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Entries in Rashes (4)

Friday
Dec142012

Mystery Rash Leads to Cure of Deadly Cancer

Edward Willliams, shown here with his grandson Jimmy. (Courtesy of Edward Williams)(NEW YORK) -- Edward Williams first noticed a rash on his groin and legs after playing golf one day in the rain.  He thought he might have been exposed to poison ivy or had an allergic reaction to chemicals on the wet grass.  But he never suspected it was a sign of a rare pancreatic cancer.

The blistering sores spread to his arms, legs and even his eyes.  The Waterport, N.Y., software developer went from doctor to doctor, trying every treatment from light therapy to topical ointments to oral steroids, but nothing worked.

"I had to hide it with long sleeves because I'm a business person," said Williams, who is now 54.  "It was all over my face.  I could literally shave only every other day, because it was so painful over the top of the blisters."

Williams lived with the debilitating rash for six years until a suspicious dermatologist from University of Rochester Medical Center in New York followed a hunch and diagnosed necrotic migratory erythema (NME).

Today, two years after surgery to remove the tumor on his pancreas, Williams is cancer-free.

"I feel like a new person," he told ABC News.  "I just thought I had a rash and was getting older and didn't have quite the energy and stamina.  I truly feel like a new person.  And I am taking no medicine for absolutely anything."

And nearly as important, he is rash-free.  "I am back to my baby skin," he said.  "I feel very fortunate."

Pancreatic cancer is almost always fatal.  But Williams had a glucagonoma, a rare, slow-growing tumor of the pancreas that results in extreme overproduction of the blood-glucose-raising hormone glucagon.

His doctors say that this serious condition can often be overlooked, and Williams' story is an example of how dermatologic conditions can be a "window" to the body, revealing more serious disorders.

"The skin has an amazing ability to tell the story of a person," said Dr. Brian Poligone, 40, an assistant professor at Rochester and an attending physician at its James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, who treated Williams.

"I know if they like the sun, or if they smoke, if they are scarred from war, if they are jaundiced with alcoholism -- or what color they painted their porch last weekend," he said.  "It can give you a glimpse inside sometimes even telling you that they have cancer, before they know it."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

Delta Plane Monkeypox Scare: Passenger Blames Bed Bugs

ABC News(CHICAGO) -- The rash that prompted a two-hour quarantine of a Delta plane in Chicago Thursday may have been the work of bed bugs, not the monkeypox virus health officials feared.

The itchy passenger was Lise Sievers of Red Wing, Minn., a 50-year-old woman returning home from Uganda, where she was working to adopt two children.  Sievers noticed the rash and told her mother, who got worried and called health officials in Indiana.

"It's just a case of bed bugs," Sievers told ABC News affiliate WLS after exiting the plane.  "I think I'm going to empty a jar of bed bugs on my mom's bed tonight."

Other passengers aboard Flight 3163 feared the worst as officers wearing Hazmat suits studied the rash, sending photos to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta.

"They didn't tell us very much at all," one passenger told WLS, describing a scene that could have come from the movie Contagion.  "When they come on in masks and gloves, you think the worst."

Monkeypox is a rare and sometimes fatal disease similar to smallpox that occurs mostly in central and western Africa.  It's contracted through contact with infected animals or their bodily fluids, and can spread among humans through fluids and contaminated clothes or bedding, according to the CDC.

The monkeypox rash consists of raised, fluid-filled bumps, and is usually accompanied by fever, headache and lymph node swelling.  Bed bug bites, on the other hand, cause a swollen and red area that may or may not be itchy, without the other symptoms.

Sievers, who was sitting near the bathroom on the plane, recalled the worried looks from other passengers when it became clear she was the cause of the quarantine.

"You could see them thinking, 'Is it safe to use the bathroom?'" she told WLS.

After studying the rash and searching for other signs of infectious disease, health officials released Sievers and her fellow passengers.

"Medical staff at CDC and the Chicago Department of Public Health reviewed the case and, based on the patient's symptoms and photographs of the rash, it does not appear that the signs and symptoms are consistent with a monkeypox infection," the CDC said in a statement.  "The ill passenger was advised to seek medical care and the rest of the passengers were released from the plane."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun292011

Sting of Summer: Protect Yourself from Bites and Burns

Photos.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If this Fourth of July is anything like the last national holiday, Memorial Day, families and travelers headed to the beach will want to keep their eyes peeled to the sand and the sun, not just the fireworks-brightened sky.

