Pisgah Family Health News

June 2012

Office News

Medical News

Contact Us

www.PisgahFamilyHealth.com/

Email


Office News

Pisgah Family Health is now on Facebook!

Find us on Facebook

Pisgah Family Health is proud to announce it's new page on Facebook. This will allow us to keep our patients up to date with office announcements, such as closings. We will also post weekly medical news of interest to our patients.

Visit our Facebook site to keep up to date about our office. "Like" Pisgah Family Health to receive our weekly updates and medical news.

Free Health Videos on YouTube

Visit us on YouTube

Pisgah Family Health is proud to announce the launch of its new YouTube channel. On this channel, we have collected useful videos on a variety of health topics. The topics are grouped into playlists, to make it easy to watch the videos that are most relevant to you. The topics currently include diabetes, asthma, cholesterol, nutrition, mental health, exercise, and many more.

We hope this site will allow our patients to learn more about their health conditions in the comfort of their own homes. As we locate more useful videos, we will post them to the site, and notify our patients by Facebook and our newsletter.

Conquor a Cove

Conquor A Cove Race

The staff of Pisgah Family Health recently participated in the Conquor a Cove 5K race. The race was sponsored by The Hope Center, to raise money for women battling cancer.

Dr. Curran finished the race first overall, with a time of 17:36. Melissa Martinez finished second for all women, with a time of 22:09. Kitty and Julie also competed the race to the cheers of hundreds of other racers and supporters. For complete results, visit http://www.hopechestforwomen.org/conqueracove/

Office Hours

We are proud to announce our expanded office hours!

Our office hours are now 8:30-5pm Monday through Friday.   When the office is closed, emergency care is available at the Urgent Care Centers and Mission Hospital ER.  Our answering service can be reached after hours at 251-4873.   Telephone calls are handled by Dr. Curran’s call partners.

  • Dr. Curran will be on vacation July 1-15. Melissa Martinez, PA-C will be in the office for patient care.
  • Pisgah Family Health will be closed Monday July 30, for a hiking trip.

Office Reminders

Will your child require a physical for school or sports? Please call now to schedule during the summer months.

Please bring your medications to each visit. This helps us treat you safely, and make your refills in a timely fashion.

To protect your privacy, we will not release any of your medical information without your written consent. Please let us know if you would like to authorize us to release information to your spouse or a family member.


Medical News - Summer Fun

Summer Fun in Asheville

Summer is the time to get outdoors and enjoy our beautiful environment. We are very fortunate to live in a town that offers great weather, beautiful natural resources, and a vibrant social life. Here are a potpourri of inexpensive and healthy ways to enjoy your summer.

Free Music     BeleChere (43K)

Downtown After 5

The city of Asheville hosts FREE music and dancing on the third Friday of the month, May through September. The stage is located on Lexington Avenue. Free live music starts at 5 pm with food and drinks available for purchase.
For more information, visit: http://www.ashevilledowntown.org/

RiverMUSIC 2012

RiverMUSIC -- a summer of sweet sounds by the water -- 5 free concerts at the RiverLink Sculpture and Performance Park. Come and dance under the stars next to the beautiful French Broad River. All shows begin Friday at 5 p.m. Dates include June 9, July 13, August 3 and 24, and September 14.

Learn more at http://www.riverlink.org/

Pritchard Park Cultural Arts Program

Pritchard Park is packed with entertainment this year. WNC Magazine and 98.1 The River work together to bring you free events throughout the summer. From Memorial Day, May 28th, through Labor Day, September 3. These events are weather permitting.
For more information, visit: http://www.ashevilledowntown.org/

Shindig On the Green

This mountain tradition features an always-enjoyable variety of mountain dancers, clogging, bluegrass and old time string bands, ballad singers, and storytellers. Saturday evenings from 7-10 p.m. June 30, July 7, 14, 21, August 11, 18, 25, and September 1. Located at the newly renovated Roger McGuire Green at Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville .
More details at http://www.folkheritage.org/

Bele Chere

Asheville's biggest street festival offers hours of shopping and snacking, but the best part is the free music. With 4 stages playing music for 3 days, there is guaranteed to be something for everyone.
Find the music lineup and more info at http://www.belecherefestival.com/

Get Wet

Splashville (86K)

Splasheville!

