Archive for General Dermatology

Warts…Not just caused by kissing frogs

Warts…Not just caused by kissing frogs

Warts are benign (non-cancerous) skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) infecting the top layers of the skin.  Warts can grow on any part of the body and are contagious.  They are spread by contact with the wart, or something that touched the wart.  It is easier to catch the virus that causes warts when there is a cut or scrap on the skin; which explains why so many kids get warts.  Scratching, nail-biting, and shaving are common ways warts are spread on the body.  It can often take a few months for the wart to grow large enough for one to see.  Anyone can get warts, but children, teens, and people with a weakened immune system are more prone than others.  In order to prevent the wart from spreading you should avoid scratching, picking, or biting at the site and avoid touching someone else’s wart.

There are a few different types of warts, depending on the location on the body and the appearance. Common warts grow most often on the fingers and hands.  They can be raised, rough, and have the appearance of black dots on the surface.   Plantar warts grow on the bottom of the feet, are usually flat, and grow inward sometimes causing pain with walking.  Flat warts can occur anywhere on the body and grow in large numbers.  They are usually skin-colored, slightly elevated, and flat topped.  Children tend to get them on the face; women commonly get them on the legs, and men most often in the beard area. Periungual warts occur around the nails and have a cauliflower-like appearance.  Genital warts occur on the genitalia of men and women, are sexually transmitted and highly contagious.

Warts are often self-limiting and treatment may not be necessary, especially in children.  There are some treatment options available if the wart is persistent, painful, or numerous in number.  Cryotherapy (freezing) is one of the more common treatments for warts performed in a dermatology office.  This treatment causes a blister to form between the wart and normal skin, ultimately causing the wart to fall off.  This treatment is well tolerated and often requires multiple in-office treatments 3-4 weeks apart.  There are several topical treatments available for warts as well. Cantharidin is a liquid that is “painted” over the wart and causes the skin to blister underneath, ultimately causing the wart to fall off.  This is performed in office and is useful for periungual warts.  Imiquimod, a topical cream, can be used for hard to treat common warts and stimulates the body’s immune system to attack the virus locally.  A prescription is required and this can be applied nightly to the affected area and washed off in the morning.  Topical retinoids have been shown to be useful for flat warts.  Salicylic acid applied topically to the wart under occlusion with silver duct tape is another treatment option and can be used nightly until the desired results are seen.  Other procedures include electrodessication and curettage (“burning and scrapping”), laser treatments, and surgical removal of persistent and difficult to treat warts.

There is no cure for the wart virus and they can reappear in the same site previously treated or develop in a new spot.  No matter the treatment option you and your dermatologist elect to pursue, persistence is key when it comes to the treatment  of warts on the body.

By: Robin Moran, PA-C, Dermatology Physician Assistant at USF Health

Robin Moran,PA-C

Robin Moran,PA-C

Comments off

Skin Problems? USF Health Dermatology Research

Skin Problems? Psoriasis? Actinic Keratosis? USF Health Dermatologists, Dr. Christopher Nelson and Dr. Nishit Patel are conducting Dermatology Research.  Call 813-974-2923 for more dermatology research information.  We are currently enrolling research candidates for the following studies.

Do you have adolescent psoriasis?

Do you have adolescent psoriasis?

Do you have AK's?

Do you have AK’s?

USF Health Dermatologist

USF Health Dermatologist, Christopher Nelson, MD

USF Health Dermatologist, Nishit Patel, MD

USF Health Dermatologist,
Nishit Patel, MD

Comments off

Dr. Neil Alan Fenske receives “The Gustavus Sesquicentennial Award”

Link to

Gustuvas Sesquicentennial Award


The Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees has established an award in honor of the college’s Sesquicentennial anniversary to recognize individuals who have made a significant difference in the life of the college.

The award, called “The Sesquicentennial Award,” acknowledges and pays tribute to living alumni, parents, friends, and retired faculty and staff who:

Through actions in their personal or professional lives, have advanced the status of Gustavus as a premier liberal arts college; Set a new precedent in the ways they supported and advanced the mission of the college as an institution dedicated to preparing students “for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society”and/or have brought particular dignity or honor to the college.

On Thursday, February 9th the President of Gustavus Adolphus College, Jack R. Ohle awarded Neil Alan Fenske, MD the Gustavus Sesquicentennial Award.  The presentation and event took place at Malio’s in Tampa.

