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Atopic Dermatitis – Treatment Update Tips And Tricks

Atopic dermatitis manifests itself as irritated red areas of skin-

These areas are usually found in the folds of the skin and on the inner sides of the elbows, behind the knees and around the eyes.

In difficult cases, especially in children, the inflammation and irritation can also appear on the skin of the face, palms, scalp and back.  In certain cases the irritation is so severe that it causes sleepless nights and difficulties in school and at work.  Sometimes scratching the skin with unwashed hands causes topical bacterial infections which exacerbate the redness and pain.  Since atopic dermatitis usually appears in families with a tendency to asthma or to allergic rhinitis, it is sometimes calledasthma of the skin”.

Atopic dermatitis first appears in infant-hood or childhood-

It can continue into adolescence or even adulthood.  Its cause is not completely known, but it would seem to be linked to the fact that the skin of the affected person reacts more strongly to irritations.  The irritation can be external, e.g. cold weather, hot weather, pollen, dust or certain foods, and it can be internal, e.g. nervous tension.  There are dermatologists who believe that a small percentage (about 10%) of infants and children who suffer from atopic dermatitis are sensitive to cows’ milk, eggs or fish, which worsen the symptoms of the disease.  On the other hand, as far as adults are concerned, no link has been found so far between foods and atopic dermatitis.


Basis for treatment  is moisturizing the skin  that may  prevent  most  flare ups.  On the  red  inflamed  areas one  may   apply   steroids  creams   or  one  of the  new   non steroidal anti inflammatory  creams (Elidel or protopic). Internal medications   such  as   antihistamines  or  Profiten  may  relieve  the itch.

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Leishmania Caused By Sand Flies – Best Tips


Sand flies are tiny, blood-sucking flies which sting exposed skin, especially of the face, arms and legs.  Since the female begins to hunt for prey at sunset, most bites occur at night.  In most cases the bites are slight, itch for several hours and gradually disappear.

The bite of the sand fly is only dangerous in the region of the Dead Sea, Israel.  There the flies bear a parasite called Leishmania, which causes an ulcerous disease generically called Leishmaniasis.  If the parasite is transmitted to humans, after several weeks a purulent ulcer can develop which remains for months and eventually leaves a scar.  Since a sand fly cannot fly higher than 20 centimeters (8 inches) from the ground, anyone sleeping in the region of the Dead Sea should sleep on a bed or on a raised platform.  Trousers and long sleeved shirts should be worn at night and an insect repellent should be used.



The treatment for the bites of regular sand flies is the same as for mosquito bites.  If a purulent lesion develops, a dermatologist should be consulted immediately to prevent the development of Leishmaniasis.  Early treatment of the disease, either by injections or the use of creams and ointments especially formulated to combat Leishmaniasis, can prevent the formation of scars after the lesions have healed.

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Bed Bugs and Fleas – Best Tips


Bedbugs are usually found in old buildings which are not well cared for.  Bedbugs are wingless, red-brown in color, an need moisture. During the day they hide in beds, under carpets and rugs, in the cracks in old furniture and in walls.  At night they leave their hiding places in search of food: human blood.  In most cases their bites are only perceived the following morning, the marks forming straight lines of red dots.  If the person bitten is particularly sensitive, the itchy red spots can last for several weeks.  In addition to treating the bites themselves with ice and soothing creams and lotions, the bedbugs should be destroyed, and if necessary an exterminator should be called to fumigate the furniture.


The same treatment is recommended the bites of bedbugs as for mosquito bites.


These insects are parasites, usually living on mammals and birds.  House pets like cats and dogs can serve as their natural breeding grounds.  Humans are rarely affected by fleas, and then only when the animal is very heavily infested.

Fleas often remain on the rugs or sofas where pets sleep, and if their usual host is absent they will exploit humans to insure their food supply.  Fleas are also found on lawns and in sandboxes where infested animals have been.  Flea bites generally appear as swollen, very itchy red spots, concentrated on the legs, usually during hot weather and most frequently on children.  Whenever such a concentration of red spots is found, the pet and the area around the house should be examined carefully, and anti-flea measures taken.  The cat or dog should wear an anti-flea collar, which will keep the pet free of fleas as long as the collar is worn.


The same treatment is recommended flea bites as for mosquito bites.  Flea bites will continue until the fleas have been gotten rid of.

