Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Do you believe that a child who is 6 1/2 years old should be told the truth, regardless of what it is?

Here is the situation: Dad is in jail for one year. Please understand, my husband didn't steal anything, nor did he commit a violent crime. However, he was found guilty of driving drunk -- it was his third offense. If you think our son should be told the truth, how do you feel about my taking him to visit his father in jail? Or do you think it would be better to tell him that Daddy is away "on business" and he may be gone for quite a long time?

I can't describe the humiliation our family has endured. It was reported in the newspaper, but this is a large city and not everyone is aware of it. -- WITHHOLD MY NAME, PLEASE

DEAR WITHHOLD: I think you should tell your son the truth, and tell him now, before someone else does. I also believe that you should take the boy to visit his father -- for his sake as well as for his father's.

These are troubled times for your family. But it is not the end of the world. And this too shall pass.

DEAR ABBY: I am writing this letter without my wife's knowledge. She wears makeup all day, and she never takes it off before going to bed. Instead, she washes her face in the morning, then applies her makeup for that day.

She has a very nice complexion, but I wonder if she is doing damage to her skin by sleeping in her makeup every night. -- HER HUSBAND

DEAR HUSBAND: I consulted Dr. Arnold Klein, top-notch Beverly Hills dermatologist, who said (much to my surprise), "Sleeping in makeup does no more damage to the skin than wearing makeup all day. Many women feel that in the interest of 'cleanliness' they need to scrub their faces daily with the same vigor they would use in scrubbing their kitchen floor. And please, tell your readers that exposure to the sun without a sunscreen, plus the ordinary pollutants in the air, do far more damage to a woman's skin than cosmetics."

DEAR ABBY: I just read the letter from the director of the Elder Health Program at the University of Maryland. She advised people to take responsibility for their own health care.

I work in a doctor's office, and you would be amazed at the number of people who call in for refills on their medicines and don't even know the names of them. They ask for "blood pressure pills," or "the little yellow ones." Granted, we have their medications recorded on their charts, but that won't help them if they're in an accident and unable to speak.

Everyone who takes medication, elderly and young alike, should write down the names and dosages on a piece of paper and keep it in their wallets. And every time the doctor changes the dosage or adds a new medication, the patient should make note of it on the paper he or she carries. Also write down any allergies on the same paper.

Help us health givers keep you healthy. -- JUDY G., ORMAND BEACH, FLA.

To get Abby's booklet "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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