What are the symptoms of and treatments for this painful dermatological condition?
Did you know that anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk for shingles, and that those over the age of 50 are more likely to develop this condition? Approximately one out of three Americans will have shingles at some point in their lives. Read on to learn more about this common problem.
What is shingles?
Shingles is caused by a virus known as the varicellazoster virus, which is the same virus known to cause chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox before the virus never truly goes away. Instead it lies dormant within the nerves of the spinal cord and brain. When the virus is reactivated, it manifests as shingles.
What are the symptoms of shingles?
The main symptom of shingles is a red, painful rash that usually appears on one side of the body. The rash may be tender to the touch and typically causes intense itching. The rash is made up of blisters that burst and crust over. Your rash may also be accompanied by malaise, fever, or headache.
What are the risk factors for shingles?
Anyone who has been infected by chickenpox can have shingles. However, this illness is more common in those over the age of 50 and the risk continues to increase as you age.
Also, those who have a weakened immune system due to certain chronic diseases like HIV, or those currently undergoing cancer treatment may be at an increased risk of developing shingles.
Different shingles treatments
While there is no cure for this disease there are antiviral medications you can take to promote faster healing and to reduce your risk of developing other complications. If you are experiencing severe pain, we may also recommend prescription pain medications or creams to help ease your symptoms. Most people experience shingles symptoms for about two to six weeks.
Can I prevent shingles?
There are two vaccines that we recommend for preventing shingles. The first is the chickenpox vaccine, which is recommended for children and any adults who have never had chickenpox. The second vaccine is the shingles vaccine. While these vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective, they can greatly reduce your chances of developing shingles.
If your shingles rash has developed near your eye or is severely painful, then it’s time to see your dermatologist right away for treatment.
Chapped skin can happen at any time of the year, from the warmest climate to the coldest. Whether it’s harsh chemical soaps, cold temperatures, or overexposure to the sun, chapped hands are painful and inconvenient in any season.
What is to blame for this nasty problem? Unfortunately it has to do with a loss of moisture. Just washing your hands multiple times throughout the day can cause hands to peel and bleed. However, once you recognize your issue, then you can do something about it. Find out the best ways to care for your chapped hands to prevent this issue in the future.
If you want your skin to return to its once supple state, then you’re going to want to put back the moisture that you’ve robbed your skin of. Sadly, just drinking water just won’t cut it, although it is helpful. You must apply a moisturizer directly to your skin to combat this problem.
The best way to prevent chapped hands is to start a moisturizing regime even before your hands start to feel dry. This way it’s already a normal habit in your daily routine, and you can keep your hands from drying out.
Some people are dealing with such deep cracks and bleeding that a light moisturizer isn’t going to do the trick. In this case, using a thicker product can be very effective, such as petroleum jelly or a rich moisturizer that contains cocoa butter or beeswax as an ingredient. For an even deeper moisturizing experience, trying putting this product on at night, and then wearing cotton gloves to bed.
It’s vital to wash our hands, and no one is recommending giving up this healthy habit. It can, however, wreak havoc on your hands! It’s important to follow these steps when washing:
- Use a mild soap
- Avoid using hot water
- Pat rather than rub your skin dry
- Apply a moisturizer right away
While handwashing can be drying, hand sanitizer gels are even harsher on your skin. Try to avoid their use unless absolutely necessary, opting instead for a gentle wash.
If you are dealing with severely chapped hands and you can’t seem to find relief from your symptoms, then it might be time to see your dermatologist for treatment. Call us today!
Find out everything you need to know about canker sore causes and treatments.
Canker sores are small painful ulcers that appear in the mouth. You may find that your canker sore makes it difficult to eat or talk without experiencing pain. If you are experiencing sores in the mouth that you think could be canker sores, find out what might be causing this pesky little problem and what you can do to reduce your symptoms and eliminate this mouth ulcer.
Canker Sore Causes
Unfortunately experts are unsure about what causes canker sores; however, it’s been speculated that either stress or injury to the oral tissues can bring about canker sores. Some canker sores may be brought about by other health disorders that weaken the immune system.
It’s important to note that canker sores and cold sores are not the same thing. A virus known as herpes simplex type 1 causes cold sores, and these sores occur outside the mouth. Canker sores, on the other hand, can be brought on by multiple factors, and appear only inside the mouth.
