Preventing Molluscum Contagiosum

(HealthNewsDigest.com) – Roslyn Heights, NY, October 15, 2014 – Summer can be rough on skin, says Joshua Fox, MD, medical director of Advanced Dermatology P.C. Beyond the dangers associated with sunburn, a recent report in JAMA Dermatology found bikini waxes and shaving can increase the risk of contracting a contagious and unsightly skin rash known as molluscum contagiosum. In warm months, 61 percent of women remove hair from the bikini line at least once per week.

“Healthy skin acts as a barrier against infection,” explains Dr. Fox. “While waxing and shaving with a razor blade are normally considered safe procedures to remove body hair, they can cause deficits to the membrane barrier of the skin, allowing viruses or bacteria to enter the body more easily.” Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that causes small, fleshy-colored, raised bumps, often with a whitish center, to appear. It is spread through skin-to-skin contact or by touching a wet surface contaminated with the virus.

“It is one of the most common skin conditions we see in the summer,” Dr. Fox says. “Molluscum is a virus that loves warm, wet places and is spread easily.” He adds, “Until recently, molluscum was seen primarily in young children at swimming pools, where it earned the nickname ‘water warts,’ but it is on the rise among adult populations. Adults can also contract the virus through sexual contact.”

Molluscum is found worldwide, affecting 2 to 10 percent of children annually. It is common for the virus to spread among family members, with 35 percent of children having a positive family contact.

Tips to avoid molluscum contagiosum

According to Dr. Fox, good hygiene is the best way to avoid getting molluscum. Never pick or scratch bumps or rashes on the skin. In addition,

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Never share towels
  • Avoid swimming, skin-to-skin, or sexual contact immediately after waxing or shaving to allow skin to heal
  • If waxing, use new or sterile equipment and do not re-use wax applicators during the treatment
  • Avoid sharing boogie boards, surf boards, and kick boards
  • Clean or sanitize swim and athletic equipment before and after use
  • Bathe thoroughly before and after swimming or other sports

Signs, symptoms and treatment

The rash usually appears on the torso, buttocks, lower belly, or thighs about 7 weeks after exposure to the virus. In adults, the rash can also appear on the genitals and armpits.

Sometimes individual molluscum disappear in about 2-3 months, however, new growths tend to appear as old ones are going away. If not properly treated, advises Dr. Fox, “molluscum can spread and the virus can take years to resolve on its own. There are steps you and your doctor can take to stop it from spreading or causing discomfort or anxiety.”

  • Keep areas with growths clean
  • Cover with clean clothing or watertight bandages before participating in sports or contact with others
  • Do not pick at lesions with fingernails
  • Do not shave or do electrolysis over areas that have bumps
  • Dress in loose cotton clothing to reduce irritation
  • Moisturize dry skin with hypoallergenic moisturizers

Dermatologists use treatments to help the growths disappear more quickly, such as:

  • Removal by freezing (cryotherapy) or scraping off with a sharp instrument (curettage).
  • Applying a topical agent or cream to dissolve the growth such as blister beetle juice with Cantharidin, potassium hydricide, retinoic acid or Aldera.

Treatment works best when started early. Your doctor will discuss the advantages and disadvantages, (e.g. risk of bleeding), of treatment for you or your child. “Pools, sports and your normal beauty routines can sometimes leave you with more than you bargained for,” cautions Dr. Fox. “Failure to treat can lead to further infection and scarring. There is no point in suffering in silence when treatment is so readily available.”

Advanced Dermatology P.C., the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) provides cutting edge medical, laser & cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery services. www.advanceddermatologypc.com

Joshua L. Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D., is the founder and medical director at Advanced Dermatology P.C. He is a leading authority in the field of dermatology with expertise in skin cancer, cosmetic surgery and laser procedures and is program director of a fellowship in laser and cosmetic surgery.