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Bees And Wasps Stings – Best Tips

Bees And Wasps Stings-

Only the female bee has a sting, which is located at the end of its abdomen.  When a bee stings it injects poison into the flesh of its victim, causing an irritation.  A person who has been stung by a bee experiences local pain, redness and swelling for about 48 hours.  On clear, sunny days when there are many flowers in bloom, it is highly unlikely that a bee will sting a human being.  However, when it is cloudy, a person wearing bright colors, especially red or yellow, is liable to attract a bee’s attention.  They usually sting if they are annoyed or feel that they are in danger.  Wasps, on the other hand, usually attack if their nests are approached; they should therefore be left alone.  If bees or wasps have built a nest near your house in a hollow tree or a recess in a wall, call a professional exterminator to destroy it.


Bee stings, with their poison sacks, remain in the skin, and must be removed as quickly as possible.  Wasps, on the other hand, retain their stings and can therefore sting again.

WARNING!  Squeezing a bee sting can drive the poison further into the skin.  It is preferable to try to remove the sting with a needle, knifepoint or fingernail.

Bee and wasp stings should be washed with soap and water, and ice can be used to relieve pain.  As soon as a bee stings, it releases a chemical substance which attracts other bees to the area, so that one sting can be the cause of dozens more.  Spreading smoke, for instance by waving burning cigarettes in the air, can repel angry bees and prevent further stings.

Applying an anesthetic like benzocaine or a cream containing cortisone can relieve pain for a short time.  If there are multiple stings an antihistamine should be taken orally to alleviate itching and reduce swelling.  Remember that some of these drugs contain substances which can reduce alertness, and therefore they should not be taken while driving a car or engaging in any other activity which requires alertness or concentration.

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Hair and skin info and tips from a leading board certified dermatologist

Corner of the Mouth Skin Infections – Causes and Treatment


Redness and a white discharge at the corners of the mouth are a common occurrence in older people.  The main causes of this condition are a change in the structure of the mouth as a result of the loss of teeth and the sagging of the cheek muscles.

A fungus infection called Candidiasis can grow in the moisture which accumulates in the wrinkles at the corners of the mouth.  It causes redness, a discharge and itching.  The infection is worsened by over-salivation, taking broad spectrum antibiotics, and B vitamin and iron deficiencies.


The first stage is assuring dental treatment which will remove the fundamental cause of the infection, and giving vitamin and iron supplements if necessary.  Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial medications containing steroids should be applied to the skin.  Once the infection has disappeared, a fat-based ointment should continue to be applied to the corners of the mouth.


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Can I Sun Protect My Kids ?

A severe sunburn is dangerous for a small child in both the immediate and the distant future.  It has been unequivocally proved that severe sunburns in childhood increases the risk of developing melanoma in later life.  Studies show that most of the cumulative ultraviolet radiation absorbed by a person during his or her lifetime is absorbed during the first 18 years.  The amount of radiation to which children and teenagers are exposed is one of the primary causes of sun-induce damage to the skin and of the later risk of developing skin cancer.


Until the infant is six months old, he or she should not be exposed to the sun between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and a child under the age of one year should not be taken to the beach or swimming pool during the late morning and early afternoon hours.  Whenever the infant leaves the house, the amount of time spent in the sun, including going from one shady spot to the next, should be kept to an absolute minimum, and the baby carriage should be covered with a sun shade.  The most effective means of protection is clothing which covers the body: a shirt with long sleeves, pants, socks, and if the child is old enough, a wide-brimmed hat.  A sunscreen should not be applied to the skin of an infant younger than six months because of the risk of an allergic reaction.

A sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 should be applied to exposed areas of the skin of infants older than six months of age. The best sunscreen for a child of this age is a non-chemical one, containing titanium oxide, and not a sunscreen containing chemical substances which might cause an allergic reaction or tearing eyes.


It is important that children wear suitable clothing, that they not remove their shirts out of doors, that they wear wide-brimmed hats and wear sunglasses that screen ultraviolet radiation.  Before leaving the house in the morning, a sunscreen should be applied to all exposed areas of the body.  A parent should make sure that the rules for protecting the skin are followed when the child is away from home: at the day-care center, in the kindergarten, at school, at camp, etc.  Kindergarten and other teachers should be requested to plan outdoor activities and gym lessons before 10 a.m.