Canker Sore Symptoms
The most obvious symptom is a painful sore or ulcer that appears in the mouth, whether on the tongue, the roof of the mouth or inside of the cheeks. You may also notice a burning or tingling sensation a couple days before the sore manifests. The sore is usually round or oval in nature, with a red border and a white, grey or yellow center.
Canker Sore Treatments
The majority of canker sores will go away on their own without any kind of treatment; however, if you experience pain for more than a few days you may want to talk to your dermatologist about a corticosteroid cream or prescription medication that could help alleviate your symptoms.
If you suspect that you have a canker sore talk to your dermatologist about the most effective defense against canker sores and whether there are certain things you can do to prevent this condition from recurring. Call us today!
What are cold sores and what can you do to relieve your symptoms?
Most people who have had cold sores often know when they are about to appear. The tingling and burning sensation around the mouth is often the first indicator that a cold sore is imminent. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of Americans have been exposed to the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), which causes cold sores. If you have cold sores then you are probably wondering more about this condition, how to treat it and what it means for your health.
What are the symptoms of cold sores?
Symptoms often stick around for about two to three weeks. Besides experiencing oral sores around the mouth, people may also experience flulike symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and fatigue. These oral sores will often appear as tiny blisters that break open and scab over.
When should I see a doctor about cold sores?
While cold sores often don’t warrant a trip to the dermatologist, there are certain times when it might be advisable. These sores can be painful, so if you find it difficult to eat or talk then you will want to talk to your doctor about the best ways to alleviate the pain to make eating easier. The last thing you want to deal with is dehydration on top of an outbreak.
If these oral sores look different from other cold sore outbreaks, then it’s also worth seeing your dermatologist to receive a proper diagnosis. Those with weakened immune systems due to chronic illness or chemotherapy should also see their dermatologist to prevent further complications.
What treatments are available for cold sores?
While many cold sores will go away without the need for treatment, if you are experiencing pain we may prescribe a topical anesthetic to reduce your discomfort. There are also overthe-counter treatments that speed up healing and reduce pain. However, for those with severe infections your dermatologist may also prescribe an oral antiviral medication.
Those with weak immune systems and those who become dehydrated as a result of cold sores may need to go to the hospital to prevent further problems and to receive oral antivirals.
While you cannot cure the virus that causes cold sores, there are certainly ways to reduce your symptoms. Talk to your dermatologist to find out more!
Learn some fun facts about these common skin blemishes.
Birthmarks are extremely common, appearing on about 80 percent of babies at birth. Even if you don’t have a birthmark, chances are good that you know someone who does. However, how much do you actually know about these dermatological markings? There are a lot of facts and folklore surrounding birthmarks and why they appear. Find out how much you really know!
Your Birthmark Is Not Caused By Your Mother!
There are many folk tales surrounding the expectant mother’s influence on whether or not her child has a birthmark. Some cultures believe that a birthmark is associated with the mother’s unfulfilled want or need, while others believe that certain foods that the mother eats or activities that she participates in can cause birthmarks to appear on her newborn. However, many doctors believe that birthmarks actually form before the child is even born.
Does a Birthmark Tell You Who You’ll Be?
Are you always looking for the next amazing adventure? Do people revel over all your successes? If so, some people might believe your birthmark has something to do with it. A birthmark on the back is believed to signify that the child is openminded, while a birthmark on the right foot means you are born to be a traveler. While there is certainly no scientific evidence to prove any of this, it’s a fun superstition nonetheless.
All lore aside, many birthmarks are benign; however, it is best to see your dermatologist to have it evaluated and to make sure it isn’t malignant. There are several different kinds of birthmarks:
- Congenital melanocytic nevus: This more rare birthmark can be found anywhere on the body and is usually light brown or sometimes black, depending on the person’s skin color.
- Mongolian spots: A bluishgray marking that may look similar to a bruise.
- Port wine stain: A purple or red blemish that often appears on the face.
- Telangiectatic nevus: Sometimes referred to as a “stork bite” or “angel kiss”, these slightly red patches are often found on the face or back of the neck.
- Hemangiomas: A raised, red mark sometimes referred to as a “strawberry mark”
- Café au lait spots: This birthmark is characterized by circular, light brown spots
- Silvermark: A silver or white streak in the hair.
If you are unhappy with or embarrassed by your birthmark then you may also want to talk to your dermatologist about having it removed. Both surgery and laser treatments may be options for having your skin blemish removed.
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