Boogie Wipes: To Wipe out Kiddo Cold and Flu Germs

Knowing that I am both a nurse and a mom, the folks over at Boogie Wipes® sent me some samples to use with my little one, which is awesome because I actually already used Boogie Wipes for her, and now I was just able to stock her diaper bag with all of their goodies we could take them on the road, but I also get to share how they can help keep your child healthy also.

Boogie WipesWinter is always a time when we are indoors more because it’s cold (especially for those of us who live on the East Coast) breathing in re-circulated air, which put us at a higher risk for contracting the common cold and flu viruses…and spreading them to others. And just like for adults, there are some pretty easy and key tips for trying to keep our babies as germ free as possible too. We had a cold ravage our house recently, but miraculously, the baby didn’t get more than a few sniffles, and I have to thank breast milk and Boogie Wipes for that! I know that the power of antibodies in breast milk rather speaks for itself, but why Boogie Wipes? Boogie Wipes are not only wipes for stuffy and crusty little noses, that helps to gently soften and dissolve the boogies away with a gentle normal saline infusion and fresh scent, but there is also Boogie Mist, a gentle saline mist that can be spritzed up the nose to help break up and soften mucous crusts in the nose, and also dissolve it. Boogie Mist can help to keep nasal passages moist and yet clear of mucous (boogies) to prevent post nasal drip, which is one of the leading causes dry coughs in the winter. And for my little girl, it gave me piece of mind that her nasal airways were free and clear so she could suck on her pacifier to soothe herself to sleep, feed without breathing issues, and she would be able to breathe freely and sleep all night, so she could fight off any bugs. The fresh scent of the Boogie Wipes (there is also a grape scent) made it more enjoyable for my baby, who actually liked getting the little spritz up her nose, and she loves the wipes as well, and knows them by scent…I get a big smile when the Boogie Wipes come out, as opposed to a head turned to the side!

Even if you don’t have any illnesses spreading through your home, the use of Boogie Wipes and Boogie Mist can help to prevent colds and illnesses and keep your child healthy. Boogies in the nose, are one of the bodies first line of defense in preventing viruses into the body, and by wiping them off and dissolving them away, we are assisting our children in gently removing the risk of a virus right at the source before it has a chance to infect. Also, if a stuffy nose is keeping your small child from breathing properly at night, they will not sleep well, and that is a benefit to no one (and I am sure a crabby baby is the last thing anyone wants, if you can prevent it!) so Boogie Mist can help to open up those nasal passages and allow for improved breathing. Plus, normal saline is so gentle on the skin, that it has no negative side effects, it is one of the most gentle substances you can put in or in your body.

Also, one of the hardest (near impossible) way to prevent colds is keeping your kids hands away from their mouths and keeping them clean (and I am saying that as the mother of a 6 month-old who is teething and shoving everything she sees in her mouth). It is inevitable that kids will be kids and they explore with their hands by touching things, and that stuff always seems to make it to their face to rub something (an eye, nose, mouth). One great way for a quick clean, especially if you don’t want to put an alcohol based cleaner on your childs hands, is to use a Boogie Wipe, as it is infused with normal saline, which won’t damage the skin, and is safe for them to then put into their mouths: it’s a win/win!

Between the safeness, effectiveness, and the great scents that my baby loves, I think that every mom should stock up on Boogie Wipes and Boogie Mist to try to ward off those nasty winter bugs!

Yours in Good Health,


You Don’t Believe in Vaccinations?

Measles outbreaks have been on the rise, after the virus was nearly eradicated in the United States, in 2000. Mostly these infections are on the rise because of people choosing not to give vaccinations to their children, for whatever reason. Measles is a very serious virus, and it is most dangerous to children under the age of 5, and as more and more children have been vaccinated worldwide, the rate of death from measles dropped off, but it is now becoming more of a threat. Regardless of the reason/s that you don’t think that you should get vaccinations, you cannot deny that denying vaccinations not only puts your child at risk, but others as well, and measles outbreaks are becoming more and more frequent.

