Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tips for Protecting Babies From the Sun


Living in Florida, many parents are concerned about the sun exposure their babies receive.   However, the information regarding how best to protect babies can be confusing!  At FSC, we have a few simple tips to help ensure your little one stays healthy and protected from the sun’s harmful rays. 


First, keep your infant out of direct sunlight, especially during the peak sun hours of 10 am – 4pm.  Strollers, trees, and patios can help provide relief from the sun.  Second, sun protection can begin when you dress your baby in the morning.  Dress your baby in light-weight, breathable, long sleeved clothing.  Bright colors provide increased sun protection compared to whites and pastels.  Also, protect your baby’s eyes and face with sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat.  Third, when traveling, seat your baby in the center of the back seat, away from windows, when possible.  UV-blocking films can also be applied to car windows to decrease sun exposure while traveling. 


Finally, sunscreen usage in infants is controversial.  Infant skin is thinner, making it more susceptible to the chemicals in sunscreen.  Infants also have an increased body surface area when compared to adults, which increases the amount of sunscreen that is used and can penetrate into the skin.  Also, infants may lick their fingers and ingest the sunscreen after it is applied.  Therefore, recommendations on sunscreen usage in infants can vary.  The FDA and The Skin Cancer Foundation recommend using sunscreen only in babies older than six months old, while The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests sunscreen be applied to infants younger than six months only when other protective options are not available and only on small areas of skin.  Based on these recommendations, it is best, when possible, to wait until six months of age before applying sunscreen to your infant.  Whenever you decide to begin using sunscreen on your baby, make sure to first apply the product to a small area to ensure your baby can tolerate the sunscreen.  Avoid the ingredients PABA and oxybenzone, which can cause skin reactions. 


It is important for everyone to follow sun safety precautions, but it is especially vital for babies.  Many options exist for keeping your little one safe and healthy in the Florida sun.  Ask FSC about the sunscreen options we have available to protect your whole family. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

FSC Values Your Privacy

It seems like almost every day we are asked to give our personal information in exchange for services.  Often we don’t think about what happens behind the scenes with that information, but we should!  There were more than 12 million identity fraud victims in 2012.  Those who have been affected know the effect that it can have on your life.  It can take years to resolve and during that time, it can be a nightmare to obtain credit, needed services, etc.


Here at Florida Skin Center, we take the oath to protect your personal information very seriously and have policies and procedures in place to insure that your information is never breached.  Our office currently complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and in 11 years of practice, we have never had a HIPAA breach.  In addition, each team member of FSC is required to sign a confidentiality agreement and strict training is done before they ever access patient data.  Your information will never be released without your specific consent, with the exception of health insurance companies we are filing a claim with or laboratories that your specimen is sent to.


Also, we are currently in compliance with the new Red Flag law.  This law is in place to protect consumers mainly from credit card fraud.  You may ask, how are we protecting you?  At FSC, we only run credit cards where the card holder is present.  In addition, your credit card numbers are never kept on file.  Even the receipt that we keep on file does not show your credit card numbers.  Finally, our check-out staff will always check the ID we have on file to match your credit card information.


At times, it may seem an inconvenience to show your ID, sign an authorization for medical records, etc.  But remember, doing these things only takes minutes, while recovering your identity can take years!  If you have more questions about how we are keeping your information safe, feel free to ask one of our highly trained staff members, they will be happy to answer your questions or concerns.  Thank you for your continued trust!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ways to Keep Warts from Spreading on your Hands

No, warts are not just for witches or from kissing frogs.  People of all ages and skin types can get warts. They commonly occur on the hands and feet and are very contagious. Warts are caused by the Human Papilloma (HPV) virus which is transmitted by skin to skin contact. You can prevent the risk of spreading warts by taking these simple steps.

1.      Stop picking.  By picking or biting your nails you can spread the wart virus to other areas on your skin.

2.      Wash your hands regularly. This is an easy simple way to reduce your risk of spreading warts.

3.      Take your vitamins.  Studies show that taking 50mg of zinc daily can help the body fight off the HPV virus and prevent it from reoccurring.

4.      See your dermatologist. Starting treatments sooner than later with liquid nitrogen or laser therapy can prevent the risk of warts spreading.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Psoriasis Awareness Month

Psoriasis is a common skin disorder that is estimated to affect as many as 7.5 million Americans.  In fact, psoriasis is the most common autoimmune condition in the United States.  Diagnosed by physical exam and medical history, this chronic skin condition results when the immune system sends faulty signals causing skin cells to grow abnormally. 

Individuals with psoriasis have skin cells that reproduce in three to four days, instead of the usual 28 – 30 days.  This abnormal growth cycle results in a buildup of excess skin that the body is unable to shed, causing inflamed, scaly lesions to appear on the surface.

The most common form of psoriasis is known as plaque psoriasis.  Characterized by reddish patches on the skin, plaque psoriasis can appear anywhere, with the most common sites being the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp.  The patches sometimes are covered with a silvery white coating called scale, which upon becoming inflamed can result in itchy, cracked, and bleeding skin.

Certain triggers or external factors cause psoriasis to flare.  Stress, injury to the skin, certain medications, allergies, diet and weather trigger the disease and aggravate the skin.

Although psoriasis is recognized as an immune system disorder, one of the biggest triggers of the disease is stress.  When the body is stressed, the immune system responds with chemicals that result in inflammation.  In psoriasis, an excess of these chemicals is released and the condition flares.  Exercise, meditation, and other mind and body therapies may help reduce stress and flare-ups.

Psoriasis can also manifest in the nails, resulting in nail pitting and nail crumbling.  Up to 30 percent of people also develop joint pain, stiffness and swelling, known as psoriatic arthritis. 

There are many treatment modalities available to alleviate the symptoms of the skin disorder.  Treatments for psoriasis include topical therapies, light therapy, and biologics.  The treatments for the condition work to interrupt the cycle that causes the increased production of skin cells and also works to remove the scales that cover the skin.  It is important for patients to realize that while the signs and symptoms of psoriasis can be effectively managed, there is no cure for this chronic disorder.  Therefore, taking an active role in managing the disease can help patient’s skin completely clear, and in turn improving a person’s quality of life.

With psoriasis affecting one in forty people, this painful and debilitating disease can be reduced with management and several treatment options.