Red Dots on Skin: 19 Causes, Some Serious

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Red Dots on Skin: 19 Causes, Some Serious
December 07, 2009 by Jillita Horton

Red dots on the skin usually don’t mean cancer – usually. But you should get acquainted with your skin and what is normal for it versus not normal, so that if you start seeing reddish dots, you’ll know whether to immediately see a doctor, or just relax and not worry.

I asked Joshua L. Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D., Director and Founding Physician of Advanced Dermatology, PC, about what could possibly cause red dots on the skin. Many things can cause this, and some of those causes are cancer.
 
Dr. Fox says that red dots have many causes from a variety of skin conditions. Here is a list of the most common:

– Red bumps – can be pus-filled over the face, chest and back: Acne

– Reddish raised flat sores: allergic reaction, irritant or allergic contact dermatitis, herpes, malaria, heat rash

– Reddish dome-shaped bumps, appears sprinkled randomly and itchy: insect bites

– Small red dot, larger or bruise-like spots that appear after taking a medicine: allergic purpura

– Red, raised strawberry like appearance: hemangiomas (scary-sounding name, but very harmless; also called angiomas)

Other causes:

– Reddish & flushed appearance around cheeks, chin, forehead and nose: rosacea

– Red, itchy rash that affects the groin area: jock itch, yeast infection, diaper rash in infants

– Expanding, red and slightly itchy rashes over the chest and abdomen: pityriasis rosea

– Scattered pink and red dots when a patient is feeling under the weather: viral infection.

When it means skin cancer:

– Red, scaly, crusted unusual growth on the lip, chin or anywhere on the face: squamous or basal cell carcinoma

– Reddish, irregular shape and colors: amelanoticmelanoma

– Reddish, purplish, dark or black raised spots anywhere that keep growing: Kaposi’s sarcoma

– Rarely a skin cancer can present as this: molluscum

How to Pick the Right Type of Soap

 

Associated Content Health & Wellness June 29, 2009

How to Pick the Right Type of Soap

Vonda Sines

Over the last few years, soap has developed a tarnished reputation as far as being harsh on the skin. However, today’s high-tech soaps are actually good for your skin. The trick is to figure out whether you’re buying the right type and if you’re using it correctly.

According to Washington Woman, soaps today are often customized to fit various skin needs such as providing moisture or treating acne. Cleansing bars have become more popular in recent years. Reading the soap’s label gives many clues to the chemicals in the product  and for which of these skin types and body parts it works best:

1. Oily or prone to acne. You should be on the lookout for soaps containing salicylic acid, a beta hydroxyl acid that sloughs off dead skin cells that could clog your pores. Soaps with benzoyl peroxide help to dry up pimples. While these ingredients are typically used on the face, Joshua Fox, M.D., a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology, says you can use them on other parts of the body prone to breakouts or oiliness.

2. Dry skin. Look for mild soaps marked “superfatted.” They have moisturizing ingredients to avoid pulling the natural moisture out of the skin on your face and elsewhere on the body. Good ingredients for this type of skin include shea butter, glycerin and vitamin E, all of which add moisture while cleansing. You can also use a light, oil-free moisturizing with them to avoid clogging your pores, Washington Woman reports.

3. Sensitive skin. You need a hypoallergenic soap. This term merely means the product has fewer ingredients known to generate allergic skin reactions than other soaps do. For this type of skin, make sure to use only lukewarm water, steer clear of too much lather and scrubbing and rinse well to avoid irritation.

4. Normal skin. Lucky you. You have a choice of a variety of soaps. If your skin feels irritated, shop for a soap containing lavender. When you need to exfoliate or feel itchy, look for a product containing oatmeal. If your skin type changes from time to time, pamper it by switching to a soap that matches the new condition.

While some people are able to use the same soap on the body as the product they purchase for their face, others find this doesn’t work because their body skin is a different type. If you prefer a deodorant soap, use it on areas most likely to produce odor but avoid your face and neck, which have sensitive skin.

