Top Doctors: Rash? Don't do anything rash

Dr. Daniel Siegel is a dermatologist in Smithtown,

Dr. Daniel Siegel is a dermatologist in Smithtown, and president-elect, American Academy of Dermatology. (July 7, 2011) (Credit: Steve Pfost)

Summer can really bug your skin. Mosquitoes, poison ivy and sun exposure all pose threats and can cause a rash. Here's what you should know about body rashes, regardless of the season:

1. IF YOU DEVELOP A RASH AND A FEVER, SEE A DOCTOR

Many rashes are just nuisances, but a rash and a fever combination could be a sign of a bad reaction to medication or a serious disease, such as meningitis or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, said Dr. Daniel Mark Siegel, a Smithtown dermatologist who is president-elect of the American Academy of Dermatology. "Get yourself to the doctor quite quickly," Siegel said.


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2. BE CAREFUL WITH OVER-THE- COUNTER MEDICATIONS

"Self-treatments should be aimed at symptomatic relief since presumably you're not really sure what you're treating if you haven't seen the dermatologist yet," said Dr. Jeffrey A. Sklar, a Woodbury dermatologist.

He advises caution regarding the use of cortisone creams, which affect the immune system. "If your rash is due to an infection, cortisones will actually worsen the condition and make the infection spread."

Siegel advises that people watch out for topical benzocaine and Benadryl products, too. "They can actually cause rashes in many people," Siegel said. "Often that's what brings people to a dermatologist. They treated a rash, but they're in that small percentage of people who are allergic, and that rash gets worse instead of getting better."

3. DON'T ASSUME YOU KNOW EVERYTHING, OR EVEN THAT YOUR MOTHER DOES

"Don't self-diagnose, listen to your friends or try to figure it out from the Internet," Sklar said. "Don't go through your medicine cabinet or use old tubes of cream that may have been prescribed for something else."

4. POISON IVY MIGHT NEED A DOCTOR'S HELP

Calamine lotion helps soothe rashes from poison ivy. But it usually doesn't control the itch, Siegel said. Over-the-counter cortisone cream or gel is helpful, he noted, and you can get stronger doses by prescription. For poison ivy rashes over a large part of your body, doctors often prescribe steroid pills to speed recovery.

5. KEEP A SUN RASH COOL

If you think you've been out in the sun too long, quickly take a painkiller, like aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, Siegel said. It may help reduce damage. Once the burn sets in, a painkiller can help suppress discomfort. Oatmeal-based skin products can be helpful with a sun rash, or "simply put a handful of oatmeal in the bathtub and get it as cool as possible," he said. Cold compresses can help, too.

Cooling can soothe other kinds of rashes and bug bites, too. Put an ice cube on the area, Siegel said. And don't worry about freezing your skin. You'll pull the ice away before damage is done, he said.

 

This is the third installment of a 26-week series in which Newsday presents Castle Connolly's list of top LI doctors. Click here to see the full list. 

 

This week we're featuring dermatolotists.

 

Dr. Georgette Aprile

8 Med Plaza

Glen Cove

516-759-9200

Dr. Pamela Basuk

2011 Union Blvd.

Bay Shore

631-666-2900

Dr. Bernard Berger

319 Hampton Rd.

Southampton

631-283-7722

Dr. Robert Bruckstein

290 Central Ave.

Lawrence

516-239-2332

Dr. Richard Clark

181 N. Belle Meade Rd.

East Setauket

631-444-4270

Dr. William De Pietro

10 Medical Plaza

Glen Cove

516-671-1780

Dr. Frank Demento

520 Franklin Ave.

Garden City

516-746-1227

Dr. Charisse Dolitsky

604 E. Park Ave.

Long Beach

516-432-0011

Dr. Ronald Falcon

604 E. Park Ave.

Long Beach

516-432-0011

Dr. Jeanne Franck

520 Franklin Ave.

Garden City

516-741-1055

Dr. Harold Hefter

135 Rockaway Tpke.

Lawrence

516-371-1600

Dr. Barbara Hisler

1300 Union Tpke.

New Hyde Park

516-326-0333

Dr. Julie Huh

332 E. Main St.

Bay Shore

631-666-0500

Dr. Leonard Kristal

2001 Marcus Ave.

Lake Success

516-352-6151

Dr. Laurie Levine

200 Old Country Rd.

Mineola

516-742-6136

Dr. Ashfaq Marghoob

Memorial Sloan Kettering

Cancer Center

800 Veterans Memorial Hwy.

Hauppauge

631-863-5150

Dr. Gavan Moynihan

332 E. Main St.

Bay Shore

631-666-0500

Dr. Antoinette Notaro

13405 Main Rd.

Mattituck

631-298-1122

Dr. Robert Paltzik

2 Hillside Ave.

Williston Park

516-747-2230

Dr. Deborah Sarnoff

31 Northern Blvd.

Greenvale

516-484-9000

Dr. Daniel Siegel

994 W. Jericho Tpke.

Smithtown

631-864-6647

Dr. Jeffrey Sklar

800 Woodbury Rd.

Woodbury

516-496-9400

Dr. Robert Skrokov

332 E. Main St.

Bay Shore

631-666-0500

Dr. Alan Spinowitz

877 Stewart Ave.

Garden City

516-745-0606

Dr. Jack Tom

207 Hallock Rd.

Stony Brook

631-444-0004

Dr. John Walczyk

1165 Northern Blvd.

Manhasset

516-365-8030

 

How they were picked

 

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. is a health care research and information company founded in 1991 by a former medical college board chairman and president to help guide consumers to America's top doctors and hospitals. Castle Connolly's established survey and research process, under the direction of a doctor, involves tens of thousands of doctors and the medical leadership of leading hospitals.

Castle Connolly's team of researchers follows a rigorous screening process to select doctors on national and regional levels. Using mail and telephone surveys, and electronic ballots, they ask physicians and the leadership of top hospitals to identify exceptional doctors. Careful screening of doctors' educational and professional experience is essential to the committee. Not every good physician makes the list. Rather, the list is a way for patients to get started on their search for the best medical professional. Newsday is not part of the selection process.

Doctors do not and cannot pay to be selected and profiled as Castle Connolly Top Doctors.

 

To see the whole list . . .

 

Who else is on the list of Top Doctors? More than 6,000 listings are in the New York Metro Area edition of "Top Doctors," published by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. The softcover list price is $34.95. For more information, go to castleconnolly.com, or call 800-399-DOCS.

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