Posts for category: Skin Conditions
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.
Eczema, also called “dermatitis,” refers to several different rash-like conditions where the skin is inflamed, red and irritated. The most severe and long-lasting type of eczema is atopic dermatitis. During a flare-up, the skin becomes extremely red, itchy and scaly. This skin condition can be widespread, or confined to only a few areas on the body.
Eczema is not contagious, although if you have a family history of eczema, your risk for the disease increases. Generally, atopic dermatitis affects infants or young children and may last until the child reaches adulthood.
The appearance and symptoms for atopic dermatitis will vary for each case. Intense itching is the most common sign of eczema, which can lead to severe discomfort and even loss of sleep. Other common symptoms of eczema include:
- Dry, red and extremely itchy patches of skin
- Cracked, inflamed and scaly skin
- Small bumps or blisters that ooze and weep
- In infants, the rash generally appears on the cheeks and around the mouth
Eczema outbreaks are caused by an overreaction of your skin’s immune system to environmental and emotional triggers, such as temperature, chemicals, dust, mold or stress. While there is currently no cure, eczema sufferers can practice self-care at home to help reduce flare-ups. Lifestyle adjustments are the best line of defense in controlling all types of eczema. Goals of treatment include reducing inflammation, decreasing risk of infection and alleviating the itch. To minimize symptoms and outbreaks:
- Moisturize every day to prevent dryness and cracking.
- Limit contact with irritants, such as soaps, clothing, jewelry, foods and detergents.
- Avoid sudden changes in temperatures as overheating and sweating are common triggers of flare-ups.
- Reduce stress and anxiety.
- Minimize exposure to mold, pollens and animal dander.
- Opt for cotton, loose-fitting clothes and avoid wool and other rough materials.
Treatment for eczema begins with a proper diagnosis from your dermatologist. If you are diagnosed with eczema, your dermatologist can explain your type of eczema and can work with you to tailor a treatment plan that meets your individual needs to effectively manage the symptoms.