Fox indicates that there’s a marked difference between scented and deodorant soaps. Scented soaps, many of which are manufactured with herbal or natural fragrances, are often easier on sensitive areas of your body because they lack deodorizing agents.

He also suggests that it’s unnecessary to use antibacterial soaps when washing your hands and goes so far as to say that using them might be harmful. He adds that the chemicals that furnish the antibacterial effect can be drying as well as harsh to the skin. Researchers are also currently studying whether the overuse of antibacterials soaps might make an individual more susceptible to resistant bacteria.

FIRST AID FOR BUG BITES – MOSQUITOS, TICKS, SPIDERS, BEDBUGS; Leading dermatologist discusses symptoms and treatments.

 skincare_beauty

October 2008 – Along with the change of any season and as we move indoors, in come some of those pesky annoyances such as the little bugs and their bites that irritate more than our nerves. Most insect bites cause a stinging sensation along with itching and mild swelling that disappears within a day or two.  But experiencing soreness, redness, swelling and warmth beyond the immediate bug bite, or pus are warning signs that a bug bite may be infected and you should see a doctor.  

 

“If you scratch these bites, you could break the skin, which can lead to an infection and possibly scarring.”, notes Dr. Joshua Fox, founder of Advanced Dermatology and a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology. To reduce itching, prior to seeing the doctor, Dr Fox advises to:  

1.  Apply a hydrocortisone cream (0.5 percent or 1 percent), calamine lotion, Aveeno powder, or a baking soda paste (3 teaspoons baking soda to 1 teaspoon water) to the bite several times a day until symptoms subside. 

2. A cold pack or baggie filled with ice can help reduce swelling and itching too.

3.  For stronger bug bite reactions, Dr. Fox recommends taking an antihistamine containing diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Tylenol Severe Allergy), chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton, Actifed) or loratadine (Claritin) to reduce the body’s response and itch.

4.  Also, products with camphor and menthol often alleviate the severe itching.

 

“If a bite site develops a rash, or if you experience a fever, headache, joint pain, dizziness, fatigue, nausea or vomiting following a bug bite, it is important to consult a physician immediately,” says Dr. Fox. “Although rare, you can range from a serious reaction to bug bites, which can result in swelling in your throat, significant hives and wheezing to arthritis and heart problems – all of which require immediate medical attention.”

 

Learn more about West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.  Mosquitoes become infected with the virus from biting infected birds, natural hosts of West Nile. About 80 percent of the people who are infected with West Nile Virus show no symptoms.  Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks. People with West Nile fever recover on their own, though symptoms can be relieved through various treatments (such as medication for headache and body aches) — seeing a doctor is recommended.

 

What to do if you get a deer tick bite

If you get a deer tick bite, remove the entire tick from the bite and avoid squeezing the tick.  Use fine point tweezers to grasp the tick near its head or mouth and then pull gently to remove the whole tick without crushing it or leaving a piece of the tick in the skin.  It is important to save the tick in a plastic bag (noting the date it was removed) in case you need to visit a doctor. After the tick is removed, wash the bite site with soap and water, or an antiseptic. The person who removed the tick should wash their hands thoroughly. Dr. Fox points out that ticks often hide in warm, moist places, such as the groin, back of the knees, armpits, the back of the neck, navel, ears and scalp.  He has pulled out multiple ticks which have even masqueraded as skin growth – including one on his own daughter.

 

If you see an expanding circle or circles of redness about two inches in diameter that radiates out from the bug bite, it could be a sign of Lyme disease and the bite needs to be evaluated by a doctor.  Lyme disease is an infection caused when a person is bitten by a deer tick that is infected with B. burgdorferi bacteria. About 80 percent of individuals with Lyme disease will develop a rash that looks like a bull’s–eye near the bite. The rash is often accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as fever or headache, nausea and vomiting. “Some people may only develop flu-like symptoms and not a rash but still have Lyme disease,” Dr. Fox advises.  “Treatment with antibiotics is necessary to fight the infection and prevent more serious, long-term symptoms.”