Beachgoers who braved the Florida coastline Memorial Day weekend were greeted with the wrong kind of bang -- hundreds of painful stings.  Because of steady Atlantic winds, the beaches were swamped with reddish-colored jellyfish, known as mauve stingers, resulting in more than 800 reported stings among the beachgoers.

Now that summer has started, the Florida jellyfish debacle is a sharp reminder of the many stings, burns, nips, bites, and rashes that arise when the temperature heats up and people head outdoors.  ABC News spoke with pediatricians, dermatologists, and emergency medicine experts to pull together a guide to preventing, identifying, and treating the various ills that can accompany your summer fun.

Whether you're headed to the beach or just outside to your backyard, read on to protect yourself from enduring the stings of summer.

When Jellyfish Attack

Although there are many different species of jellyfish throughout the coastal United States, the resulting sting is largely the same.  When you come into contact with a jellyfish, either underwater or when they're beached on land, small barbs in the tentacles catch on your skin and cause red welts.

If you think you've been stung by a jellyfish (and given how painful a jellyfish sting is, you usually know it), the best thing to do is rinse the sting in saltwater, not freshwater, says Dr. Lee Winans, head of the emergency room at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce, Florida.

"The little barbs are packets of poison, and if you use freshwater, it will cause them to rupture and make the reaction worse," he says.

Rubbing or patting the area can also cause these packets to rupture, so take a shell or credit card and scrape the barbs off the area while rinsing in the saltwater, says Dr. James Schmidt, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia.

Sun Burn vs. Sun Poisoning

We all know we should be wearing sunscreen, but sunburns still happen.  The question is, when is a sunburn more than just a "use some aloe and get some shade" situation?

When sunburn is severe, causing blisters or covering a large part of the body, it can result in sun poisoning -- an extension of heat stroke that is marked by dehydration, fever, and headache.  Sunburn is a form of inflammation, so when a significant area of skin is inflamed, the body reacts to the inflammation with flu-like symptoms, says Dr. Neil Korman, a dermatologist at U.H. Case Medical Center.

The Bite from the Mystery Bug

Bees and hornet stings are usually not problematic unless you are allergic to their sting or if multiple stings are received at once.  Wheezing or excessive swelling around the face or site of sting should be checked out by a doctor immeidately, especially if it seems the person is having an allergic reaction to the sting, says Winans.

As for spider bites, most are harmless, but a few species of poisonous spiders can cause more serious reactions.  In the southern U.S., brown recluse spiders can result in large, painful bites that, left untreated, can lead to loss of a limb.  Unlike normal spider bites, which get better over the course of a few days, poisonous bites will only get worse and the skin around the bite can start to die, says Winans.

Chigger, mosquito, and fire ant bites, while painful and itchy, are benign.  They usually appear as small itchy bumps, or in the case of ant bites, small pus-filled bumps. "Put topical over-the-counter steroid cream on bites, but try not to itch them, that will only open them up to a possible infection," Winans says.

Lyme Disease: Beware the Bull's Eye

A bite from a tick is usually not felt and will not itch, but if the tick is a carrier for Lyme disease, the resulting infection can be severe.  The easiest way to diagnose Lyme disease is by the red ring rash that often, but not always, accompanies a bite by a tick with Lyme.  The "bull's-eye rash" will develop three to 30 days after a bite and will be accompanied by fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you remove a tick from you and experience these symptoms following (even without the rash), see a doctor to get tested for Lyme disease, doctors say, because if not treated with antibiotics, Lyme can cause neurological, joint and cardiac problems over time, says Dr. Korman of U.H. Case Medical Center.

Rash Reaction

Swimmer's itch consists of many small, itchy, slightly painful red bumps that are usually noticed following a swim in the ocean.  Usually, the rash is just another form of a jellyfish sting and results when microscopic jellyfish larva get caught in the fabric of one's swimsuit, says Schmidt.  Swimmer's itch can also be caused by other parasites present in fresh or saltwater.  The rash is benign and can be treated with topical hydrocortisone cream but will otherwise go away on its own, doctors say.

Heat rash is not from contact with any plant or animal but merely the product of skin irritation in damp or sandy conditions, such as wearing a wet bathing suit over an extended period of time.  The red, raised, itchy bumps are sometimes referred to as "prickly heat" and occur when the sweat glands become clogged, says Korman.

Rashes from poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac are par for the course for summertime excursions into wooded areas, and while annoying, are usually not serious.  Approximately 85 percent of the population will develop an allergic reaction if exposed to poison ivy, oak or sumac, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun012011

The Sting of Summer: Be Prepared, From Bites to Burns

Photos[dot]com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For those who vacationed on the Florida coastline this Memorial Day, the summer season launched with a bang, or more specifically, with hundreds of stings.