What are Measles?

The measles are a virus, also known as rubeola, that usually has four stages, over a course of two to three weeks, and with varying symptoms from first exposure (which occur over 7 to 14 days) such as: fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, pink eye (inflamed eyes), tiny white spots with bluish centers in the corners of the inside of the cheeks (AKA Koplik spots), and a large blotchy skin rash.

The three stages:

1. Incubation Period: from 7 to 14 days after first exposure, you may have no symptoms at all, as you have been exposed and the virus is just starting to take shape.

2. Early Symptomatic Phase: You start to develop some generalized symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose. You might think that you have a regular cold at this point, unless you happen to notice Koplik spots.

3. Acute infection: after 3 days of the generalized symptoms, a red bumpy and blotchy rash will start on the face and around the ears to the hairline, which will spread down to the neck, chest abdomen, then to arms and legs.  At the same time as the rash is spreading, an intense fever to 104F-105F will also occur. This phase can last for about a week.

4. Infectious State: you may not feel sick or that you have the measles 4 days before you see a rash, but that is when you are able to spread the virus to others, and you remain infectious to others for up to 4 to 7 days AFTER the rash has completely gone away. It is easily spread from person to person through coughing, touching mucus in any form (sneeze droplets, etc.), and from inhaling the exhalation from an infected person. The virus can stay alive on a surface for several hours and can infect a person through rubbing eyes, nose and/or mouth.

Why is it so serious?

There are some complications that can occur, which can lead to long-term health issues or lead to death: bacterial ear infections, swelling of the brain (encephalitis), bronchitis, pneumonia, and can lead to serious complications in pregnant women. Some of these can be very hard to treat due to the concurrent infection, but encephalitis can be very serious leading to death if the brain swelling is uncontrolled, and the complications with pregnancy can be very severe for the fetus.

The up-side:

If you have not been vaccinated, and find out that you have been exposed, within 3 days of exposure, you can receive the measles vaccine, and if you do get the symptoms of the virus, they are very mild and there is less of a risk of the other complications. Usually when these outbreaks occur, the sources are quickly located and the news and other sources are very good about getting the word out about possible exposures, so if you think you have been exposed, get vaccinated.

You don’t have to get vaccinated, but if you do end up getting infected, the risk of transferring the virus to others is very high, and the exposure to small children and those who may be immune suppressed due to cancer, medical treatments, or older age, can be deadly. As a favor to yourself, and to those around you, no matter what your beliefs are, think about getting the vaccine, and vaccinating your children, it could be the difference between life or death.

Yours in Good Health



Laser Hair Removal: Does it work?

I have been an avid waxer for years, and I truly did not believe in laser hair removal, as I knew people years ago who tried it, and it didn’t work for them at all, so I thought for quite a hefty price tag, if it didn’t work, I might else well stick with waxing! I have one friend that swears by laser hair removal, and I found a Living Social deal, and decided to go for it. I am halfway through treatments and it is one of the BEST decisions I have ever made in my life. That being said, there are a few things that you should know before going in for treatment.

What do I need to know?

The laser emits a wavelength of light that is absorbed into your hair shaft and down into the follicle (the base/root of the hair) and after repeated treatments (usually around 6) the hair follicle becomes so weak it can no longer grow hair or it just dies completely, and no longer makes hair.

Because the laser is attracted to darker hair, you will have better results if you have light skin and dark hair (meaning even if you have lighter skin tones but tan in the summer, you may want to skip the summer months when you are tan if you want optimal results.)

You will need to go for usually 6 treatments, that allows you to get each follicle in the phase of hair growth when the hair is actively growing (there are three stages of hair growth, and only one is active).


You should stop waxing or any other methods of hair removal (other than shaving) for around 6 weeks before you get your first treatment, and you should only shave between treatments, this allows for all of the hair follicles to grow, so that you have the best chance of treating each follicle with growth.