Neil Alan Fenske, MD is the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine.   813-974-4744 for appointments

Comments off

The common bed bugs , Cimex lectularius, is making a comeback.

The common bed bugs, Cimex lectularius, is making a comeback.  Transferred by travelers, it quickly sets up housekeeping in bedrooms.  Adult bed bugs lay eggs in crevices such as in baseboards, walls, and beds.  The nymphs develop through four stages as they develop over one to three months before they become adults.  These nymphs require 10 to 20 blood meal feeds during their development, and the adults also require blood meal feeds.  They generally feed on exposed skin when the person is asleep, piercing the skin with their proboscis mouthparts and actively pumping blood up into themselves.  The bite is painless but redness and itching commonly develop afterwards.  It takes 10 to 20 minutes for the bedbug to become fully engorged with blood.  There is often a series of 2 or 3 bites in a row known as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Your dermatologist can explain options for reducing the redness and itching that occur after the bites.

Bedbug activity can often be detected by lifting the mattress and looking along the edge of the box springs for little brown bugs about a quarter inlife_cycle_bed_bug_smallch long or brown streaks from their fecal matter. You may see similar fecal streaks on walls or along baseboards. They defecate soon after each meal.  When traveling, it is wise to check the bed and baseboards before settling into the room, even in fine hotels.  Other travelers can transport the bedbugs in their luggage into a room, starting the infestation.  Often only a few rooms are infested in a hotel or motel.  If you stay in an infested room and have your luggage on the floor and open, or if you put clothing in drawers and then back into your luggage, bedbugs may enter and accompany you home. If you have visitors that bring in luggage and stay overnight with you, they can also transport bedbugs to your home.  Bedbugs have become resistant to many common pesticides, so it may cost over a thousand dollars to eliminate these unwelcome visitors from your home.  An ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of cure in the case of bedbugs.

by: Philip D. Shenefelt, M.D. Associate Professor of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of South Florida

Comments off

Watch out for lime juice or you could get ‘Mexican beer dermatitis’

Comments off

Simple treatments help boy’s severe eczema

Comments off


Sunscreens prevent skin cancer. Some epidemiologic data suggest low levels of vitamin D may increase susceptibility to internal cancer as well as infection, hypertension and autoimmune disorders. Since the sun stimulates production of vitamin D precursors in the skin while sunscreens reduce production it is speculated some of us could be vitamin D deficient and thus at risk for these disorders. Are you now thinking of tossing out your sunscreens and going to the beach or purchasing a package of tanning parlor visits? Hold on! This confusion is a classic example of a “little knowledge is a dangerous thing”.

We have known for many years that sunscreens prevent sunburn and skin cancer by blocking the UVB rays that vary in intensity throughout the year. We now know that longer, more deeply penetrating UVA rays which account for more the 90% of UV light and stay relatively constant throughout the year also play a role in skin cancer as well as skin wrinkling. This is why dermatologists now recommend the newer generation of “broad spectrum” sunscreens that block both groups of rays. SPF rates the amount of UVB protection and the FDA will soon be releasing a new 4-star UVA rating system to quantity the amount of UVA protection. For day to day use (unless you work out of doors or plan recreational sun exposure) a SPF 15 is more than sufficient for most of us. Unfortunately, some commit “sunscreen abuse”, meaning they now go out much longer than before with the false expectation they are getting no sun damage. They may rationalize that by increasing to a SPF 30 they have doubled their protection. Not so fast! A SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93% of UVB rays, while a SPF 30 blocks 97%–not much additional protection for the increased cost and irritancy!

A few years ago, some studies disclosed a relationship between internal cancer (esp. colorectal cancer) and vitamin D deficiency. In other words, vitamin D perhaps served a “protective” role and since suncreens and/or strict sun avoidance reduced vitamin D production it was speculated by some and politicized by others as a rational to abandon photoprotection altogether. Making matters worse, some suggested that the vast majority of Americans were vitamin D deficient, while others stated the daily recommendation for vitamin D was too low. Some are now promoting increased sunbathing and utilization of tanning salons, despite the mounting evidence that UVA (the light rays emitted by tanning salons) causes skin cancer, in particular, melanoma and premature aging.