A great way for kids to cool off downtown is the newly built Splasheville Fountain at Pack Square. It's free and fun for all ages on a hot day.

Float the French Broad

Attend RiverFest 2012 and the Anything that Floats Parade! RiverFest is on Saturday, August 11. Enjoy a full day of Summer, music, beer, kids activities, and of course, the parade of homemade rafts.

Learn more at http://www.riverlink.org/

Buncombe County Parks and Recreation

Pool hours are Monday-Friday 12-6, Saturday 11-7, and Sunday 1-7. Swim lessons start in two sessions, on June 20, and July 18, and cost $30. Find more details at www.bumcombecounty.org/

  • Cane Creek - 590 Lower Brush Creek Rd, Fletcher. 828-628-4494
  • Erwin - 58 Lees Creek Road, Asheville. 828-251-4992
  • Hominy Valley - 25 Twin lakes Road, Candler. 828-667-9937
  • North Buncombe - 892 Clarks Chapel Road, Weaverville. 828-645-1080
  • Owen - 117 Stone Drive, Swannanoa. 828-686-1629

Asheville City Parks

Open June 12 through August 15th. Pool hours are Monday-Friday 12-6, Saturday 11-6, and Sunday 1-6. FREE Swim lessons start in two sessions, on June 20, and July 18. Learn more at www.ashevillenc.gov/

  • Recreation Park - 55 Gashes Creek Rd. 28806. 828-298-0880
  • Malvern Hills - 75 Rumbough Place, 28805. 828-253-1164
  • Walton Street - 2 Walton Street, 28802. 828-253-1143

Hendersonville's Patton Park.

This may be the last remaining pool with a diving board in the area. Learn more about Henderson County's park system at http://www.hendersoncountync.org/travelhvl/activities_family.htm and http://www.hendersoncountyrecreation.org/

  • Patton Park - 198 Park Place, Hendersonville, NC 28792 828-697-3084

Hit the Beach (near Asheville)

Lake_Lure_Beach (143K)

Lake Powhatan

Located just minutes from our office, in the Bent Creek section of Pisgah National Forest, is lovely Lake Powhatan. With a sandy beach and fishing docks, but seldom a crowd, this hidden gem is great for children and sunworshippers. While there, you can also hike or bike the trails of Bent Creek Forest, or pitch your tent for an overnight camp. Cost is $6 per carload for parking, or you can hike for free from the Hardtimes Trailhead. Learn more at http://www.recreation.gov/

Lake Lure

Just 45 minutes from Asheville, Lake Lure is one of WNC's most scenic waterfronts. Rent boats, slide at the waterpark, or just enjoy the beach, all with a view of Rumbling Bald Mountain and Chimney Rock. Open 10am to 6pm. Cost is $8 for adults, and $6 for kids. Be sure to plan time for hiking at Chimney Rock Park. Learn more at http://www.townoflakelure.com/

Shakespeare in the Park

The Montford Park Players FREE summer season began June 3. Shows are performed at the outdoor theater on weekend nights, starting at 7:30. Each month offers a different production.
Details at www.montfordparkplayers.org

Take a Hike

It's not summer in WNC without hiking in the woods. Asheville is surrounded by Pisgah National Forest, and the closest access - Bent Creek - is just south of our office. Smokey Mountain National Park is less than 1 hour away, as are Dupont State Park, Gorges State Park, and several others. Hiking is a free and healthy way to enjoy summer in our region. Hikes can be chosen for all ages and capabilities - be sure to consult a park ranger or a map before setting out. If you're new to hiking, consider joining a group or organized hike Always know your trails, and hike with a partner, plenty of water, and a map.

