Posts for: October, 2020
Did you know that skin cancer is the most common malignancy among American adults? The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) cites statistics to prove it. At Applegarth Dermatology in Valparaiso, IN, Dr. William Applegarth and his team educate patients on the dangers of skin cancer and what makes you prone to this diagnosis.
Skin cancer and you
Skin cancer--me? That's not possible. Many people in Valparaiso and around the country think that, and so, they take little interest in possible risk factors. But, frankly, ignorance puts you at greatest risk for this potentially deadly problem. Just a little education on skin cancer causes could prevent the diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma, the most common type, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma, the most deadly and insidious variety.
There are many risk factors that set the stage for skin cancer. The biggest is excessive UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds. UV rays actually change the DNA in your skin cells, reports the AAD. Also, the more sunburns you get or the more repeat, the intense exposure over time contribute to skin cancer.
Other risk factors include:
- Age (over 40)
- Gender (men more than women)
- Light skin and eye color
- Exposure to industrial chemicals such as tar and coal
- Personal or family history of skin cancer
- Exposure to the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, in the genital or anal area (says the Cancer Treatment Centers of America)
Preventing skin cancer
1. Avoid tanning--either in natural sunlight or with tanning beds.
2. Use SPF 30 or higher sunscreen. Re-apply every two hours or whenever you sweat or wash it off.
3. Stay indoors, cover up with long, loose clothing or seek shade during the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
4. Stop all tobacco usage, particularly cigarettes.
5. Do an at-home skin exam monthly, and see your dermatologist yearly. Check your moles for changes such as an increase in size and number, notched borders, mottled color, itching, oozing or bleeding.
Take care of your skin
Know your risks and do something about them. At Applegarth Dermatology in Valparaiso, IN, your dermatologist, Dr. Wiliam Applegarth and his professional team will help you with careful exams and treatments (as needed) and educate you on your particular risk factors. Come see us at one of our two convenient locations. For Valparaiso, IN, phone (219) 548-0360, and in La Porte, IN call (219) 362-0161.
You’re Allergic to the Oil from these Plants
Poison ivy secretes an oil known as urushiol. When a person comes in contact with the oils from these plants this causes an allergic reaction. You may notice a rash that forms in a straight line (as if you brushed against a poison ivy leaf). If you suspect that you’ve come into contact with poison ivy, sumac, or oak, it’s important to wash your clothes immediately and to take a shower to prevent the oils from spreading further.
You Can Usually Treat It Yourself
While the rash can be unpleasant, symptoms should go away within 2-3 weeks. Since the rash can be quite itchy and uncomfortable, here are some ways to ease your symptoms:
- Take cool, oatmeal baths to alleviate inflammation and itching
- Apply calamine lotions to the skin to temporarily alleviate itching
- Steroid creams (aka: cortisone cream) may also alleviate redness and inflammation
- Apply cold compresses to the area when symptoms flare-up
- Whatever you do, do not scratch your rash (this can lead to an infection)
Some people have severe allergic reactions when they come into contact with poison ivy, sumac, or oak. You must call your dermatologist as soon as possible if:
- Pus develops on the rash
- You also have a fever over 100 F
- You experience severe itching
- The rash keeps spreading
- You aren’t sure whether the rash is caused by poison ivy, oak, or sumac
- The rash spreads to the mouth or the eyes
- Symptoms don’t improve within a week