Between treatments, you really should exfoliate at least three times week, with a loofah and  an exfoliation scrub, to allow for the weaker hairs to break through the skin and prevent ingrown hairs. Plus, exfoliation helps to remove the hairs that are dead at the shaft.

No plucking between treatments! You want the laser to kill off the hairs, not you and your tweezers.

If you are getting laser hair treatment in a sensitive area (i.e. face, bikini, brazilian, etc),  you may want to get a cream with lidocaine in it to numb the skin before your treatment (apply 30 minutes before your first treatment.) But elsewhere, it doesn’t really hurt at all…just feels sometimes like a small snap with a thin rubber band (at the worst.)

Ask around before starting treatments at one place: just like anything else, the price may be indicative of the level of competence of the people administering the treatment and also  how good the laser is. There are newer lasers and older technology lasers that may not be as good. The salons/spas that offer these treatments are not FDA regulated, so ask how long they have been doing these treatments, their level of comfort, and expected results with their laser. I had my underarms done at one place, which I thought was good, and tried a different laser treatment center for my legs, and there is NO comparison.  My legs, obviously, cost more, but the laser was so much better and the technician is an MD that has been doing these treatments for years, so I had amazing results without any ingrown hairs, and needed less treatments!

Ask around, find out where has a good reputation, and gets good reviews from patients. If you feel uncomfortable, or they are trying to push you into extra treatments that you don’t need, then leave.  There are tons of medical spas/salons that you can go to that will offer you excellent Laser Hair Removal treatments.  I must say, for all of you in the Greater Boston Area, Landa Comsetic & Spa in Framingham is the BEST in the area, with great pricing and the staff all are very well-trained and they have the newest in laser technology (it is where I went for my legs and now basically every other place on my body!!)

It is an amazing experience to have complete hair removal and never have to think about shaving, waxing, plucking, etc again! If you’re thinking about doing it, I highly suggest it, but definitely do your homework on the place before you start treatments, and ensure that it will work for your hair color/skin tone!

Yours in Good Health


Some simple ways to treat calluses

Calluses are pretty commonplace for any avid athlete or really anyone on the go, and they are not a huge health issue, but they can be quite unsightly and they can be uncomfortable sometimes. The good news is that there are ways to prevent them AND means to treat them at home, if you have them!

What are calluses?

They are the bodies defense against constant (or frequent) pressure and friction. The body tends to compact layers of skin cells on areas where there tends to be a lot of pressure/friction so that when it occurs, it is not painful or constantly causing damage (i.e. you will eventually stop getting blisters from a certain pair of shoes because you have either “broken in” your shoes OR your feet!) When they develop, they really are not painful, but they can occur after blisters have formed (which is uncomfortable) and healed. They can be skin toned, grayish/white, or darker in color and either flattened to your skin, just rougher patch of skin, or raised.  Some people are more prone to calluses due to a lack of cushioning between bones and skin tissue (especially in the feet). Regular calluses, are nothing to be worried about, but some people can get very a very rare type of cancer that mimics calluses, amelanotic melanoma, so if you have a sudden callus growth that seems irregular and has cropped up suddenly, it is best you get it checked out by your HCP. Also, if you get pain, swelling, a lot of heat/redness, or any draining (like pus) from the area,  along with a fever, especially if you have Diabetes.

CallusHow can I prevent them?

The best way to prevent calluses is wear shoes that fit, with socks with cushioning. As well, if you tend to get calluses on your hands from working with your hands, wearing properly cushioned and fitting work gloves can hep to prevent that friction and rubbing and prevent the formation of calluses. Also if you have any sort of foot abnormality (like flat feet, any toe amputations, bone protrusions, bunions, etc.) to begin with, you should be under the care of a podiatrist to help and put measures in place to prevent calluses or skin breakdown, like using orthotics or moleskin. Do not try to remove entire calluses by yourself, but you can try some at home treatments, to diminish them.

How can I treat them at home?

You can get medicated pads (usually medicated with salicylic acid that helps to dissolve the thickened skin) at your local pharmacy, and place around the callus to help and decrease pressure on the area.

