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Posts for: January, 2021

January 25, 2021
Category: Skin Conditions
Cold sores are small, painful blisters that develop on the lips and around the mouth. These sores are caused by a viral infection known as herpes simplex. More specifically, Herpes Simplex Type 1 is typically the cause of cold sores. This condition is very common, affecting around 67% of the global population. Here’s what you should know about cold sores, including how to treat them when they surface.
How did I get cold sores?

Cold sores are highly contagious, so it is possible to get a cold sore from,
  • Kissing an infected person
  • Sharing utensils and drinking from the same glass as an infected person
  • Oral sex
While the herpes simplex virus is typically considered a sexually transmitted disease when it comes to cold sores many cases of HSV1 are passed between family members. If you have a parent or grandparent who has cold sores who has also kissed you or shared food and drink items with you, then chances are good that you got your cold sore from them.
What are the symptoms of a cold sore?

Before a blister even develops, you may notice burning, tingling, pain, or itching around the affected area of the lip. If this is your first time dealing with a cold sore, it is common for the first outbreak to be the worst. In this case, you may develop a fever, body aches, or other flu-like symptoms.
The cold sore itself may look like a cluster of blisters or an inflamed, open sore. Eventually, the blister will scab over and go away, usually in about two weeks.
How can I treat a cold sore?

When it comes to treating a cold sore, you can find simple over-the-counter creams that help to ease symptoms. If you deal with severe cold sore outbreaks you may wish to talk with your dermatologist about a prescription antiviral medication, that can help to reduce the length of your outbreak and reduce symptom severity.
Are cold sores and canker sores the same thing?

Cold sores and canker sores can often be mistaken for each other, but they are not the same. First, cold sores usually develop on the lips while canker sore cause painful sores to develop in the mouth. Secondly, cold sores are due to a virus while we still don’t know exactly what causes canker sores.
If you are dealing with cold sores your dermatologist can provide you with both over-the-counter and prescription options, depending on the severity of your symptoms. If you have questions about cold sores, call your dermatologist today.

January 11, 2021
Category: Skin Conditions
Molluscum ContagiosumMolluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that most commonly affects children under 10 years old, that causes hard, raised red bumps known as papules to develop on the skin. These papules usually develop in clusters on the armpits, groins, or back of the knees, but can develop just about anywhere on the body. If you suspect that your child might have molluscum contagiosum here’s what you should know,

How is molluscum contagiosum contracted?

You may be wondering how your child contracted this poxvirus. There are several ways to transmit this viral infection: skin-to-skin contact, sharing items such as towels or clothes, sexual transmission (in adults), and scratching your own lesions (this can lead to further spreading of the papules).

It can take anywhere from two weeks to six months to develop symptoms after exposure. Once a child or person has molluscum contagiosum they typically aren’t infected again in the future.

How is this condition diagnosed?

If you notice any bumps on your child that persist for days, you must consult your dermatologist to find out what’s going on. A simple dermatoscopy (a painless, non-invasive procedure that allows your dermatologist to examine a skin lesion or growth) can determine whether the papule is due to molluscum contagiosum. If MC is not suspected, your dermatologist may biopsy the bump for further evaluation.

How is molluscum contagiosum treated?

Since this is the result of a viral infection, antibiotics will not be an effective treatment option. In fact, the body simply needs time to fight the virus. Your dermatologist may just tell you to wait until the infection runs its course and clears up on its own.

If the papules are widespread and affecting your teen’s appearance and self-esteem, then you may wish to talk with a dermatologist about ways to get rid of the spots. Cryotherapy or certain creams may be recommended to treat and get rid of these spots.

If you are living with others, it’s important to avoid sharing any clothing or towels with the infected child or person. Make sure that your child does not scratch the bumps, which can lead to further spreading of the infection.

If your child is dealing with a rash, raised bumps, or any skin problems and you’re not sure what’s going on, it’s best to talk with a qualified dermatologist who can easily diagnose the issue and provide you with effective solutions for how to treat it.

January 06, 2021
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Sun Damage  

Years of sun exposure can eventually lead to damaged skin. Areas of the skin that have sustained sun damage often appear dry in comparison to healthy skin and have more lines and wrinkles. There are steps you can take to prevent sun damage, such as applying sunscreen before going outdoors. For individuals with sun damage, there are dermatology treatments that can help. The experienced providers at Westgate Dermatology and Laser Center in Winston Salem, NC, can help with the treatment and prevention of sun damage.

Signs of Sun Damage

Sun damage can affect the skin in many ways. One sign of sun damage is the development of age spots, which are areas of skin with increased pigmentation. Some common signs of sun damage include:

  • Skin that appears dry
  • Uneven pigmentation
  • Sunspots or age spots
  • Lines, creases, and wrinkles
  • Sunburn

It is best to seek treatment if you have any of the signs of sun damage. One of the skilled providers at our office in Winston Salem, NC, can discuss treatment options with you for restoring the health of your skin.

Preventing Sun Damage

Some precautions can be taken to prevent sun damage. Protecting your skin from the sun can also help prevent skin cancer, which is the most common type of cancer to affect adults in the U.S. Some tips for protecting your skin and preventing sun damage include:

  • Avoiding exposure to the sun during peak hours, which are between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm
  • Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, even on cloudy days
  • Wearing a hat and protective clothing, such as long sleeves and pants, in the sun
  • Refraining from using tanning beds or sun lamps that give off UVA or UVB rays
  • Wear sunglasses to protect the skin around the eyes

Treatments for Sun Damage

It is always best to take precautions to protect your skin and prevent sun damage. However, dermatology treatments are available for helping minimize or reverse some of the visible signs of sun damage. Our knowledgeable dermatology team can recommend specific treatments to rejuvenate sun-damaged skin.

Protecting your skin when in the sun will help prevent sun damage. For more guidance on preventing sun damage or to learn about treatment options, schedule an appointment with one of our providers by calling Westgate Dermatology and Laser Center in Winston Salem, NC, at (336) 768-1280. We also have offices in Thomasville, (336) 714-0238, and Kernersville, (336) 768-1280.