Medical Advice – Volume 1

Sometimes I help out on a public medical advice board.  Since these questions are already public, there’s no harm in sharing them here – along with my answers – for hopeful edification and maybe a little amusement.


Does the radiation emitted by infrared space heaters pose any health risks?

No more than any other kind of heat.  Infrared radiation is just another name for heat, so there’s no health risk.  Provided you don’t overheat yourself, of course.

are airbrush sets hazardous for your health?

I went to buy an air brush set ( with no paint added, this was just the spray gun) from and there was this warning label that read

“PROP 65: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm”

is this true? ..are there safer air brush sets out there?


If you get involved with art using real paints and good materials, you will soon note that the State of California thinks pretty much any good pigment is deadly.  Most professional artists routinely use deadly chemicals in their work, but since they aren’t chewing on, ingesting, or breathing their materials they are quite safe.  But the labels will definitely make you worry, so I understand your concern!

The key here is to use the airbrush set with proper ventilation (as you should anyway), spray away from your face, and wash your hands after you use the set.  If you want a little extra protection, wear nitrile gloves.

I do find it odd that the label said just the gun was gun was dangerous, I can’t see how this could possibly be true.   It could be that the rubber gaskets might outgas slightly, but you aren’t sniffing them constantly and you would wash your hands after using the unit.

In short, this unit is likely to be as safe as any other, and if you use it as it is meant to be used there is no danger to you.  Probably keep it out of reach of children, though, just to be safe.


I saw blood on my finger and licked it. If the person who had the blood is HIV+, can the virus be transmitted to me?


Vanishingly unlikely.  Your saliva is your first defense against viruses.  As you may have heard before, HIV is a pretty weak virus – it dies easily outside the body.  You would have to rub it into an open wound.  Please don’t tell me you also have an open wound in your mouth.

Also, just for hygiene’s sake, what are you doing going around licking other people’s blood off your finger?  And how, exactly are you getting someone’s blood on your finger?  And finally, how in the world do you know they are HIV positive?

Sounds like you are engaged in some pretty interesting activities and you might want to rethink your life.

Of course, you may have a perfectly plausible explanation as to why you are getting HIV positive blood on your finger and licking it.


is lupus a STD

Can people with Lupus pass in on to their sexual partners

Lupus is a lifelong disorder of the immune system, not an STD.  Here’s some good information about it.

Stay tuned for the next issue of Medical Advice!

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