Change your shoes or gloves that are causing the calluses, find something that fits better

Walk barefoot at home, so your feet can evenly distribute pressure and weight without pressure from shoes.  And leave your hands out of gloves as much as possible.

Soak the areas with warm water and Epsom Salts (or essential oils, or with tea bags) to soften the area, and then you can scrape the area with a pumice stone to work down the callus.  Complete removal can be painful, and you really shouldn’t scrape it off with a razor blade, as it increases the risk of infection and you run the risk of cutting too low.

Always moisturize the areas after soaking with emollient rich moisturizer such as coca butter, shea butter, or hemp seed oil.

If at home treatments are not working and they are causing you discomfort or you are not sure if it may be more than a callus, talk to your HCP and see if you may, in fact, have some other sort of issue and need further treatments. But try to make sure that shoes and gloves are well-fitting, along with maintaining proper hygiene and always use moisturizer!

Yours in Good Health



Home Treatments: Wart removal

Ah, the dreaded and unsightly wart. They can happen to anyone, at any time. I know that if you go to see an HCP, the will suggest getting it burned off in the office, but there are other options and some things that you can try at home to save yourself the co-pay and the time of getting to the office!

Why do we get warts?

All warts (which are flesh-colored, cauliflower like growths on the hands and feet) are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) when they occur in your genital region, it’s a different ballgame because they can be sexually transmitted, but warts that occur elsewhere on your body are usually not sexually transmitted, but you can get them through a cut, scrape or opening of the skin. For example, people who bite their cuticles (the skin around the nailed) a lot tend to get warts, mostly because we touch a lot of things with our hands daily, and with openings in the skin, you have the perfect source for infection. Usually, with a normally working immune system, your body will kill off the wart within a six-month timeframe (roughly) anyway, but for young children, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems due to chronic disease or medications that cause immunosuppression.


Neat.  How do I get rid of these warts faster?

If you are interested in the warts leaving sooner than your body might get rid of them, then here are some tricks that you can try at home:

*Please be certain that what you think is a wart, IS actually a wart, and if you are not sure, seek expert consultation.

Duct Tape: (This is based on a study in 2002 published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine which found a high rate of non-return of warts and fast removal) Place a piece of duct tape over the wart and leave it for 6 days, if it falls off then replace it. At the 6 day mark, soak the wart until it is soft and file with an emery board, then replace the duct tape. Repeat until the wart is gone.

Salicylic Acid: (sold commercially as Compound W or Dr. Scholl’s clear away and studies have found it to be just as effective as burning them off) You will need to soak the wart to soften the tissue to allow the medication to penetrate it; apply before bed at night and wash off in the morning, then reapply for the daytime. Once or twice a week, file the area with a pumice stone (or a nail file), but don’t use it on any other area as the active HPV cells could possibly infect another area. Repeat this process for however long it takes for the wart to disappear (can take 2-3 months).

Cryotherapy: (can be performed at your HCPs office, but now available for Over-the-Counter use as Dr. Scholl’s Freeze away) You combine two different chemicals onto an applicator, hold the applicator to the wart for around 20 seconds, then remove. The color of the wart will change, burn a bit, and the wart should fall off in 10 to 14 days.  If  it does not, then you can repeat the treatment.

**There are other methods such as using a banana peel or rubbing a bean against the wart to remove them, but there is no scientific proof that these methods work.

As I said earlier, you want to make sure that you are actually treating a wart, and use whatever method works for you. Obviously the duct tape method takes longer, but it is also a very cheap method to treat/remove warts. And the priciest and fastest method is the cryotherapy. Use whatever works for you, and if nothing you try is working, then you may have to go see your HCP for a more intense treatment.

Yours in Good Health


Do you have Fordyce Spots?

