10 common diseases that affect the skin
Your skin is important because it performs many essential tasks such as protecting your body from the many viruses and bacteria you are exposed to daily. It also protects you from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Having a healthy skin means your body maintains its temperature at a constant level and reacts better to important changes in the environment by feeling pain or pressure.
Here are 10 common skin diseases you need to be aware of:
Often triggered by hormonal changes, Acne is caused by blocked hair follicles and oil (sebaceous) glands of the skin, and covers pimples, blackheads, cysts, and nodules. Acne can also erupt on the back and chest as well. Treatment is through ointments and medications.
A common form of eczema seen in children, the exact cause for Atopic Dermatitis still eludes researchers, some of whom believe that genetics, the environment, and/or the immune system may be the factors responsible for causing this condition. Atopic Dermatitis appears on the face (especially in infants), hands, feet or in the creases and folds of the skin. The skin becomes dry, scaly and itchy with constant scratching leading to a thickened area. Typical treatment is the application of topical steroids.
Shingles is a disease caused by the Herpes Zoster virus, which manifests itself in a red, blistered rash on the torso or anywhere else on the body. It is often accompanied by fever, fatigue and headaches. Seniors and immunocompromised people are most at risk with treatment ranging from preventive vaccination or oral antivirals prescribed by the doctor.
Hives manifest themselves in the form of familiar welts (raised, red, itchy areas) on the skin and can be caused by medication, food, and bug bites or stings. Hives on the throat and facial area can affect breathing so urgent intervention is necessary. Hives will usually go away in 2 to 4 months, but in some people, may persist for months or years. The condition is then known as chronic urticaria. The best preventive measure is to avoid the trigger. OTC antihistamines can control the itching.
For a sunburn not to occur, prevention is always better than cure. Too much exposure to UV rays of the sun or from sunlamps will cause sunburns resulting in the skin turning red, painful, being hot to touch and in some cases even peeling away. Repeated sunburns can increase the risk of getting skin cancer later in life so prevention is necessary. Applying sunscreen every 2 hours is a good idea.
But if sunburn has happened, the following steps will help:
Taking immediate shelter under a shade to cool the skin down.
Taking a cool bath or shower with a mild soap.
Drinking plenty of fluids to keep the skin hydrated.
Moisturizing the skin with a light, oil-free moisturizer or aloe vera while the skin is still damp.
Consulting the doctor for some OTC medication like a cream or an NSAID.
Scratching or popping blisters should not be done so as to avoid any kind of infection.
As the name implies, this is a type of eczema which erupts when we touch something. The skin reacts to plants (poison ivy, sumac, oak), jewelry, latex gloves, and irritants like bleach or soaps. Avoiding the object is the best solution. Antihistamines, oral or topical steroids, and colloidal oatmeal baths will also help with controlling symptoms.
Babies are the usual victims, with a wet or soiled diaper left on for too long leading to red bumps and rash in the diaper area, the buttocks, genitals, and skin folds. Chemicals in a disposable diaper can combine with urine and stool to irritate the skin. Further, Candida (yeast) or bacteria can grow on the inflamed and broken skin and complicate the rash. Changing diapers as and when needed and exposing the baby’s bottom to fresh air whenever possible can keep away diaper rash to a large extent.
Problems with the immune system, vein problems and/or environmental issues can cause Rosacea, which is a chronic swelling of the face, with redness, prominent blood vessels, and pimples. The condition is common in women over 30 but can affect men also.
Athlete's Foot (Tinea Pedis)
A type of fungi called dermatophytes commonly found in warm, moist areas like pool decks, shower stalls, and locker rooms causes this condition which leads to extreme itching, redness, and cracked skin on the feet and in between toes. Treatment is done with topical application of OTC medications like antifungal creams and sprays. Prevention is possible by keeping the feet clean and dry, changing wet socks and shoes, and wearing sandals in public pools or shower areas. However, if the fungus has crept under the toenails, more intensive treatment by a podiatrist will be needed.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
A common type of skin cancer, BCC grows in the upper basal cells of the skin but rarely spreads. It is a curable disease and may attack people who spend lots of time in the sun or use a tanning bed frequently. The growth commonly occurs on the head, ears, nose, and neck and will look shiny, red and scaly, or like an open sore. Treatment may cover surgery, skin medicines for smaller areas and radiation for larger ones. Prevention may be possible by avoiding long periods of sun exposure, using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and visiting the dermatologist for an annual full body skin check.
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