Dr. Fox recommends using insect repellents on the intact skin and clothing to be more completely protected against bug bites. Repellents containing permethrin should be applied only to clothing, where the agent has a residual effect through several wash cycles, providing lasting protection against bugs. Insect repellent containing 20 to 30 percent DEET should be applied directly onto the skin to ward off mosquitoes, ticks and other insects.

 

First aid for spider bites

If you are bitten by a jumping spider (the most common biting spider in the United States) or a brown recluse spider it is important to immediately see a doctor.  You can identify a brown recluse spider by violin shaped marking on its top. The brown recluse spider bite has cytotoxic venom which causes severe pain or burning accompanied by local redness and itching. The wound may take on a bull’s-eye appearance, with a center blister surrounded by a red ring and then a blanched (white) ring.  A fluid-filled blister forms at the site and then sloughs off to leave a deep, enlarging ulcer that scabs over. Other symptoms from a brown recluse spider bite are: fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, listlessness and muscle aches.

 

The bite from a jumping spider is painful and itchy — the site becomes red and there is significant swelling. Symptoms can include painful muscles and joints, headaches, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting which may last from one to four days.  “It’s important to stay as motionless as possible to prevent the venom from spreading and if the spider bite site is at an arm or leg, it should be elevated to reduce swelling,” says

Dr. Fox. “Wash the wound with cool water and mild soap and then apply ice to decrease the pain and swelling.  Use acetaminophen for pain relief and antihistamines such as Benadryl can be taken for itching and swelling.”

 

How to treat bedbug bites

A bedbug is a small (about the size of a pencil eraser), flat, reddish-brown bug that feeds on human and animal blood.  Bedbugs are active at night and bite any areas of exposed skin.  The bite feels itchy and looks like little red bumps (similar to mosquito bites) which often occur in a line on the body. “Wash the bites with soap and water and use calamine lotion or a topical corticosteroid cream to help with the itching,” says Dr. Fox.  “Bedbugs pose very little health risk for infection and minimal risk for other diseases.”  They often present with three adjacent red bumps on an exposed extremity after getting a “new mattress”.

FIRST AID FOR BUG BITES

FIRST AID FOR BUG BITES — MOSQUITOS, TICKS, SPIDERS, BEDBUGS

Leading dermatologist discusses symptoms and treatments

New Hyde Park, New York, September 2008 – Along with the change of any season and as we move indoors, in come some of those pesky annoyances such as the little bugs and their bites that irritate more than our nerves. Most insect bites cause a stinging sensation along with itching and mild swelling that disappears within a day or two.  But experiencing soreness, redness, swelling and warmth beyond the immediate bug bite, or pus are warning signs that a bug bite may be infected and you should see a doctor.

“If you scratch these bites, you could break the skin, which can lead to an infection and possibly scarring.”, notes Dr. Joshua Fox, founder of Advanced Dermatology and a spokesman for the American Academy of Dermatology. To reduce itching, prior to seeing the doctor, Dr Fox advises to

1.  Apply a hydrocortisone cream(0.5 percent or 1 percent), calamine lotion, Aveeno powder, or a baking soda paste (3 teaspoons baking soda to 1 teaspoon water) to the bite several times a day until symptoms subside.

2. A cold pack or baggie filled with ice can help reduce swelling and itching too.

3.  For stronger bug bite reactions, Dr. Fox recommends taking an antihistamine containing diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Tylenol Severe Allergy), chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton, Actifed) or loratadine (Claritin) to reduce the body’s response and itch.

4.  Also, products with camphor and menthol often alleviate the severe itching.

“If a bite site develops a rash, or if you experience a fever, headache, joint pain, dizziness, fatigue, nausea or vomiting following a bug bite, it is important to consult a physician immediately,” says Dr. Fox. “Although rare, you can get a serious reaction to bug bites, which can result in swelling in your throat, significant hives and wheezing to arthritis and heart problems – all of which require immediate medical attention.”