For an on-line guidebook, visit http://www.hikewnc.info/besthikes/index.html or http://www.mountaintravelguide.com/North%20Carolina/NorthCarolinaHikingTrails.htm

Visit a Waterfall

WNC is the the land of waterfalls, and our wet summer has made them better than ever. Experiencing our waterfalls is perhaps the most refreshing way to enjoy your summer. You can choose from road-side attractions, to remote and difficult hikes. No matter which you choose, be safe - never climb on waterfalls or walk in the water above them.

Here's a list of some of the best waterfall hikes in the area: http://www.romanticasheville.com/waterfalls.htm

More ...

These suggestion and many more are available on the website http://www.romanticasheville.com/outings.html

Skin Cancer Screening

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the Unites States. If detected early, skin cancer can usually be treated and cured with minimal consequenses. If left unchecked, some of these cancer cells can spread from the skin into other tissues and organs. Adults should have a skin exam annually by their physician, and should always be attentive to skin changes.

Known risk factors for skin cancer include:

  • Complexion: Skin cancers are more common in people with light-colored skin, hair, and eyes.
  • Genetics: Having a family history of melanoma increases the risk of developing this cancer.
  • Age: Nonmelanoma skin cancers are more common after age 40, though melanoma occurs in all ages.
  • Sun exposure: Most skin cancers occur in skin that is regularly exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation. This is considered the primary cause of all skin cancers.

Prevention

Reduce your sun exposure! Protect your skin from the sun by wearing hats, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, or pants. Avoid exposure from 10am to 4pm, when sunlight is most intense. Avoid surfaces that reflect light, such as water, sand, concrete, and white-painted areas. Never use tanning beds or sun lamps.

Use sunscreen whenever you will be in the sun for more than 30 minutes. Choose a sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) rating greater than 15, that protect against both UVA and UVB sunlight. Apply the sunscreen before going outside and reapply every 2 hours. Choose a waterproof formula.

Examine your skin regularly for any new growths or changes in an existing skin sores. A new growth that forms an ulcer or is slow to heal is suspicious. Have a skin exam by your physician annually.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis is a rough, scaly, raised area found on skin that has been exposed to the sun over a long period of time. If left alone for years, Actinic Keratoses can turn into Squamous Cell skin cancer. Therefore, these are considered "precancerous", and should be removed.

Causes

Actinic keratosis is caused by sun exposure and age.

Symptoms

Actinic keratosis is usually found on the face, scalp, ears, back of the hands, chest, or other sun-exposed areas. They may be gray, pink, red, or the same color as the skin. Often, they have a white or yellow scale on top. They begin as flat and scaly areas. The skin lesion may be easier to feel than to see. Later they develop a hard and wart-like or gritty, rough, and "sandpapery" surface.

Treatment

Because about 5% of actinic keratoses go on to develop into squamous cell skin cancer, they should be examined and removed. Growths may be removed by:

  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen
  • Burning (electrical cautery)
  • Cutting out the affected skin
  • When many actinic keratoses are found over a large area, they may be treated with creams such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and imiquimod.

Prognosis

Actinic keratosis itself is harmless ( benign), but about 5% develop into skin cancer. Removal of the growth is usually effective.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, 75% of all skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas.

Basal cell carcinoma starts in the top layer of the skin called the epidermis. A new skin growth that bleeds easily or does not heal well may suggest basal cell carcinoma. The majority of these cancers occur on areas of skin that are regularly exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation.

Basal cell carcinoma grows slowly and painlessly. Basal cell skin cancer almost never spreads to remote areas. However, if left untreated, it may invade and destroy surrounding tissues and bone.

Your risk for basal cell skin cancer is higher if you have:

  • Light-colored skin
  • Blue or green eyes
  • Blond or red hair
  • Overexposure to x-rays or other forms of radiation
  • Symptoms

    Basal cell carcinoma may look only slightly different than normal skin. The cancer may appear as skin bump or growth that is:

    • Pearly or waxy
    • White or light pink
    • Flesh-colored or brown
    • The skin may be flat, slightly raised, or have a round bump.

