinges (and vice-versa) and place the door hinge side up against a wall or other surface. Using a pencil or screwdriver, push utensil of choice into the holes where the screws go in order to slightly widen the crack in the door. Put wood glue into the crack and use compressed air to blow the glue into the crack. Remove the pencil or screwdriver and apply clamps to the door for at least one hour, but for best results leave the clamps on for twenty-four hours. Now, all you have to do is re-hang the door.

Dear Dad,

   My friend developed a scaly rash on his hand, mainly between his thumb and forefinger. The rash has a definite border that has apparently not changed for several weeks. What treatment do you recommend?

   Any rash with scale and a strong border is usually fungal and can be treated with Tinactin or Chlotrimozol. Treatment will require twice-a-day application for two weeks. However, I understand your friend has a hobby of making knives. If not seeing expected results in one week, it is likely that there is a nickel allergy from the metal shavings related to the knife hobby. Another way to test for nickel allergy is to wear a watch with a stainless steel back, and evaluate for skin rash after one week. If it is a nickel allergy, treatment should be with a topical steroid, such as Hydrocortizone twice daily for one week and either avoiding the allergen or using barrier protection (gloves) to protect himself from the allergen.

Dear Dad,

   I have a problem with my sprinklers. Two stations are coming on simultateously, with a pulsing and knocking sound. The main station seems to have full pressure, but the second station has a lower pressure.

   The sprinkler systems have valves that control the flow to each station. These valves have a solenoid that is in charge of water flow. When the power is off, the solenoid is closed. However, the solenoids have a rubber seal that can crack or disintegrate with age. Under these conditions, changes of pressure in the water line can cause closely approximated valves to leak, allowing water to flow to a second station. To remedy this, turn off your water supply and remove the old solenoid, replacing it with a new one, wiring the new solenoid the same way as the previous solenoid was wired.

Dear Dad,

   I have a washer/dryer combination in my RV. The drain hose for it appears to have a much larger connection than normal dishwasher drain hoses. I can't find a replacement for the drain hose anywhere in the U.S. Do you know where I can find one?

These units are primarily made in Italy:

Splendide 2100XC, 7100XC, 2100XC and all other models.

Westland WD2100XC

These will not have the elbow, which is okay.

   Search for 22/29mm drain hose. (The measurements for your drain hose will be in European sizes.) Drain hoses are also available from UK and Australia, which have a much better price than Splendide. The price I found was $38 with free shipping. The U.S. dealer wants $40 plus $12 in shipping, which I think is just plain crazy.

Dear Dad, 

   I've been planting a garden, but I've been having a little trouble. For example, when I plant potatoes, usually the potatoes come up fine, but sometimes they have a lot of flowers and no tubers, and occasionally they don't come up at all. For another example, when I plant tomatoes, sometimes the vine comes up all right and puts out a few flowers, but no tomatoes appear. Then when I pull up the tomato vines, they are really hard to pull out because the roots are so healthy. If the roots are healthy, why didn't I get any tomatoes? When the tomato vines come up volunteer the next year, I have plenty of tomatoes. What's going on? 

          According to the Farmer's Almanack, the moon may be the culprit here. The moon affects the tide, as we know, but it also affects other waters.

          When the moon is waxing (getting bigger), then it is time to plant aboveground crops, such as tomatoes, strawberries, and squash. When the moon is waning (getting smaller), then it is time to plant your belowground crops, such as potatoes and carrots. Then for a week after the new moon is the weeding season. That is when you pull up your weeds; also, this is when you want to dry anything that wants drying, because the water will come out much more easily.

          The reason this works is because when the moon is full, it is pulling the water from the ground up into the plant. This makes the aboveground crops grow well. When the moon is waning, the nutrients are pulled from the top of the plant into the roots, making conditions ideal for belowground plants. When it is the weeding season, no nutrients are pulled into the plant at all, making plants pulled up at this time die.

Dear Dad,

   Should I insulate my home with spray foam to save money on electricity bills?

   Spray foam is coming into fashion because of home improvement shows. However, spray foam has risks.  Also there must be certain environmental conditions when it is applied. Conventional knowledge and the somewhat warmer climate of the Southern US states generally suggest that spray foam is not required. Conventional methods of fiberglass and blow-in insulation should be adequate for our moderate temperatures. For risks and other concerns which may arise when applying foam insulation, go to YouTube and view the video marked Spray Foam Insulation Nightmare. This video underscores the risk of having chemicals applied in one's house.

Dear Dad,

   My friend is trying to decide if she should vaccinate her children.  She says that some people tell her her children will die if they are not vaccinated, and others say they will die if they are.  What is your opinion?

   I would not recommend vaccines from aborted children for moral and medical reasons. No one should have parts of human cells injected into themselves for risk of autoimmune diseases. These risks are identified and warned of on the vaccine handouts. This could also theoretically explain the increase in asthma since the virus is grown in lung tissue cells. 

For greatest risk benefit ratio use those not grown from human tissues. See attached form. A larger image appears when you click on it.

   MMR (Mumps, Measles, and Rubella) is not available in a synthetic at this time. I would recommend talking to your congressman about that.

Dear Dad,

   I had a hangnail on my big toe which I took care of, but now my toe is swollen and sometimes bleeds. What should I do?

   You should get a bowl big enough to hold your foot, fill it with water, and soak your foot for twenty minutes every day. Since it swelled, you should also put Epson salts in the water.

   Well, Dad, I soaked my toe. But now the part of my toe that was swollen has turned white. Is that normal?

   Yes. The skin on that part of your toe will probably peel off, but if it does the skin underneath will not be raw.

Dear Dad,

    My friend's house burned down, but she was able to save her clothes. A lot of her clothes have smoke damage. How can she get the smell out?

   One tried-and-true method is to rub Palmolive on all stains and soot, then soak the clothes in the bathtub. Rinse them three times and repeat the process if the smell and stains remain in significant amounts.

Dear Dad,

   I keep honeybees.  What can I do to help prepare the bees for the winter?

   Here's what to do: place a board under your bottom board to prevent air flow. Air flow is beneficial in summer, but not in freezing temperatures. Decrease your entrances to one inch wide and one-quarter inch tall. If queen excluders are currently being used, remove them. Treat for mites. If you use a large rock in the top for ventilation, remove the rock and put in a ventilated inner cover (one-eighth inch slots cut in either end of the top board to allow some air movement in order to keep the hive dry). Check whatever feeders you are using for servicability in preparation for winter feeding.

Dear Dad,

   My car won't start, the dashboard lights are flashing, and my starter is clicking. What do I do?

   Check your battery's cells, then your alternator's volt and amp output. (You will need to take the alternator to the car parts store to check the voltage and amperage.)

   Check all electrical connections for corrosion or shorting. 

   After identification, fix the problem as identified or take it to your local mechanic. 

Truck Stuff

   Dad raised his truck, since it was itermittently scraping the front and needed greater road clearance.  You will notice that the front of the truck rides higher in the After picture. Recently we used the winch to pull ourselves out of a gully. The winch was made in China and broke after one use. Dad highly recommends Warn winches. Other good winches are Mile Marker and Smitty Built.




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© Cassandra Scott