Chicken Pox (Herpes Varicella Zoster)
RECENTLY IN THE NEWS:
NBC News (3/5/2015) reports on its website that "family practioners, gynecologists and even dentists are getting into the cosmetic procedure business, and dermatologists say they're seeing the side effects." Several dermatologists "from around the country told NBC News that they've had to the fix the mistakes of physicians who are dabbling in their specialty." In a statement, the American Academy of Dermatology said, "A dermatologist is a licensed medical doctor and the only residency-trained physician fully educated in the science of cutaneous medicine, which includes medical and surgical conditions of the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes."
DRY SKIN CARE:
Keep your bathing to a minimum! Wash with lukewarm water and keep your bathing to less than 10 minutes. Wash with a soapless cleanser such as Dove and avoid harsh soaps such as Ivory or Irish Spring. After bathing, moisturize within a few minutes of patting dry with a towel. Moisturize with a sensitive-skin moisturizer without fragrance. If you have a skin condition such as eczema, you will need to moisturize a few times per day.
The day after your procedure, allow the cleanser and water to wash over the site. That is adequate cleaning of the wound. Thereafter, apply a generous layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or another greasy substance such as Aquaphor healing ointment. If the area is in contact with clothing, we advise you to cover it with a dressing. Repeat the same procedure the next day and every day until the wound has healed.
HOW TO APPLY YOUR TOPICAL RETINOID (ACNE PATIENTS):
Topical retinoids include adapalene (Differin), tretinoin (Retin-A, Atralin, Ziana, Veltin, Tretin-X). Apply a pea-sized amount to your entire face a few minutes after washing your face at bedtime (since most retinoids are inactivated by sunlight). If your face is dry with the retinoid, apply a moisturizer prior to the application of the retinoid.
CARE FOR SKIN IN THE SUN:
Use a daily moisturizer with a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher on the areas that will be exposed. If you're going to be directly out in the sun, wear an SPF of 30 or higher and make sure the sunscreen says that it is "broad spectrum." Remember to reapply after two hours and after swimming or any exercising. Physical sunscreens which contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide are gentle and will not react with the skin. Seek shade between the hours of 10 am-4 pm.
Check your skin for any new, changing, non-healing or itching lesions four times a year or every major holiday. If you notice anything that is new or changing or not healing, please call and get it checked.
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Chicken pox is a common illness, particularly among children. It is characterized by itchy red spots or blisters all over the body. Chicken pox is caused by the Herpes Varicella Zoster virus. It is highly contagious, but most cases are not dangerous.
Chicken pox can be passed on from two to three days before the rash appears until the blisters are crusted over. It spreads from exposure to infected people who cough, sneeze, share food or drinks or by touching the blisters. It is often accompanied by a headache, sore throat and possibly a fever. The incubation period (from exposure to first appearance of symptoms) is 14 to 16 days. When the blisters crust over, they are no longer contagious and the child can return to normal activity. This normally takes about 10 days after the initial appearance of symptoms.
It is important not to scratch the blisters as it can slow down the healing process and result in scarring. Scratching may also lead to another infection. To help relieve the itching, soak in a cool bath. The child should get plenty of bed rest and can take over-the-counter analgesics to reduce any fever. More serious cases are usually seen in people with other long-term health problems.
Although about four million children get chicken pox each year, it may be preventable via a vaccine. Children should receive two doses of the vaccine the first between 12 and 15 months and the second between ages four and six. Older children who have not been vaccinated can be effectively treated with two catch-up doses. Adults who have never had the illness should also be vaccinated.