Learn more about West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.  Mosquitoes become infected with the virus from biting infected birds, natural hosts of West Nile. About 80 percent of the people who are infected with West Nile Virus show no symptoms.  Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even otherwise healthy people have become sick for several weeks. People with West Nile fever recover on their own, though symptoms can be relieved through various treatments (such as medication for headache and body aches) — seeing a doctor is recommended.

What to do if you get a deer tick bite

If you get a deer tick bite, remove the entire tick from the bite and avoid squeezing the tick.  Use fine point tweezers to grasp the tick near its head or mouth and then pull gently to remove the whole tick without crushing it or leaving a piece of the tick in the skin.  It is often helpful to save the tick in a plastic bag (noting the date it was removed) in case you need to visit a doctor. After the tick is removed, wash the bite site with soap and water, or an antiseptic. The person who removed the tick should wash their hands thoroughly. Dr. Fox points out that ticks often hide in warm, moist places, such as the groin, armpits, the back of the neck, navel, ears and scalp.  He has pulled out multiple ticks which have even masqueraded as skin growths – including one on his own daughter.

If you see an expanding circle or circles of redness about two inches in diameter that radiates out from the bug bite, it could be a sign of Lyme disease and the bite needs to be evaluated by a doctor.  Lyme disease is an infection caused when a person is bitten by a deer tick that is infected with B. burgdorferi bacteria. About 80 percent of individuals with Lyme disease will develop a rash that looks like a bull’s–eye near the bite. The rash is often accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as fever or headache, nausea and vomiting. “Some people may only develop flu-like symptoms and not a rash but still have Lyme disease,” Dr. Fox advises.  “Treatment with antibiotics is necessary to fight the infection and prevent more serious, heart or arthritic symptoms.”

Dr. Fox recommends using insect repellents on the intact skin and clothing to be more completely protected against bug bites. Repellents containing permethrin should be applied only to clothing, where the agent has a residual effect through several wash cycles, providing lasting protection against bugs. Insect repellent containing 10% percent DEET should be applied directly onto the skin to ward off mosquitoes, ticks and other insects.

First aid for spider bites

If you are bitten by a jumping spider (the most common biting spider in the United States) or a brown recluse spider it is important to immediately see a doctor.  You can identify a brown recluse spider by violin shaped marking on its top. The brown recluse spider bite has cytotoxic venom which causes severe pain or burning accompanied by local redness and itching. The wound may take on a bull’s-eye appearance, with a center blister surrounded by a red ring and then a blanched (white) ring.  A fluid-filled blister forms at the site and then sloughs off to leave a deep, enlarging ulcer that scabs over. Other symptoms from a brown recluse spider bite are: fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, listlessness and muscle aches.

The bite from a jumping spider is painful and itchy — the site becomes red and there is significant swelling. Symptoms can include painful muscles and joints, headaches, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting which may last from one to four days.  “It’s important to stay as motionless as possible to prevent the venom from spreading and if the spider bite site is at an arm or leg, it should be elevated to reduce swelling,” says

Dr. Fox. “Wash the wound with cool water and mild soap and then apply ice to decrease the pain and swelling.  Use acetaminophen for pain relief and antihistamines such as Benadryl can be taken for itching and swelling.”

How to treat bedbug bites

A bedbug is a small (about the size of a pencil eraser), flat, reddish-brown bug that feeds on human and animal blood.  Bedbugs are active at night and bite any areas of exposed skin.  The bite feels itchy and looks like little red bumps (similar to mosquito bites) which often occur in a line on the body. “Wash the bites with soap and water and use calamine lotion or a topical corticosteroid cream to help with the itching,” says Dr. Fox.  “Bedbugs pose very little health risk for infection and minimal risk for other diseases.”  They often present with three adjacent red bumps on an exposed extremity after getting a “new mattress”.