There are spots that occur on different places of the body, and cause a lot of stress when they are found under your belt.  I get a LOT of questions and pics sent to me with people very concerned that they have various Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), depending on what they have recently performed an internet search on. Some should cause some serious concern and some are benign.  Fordyce spots can occur inside your lips on your oral mucosa, or on the shaft of your penis, or on your labia.  I totally understand the freak out that it might be genital warts, or something else, so you should go get tested and assessed, but this is a little information to ease your worry before you get your results!

What are Fordyce Spots?

They are small, painless bumps that are 1cm to 3 cm in size and they can either be skin toned, white, or a little pink/red in color.  As I stated before, they are commonly found in on the inside of the lips, on the shaft of the penis or scrotum, and on the labia, and they are really a common occurrence, but occur more with age. Usually you only notice them when you see or feel them, but at times they can be a little itchy. They occur because the sebaceous glands, the oil glands associated with hair follicles normally that secrete sweat and oils, instead of being inside of the epidermal layer (deeper in the skin) are more superficial, and close to the outer layer of skin, making them very visible. These glands fill with oil, and there is no hair shaft for them to leave the skin, so they are basically little oil filled cysts. That’s it. They are not known to lead to a disease or are not a sign of cancer or any other virus/disease, but they just tend to be a visual disturbance for some people…and their partners.

fordyce 2fordyce 1

What can I do if I have them?

If you go to your Healthcare Provider (HCP), and get diagnosed with Fordyce Spots, they will give you some options for treatment, if it really is bugging you from a cosmetic standpoint, because they are not detrimental to your health in any way. And, they usually go away without treatment on their own. But healthy diets including Vitamin A, B, D, E, and K can usually help them from forming, and go away faster when you have them, so basically, if you get Fordyce spots, take a multivitamin daily and it can help to prevent them.  Good hygiene including exfoliation and moisturizer can help to decrease them from forming (so that your body doesn’t produce excess oil; this works on both the lips and the genitals), and there are some reports that people with either eat more garlic or take garlic supplements have a lower rate of the spots.  Your HCP may prescribe Trentinoin cream, which is a cream that can basically makes the cells replenish faster, so you ave never skin cells forming, which can prevent the skin from getting clogged up with oils. But, again, the only treatment you may need is time.

All of this being said, you do need to get checked out by your HCP if you do have any new skin issues, especially in your genitals, and you are sexually active, you really need to make sure that it is something benign and not Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in the form of genital warts, herpes, or any other Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). Get yourself checked out to be on the safe side, but also realize that every bump isn’t contagious or infectious!

Yours in Good Health


You might want to pass on the Chapstick….

It’s been one cold winter, no matter where you live. And when it’s cold, we tend to ramp up the heat, which sucks the moisture from our bodies.  Plus, it’s so cold, we tend to not to want to drink the same amounts of water that we do in the summer, or when it’s warmer out, so our lips tend to get drier than normal, as unlike the rest of your skin, your lips don’t produce oils that can keep them from drying out.  I know tons of people who automatically reach for their favorite lip balm, constantly, and still have dry lips….well there’s a reason for that!

Why do most lip balms dry out your lips?

The skin of your lips is very thin and sheds every 28 days, they don’t produce any oils, and they aren’t protected from UV exposure on their own due to lack of melanin, so they do tend to dry out really easily. This is one case where you really need to read ingredients because if they have menthol, camphor, phenol, or any form of alcohol (things that have alcohol in them end with the letters “-ol”), that means that they will give you that tingle, but the tingle is usually the alcohol drying on the top layer of the skin on your lips.  So, if feels like it is adding a layer of moisture, and that minty/alcohol tingle takes any moisture you just added away.  That’s truly a bummer because so many lip balms, chapsticks, etc. that you see in the local pharmacy are filled with drying agents. You almost become addicted, because you feel like you have dry lips, apply your favorite lip balm, and it dries them out more, leading to the need for more lip balm…and the cycle continues.

Even Hilda likes to use coco butter on her lips!

Even Hilda likes to use coco butter on her lips!

What does actually moisturize my lips?

