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DEAR DR. DONOHUE - Concerning bee stings, if you wet the surface of the sting and cover it with meat tenderizer, will that relieve the sting and get rid of the stinger? - M.M.

ANSWER - I have not heard of meat tenderizer for bee stings and cannot recommend it.I can give you a couple of time-tested bee sting tips:

- If the stinger is still in the skin, remove it with a scraping motion with the fingernail or some other flat, firm object, but not one with a too-sharp edge.

- Do not try to grasp the stinger to pull it out. That can squeeze the venom down into the skin.

- Clean the sting wound with soap and water. Then apply a cool compress over it.

- Aspirin or Tylenol will ease the pain, if you know it's all right for you to take these medicines.

An ordinary bee sting is over with in one to two hours. If you get hives or symptoms such as shortness of breath or faintness after any sting, you need immediate medical attention. Have someone drive you to an emergency room. Those are signs of a system-wide reaction, which can be life threatening. You will require medicines to abort the reaction.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE - I have read that taking cod liver oil is a good way to help lubricate joints and help in arthritis. Also, my cholesterol count is borderline high. Would my 3 to 4 tablespoons a week of cod liver oil have any effect on my cholesterol level? - A.A.R.

ANSWER - The funny thing about cod liver oil is that while it does contain cholesterol it actually may lower the blood cholesterol level. And it does seem to protect against heart attacks, but in a non-cholesterol setting - that is by stopping blood clots from forming on any fatty buildups inside heart arteries.

I don't think you really believe that its oiliness allows cod liver oil to "lubricate" joints. But we have unverified indications that it can diminish the body's production of inflammation-causing chemicals. That would have a positive effect on arthritis.

The real point to make is that, whatever its real or suspected benefits, you should not go hog wild with cod liver oil. It does have lots of vitamins A and D, and you can get toxic amounts of those vitamins stored up in fat tissue. The amount you are taking should pose no problem of that sort. For a discussion of cholesterol, see the booklet on the subject. Order by writing to Dr. Donohue/No.5, P.O. Box 19660, Irvine, CA 92713, enclosing a long, stamped, self-addressed envelope and $2.00.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE - My father has been complaining of numbness in his legs and hands. He is 45, a smoker and slightly overweight. Could this be a circulation problem? Could exercise be the cure? - C.D.

ANSWER - Could be a circulation problem, and if it is, dumping cigarettes would be a big part of the cure. Nicotine constricts blood vessels. Exercise increases blood flow, so yes, that has to be another part of the answer.

Actually, his smoking is doing other things too. It is destroying the lining of his arteries, and that is an invitation to deposits of cholesterol and blood clotting elements. Buy him a box of sunflower seeds and tell him to quit.