- Dermatological Diseases Among Top Travel-Related Illnesses: Dermatologist Tips for Staying Healthy When You Travel
- May 9th, 2013
These days jet lag isn’t the only thing plaguing Americans who travel overseas.
According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% of international travelers return to the US with a travel-related illness. A recent study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine found dermatological diseases to be the third most common type of travel-related illness. Close to 20% of the travelers surveyed suffered animal/insect bites, skin infections, or rash.
The destination countries with the highest rates of disease were Africa and Asia, but, as the study noted, no place is free of health hazards. Whether you’re going to be traveling to Dubai or Duluth, Minnesota, these tips will keep your skin safe while you’re away from home:
1. Visit a doctor before you travel. The Annals of Internal Medicine study noted that among the travelers who contracted vaccine-preventable illnesses, less than 20% had seen a healthcare provider prior to travel —meaning 80% of those illnesses could have been prevented.
Before a trip, take stock: Are your vaccines up to date? Have you stocked up on the right antibiotics and skincare products? We know, we know: Doctors visits are the worst, but a general practitioner can provide lifesaving instructions for avoiding foodborne and waterborne illnesses, and a dermatologist can explain how to alter your skincare treatments to fit the weather and climate of the place to which you are traveling. When it comes to your health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
2. Before stepping into a hot tub or swimming pool, make sure it’s safe. Did you know that “hot tub folliculitis” is an actual condition? Inadequately chlorinated hot tubs and swimming pools can be breeding grounds for bacteria. A quick swim in contaminated water can cause painful rashes as well as a fever that can last for up to 12 days.
Before stepping into literal unknown waters, check with the operator of the pool or hot tub to make sure that the disinfectant and pH levels are checked at least twice per day. If you want to swim without worry, bring pool test strips with you so that you can check the levels yourself.
After every swim, shower and wash with soap. Your loved ones may like it when you smell of chlorine, but it’s important to get the pool bacteria off your skin.
3. Avoid mosquitos. Even if you aren’t visiting a country inhabited by mosquitos that carry serious diseases like dengue fever, getting bitten can still result in bacterial skin infections.
Wear repellent at all times, and wear long-sleeve shirts and pants whenever possible. As the Center for Disease Control advises, you can kill mosquito eggs before they hatch by eliminating standing water, “Outdoors, clean water containers like pet and animal watering containers, flower planter dishes or cover water storage barrels. Look for standing water indoors such as in vases with fresh flowers and clean at least once a week.”
4. Check your skin for bug bites and rashes. A bite or a rash can be the first symptom of a serious condition. Familiarize yourself with dermatological symptoms of illnesses common in the region to which you are traveling so you can seek medical assistant sooner rather than later in the event that you develop symptoms.
5. Wash your hands regularly. To illustrate the importance of this one, let’s try a little thought experiment: Imagine your hand touching a door in an airport terminal. Now imagine that just five minutes prior, that very same door was sneezed on by a man who has malaria.
Makes you want to wash your hands, doesn’t it?
Transit hubs are filled with germs from all over the world. To stay healthy, carry hand sanitizer.
Have any tips we missed? Please share in the comments!
- New Study Finds 98% of Brazilian Women Use Expired Cosmetics
- May 7th, 2013
Do you know when your mascara expires? Do you care?
If you’re anything like the group of women who participated in a recent study conducted at the Brazilian university Universidade Regional Integrada do Alto Uruguai e das Missões, you are not overly concerned about the expiration dates of your cosmetic products.
In an effort to study of female students’ makeup habits, researchers gave a group of students a survey designed to evaluate their makeup use. According to the results, 97.9% of the women admitted to using or having used a cosmetic product after the expiration date.
For those of you who did not major in math, that means that almost all of the participants admitted to using expired products.
- FDA Finds Temporary Tattoo Ink Toxic
- April 30th, 2013
Planning to jazz up your look with a temporary tattoo this summer? Make sure you know what’s in the dye, or you could be in store for permanent skin damage.
The United States Food and Drug Administration released a warning about a potentially harmful substance known as black henna. MedWatch, the FDA’s safety information program, has reported complaints of unwanted side effects including blisters, redness, loss of pigmentation, raised red weeping lesions, increased sensitivity to sunlight, and even permanent scarring.
The FDA released pictures along with the warning. In some cases scarring took the shape of the henna tattoo.
Allergic reaction on a 14-year-old girl. Dr. P. Marazzi/Photo Researchers. Allergic reaction on an arm. Dr. P. Marazzi/Photo Researchers.
Henna, a dye made from a flowering plant that grows in Africa and Asia, has been used as Read the rest of this entry »
- Dermatologists Treat Children’s Psoriasis Differently Than Adult Psoriasis– Medications and Procedures Explained
- March 13th, 2012
(edited from the skintherapyletter.com article: Pediatric Psoriasis)
Psoriasis is a life-long skin disease that often begins during childhood and affects about 3.5% of the population.1 It is associated with the immune system and causes skin cells to reproduce rapidly. This results in an over-accumulation of skin cells on the surface, which can form painful, red itchy lesions.