A study recently done showed that hats which do not have wide brims are not effective in protecting the face from the sun.  A British researcher named Duffy examined the amount of protection afforded by 28 different types of hats.  He found that all of them protected the forehead but that none of them protected the chin.  The study showed that a hat with a visor protects the nose but leaves the rest of the face exposed to radiation.  On the other hand, a hat with a brim 5-7 centimeters (2-3 inches) wide gives the face the same protection as a sunscreen with an SPF of 3.  Since that is a relatively low factor, in addition to wearing a hat, a sunscreen should be applied.


Teen-aged children have to be very courageous and secure to protect themselves from the sun.  Unfortunately, young people are under a great deal of social pressure to meet their friends at the beach on the weekends, to broil together during the hottest hours and to return home lobster-red but happy.  The skin peels a few days later and gives them the mistaken impression that the damage has been repaired and that they can continue broiling themselves the following week.  In research done on several hundred teenagers it was found that despite their awareness of the damages of solar radiation, they continued exposing themselves to the sun, especially at the beach and swimming pool during the hottest hours of the day.  Only 80% of the girls and 40% of the boys used a sunscreen, and those who did use them applied them in ways which did not provide adequate protection.


Keep infants and children out of the sun during the heat of the day.

Dress children in suitable clothing.

Keep an eye on the clock.

Use a sunscreen.

Beware of reflected light.

Check you own skin and that of your children frequently.

Give your children a personal example.


In a study done in northern Europe, it was found that people who work in offices and spend their two weeks of vacation on the beach in a hot country are exposed to the same amount of UVB that they receive during the rest of the year.

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Sun Prevention Seven Common Myths


Children need long exposure to the sun to produce sufficient quantities of vitamin D.

The truth  Only a small amount of exposure to the sun is necessary to produce vitamin D on the skin, no more than 3-4 minutes a day.  In addition, it appears that giving children vitamin D drops or adding vitamin D to food (mainly in milk products) is equally effective.


Skin cancer is a natural part of aging and cannot be prevented.

The truth  The older a person gets the greater his or her chance of developing skin cancer.  Nevertheless, there is clear proof that exposure to the sun from a young age has a decisive influence on the development of skin cancer in older people.  In addition, there has been an increase in reported cases of skin cancer in young people in their 20s and 30s and sometimes even younger.


Only someone who suffers from sunburn is liable to develop skin cancer.

The truth  People who have a tendency towards sunburn are more likely to develop skin cancer than people who don’t have the tendency.  Nevertheless it has been proved that prolonged exposure to the sun without sunburn damages the skin and is liable to lead to the development of skin cancer.


Letting the skin rest between suntans allows the skin to recover and repair sun-induced damages.

The truth  The skin can repair only a fraction of the superficial damage caused by exposure to the sun.  As a result, sunburn lasts only a few days.  The damage done to the deeper regions of the skin remains and accumulates, and the direct results of this damage are only apparent after 20 or 30 years.


A child without a suntan is an unhealthy child.

The truth  Most people like the way a suntan looks, but this “healthy” look is misleading, since a tan is in reality a sign that the skin has been injured: in an attempt to protect itself from additional damage, the cells produce a pigment called melanin which causes the skin to darken.  While tanning occurs the skin is being damaged, and that damage will become apparent later when wrinkles and brown patches appear, the skin sags and possibly develops cancer.  Therefore, the expression “a healthy tan” is actually a contradiction in terms.


If a sunscreen is used, there is no limit to the amount of time a person can stay in the sun.

The truth  Sunscreens afford the skin only partial protection.  Different factors, such as the amount of sun screen used, the rate at which perspiration dissolves the active ingredient, how long the sunscreen has been on the skin and the sun protection factor all influence the real degree of protection afforded.  The only way to completely prevent sun-induced damage is not to expose oneself to the sun at all.  Since it is obvious that that is not a practical solution, the skin should be protected by wearing appropriate clothing (closely-woven fabrics, hats) and by sitting in the shade.


The suntan acquired in a tanning salon does not cause damage.