    You may see

    • A skin sore that bleeds easily
    • A sore that does not heal
    • Oozing or crusting spots in a sore
    • Irregular blood vessels in or around the spot
    • A sore or nodule with a depressed (sunken) area in the middle

    Treatment

    Treatment varies depending on the size, depth, and location of the basal cell cancer. Basal Cell cancer can be usually be cured by removing the mass surgically. It will be removed using one of the following procedures:

    • Excision cuts the tumor out and uses stitches to place the skin back together.
    • Curettage and electrodesiccation scrapes away the cancer and uses electricity to kill any remaining cancer cells.
    • Surgery, including Mohs surgery, in which skin is cut out and immediately looked at under a microscope to check for cancer.
    • The process is repeated until the skin sample is free of cancer.
    • Cryosurgery freezes and kills the cancer cells.

    Prognosis

    Basal cell carcinoma rarely spreads to other parts of the body. The rate of basal cell skin cancer returning is about 1% with Mohs surgery, and up to 10% for other forms of treatment. Smaller basal cell carcinomas are less likely to come back than larger ones. You should follow-up with your doctor as recommended and regularly examine your skin for any reoccurrence.

    Possible Complications

    Untreated, basal cell cancer can spread to nearby tissues or structures, causing damage. This is most worrisome around the nose, eyes, and ears.

    Prevention

    The best way to prevent skin cancer is to reduce your exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet light is most intense at midday, so try to avoid sun exposure during these hours. Protect the skin by wearing hats, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts, or pants.

    Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

    Squamous Cell Cancer

    Squamous Cell carcinoma grows from the outermost (squamous) layer of the skin. Squamous cell cancer spreads faster than basal cell cancer, but still may be relatively slow-growing. Rarely, it can spread (metastasize) to other locations, including internal organs.

    Squamous cell carcinoma in situ (also called Bowen's disease) is the earliest form of squamous cell cancer. The cancer has not yet invaded surrounding tissue. It appears as large reddish patches (often larger than 1 inch) that are scaly and crusted.

    Risks for squamous cell skin cancer include:

    • Having light-colored skin, blue eyes, and blond or red hair
    • Long-term, daily sun exposure (such as outdoor workers)
    • Many severe sunburns early in life
    • Older age
    • A large number of x-rays or radiation exposure
    • Arsenic and other Chemical exposures

    Symptoms

    The main symptom of squamous cell skin cancer is a growing bump that may have a rough, scaly surface and flat reddish patches. The bump is usually located on the face, ears, neck, hands, or arms, but may occur on other areas. A sore that does not heal can be a sign of squamous cell cancer. Any change in an existing wart, mole, or other skin lesion could be a sign of skin cancer.

    Treatment

    Squamous skin cancer has a high cure rate if it is treated early. Treatment depends on how big the tumor is, its location, and how far it has spread (metastasis).

    • Excision refers to cutting out the tumor and using stitches to place the skin back together.
    • Curettage and electrodesiccation scrapes away the cancer and uses electricity to kill any remaining cancer cells. It is used to treat cancers that are not very large or deep.
    • Mohs surgery involves cutting out a layer of the skin cancer and immediately examining it under a microscope to check if any cancer has been left behind. More layers are removed until the skin sample is free of cancer. Mohs surgery is more likely to be used for skin cancers on the nose, ears, and other areas of the face.
    • Cryosurgery freezes and kills the cancer cells.
    • Radiation may be used if the cancer has spread to organs or lymph nodes, or for squamous cell cancers that cannot be treated with surgery.
    • Photodynamic therapy, a special type of light treatment, may be used to treat Bowen's disease (BD).

    Prognosis

    Most (95%) of squamous cell tumors can be cured if they are removed promptly. Squamous cell carcinoma only rarely spreads to other parts of the body. However, new tumors may develop with age. If you have had squamous cell cancer, be sure to have your skin examined annually by your physician.

    Melanoma

    Melanoma

    Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. It involves cells called melanocytes, which produce a skin pigment called melanin. Melanin is responsible for skin and hair color. Melanoma can also involve the colored part of the eye.

