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Eczema: Help is on the Way from Mountains Community Hospital

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Hope for those with Eczema

Ever heard of Atopic Dermatitis? How about Seborrhea Dermatitis? If not, you’re hardly alone. These strange names are just a few of the medical terms for common allergic reactions to a condition known as eczema.

Eczema can cover several skin issues that cause swollen, irritated and/or itchy skin and make life generally miserable for those who suffer from this all-too-common condition. Dandruff, diaper rash and rashes that appear after touching plants like poison oak or poison ivy are also considered types of eczema.

Cold, dry winter weather can wreak havoc on skin and can lead to a variety of skin conditions that require special attention. Eczema is one of those conditions as it can pop up suddenly and is adversely affected by weather and dry winter air. Often times, the result is dry, flaky areas of skin that can be very uncomfortable and for the patient and unsightly to all.

Because winter air generally has less moisture, patients often experience outbreaks characterized by scaly, itchy, swollen spots when the weather is cold. People who know they are prone to experiencing dry skin during the winter should be vigilant by using a reliable product to keep their skin moisturized. Working to keep skin moist is important any time of year for eczema patients. So they need to use lotions that do not contain dyes or fragrances since these ingredients can exacerbate breakouts. Many dermatologists urge patients to moisturize two or three times daily during winter months.

Eczema patients should take warm baths or showers and should moisturize their bodies after they emerge from the tub or shower. The Mayo Clinic urges patients to use dye and fragrance-free laundry detergent and skip fabric softener as well as perfumed dryer sheets. Also, people with eczema should keep their fingernails short so they will do only minimum damage to their skin if they scratch itchy spots.

Because we care about your health at Mountains Community Hospital, we urge eczema patients who smoke and/or who suffer from a lot of stress to quit smoking and work toward reducing stress levels, both of which will help keep flare-ups at bay.

Atopic Dermatitis is a type of eczema but it occurs in people who have a predisposition to allergens which can range from food to hay fever and other airborne allergens such as weeds, flowers and pollen. It is vital that people who suffer with this type of eczema learn what their “triggers” are so they can reduce the possibility of outbreaks.

Remember, Mountains Community Hospital cares about your health and invites you to log onto their website at For information on medical issues click on the link entitled Resource Center. “We’re here to help” and have been for over half a century.


Helping Patients with Gout

physical therapist examining a patient's knee

If you have chronic, acute pain in your toes, knees or feet, it could be gout.

Among the many types of arthritis are a variety of conditions that are related to arthritis but they each cause different symptoms and problems. Gout is only one of those conditions and those who have it struggle with the pain it causes and finding ways to control flare-ups.

Gout is a form of arthritis and its presence is often considered when a patient experiences a series of painful attacks, especially if the pain occurs in the toes, ankles or knees. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints and the end result is that a joint often becomes tender, warm and ultimately disfigured. Uric acid is a product of purines that are part of many foods we eat. If a body doesn’t break down the purines properly, crystallization can form in joints, frequently resulting in gout. Other diseases such as kidney stones and kidney failure are also caused by a backup of uric acid and these conditions are very painful and can, on occasion, lead to death.

Although many joints can be affected patients often get gout in the small joint at the base of the big toe. A gout diagnosis may sound funny but it’s not because for some patients even the smallest pressure on the toe or other affected body part causes excruciating pain. King Henry VIII suffered from gout and many other historical figures have, in one form or another, have been affected by the disease.

According to the most reliable test to diagnose gout is a procedure that involves an injection of Lidocaine or another pain numbing drug at the site followed by an aspiration of fluid from the affected area. During the procedure a physician will draw out some of the fluid from the affected joint and the fluid is analyzed.

The Internet is a good place to research information. Patients should log onto for information on their condition and how to make flare-ups less likely. Another good website is, which deals with helping people manage their symptoms through exercise and diet. According to the Mayo Clinic men are more likely to get gout but women are almost as likely to get it after menopause because their uric acid levels rise.

While gout is treatable, avoiding getting it in the first place must be a priority. Excessive alcohol use, more than two drinks a day for men and more than one for women, increases the gout risk, reports the Mayo Clinic. Untreated high blood pressure and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol levels, a family history as well as narrowing of the arteries can also increase the chance of getting this often painful condition.