The truth  In the 1960s a suntan became fashionable, and that trend led to the flowering of chains of tanning salons and to the proliferation of sunlamps in people’s homes.  Initially people used lamps which emitted UVB, but when it was proved that UVB caused skin cancer they replaced them with UVA lamps.  In 1988 in America alone there were 20,000 tanning salons and about 200,000 sunlamps in private use.  In research done in 1986 it became apparent that most of the sunlamps were being used by teenage girls.  UVA will only cause tanning if absorbed at a level five times higher than what is found in nature.  Despite the fact that UVA does not cause sunburn, it causes real long-term damage to the skin which is sometimes worse than UVB-caused damage.  Since UVA penetrates deep into the skin, exposure to large quantities of UVA causes all the signs of skin aging, including faster wrinkling and increased risk of skin cancer.  An additional danger unique to tanning salons relates to people who are on medication.  As previously described, certain drugs are liable to cause hypersensitivity to sun exposure, usually linked to UVA.  A person taking such medication who is exposed to large quantities of UVA at a tanning salon runs a greater risk of developing rashes linked to his or her particular drug.

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Insect Bites – What Should I Do ?

Insect  Bites-

There are more than a million different kinds of insects in the world.  An insect is a six-legged animal with two antennae, generally possessing a rigid exoskeleton and often winged.  Among the insect family are classed the various kinds of ants, bees, roaches, fleas, bedbugs, lice, mosquitoes and various kinds of flies.  Many of them are unwanted guests in our homes.  Some of them are not injurious to man, others are annoying, and there are some which can endanger human life.  During the summer, contact with insects is more intensive.  We leave doors and windows open and stay outside for many hours, either on trips in the countryside or just sitting on the porch or in the garden.  Being aware of insect behavior patterns can help us protect ourselves and in most cases avoid bites and stings.


A sting is a small puncture wound.  The insect stings its victim to obtain the blood on which it lives.  The organs of its mouth are constructed in such a way as to allow them to penetrate the skin.  The sting causes itching, an allergic reaction to substances in the insect’s saliva which is injected into the skin when the insect feeds.  Some insects secrete various substances around the area of the sting, and scratching makes them penetrate.  Different people react differently to insect bites.  People who live in the same house and are exposed to the bites of the same mosquitoes do not necessarily react in the same way.  Some will experience a small number of bites and suffer only slightly while others will be stung many times and suffer for days or even weeks.  In a small percentage of cases bites scratched with dirty fingernails become infected.  If this happens, it is advisable to consult a physician, who will prescribe an antibiotic ointment.  Much more serious are insects whose bite introduces disease-bearing organisms into the body, such as the Anopheles mosquito, which carries malaria.


Mosquitoes are a plague in summer.  Since heat and water are an optimal combination for them, all sources of standing water should be destroyed.  Screens on doors and windows are very important in preventing mosquitoes from entering the home.  People who are susceptible to mosquito bites and go on trips or to summer camps where mosquitoes are prevalent should use an insect repellent and wear the proper clothing: long pants, socks and long-sleeved shirts.  The disadvantage of insect repellents is that they evaporate after two or three hours and have to be reapplied.  If they have not been applied thoroughly, there will always be a hungry mosquito who will find a small patch of unprotected skin to light on.  It is only the female mosquitoes who feed on blood; male mosquitoes are vegetarians, living on the nectar of plants,  they pose no problem for humans.  Insect repellents are usually safe for people of all ages.  Anyone unwilling to use a chemical insect repellent can use an electric repellent which emits anti-insect odors into the air, or electric bug-killers which in effect electrocute the flying insects which are attracted to their glowing wires.


A mosquito bite should not be scratched.  The area should be washed with soap and water and if the bite is very annoying, ice or cold compresses can be used to relieve the pain and to reduce redness and swelling.  Calamine lotion will stop the itch.  Extreme sensitivity at the site of the bite or the discharge of a yellow fluid are sometimes the result of a bacterial infection which has been caused by scratching.  In these cases a physician should be consulted in order to obtain antibiotic treatment.

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Sider  bite  (Brown  recluse)

Spider Bites Treatment And Prevention Rules

Spider Bites Treatment And  Prevention-

Most spiders do not bite and are not at all dangerous.  Exceptions to this rule are the Black Widow spider and the Brown Recluse spider.  The Brown Recluse spider, which has a violin-shaped design on its back, is shy by nature, tending to live in clothes closets, unused dresser drawers and dusty storerooms.  Its bite is usually not felt and is only discovered after about eight hours.  The bite appears as a bluish-white area in whose center is a small and very painful sting.  Around this central area appears a widening red ring which can reach a diameter of 20 centimeters (8 inches) and more.

