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HOUSE Calls: Questions About Tinnitus, Headaches & Athlete’s Foot

July 17, 2012 by Rose Hoban in HOUSE Calls

This week we respond to questions about tinnitus, headaches, and athlete’s foot.

Dear HOUSE Calls,

Does tinnitus run in the family?

House calls logoGood question. First of all, by way of explanation, tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing in the ear. It is usually unprovoked, and sometimes associated with other conditions, such as hearing loss. It is usually a nuisance condition and often hard to treat, but it can rarely be a sign of something more dangerous. So please get this checked out by your doctor.

As for your question, for some people, tinnitus can be inherited. There has been a gene linked to this condition.


Dear HOUSE Calls,

I suffer from headaches and sinus problems, which have been worse recently. Can this be due to extreme changes in weather?

This is a common sentiment, especially with sinuses. However, studies are inconsistent in regards to how changes in weather change affect changes in sinus pain, pressure headaches and related headaches.

Certainly, there are some things that might muddy the issue. Extreme swings in weather are common in the spring and fall, also those are also the seasons that are the most common time for allergies, which can make sinus pressure worse.

Also, many people will self-treat their allergies with decongestants, such as pseudophedrine. These medicines can cause rebound headaches. Try to avoid decongestants, favoring ibuprofen or naprosyn for headaches and antihistamines for allergies.


Dear HOUSE Calls,

I’m on my feet 12 hours a day in a kitchen and often my feet get wet. My feet have been itchy, red and peeling. Is this athlete’s foot? What do you recommend?

It sure sounds like athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is actually a fungal infection, and not just for athletes. Over–the-counter anti-fungal creams are a great place to start. We usually recommend that your use them for a couple of weeks.

Also, use cotton socks, and change them once mid-shift. And is it possible to wear shoes that will keep your feet drier?

Athlete’s foot is often a chronic and recurrent condition. If it does not respond, or if it recurs, see your family physician. It could be a type of eczema as well. Good luck.


HOUSE Calls is a weekly column by Dr. Adam Zolotor, Dr. Adam Goldstein, and Dr. Cristy Page on behalf of YOUR HEALTH™ and the UNC Department of Family Medicine.

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About HOUSE Calls
Physicians from the UNC Department of Family Medicine’s YOUR HEALTH™ media bring you weekly information in response to your questions about health and medicine. Send us your questions or comments to

The HOUSE Calls staff:

Cristy Page Headshot Dr Cristy Page is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. A former Morehead scholar, Dr. Page completed degrees in Medicine, Public Health and Family Medicine at UNC. Dr. Page practices full scope family medicine including obstetrics, and she is recognized for important innovations in maternal health, preventive medicine and group well-child care.

Adam Goldstein Headshot Dr. Adam Goldstein is a Professor of Family Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. As a leading U.S. expert in primary care, Dr. Goldstein has a 20-year history in clinical practice, teaching, and research. He has published over 150 articles, essays, book chapters, and books.

Adam Zolotor Headshot Dr. Adam Zolotor is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine.  Dr. Zolotor Completed his training at the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina.  He has been in practice for 10 years and and is a nationaly recognized expert in child abuse and child injury prevention.  He directs the Department of Family Medicine maternal and child health services. He is the author of more than 50 articles and book chapters.

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