In greater than 33% of patients, the initial presentation of psoriasis occurs before a person turns 20.2-5 It is estimated that 10% of patients develop psoriasis before the age of 10.6
In some cases, children’s psoriasis can differ in presentation than adult psoriasis. For infants, psoriasis tends to appear as diaper rash. Some children may develop Read the rest of this entry »
- Bed Bugs: Overview and Skin Treatments from the Dermatologist
- March 1st, 2012
(edited from the skintherapyletter.com article: Bedbugs: An Update on Recognition and Management)
The common bed bug, (Cimex lectularius) has been a pest to mankind for centuries. Over the years bed bug populations in industrial nations declined steadily with the advent of pesticides, improved sanitation practices, and economic conditions.1 However, pest control companies in Canada and the United States are reporting overwhelming increases in the number of new bed bug encounters compared with 10 years ago.3
This recent resurgence of bed bugs has been attributed to the species developing resistance to pesticides, along with increased rates of international trade and travel, as travelers can unknowingly bring the insects home with them in their clothing and luggage.4,5 Which in turn, can spread the problem to other areas at an exponential rate.
In addition to inflicting itchy and uncomfortable bites, bed bugs may also pose serious health concerns. Research has shown that bed bug bites can potentially spread bacterial infections and diseases such a Hepatitis B. Read the rest of this entry »
- Beware – Herbal Skin Remedies Hidden Dangers. 19 Evaluated – their Side Effects and Drug Interactions
- February 9th, 2012
(edited from the skintherapyletter.com article: Adverse Reactions to Herbal Therapy in Dermatology)
The use of herbal therapies is on the rise. Because of their convenient availability, some people with chronic skin disorders have attempted to take more control over their health by using herbal remedies along with or instead of conventional treatments. Some people have lost hope; standard treatments have failed to be effective for them. As a result, they seek newer therapies in an attempt to find a “cure” for their problems.
There are many herbal remedies that have scientific merit; they may be of clinical benefit and provide safe, effective and reliable alternatives to conventional medicine. However, herbal products cannot be patented.2 They are intended for the self-treatment of a self-diagnosed, self limiting condition.
Although there are numerous herbal therapies that are relevant to Read the rest of this entry »
- Are You One Of The 350 Million With Dandruff?
- January 12th, 2012
(edited from the skincareguide.ca article: What is Dandruff Really?)
At one time or another, we have all noticed small white flakes in our hair or on our shoulders, sometimes accompanied by an itchy scalp.
Pityriases capitis is the medical name for dandruff, and is a skin condition where skin flakes and white scales become excessive, and causes itchiness and irritation. Dandruff is extremely common (about 2-5% of the population has this condition).
For those who have chronic or severe dandruff, this can be an embarrassing condition due to visible shedding on surfaces as well as clothing, and habitual scratching.
Dandruff is the result of excessive shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp. There may be minor itching, but no redness or scabbing occurs. It usually gets worse during the fall and winter and improves in the summer. Since dandruff is a natural process, it cannot be Read the rest of this entry »
- Non-Comedeogenic, Humectants, Alpha Hydroxyl Acids… What? The Skinny on Winter Moisturizers
- January 5th, 2012
(edited from the skininformation.com article: All About Moisturizers)
Most of us are enticed by the allure of attaining or maintaining smooth, hydrated, and shiny skin that feels good to the touch. Many of us, especially those of us with dry skin, have looked at moisturizers as a way of treating dry or cracked skin during the winter.
Harsh winter conditions tend to interrupt your skin’s natural ability to retain moisture. When the barrier defense system of your skin is compromised, your body tries to compensate by overproducing cells and slowing the natural rate of shedding. This causes the skin to accumulate dead skin cells, which can give the skin a rough, dull and dry texture. Daily maintenance with moisturizers is essential during colder weather in order to avoid getting trapped in the dry skin cycle.
As you may already know, there is a vast array of moisturizing products available at every supermarket. Sometimes with all of those products to choose from, it can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure what it is that you are looking for. Read the rest of this entry »
- Chocolate and Sex Causes Acne?
- January 3rd, 2012
(edited from the acneguide.ca article: Acne Myths: Chocolate and Sex Causes Acne)
Have you been told that you shouldn’t eat chocolate because it causes acne?
Or how about French fries? Pizza?
Wrong! That’s just a myth, and while some foods can make acne worse for some people, researchers have found that it does not cause it!
There is recent work from Australia that suggests that high carbohydrate foods may in some people flare their acne. The theory is that chronic consumption of high carbs stimulates the excessive production of insulin so that eventually more and more insulin is needed to assist glucose into cells. This is called insulin resistance. The higher insulin may drive the ovaries to produce more testosterone, which in turn encourages acne. This may be what is happening partly in a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome.
There are a number of myths about the causes of acne and how to treat it. Here are just a few: Read the rest of this entry »
- 11 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Skin
- December 29th, 2011
(edited from the skininformation.com article: Skin Care Tips for the Holidays)
The winter holiday season often packs more parties and get-togethers than the rest of the year combined. It is also the coldest and driest of the year, which can damage your skin, especially if you already have dry skin. Here are 11 tips that will keep your skin protected during the holidays and for the New Year.
1. Don’t forget to exercise: The holiday season is a time for feasting, and we often forget to keep up with our exercise routines. Exercise not only reduces the excess calories that are gained from all those parties, but can help your skin look better too. Exercise relieves stress, a major factor in skin aging, and increases oxygen flow to your skin, resulting in a younger looking skin. Read the rest of this entry »