Some people really do like that tingly feeling, so it can be hard to move to a product that doesn’t allow for that tingly sensation, but to truly get moist lips, you have to ditch that tingle, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But what you can use is petroleum jelly or Vaseline work great and are very cheap.  You can also use either cocoa butter or Shea butter sticks, which are a bit pricier, but more portable than Vaseline tubs.  And, if you don’t like those options, then search other lip balms that do not contain alcohols, but are oil/lipid based as that helps to add moisture to your lips…and keep them moisturized!

What else can I do?

– Keep your mouth covered by a scarf in really cold weather

– Drink your 8 glasses of water a day

– Wear an SPF when going outdoors to prevent UV damage

– Use a humidifier at home if you use heat, to help keep your lips full of moisture

– Don’t pick or pull at dry skin from your lips- it can make the situation worse.

– If your lips are very chapped all the time, you may want to see a Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) to see if maybe you have a vitamin deficiency, and not necessarily a dryness issue!

So ditch your products with the tingle, and get some real moisture for your lips. You’ll save money in the long run, and have better looking moist lips!

Yours in Good Health


Have an annoying bump in your mouth? It may be a mucocele!

I bet many of you have had a mucocele and maybe didn’t know what it was, and by the time you think to figure out what it is, it’s gone! I tend to be a teeth grinder when I am stressed, much to the chagrin of my dentist, but every now and again, I will bite my inner lip, so I tend to be really sensitive to any sorts of bumps and lumps in my mouth because I usually just assumed I have done some damage during my midnight teeth mashing! Instead of the trauma caused by teeth grinding, you can get some small bumps on the tissues in your mouth that are little fluid filled bumps that may be a little painful, but more annoying than anything else, and that, my friend, is a mucocele!

What exactly is a mucocele?

Mucoceles are painless thin little cysts (fluid filled sacs which has clear fluid once popped but can look almost bluish inside your mouth) usually on the inside of the lips and/or cheeks, and are quite common. The can also occur on the roof of the mouth, the tongue, or on your gums. They can vary in size, and the larger they are, the more annoying they can be, but they usually do not cause any pain, but they can just be irritating depending where they are (especially if on the tongue).  They are thought to occur due to sucking the tissue from your lips/cheeks between the spaces of your teeth (it’s a working theory), so the size of the mucocele would depend on the size of the space between your teeth. Although, they are especially common around an sort of oral piercing sites, so I am not sure how that works with the teeth sucking theory!



How are they diagnosed and treated?

The good news is that Healthcare Practitioners (HCPs) can just visualize it to diagnose it, and once we diagnose it, I am sure you will recognize it in the future (to save yourself a co-pay and trip to the HCPs office!) That being said, sometimes they become large and will keep coming back, which would require them to be removed by an oral surgeon or a dentist (depending on size, placement, and their level of comfort). Often, smaller mucoceles will just rupture on their own, spontaneously, and then not come back. If they are big and causing a lot of irritation, an HCP may have to rupture it for you using a sterile needle (which sounds painful, but it’s not.) I do not suggest rupturing them with any sort of sharp object on your own, as you risk an infection….and oral infections are neither fun, nor easy to treat!

How can I prevent them?

There’s nothing you can do other than remove oral piercings that you may have that there are commonly mucoceles around, and trying not to suck on your teeth.  I am not sure if people really intend to suck on their teeth, I don’t think it’s a conscious thing….but if you do, try to stop!

The important things to know is that they are common, and if they become uncomfortable go to see your HCP to get them removed.  They are in no way detrimental to your health, but to make sure that if they do need to be ruptured or removed it is done under the care of an HCP to make sure it is as clean as possible and prevent the risk of infection. So, next time you might feel a little annoying bump in your mouth, you have a little more insight as to what it is!!

Yours in Good Health



What is the most contagious STD?

I was quite shocked that crabs (AKA pubic lice) is as prevalent as it is. But in the past week I have been asked about it three different times from people all over the US, which made me think that this topic needed a little discussion related to what crabs are, how you get them, and how to treat them.  I wasn’t sure how prevalent they are, but they are clearly around, and infections are on the rise.

