Doctor, doctor: Hot and cold ears. Plus did Tamiflu kill my verruca?

My three-year-old son often has one red and warm ear, and one white and cold ear. We call this his "hot tap, cold tap". It doesn't bother him, but is there any cause for concern? After eating he tends to go blue (on hands and around his mouth) and can shiver even when it is warm. Our GP says we should just keep him wrapped up, and there's no such thing as poor circulation in an otherwise healthy child. Is he right?
It's possible the nerve that controls flushing and reaction to heat and cold (in the skin of the face) has been damaged, leaving your son with an imbalance between the two sides. Did he have a forceps delivery? That is a possible cause. However, I'm concerned that he tends to go blue when eating, particularly on his hands and around the mouth, because this suggests a central circulation problem, rather than just a peripheral one in the skin. Did you tell your doctor about this? It not, please do so, as your son may need further tests.

Last year, I had a large and very uncomfortable verruca on my left foot. Nothing helped. Recently I had flu, and was advised to take Tamiflu. I did; the flu eventually went away and so, to my surprise, has the verruca. Could Tamiflu have attacked the papilloma as well as the flu virus?
The surface antigens (the targets of antivirals) of flu and papilloma viruses (the cause of verrucas) are quite different, and as far as I know there are no publications on Tamiflu and papilloma viruses. But I'm open to the possibility that the flu infection could have stimulated your immune system in a way that helped it attack the virus in your verruca. On balance it is probably a coincidence. Verruca viruses eventually die off, and the skin heals naturally. One case history is no basis for suggesting a link, but a few hundred might raise eyebrows – do any other readers have a similar "coincidence"? Even then, it would need a randomised controlled trial of hundreds of volunteers to test the hypothesis, and I doubt anyone would finance that when the infection is self-limiting.

• Got a question for Dr Tom Smith? Email

Thanks to who have provided this article. View the original here.


comments powered by Disqus