Since in some cases the central white area can become gangrenous, a dermatologist must be consulted if the bite of a Brown Recluse spider is suspected.  When taking clothes out of storage at the beginning of the summer, remember to shake them out thoroughly in case a Brown Recluse spider is hiding inside.  It is especially important to shake out clothing before getting dressed when camping outdoors, since a Brown Recluse spider may have crawled out from under the rocks and into warm clothing.


If the spider which caused the bite can be trapped, bring it with you to your dermatologist or family physician for identification.  Primary treatment includes bedrest, immobilizing the affected area, and moistening the area with a saline solution (two teaspoons of salt disso lived in one liter of water which has been boiled and cooled).  Since the poison of the Brown Recluse spider penetrates the skin rapidly, it cannot be neutralized.  If the central white area does not disappear and becomes numb or develops blisters, the use of oral antibiotics, steroids or a drug called Dapson  should be considered.


Two percent of the population are allergic to insect poisons.  The first sting causes heightened sensitivity.  The second sting, months or years later, can cause rashes which spread over the skin, a sharp drop in blood pressure and breathing difficulties which can lead to choking and death.  Any person who knows that he or she is allergic to insect bites must carry a special syringe at all times containing epinephrine.  This automatic syringe should be used immediately after an insect bite to reduce tissue swelling and prevent the danger of strangulation.  The patient must go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital to receive treatment consisting of steroids (injected or taken orally) in conjunction with antihistamines.  People who are allergic to insect bites and travel to areas without regular medical services should take appropriate medication with them, as prescribed by their family physicians or dermatologists.

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Fungal Skin Infections – What To Do ?

Fungal Skin Infections-

Fungal  infections of the body caused by dermatophytes are common among children who come into close contact with pets.  These infections appear as scaly flat rings with red edges and pale centers.  The rings grow and cover large areas of the body, including the face.  Since the external symptoms of the infection can be mistaken for other diseases (i.e. psoriasis), dermatophytes should be identified by demonstrating their presence in a culture of the scales.  Incorrect treatment, such as the use of medications containing cortisone, can worsen the infection and cause it to spread to other areas of the body.

Early Treatment-

Early treatment is critical.  Untreated fungus infections spread rapidly and can be transmitted to other members of the family.  Scarring occurs in certain cases, especially if the patient scratches the infected site, or if there is a secondary bacterial infection.  Washing the area with an antifungal soap containing iodine and applying fungicidal creams and ointments are only effective during the early stages of a fungus infection.  In most cases the attending dermatologist will recommend a fungicide taken orally for about two months.  In any event, whenever a fungus infection has been diagnosed it is important to determine its source.  If the source is found to be a family pet, the animal must be treated by a veterinarian.


The most common form of fungus infections of the scalp is ringworm.  It usually affects children and is only rarely found in adults.  It appears as round areas on the scalp from which the hairs have broken off.  If there is no severe inflammation, the area will be dry and covered with white scales and black dots, which are actually the stumps of the broken hairs.  When a severe inflammation is present, the affected areas are red, swollen and covered with a purulent discharge.  The presence of such an inflammation indicates that the fungus has penetrated into the skin of the scalp, and scarring will occur.  In severe cases there is fever and the lymph glands of the neck are swollen.

There is a less frequent form of fungus infection of the scalp called favus which also primarily affects babies and children.  If not properly treated, the disease can continue into adolescence.  In the presence of favus the hair loses its shine and the scalp turns red, with small, yellow, bowl-shaped scabs clinging to the skin and to the hair.  In certain instances there is an unpleasant odor (reminiscent of mouse’s urine), and sometimes the nails are affected.


A fungus infection of the scalp can cause irreversible damage to the hair roots, leading to permanent bald patches.  It is therefore important to consult a dermatologist as soon as possible.  Such fungi are extremely infectious, and the patient should be isolated from other children until treatment has begun.  Topical medications and shampoos do not penetrate the skin of the scalp and do not destroy the fungus in the hair follicles.

It is now accepted practice to treat the disease orally.

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