What are crabs?

Crabs are also known as pubic lice (Pthrius pubis) and they are parasitic insects that feast off the blood of humans and live in coarse hair (i.e. pubic hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, chest hair, armpits, mustaches, & beards) causing itching, discomfort, and rashes. So you can understand how they can not only be really irritating, awkward, and kind of gross to think about, right?  They pass from person to person usually through sexual intercourse (or sexual acts) but they can also jump from person to person through hugging or other close contact (sharing towels, clothes, bedding, etc.) Despite the fact that crabs can’t live very long away from the warmth of a human body, they are still the most contagious STD, and if an infected person has sex with a non-infected person, the risk of getting crabs is about 90% for that previously non-infected person.  That is pretty shocking, and horrifying…a 90% chance?!?  Plus the lice live from about 1 to 3 months, and in that “lifetime” the average female lice has about 300 eggs, which means they breed quickly and frequently! These parasites spread quickly.

What are the signs and symptoms of infection?

Usually the only symptom is itching….extreme itching.  Sometimes you can visualize the bite marks on your skin, they are bluish in color, due to the bruising from them sucking your blood to the surface, but it is very hard to see. Sometimes there are little red bumps from the bites, and then scratching them. Most often the itching and discomfort brings people in to their HCP.

How do I treat it?

First, when you find out that you are infected, let the people you live with and sexual partners know about the crabs, and clean all sheets, clothing, towels, etc in water that is at least 130F and dry it thoroughly in a dryer to kill off the lice living in the sheets.  If some of these items cannot be washed, then have them dry cleaned.  You can also buy an over the counter (OTC) treatment from your local pharmacy, like Permethrin 1% creme, that you apply to the affected areas (not near eyes), leave on for 10 minutes, then wash out and with a fine toothed comb, comb through the hair to remove all eggs and dead lice.  Usually this one time treatment works, but you MUST see an HCP to get treatment if the OTC doesn’t work, if you are pregnant, children under 2 years old, or teens under 18.  There are some treatments that are prescription only, so you need to see your HCP and get diagnosed. One other option, after you treat the area, is to shave off all affected areas (this is a little radical and not usually suggested by most HCPs) but if there is no hair to cling onto, there will be no pubic lice….just make sure to kill off the current infestation you have. Makes sense right?

Can I prevent it?

Well, you can ask partners if they have crabs, which I would hope they would abstain from sexual contact if they knew they had crabs, but its worth an ask.  Unfortunately, condoms do not prevent the spread of crabs, which is a total bummer.  If you have previously been infected (or are infected currently), make sure to wash or dry clean everything (as stated above, use the OTC treatment, and if symptoms are not cleared up, go see your HCP for further treatment, and bleach your bathroom/anything you use on your hair/body hair for grooming.

So unfortunately, it is highly contagious and can be an awkward treatment, but limiting your sexual partners, and asking about STD’s is a start at prevention.  Also, use your intuition: if you see someone scratching their crotch or just all over when you’re out with them, ask them if they have some sort of skin issue or lice.  If they say they are just super itchy and they don’t know why?  Steer clear!!

Yours in Good Health


It’s that time for itchy, dry skin: it may be more than just dry skin!

I was recently asked by a reader about dry, itchy, scaly skin around and in the ears. This is  a pretty common occurrence and can happen around the change of seasons, or when we start to go into these colder months, and it is usually at its worst during the winter.  So what is this affliction?  Seborrheic dermatitis. And it is pretty simple to clear up, and once you know the signs, you can prevent it from happening in the future!

What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

It is a common skin disorder causing red, itchy, scaly, dry skin, which can cause dandruff (flaking of the skin). It’s really uncomfortable, and doesn’t look amazing, but it doesn’t have any long-term effects or cause any other health issues. It usually occurs on your scalp but it can be found anywhere on the body there are a high number of sebaceous (oil) glands (i.e. between eyebrows, chin, nose,ears, groin area, & chest.) Also, it is NOT contagious, so rest assured that you cannot “give” this skin issue to anyone else!