    Causes

    Melanoma is more common with sun exposure, but can occur even in places that never receive sunlight. Melanoma can appear on normal skin or it may begin with a mole that changed in appearance. Some moles that are present at birth may develop into melanomas.

    Melanoma can spread very rapidly. Although it is less common than other types of skin cancer, the rate of melanoma is steadily increasing. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Melanoma occurs in young and older individuals.

    There are four major types of melanoma:

    • Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common type of melanoma. It is usually flat and irregular in shape and color, with different shades of black and brown. It may occur at any age or body site, and is most common in Caucasians.
    • Nodular melanoma usually starts as a raised area that is dark blackish-blue or bluish-red. However, some do not have any color.
    • Lentigo maligna melanoma usually occurs in the elderly. It is most common in sun-damaged skin on the face, neck, and arms. The abnormal skin areas are usually large, flat, and tan with areas of brown.
    • Acral lentiginous melanoma is the least common form of melanoma. It usually occurs on the palms, soles, or under the nails and is more common in African Americans.
    • Rarely, melanomas appear in the mouth, iris of the eye, or retina at the back of the eye. They may be found during dental or eye examinations. Although very rare, melanoma can also develop in the vagina, esophagus, anus, urinary tract, and small intestine.

    Risks for melanoma include the following:

    • Living in sunny climates or at high altitudes
    • Long-term exposure to strong sunlight because of a job or other activities
    • One or more blistering sunburns during childhood
    • Use of tanning devices

    Other risk factors include:

    • Close relatives with a history of melanoma
    • Exposure to chemicals that can cause cancer, such as arsenic, coal tar, and creosote
    • Presence of certain types of moles (atypical dysplastic) or multiple birthmarks
    • Weakened immune system due to AIDS, leukemias, organ transplant, or immune medications.

    Symptoms

    The primary symptom of any skin cancer is usually a mole, sore, lump, or growth on the skin. Melanomas are pigmented, so any unusual pigment changes can be a sign of melanoma. Any change in appearance of a pigmented skin sore over time is a warning sign. Also, watch for any skin growth that bleeds.

    The ABCD system may help you remember features of melanoma:

    • Asymmetry: One half of the abnormal area is different from the other half.
    • Borders: The lesion or growth has irregular edges.
    • Color: Color changes from one area to another, with shades of tan, brown, or black
    • Diameter: The trouble spot is usually (but not always) larger than 6 mm in diameter.

    The key to treating melanoma is recognizing symptoms early. You might not notice a small spot of concern if you don't look carefully, so perform thorough self-examinations monthly, and schedule a formal skin exam with a physician yearly. Suspicious moles should be removed by biopsy and evaluated by a pathologist.

    Treatment

    The cancerous skin cells and some tissue that surrounds the cancer will need to be surgically removed. How much normal tissue is removed depends mostly on how deep the melanoma has grown.

    If the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, these lymph nodes may also need to be removed. Treatment with interferon after surgery may be useful for these patients.

    For patients with melanoma that has spread beyond the skin and nearby lymph nodes to other organs, treatment is more difficult. At this point, melanoma is usually not curable. Treatment is usually directed at shrinking the tumor and improving symptoms:

    • Chemotherapy is often used to treat melanoma that has returned or spread.
    • Medications such as interferon or interleukin, which boost the immune system to fight the cancer, may be useful in addition to chemotherapy and surgery. This kind of treatment is called immunotherapy. However, interferon has many side effects and can be difficult to tolerate.
    • Radiation treatments may be used to relieve pain or discomfort caused by cancer that has spread.

    Prognosis

    Treatment success depends on many factors, including the patient's general health and whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs. If caught early, some melanomas can be cured. Deeper tumors are more likely to come back. If the skin cancer is deeper than 4 mm or the lymph nodes have cancer, there is a high risk of the cancer spreading to other tissues and organs. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, there is a greater chance that the melanoma will come back. For patients with melanoma that has spread beyond the skin and nearby lymph nodes to other organs, treatment is more difficult. At this point, melanoma is usually not curable.

    Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001442.htm

    Additional Skin Cancer References:
    http://www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/slideshow-precancerous-skin-lesions-and-skin-cancer
    http://cancer.about.com/od/skincancermelanoma/f/skincancerlook.htm
    http://cancer.about.com/od/skincancermelanoma/a/skinsymptoms.htm
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/melanoma/DS00575
    http://www.skincancer.org/

    Poison Ivy

    Summertime is when most plant-related illnesses occur. Camping, hiking, picnicking, and yard work - all types of outdoor activities give us exposure to a wide variety of plants, some of which can be harmful. By far the most common among these is Contact Dermatitis (also called Rhus Dermatitis), or the rash to Poison Ivy.

    What Causes the Poison Ivy rash?

    Urushiol Oil is the toxin on the leaves of Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac. The oil is very hardy, and difficult to wash off. It must contact the skin directly to cause the rash.
    • Only 1 nanogram (billionth of a gram) is needed to cause a rash.
    • 500 people could itch from the amount covering the head of a pin
    • 1/4 ounce of urushiol could cause a rash in every person on earth
    • Specimens of urushiol several centuries old have been found to cause a rash.
    • Urushiol oil can stay active on dead plants for 1 to 5 years.

    How can I prevent the rash?

    • Learn to identify the plants. Poison Ivy is by far the most common, and is easy to identify. Poison Oak and Sumac are less common.
    • Avoid plant exposure. Watch where you walk. Stay on the trail.
    • If you are handling plants, wear long clothing and gloves. Remove and wash the clothing immediately after any exposure. Wear heavy gloves if you must handle plants, and do not touch yourself with the gloves.
    • If you have contact with the plants, avoid touching yourself. When the oil is fresh, you can spread the oil by skin to skin contact. As soon as possible wash from head to toe (twice is better) with a detergent soap, such as Dial or Safeguard.
    • Prevent your pets from contacting the plants. Pets can spread the oil on their fur. Identify poison ivy in your yard and remove it. If your pet runs loose, wash it with a detergent soap.
    • Never burn Poison Ivy leaves or vines. Smoke exposure can cause a rash or respiratory distress.

    Poison Ivy Myths vs. Facts

    RedIvyIcon MYTH IvyIcon FACT
    Poison Ivy rash is contagious Rubbing the rashes won't spread poison ivy to other parts of your body (or to another person). You spread the rash only if urushiol oil -- the sticky, resinlike substance that causes the rash -- has been left on your hands.
    You can catch poison ivy simply by being near the plants Direct skin contact is needed to transmit urusiol oil. However it can become airborne by burning, lawnmowers, trimmers, etc.
    Leaves of three, let them be Poison ivy and oak have 3 leaves per cluster, but poison sumac has 7 to 13 leaves on a branch.
    Do not worry about dead or dormant plants Urushiol oil stays active on any surface, including dead plants, for up to 5 years.
    Breaking the blisters can spread the rash Not true. Blisters are full of serum, not urushiol oil. But breaking the blisters may make your wounds become infected or make the scarring worse.
    I've been in poison ivy many times and never broken out. I'm immune. Not necessarily. Upwards of 90% of people are allergic to urushiol oil, it's a matter of time and exposure. The more times you are exposed to urushiol, the more likely it is that you will break out with an allergic rash. For the first time sufferer, it generally takes longer for the rash to show up - generally in 7 to 10 days.

    Poison Ivy Identification

    • Grows along trails and roadsides, most common in the borders between fields and woods.
    • Grows as a woody, ropelike vine that can grow along fences or up trees, or a free-standing shrub
    • "Leaves of three, let it be." Groups of three leaflets on the each stem come off the larger main vine. Rarely, the leaves may vary from groups of three to nine
    • Leaves are green in the summer and reddish in the fall. Individual leaves have a lateral notch, giving them the shape of a mitten.
    • White berries and yellow or green flowers are sometimes present.
    Poison Ivy

    Poison Oak Identification

    • Grows in the eastern United States as a low shrub.
    • Oak-like leaves, usually in clusters of three
    • Can have clusters of yellow berries
    Poison Oak

    Poison Sumac Identification

    • Grows in boggy areas, especially in the Southeastern United States
    • Grows as a rangy shrub up to 15 feet tall
    • Has seven to 13 smooth-edged leaflets
    • Can have glossy pale yellow or cream-colored berries
    Poison Sumac

    Virginia Creeper - a common fooler

    • Native and common in the Eastern US.
    • Not poisonous. Contains no Urushiol oil.
    • Rapidly growing vine, with clusters of 5 leaves.
    • Leaves are serrated and not notched.
    • Green in summer, morph to red or burgundy in Autumn
    Virginia Creeper

    Treatment of Contact Dermatitis

    • Don't catch it. Avoid contacting the plant and vines. If you are working with plants, wear gloves and long clothing. Remove and wash this clothing immediately after the project.
    • Wash your skin thoroughly within 1 hour of exposure. Use a strong detergent soap, such as Dial or Safeguard. First wash your hands and arms twice, as they are most likely to carry the oil. Then wash the rest of your body, rinse, and repeat.
    • Avoid scratching. If you have been exposed, the rash will develop within 1-3 days, and will worsen for 7-10 days. Once you see the rash, there is no quick fix. The rash is likely to stay for 2-4 weeks. Scratching may cause further skin irritation or infection. Scratching may spread the rash in the first day after exposure, but not after the oil has been washed off.
    • Antihistamines can minimize itching. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is very effective, and causes sedation. This is a good choice at bedtime. Claritin (loratadine) and Zyrtec (citerizine) are 24-hour pills which cause less sedation. These are best for daytime use. Benadryl cream can also be helpful, and does not cause sedation.
    • Steroid Creams minimize itching and reduce inflammation. Hydrocortisone 1% cream or ointment can be used several times per day, and is safe for use on the face and with children. More potent steroid creams are available by prescription, but should not be used on the face.
    • Steroid Pills and Shots such as prednisone are the most effective treatment to suppress this immune reaction. These treatments can significanly shorten the duration and reduce the intensity of the reaction. Steroids have some side effects, such as hyperactivity, elevated sugar, and increased appetite. Therefore, systemic steroids are reserved for the most severe cases of poison ivy.
    • Calamine lotion and Oatmeal Baths and other topical treatments are minimally effective and generally not useful.

    Sources of photos and information:

    Health Links

    For local health events, check out these links:

    A few of the most-trusted health information links:

    • WebMD.com A web service with health advice on hundreds of topics.
    • FamilyDoctor.org Patient-oriented information from the American Academy of Family Physicians.
    • CDC.gov The Center for Disease Control features credible information on almost every health topic.

    About our Newsletter

    Dr. Curran and the staff at Pisgah Family Health are proud to publish the Pisgah Family Health News to our patients.  Our goal is to provide regularly updated information about the office and current medical topics.  We plan to publish a new issue each quarter with breaking news.  The newsletters will also be archived on our website, http://www.pisgahfamilyhealth.com/

    Privacy:  We promise to use your Email address only for the purpose of sending this newsletter.  We will not give your Email address to any other organization.  We do not use Email to discuss personal medical issues.  If you want to be removed from our Email list, reply to this newsletter with the subject “unsubscribe me”.

    Junk Email? Some Email servers will mark this newsletter as Junk Mail, due to the large number of recipients. You can tell your server not to mark this as Junk by following these steps.

    1. If you are not in the Junk E-mail folder, switch to that folder. (If you use Norton, switch to the Norton Antispam folder)
    2. Right click the header for the PFH newsletter.
    3. On the shortcut menu, click Junk E-mail (or Norton Antispam)
    4. On the sub-menu, click "Mark as not Junk" (or "This is not spam")
    5. You will be prompted to add this sender to your Safe Senders list. (or Allowed List)