Many subsequent studies assessing the role of vitamin D in “protecting” against internal cancer have conflicting results and it will take many years with long-term prospective studies to know for sure. As well, there is controversy regarding the extent, if any, of significant vitamin D deficiency in Americans. Nonetheless, you can obtain vitamin D from diet (e.g. salmon, fortified milk and orange juice) without subjecting yourself to the risk of sun exposure. The National Institutes of Health claims it doesn’t take much sunlight to make adequate vitamin D-likely as little as 30 minutes twice a week without sunscreen!. Alternatively, simply taking supplemental vitamin D (1,000 IU) if you have had skin cancer, are at risk for skin cancer, or simply want to avoid the unsightly wrinkling and discoloration caused by habitual sun exposure is a much safer way to assure adequate levels. My closing recommendation is moderation and see your dermatologist annually!

Article by: Neil Alan Fenske, MD. Professor and Chairman of the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of South Florida

Comments off

‘USF Health Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery’

Comments off

The Woman Whose Legs Turned Black

Mystery Diagnosis Video

When Diane’s legs turn black, doctors think they’ll have to amputate! Premiering Monday, March 8. Diane’s amazing story will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions as she endures misdiagnoses and dismissals before finding an answer!


PR Log (Press Release) – Feb 24, 2010 – Discovery Health’s popular show MYSTERY DIAGNOSIS will spotlight Eagle, Colorado resident Dr. Diane Dike this March. As part of the hit series’ eighth season, will share her riveting story with audiences across the nation. Diane’s show, premiering on Monday, March 8, at 10 PM ET/PT, will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions as she endures misdiagnoses and dismissals before ever finding an answer!

In the fall of 1990, Diane felt that her life had never been better—she was married to her high school sweetheart and working in her dream job as a teacher and professor.  One day, Diane, noticed two red bumps on her right foot, coupled with a strange sensation.  After initially dismissing the bumps as a spider bite, Diane awakened the next morning to excruciating pain with her foot completely red and swollen twice its normal size. Diane crawls for help and rushes to the emergency room, where she is told that her puzzling symptoms are the result of a simple bruise from unknowingly hitting her foot.  The doctor directs her to stay off of her foot , ice and to take anti-inflammatory pills, which helps at first—but a few days later, Diane finds her legs covered in red spots. As visits to her family doctor and multiple specialists yield no answers,, Diane’s symptoms persist–and then, six months after her initial symptoms began, her legs turn completely black. Terrified, Diane goes back to the emergency room—but after five days in the hospital, the symptoms fade and, still with no answers, she is discharged. Diane continues to suffer and, her flare ups only get worse and more frequent.  In a last ditch attempt to find a diagnosis, Diane’s doctor sends her to the University of South Florida to seek help, where she is finally diagnosed with Cryoglobulinemia, a blood disorder which causes the blood to turn into a jelly-like substance when her temperature drops below 98.6 degrees. Because there is presently no cure for this disease, Diane must regularly take medicine, keep her extremities warm and avoid stress on her body. Diane didn’t handle the illness and lost everything. After a difficult divorce, becoming homeless, suicidal and ending up in a psych. ward. Today, Diane’s an award winning Author, Speaker, Singer, Counselor, Rare Blood Disease Survivor. She’s  remarried and created an outreach organization called Second Chance with Saving Grace. After rescuing an abandoned, broken Italian Greyhound Diane trained her to be her service dog and now they go where no woman and dog have gone before. She’s learned to live with her disease while finding ways to help others.

Discovery Health’s award-winning MYSTERY DIAGNOSIS chronicles the experiences of patients who suffer from conditions outside of the medical mainstream and goes into over 73 million homes.  Each episode features patients who are initially misdiagnosed or undiagnosed altogether due to the uncommon nature of their symptoms and general lack of awareness regarding their conditions. This popular series—now in its eighth season on Discovery Health—profiles the strength and courage of heroic patients like Dr. Diane Dike and determined medical practitioners as they struggle to make sense of baffling conditions.

*Review DVD screeners and interviews available upon request. Check your local listing for air time. “The Woman Whose Legs Turned Black.”  When Diane’s legs turn black, doctors think they’ll have to amputate watch, Monday, March 8, 2010.

Comments off

Contact Allergy Link

Comments off

« Previous entries