What are the symptoms?

Well, it usually occurs in areas of high oil glands (head, chest, ears, eyebrows, chin, nose, groin, scrotum, or armpits), and has a red, dry, scaly appearance.  But it can vary on people, so some of the symptoms you might see are:

– Inflammation with redness of the skin

– Dandruff (flakes of skin) on your head, in eyebrows, beards/mustaches, etc.

– Red greasy patches of skin (scaly) that are covered in white flakes or yellow scales

– The areas can be sore, itchy, or feel raw (or a mixture if you scratch because it’s itchy it can become raw then sore)

– Crusts can appear on the scalp too

The most important thing to remember is that it can be a chronic condition that comes and goes, periods of inflammation, which usually occur with the change of seasons, and are worse in the cold weather months.

What causes it and how can I treat it?

It is sometimes caused by a (yeast) fungus that is naturally occurring in our sweat/oils called Malassezia, so it is basically a yeast infection of the skin, but with our own normal bacteria. So Over-The-Counter (OTC) treatments such as lotions/creams with an antifungal such as, ketoconazole (the same antifungal treatment for athlete’s foot or ringworm- like Lotrimin) will help to kill off the fungus and make the symptoms go away. It tends to occur more frequently in winter months for some reason, people with Parkinson’s disease tend to have a higher frequency of seborrheic dermatitis (it is not really understood why), and people with HIV/AIDS tend to get outbreaks more frequently (possibly due to a decreased immune response) and they have much more severe cases. Times of high stress can cause seborrheic dermatitis to occur as well, even if you have never had a problem with it before. Severe cases may need to be treated with Lamisil, an oral antifungal that is very strong and needs to be taken usually for a couple of months,and you need to abstain from alcohol. If it is merely itching and inflammation, you can use a hydrocortisone cream on top of the rash. Also, using medicated anti-dandruff shampoos that contain zinc pyrithione (in head and shoulders) or coal-tar (in Neutrogena T/Gel) on the affected areas can help.  My suggestion is to use the medicated shampoos on the areas, and merely dry yourself after bathing, pat dry but don’t vigorously rub at your skin with the towel, and apply the topical creams (if needed).  Start low and go slow is a good motto, try one treatment at a time, then add the others in slowly if you aren’t seeing results. Unfortunately, the reason that it occurs is not well-known, so if you get it, bummer, but at least you know how to treat it!

How is it diagnosed?

Your HCP will ask you about symptoms, where and when it occurs, if you have changed detergents/soaps/products recently to rule out that it is an allergic reaction to a new product.  They will also perform an assessment on your scalp, and areas affected by the rash, to diagnose it.  If they are not certain, based on physical assessment, of the diagnosis, they may do a biopsy, and when I say biopsy, I really mean a skin cell scraping; they just need to look at a few cells under the microscope to ensure that you do not have psoriasis or eczema instead (sometimes the rashes can mimic one another).

If you are diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis, most likely you will be encouraged to try OTC treatments first, but there are prescription shampoos and creams that you may need to use, so tell your HCP if you have tried various OTC treatments and they just haven’t helped.  Also, remember to avoid harsh soaps/detergents, you may want to switch to sensitive skin/hypoallergenic products to prevent skin irritation.  If you have a mustache/beard/facial hair, shave it off; the more hair, the more oils that will be caught on your skin, and with hair there, it is tough to get the medication to have direct contact with the skin.  Also try to wear breathable fabrics, if you get the issue in your armpits, groin, chest; cotton allows for more air flow, and hopefully less sweating!  The best thing you can do is treat it when it comes, work with your HCP to find a medication regimen that works for you, and learn the warning signs that your skin gets before the rash erupts so you can start to preemptively treat it, and hopefully prevent the rash from getting into full swing!  And who knows, maybe we will start to learn why this rash occurs, until then, just learn your skins signals!!

Yours in Good Health