Because of steady Atlantic winds, this past holiday weekend the beaches were swamped with reddish-colored jellyfish, known as mauve stingers, resulting in more than 800 reported stings among the beachgoers.

Though summer has not officially started, the Florida jellyfish debacle is a sharp reminder of the many stings, burns, nips, bites, and rashes that arise during the summer months ahead.  ABC News spoke with pediatricians, dermatologists and emergency medicine experts to pull together a guide to preventing, identifying and treating the various ills that can accompany your summer fun.

When Jellyfish Attack

Although there are many different species of jellyfish throughout the coastal United States, the resulting sting is largely the same.  When you come into contact with a jellyfish, either underwater or when they're beached on land, small barbs in the tentacles catch on your skin and cause red welts.

If you think you've been stung by a jellyfish (and given how painful a jellyfish sting is, you usually know it), the best thing to do is rinse the sting in saltwater, not freshwater, says Dr. Lee Winans, head of the emergency room at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce, Florida.

"The little barbs are packets of poison, and if you use freshwater, it will cause them to rupture and make the reaction worse," he says.

Rubbing or patting the area can also cause these packets to rupture, so take a shell or credit card and scrape the barbs off the area while rinsing in the saltwater, says Dr. James Schmidt, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia.

Sun Burn vs. Sun Poisoning

We all know we should be wearing sunscreen, but sunburns still happen.  The question is, when is a sunburn more than just a "use some aloe and get some shade" situation?

When sunburn is severe, causing blisters or covering a large part of the body, it can result in sun poisoning -- an extension of heat stroke that is marked by dehydration, fever, and headache.  Sunburn is a form of inflammation, so when a significant area of skin is inflamed, the body reacts to the inflammation with flu-like symptoms, says Dr. Neil Korman, a dermatologist at U.H. Case Medical Center.

The Bite from the Mystery Bug

Bees and hornet stings are usually not problematic unless you are allergic to their sting or if multiple stings are received at once.  Wheezing or excessive swelling around the face or site of sting should be checked out by a doctor immeidately, especially if it seems the person is having an allergic reaction to the sting, says Winans.

As for spider bites, most are harmless, but a few species of poisonous spiders can cause more serious reactions.  In the southern U.S., brown recluse spiders can result in large, painful bites that, left untreated, can lead to loss of a limb.  Unlike normal spider bites, which get better over the course of a few days, poisonous bites will only get worse and the skin around the bite can start to die, says Winans.

Chigger, mosquito, and fire ant bites, while painful and itchy, are benign.  They usually appear as small itchy bumps, or in the case of ant bites, small pus-filled bumps. "Put topical over-the-counter steroid cream on bites, but try not to itch them, that will only open them up to a possible infection," Winans says.

Lyme Disease: Beware the Bull's Eye

A bite from a tick is usually not felt and will not itch, but if the tick is a carrier for Lyme disease, the resulting infection can be severe.  The easiest way to diagnose Lyme disease is by the red ring rash that often, but not always, accompanies a bite by a tick with Lyme.  The "bull's-eye rash" will develop three to 30 days after a bite and will be accompanied by fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you remove a tick from you and experience these symptoms following (even without the rash), see a doctor to get tested for Lyme disease, doctors say, because if not treated with antibiotics, Lyme can cause neurological, joint and cardiac problems over time, says Dr. Korman of U.H. Case Medical Center.

Rash Reaction

Swimmer's itch consists of many small, itchy, slightly painful red bumps that are usually noticed following a swim in the ocean.  Usually, the rash is just another form of a jellyfish sting and results when microscopic jellyfish larva get caught in the fabric of one's swimsuit, says Schmidt.  Swimmer's itch can also be caused by other parasites present in fresh or saltwater.  The rash is benign and can be treated with topical hydrocortisone cream but will otherwise go away on its own, doctors say.

Heat rash is not from contact with any plant or animal but merely the product of skin irritation in damp or sandy conditions, such as wearing a wet bathing suit over an extended period of time.  The red, raised, itchy bumps are sometimes referred to as "prickly heat" and occur when the sweat glands become clogged, says Korman.

Rashes from poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac are par for the course for summertime excursions into wooded areas, and while annoying, are usually not serious.  Approximately 85 percent of the population will develop an allergic reaction if exposed to poison ivy, oak or sumac, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio