COVID-19 Precautions: What You Need to Know Before Visiting Avail Dermatology

COVID-19 Precautions: What You Need to Know Before Visiting Avail Dermatology

Dear Patients of Avail Dermatology:

The physicians at Avail Dermatology are continuously monitoring the latest guidelines on management of the COVID-19 outbreak via the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). As these recommendations are updated, we will modify our procedures as needed to minimize the risks of spreading infection. Avail Dermatology will continue to operate normal business hours unless otherwise notified.

At this time, we would like to inform you of our latest policy:

  • We ask all patients and their families and other close contacts, who have a fever, cough, symptoms of a respiratory infection, or have been exposed to a person with coronavirus, the flu or any other communicable disease to reschedule their appointments or surgeries. At this time we are waiving cancellation fees
  • If you are at all concerned you may have a serious infectious disease, please seek care at your primary care physician’s office or local hospital’s emergency department.
  • TEMPERATURES: Upon arrival, you will be screened for fever. If your temperature is over 100ºF, your appointment will be rescheduled.
  • MASKS: Based on the latest CDC guidance, we require that patients wear a mask throughout their visit to our facility. This is for the protection of our employees and the other patients around you. We request that you bring your own mask or face covering. Those who arrive without one will be provided with one upon arrival.
  • VISITORS/FAMILY MEMBERS: We ask that you come alone for your appointment, to minimize crowding in our facility. The only exception would be for those patients who require assistance to be seen, or for minor children in the care of the patient. All other guests will be asked to remain outside the building or in their car.
  • EARLY ARRIVAL: In order to maintain social distancing in our office, if you arrive more than 15 minutes early, you may be asked to wait in your car. We will text you when it is time for you to enter the office.
  • FACILITY CLEANING: We are taking extra precautions and have added additional hand sanitizers throughout the practice. We sanitize our workstations and counters continuously throughout the day and will continue to do so.

Please remember that the best way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases is cleanliness and hand washing. The CDC has guidelines on personal practices to reduce infection risk.

Remember too that we are entering flu season and we strongly recommend that all patients get a flu vaccination by the end of October to protect themselves and their families.

We will continue to monitor this situation and post new information to our website and communicate via email if urgent. Thank you.

– The providers and staff of Avail Dermatology 

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History of Skincare Products

When people think of medical advancements, they don’t often think of skincare. But just as the practice of medicine has evolved and improved over the years, so has the process of caring for the body’s largest organ — the skin. Learn more about the history of skincare below!

The Evolution of Skincare

Keep reading to journey through the various phases of beliefs, ingredients, and practices that impacted the way people cared for their skin.

  • The earliest evidence of skincare and makeup comes from Ancient Egypt. Preserving youth was a strong theme within their culture, not too dissimilar from modern times. However, they used ingredients like castor, sesame, and moringa oils. They also used olive oil and clay mixtures to cleanse their skin, milk masks to moisturize, and dead sea salts to exfoliate. Additionally, the makeup they created had two purposes: to help decorate their skin and also to protect them from the harsh elements of the sun and desert.
  • Like the Ancient Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks relied on totally natural ingredients to create the elements of their skincare. Their regiment included lots of fresh berries, milk, olive oils, and yogurt to create items like perfumes, eye shadows, cleanses, and even hair dyes.
  • The 1700s globally saw skincare as an art form. Many people believed makeup was most beautiful when it was painted and layered on. Heavier makeup conveyed social and economic status. Popular skincare treatments during this time were saunas, sweat cleansings, and milk baths.
  • During the 1800s, skincare was a privilege. It was seen as vital for those in higher classes to participate in, but it wasn’t necessary for those who were just trying their best to survive. For a majority of this century, skincare products were hard to obtain and expensive. Using products to lighten the skin was also popular. To do this, many people used items like harsh cleaners, oatmeal, lemon juice, and egg yolks.
  • Fortunately for everyone, the 1900s and current times is when skincare really exploded. This century saw the birth of countless businesses for makeup and skincare products. For example, sunscreen wasn’t created until 1944. This also means that beauty products stopped being a privilege and became readily available for all types of people, no matter their economic status. Additionally, we’ve learned that using harsh chemicals to change our tone isn’t healthy while darker skin tones became more widely celebrated. Now, we focus on using natural ingredients like the civilizations before us. We also protect ourselves and our skin by using items like sunscreen and vitamins.

Avail Dermatology is here for any of your skincare needs. If you have any further questions about the history of skincare or want to speak to our staff, click here to reach out or give us a call at 770-929-9033. Click here to learn more about our telemedicine efforts!

 

 

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How to Tell You’re Allergic to Skincare Products

At the end of a long, stressful day, taking a hot shower and indulging in your skincare routine can be the best way to unwind and pamper yourself. But what if instead of feeling comforted and clean, your skin starts to break out and/or become itchy? Unfortunately, this usually means your skin is having an allergic reaction to a product you just used.

Our experts are explaining how to tell you’re allergic to skincare products below!

Reactions to Look Out For

Here are some of the most common ways your skin might negatively react to ingredients in your skincare products:

  • Red, itchy, and irritated skin, otherwise known as dermatitis.
  • Red pimples.
  • Flaky skin.
  • Sensitivity on the skin.

The important detail to remember is that an allergic reaction caused by skincare products will stay only on your skin. If you start to have other symptoms, like a runny nose or feeling queasy, another issue may be to blame.

What Causes This Reaction?

To figure out why your skin might be having a negative reaction, you have to consider common skincare ingredients. Unfortunately, this can be tricky, because there are thousands of different types of ingredients used across skincare products. For example, maybe you’re allergic to the preservatives or chemical components of certain fragrances in your face wash. Or perhaps the base ingredient in that anti-aging serum doesn’t sit well with your skin.

So, if you wake up with a skin reaction, the best way to determine the cause is to retrace your skincare steps and specifically examine the ingredients in those products.

What to Do if You Think You’re Allergic

If you suspect you’re having an allergic reaction to skincare products, stop using any of the products that could possibly have caused the reaction. Next, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist as soon as possible. If you’re able, it’s also helpful to record the times your symptoms appeared and which products you’ve been using. If you can bring them to your appointment, even better.

Bringing this information to your dermatologist will help them narrow down what could be happening. That way, the two of you can figure out which products are best to avoid and which products you can use instead.

Avail Dermatology is here for any of your skincare needs. If you have any further questions about the history of skincare or want to speak to our staff, click here to reach out or give us a call at 770-929-9033. Click here to learn more about our telemedicine efforts!

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Are “Organic” Skincare Products Really Better?

When it comes to skincare, it’s important to know what’s exactly in the products you apply to your face. When you find a product labeled with the word “organic,”, you might be tempted to assume it’s higher quality. However, while this might sometimes be true, it’s definitely not always the case.

The experts at Avail Dermatology are answering the question are “organic” skincare products really better? 

What Does the Word Organic Mean? 

By definition, when a skincare product uses the word organic, it’s referring to how their ingredients were farmed.  The USDA will give a skincare product an official “organic” seal if the food based ingredients like honey or berries do not contain any synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. 

However, the rules for what percentage of those ingredients are actually organic differ from country to country. You can learn more about America’s definition of organic cosmetics here

What Does This Mean for Skincare Products? 

Organic skincare products use ingredients that do not require certain chemicals while certain ingredients are being grown. However, it doesn’t mean that the product is perfect. Organic products can still contain problematic ingredients or plants that can cause a reaction on your skin, just as those products without a USDA “organic” seal.

Organic also may not mean better for the environment. Some organic products still use growing methods that can be detrimental to the planet.  

Ultimately, it’s vital to look beyond labels like organic and thoroughly research what skincare products work best for you. By understanding how ingredients within these products might affect your skin, you’ll be more informed to purchase something that’s just right for you.  

Avail Dermatology is here for any of your skincare needs. If you have any further questions about how organic skincare products truly differ or want to speak to our staff, click here to reach out or give us a call at 770-929-9033. Click here to learn more about our telemedicine efforts

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How Facial Hair Can Impact Your Skincare

Whether you want facial hair or want to get rid of all of it, you should be keeping skincare in mind! Those with facial hair have to worry more about acne and dandruff underneath the hair follicles, and those who are getting rid of their hair might suffer from irritation. 

The experts at Avail Dermatology will explain how facial hair can impact your skincare below! 

For Those Who Want Smooth Skin

If you hate the idea of facial hair, then you will often find yourself using different aesthetic procedures to get rid of it. That includes threading, shaving, plucking, and waxing (to name a few). 

Unfortunately, most of those options can potentially cause trauma to the face. Whether you nick yourself with a razor or pull a hair follicle out of your pore a little too harshly, infection and irritation are all very possible side effects.

That’s why it’s important to consider using less hard products for your face to help lessen the side effects. Use cleansers and moisturizers that are gentle to the skin (products that are free of dyes and scents). In addition, keep applying sunscreen, daily, and if you will be outside for more than an hour, reapply every hour.  Your sunscreen should contain a physical block like zinc oxide. Too much exposure to the sun can worsen irritation. 

For Those Who Want Facial Hair 

If you’re trying to grow out a beard or other facial hair, your skincare considerations should be different.

Facial hair is both similar and varied from the hair that grows on top of the head. While both types of hair create a sebaceous gland that produces natural oil, the skin on the face is much more sensitive than the skin on the scalp. Washing your beard with regular shampoo won’t cut it. Generally, a gentle skin cleanser like you would use on all of your facial skin will be needed. 

And what happens if you just don’t clean your beard? First of all, it’s estimated that a person touches their beard hundreds of times per day. That means that facial hair is harboring a lot of germs. Secondly, if you don’t wash that skin underneath the beard, acne will be quick to follow. It can also cause skin issues to those you kiss or hug often. Therefore, it’s vital to wash that area. 

Avail Dermatology is here for any of your skincare needs. If you have any further questions about how facial hair can impact your skincare or want to speak to our staff, click here to reach out or give us a call at 770-929-9033. Click here to learn more about our telemedicine efforts

woman wash hands with surgical mask standing in bathroom, wondering about the Skin Hygiene in the Age of Coronavirus.

Skin Hygiene in the Age of Coronavirus

The coronavirus has affected everyone across the globe. One focal point in conversations about this pandemic is personal hygiene and how that impacts the spread of COVID-19. The experts at Avail Dermatology are here to shed some light on the topic of skin hygiene in the age of coronavirus.

The Proper Way to Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands is the most effective way to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but only if you do it right. Here’s a step by step guide! 

  • Turn on the sink and soak your hands. It doesn’t matter if the water is warm or cold, it’s your preference. 
  • Apply soap. 
  • Lather! The trick here is to make sure you cover all parts of your hands. So, not just the palms, but between your fingers, on the back of your hands, and underneath your fingernails too. 
  • Another trick of the trade: lather for at least 20 seconds. This ensures all germs and bacteria on your hands are wiped clean. If you struggle with what exactly 20 seconds looks like, either set a timer or sing the first 20 seconds of your favorite song. 
  • The last two steps are easy: wash off all the soap and then dry your hands. 

If you’re worried about potentially damaging your skin with all of the hand-washing you’ll be doing, there are several proactive steps you can take to protect your skin. Those are washing with warm water, using gentle soaps designed for sensitive skin, and applying good, protective hand lotion, or cream if the irritation is worsening afterward.

Hand washing is not an option in all situations. In an era where a trip to the grocery store may necessitate resanitizing your hands multiple times, it is just not practical to hand wash. The next best option is the use of an effective hand sanitizer. These should contain at least 65% ethanol to be effective. Some unscrupulous manufacturers have tried to substitute other chemicals, typically methanol. This is unreliable, and methanol is toxic both topically or if ingested. 

To use the sanitizer effectively, apply liberally, cover the entire surface of both hands, and rub vigorously until the sanitizer has completely dried. It is the evaporation process that actually kills germs, so allowing the sanitizer to dry completely is essential. 

Hand sanitizers can be irritating, especially if the skin is already compromised, though it is generally less damaging than hand washing. Severe hand irritation (“hand dermatitis”) can actually increase the risk of skin infection. If your hands have become seriously irritated, you may need medical treatment. Contact Avail Dermatology if you are struggling with hand dermatitis. 

What Happens When I Touch My Face?

The coronavirus spreads extremely quickly, which is what makes it so dangerous. But what does that process look like? Usually, someone who has the virus may cough or sneeze, which then spreads germs by pathogens from that cough or sneeze landing on people or items nearby. When that happens, the disease can potentially stay on that object for up to several days, depending on the object’s material and conditions.

If you happen to touch those potentially infected items, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll contract the virus right away. But, if you don’t wash your hands before you touch your face, you’re giving the coronavirus a front door to your body. 

That’s why experts everywhere strongly recommend you avoid touching your face at all costs. Not only is it better for you for skincare reasons (such as reducing the amount of oil on your face), it also prevents the coronavirus from entering your body. It’s difficult to do this, as we all are used to touching our faces unconsciously hundreds of times a day. 

One additional strategy is to wear a mask when in a high-risk environment. The mask prevents direct contact with the vulnerable nose/mouth region and is a constant reminder not to be touching our face. In very high-risk situations, with a high density of people in close proximity, wearing eye protection may further help protect you from infection, and as a mask, is a deterrent to touching our eyes, another potential route of infection. 

How Long Will Bacteria Stay on My Skin? 

Unfortunately, it’s not clear how long the coronavirus lives on a surface or if it lives longer on the skin than most viruses. Regardless, you can never be too careful as scientists and doctors work together to understand more about this disease. 

Follow our steps above for washing your hands and avoid touching your face, and you will help slow the spread of the disease and keep it away from you and your family. 

Avail Dermatology is here for any of your skincare needs. If you have any further questions about skin hygiene in the age of coronavirus or want to speak to our staff, click here to reach out or give us a call at 770-929-9033. Click here to learn more about our telemedicine efforts

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Hereditary Skin Conditions

Just like all other medical specialties, dermatology also deals with hereditary conditions. Also known as genetic conditions, these are problems passed down from generation to generation. In other words, the child of someone who has one of these conditions is more likely to have it as well. 

At Avail Dermatology we are available to discuss any concerns you may have about hereditary skin conditions.   

Hereditary Skin Conditions 

  • Albinism: A skin condition that causes the pigment of skin, hair, and eyes to have little to no color. This condition increases the risk for skin cancer so yearly skin checks are recommended. 
  • Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome: Also called Gorlin Syndrome, this is a condition that causes more frequent irregularities to pop up on the skin. Some of these irregularities include: cysts of the jaw and Basal Cell skin cancer.  
  • Cowden Syndrome: A rare genetic condition characterized by multiple noncancerous tumor-like growths called hamartomas on the skin and an increased risk for other types of cancers, such as breast and thyroid. 
  • Ectodermal Dysplasias: When two or more abnormal developments happen on either the skin, sweat glands, hair, nails, teeth, and membranes.
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: Some of the biggest symptoms of this skin condition are overly flexible joints, elastic skin that bruises easily, and rupture of major blood vessels. 
  • Ichthyosis: This condition causes dry, scaling skin that can either be very thick or very thin. 
  • Incontinentia Pigmenti: This condition typically involves blistering rashes in infancy, wart-like skin growths, and brown swirled patches of skin in adulthood.  
  • Muir-Torre Syndrome: This genetic skin condition causes skin tumors in the oil glands and is associated with internal cancers. The most common internal cancer involves the gastrointestinal tract. 
  • Neurofibromatosis: This condition affects how nerve cells form and grow and may cause lesions anywhere in your nervous system (brain, spinal cord and nerves). 
  • Premature Aging Syndromes: These genetic skin disorders cause aging, such as wrinkles, to happen extremely fast. Your skin will seem very thin and less elastic.  
  • Tuberous Sclerosis: This condition causes non-cancerous tumors to develop; in may parts of the body including the skin and internal organs.  This disease can vary in severity and have many different presentations. 

Avail Dermatology is here for any of your skincare needs. If you have any further questions about hereditary skin conditions  or want to speak to our staff, click here to reach out or give us a call at 770-251-5111. Click here to learn more about our telemedicine offerings! 

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How to Make Your Skincare Routine Less Wasteful

We’re all searching for ways to be more eco-friendly. We recycle, we try to reduce our use and consumption of harmful gases for the environment, and we cut down on our food waste. But have you thought about how your beauty routine might also be an opportunity to be more sustainable? 

Unfortunately, most people don’t know about this opportunity. The products we use for our day to day skincare come in wasteful containers that we can’t reuse, and, since we use these on such a regular basis, it creates a lot of trash. 

Keep reading below to learn how to make your skincare routine less wasteful from the experts at Avail Dermatology! 

Find Ways to Swap Out Products

When you use types of shampoo and conditioner that come in giant bottles that aren’t recyclable, that produces a lot of waste. Luckily, many companies are realizing this and have searched for ways to make their products more eco-friendly. Look for products with eco-friendly packaging instead of large plastic tubs. 

There’s a lot of alternatives out there for you to enjoy, you just need to be proactive about finding them. 

Challenge Yourself to Use All Your Products 

It can be difficult to find yourself using every single drop of the products in your skincare routine. Most people see something running out and immediately reorder the product before it’s all gone. Scrapping containers for every single bit of product is annoying and time-consuming. Or, sometimes, we don’t get to use our products before they expire, so we just toss them. 

Those habits can be extremely wasteful. So, we challenge you to make sure you use all your products. Apply every bit of foundation and scrap the bottom of your lotion container for the last bit before you let yourself get any new products. 

Avail Dermatology is here for any of your skincare needs! 

If you have any questions about how to make your skincare routine less wasteful, click here to reach out or give us a call at 770-929-9033. 

You can also click here to learn more about our telemedicine options!

dermatologist in latex gloves holding dermatoscope while examining attractive patient with skin disease, checking for skin cancer.

May Is Skin Cancer Awareness Month: What You Need to Know

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. While we all shelter-in-place and practice social distancing to win the war against Covid-19, skin cancer isn’t on lock-down. In fact, we estimate that some 2.5 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer will be diagnosed and treated between July and December of 2020.

Skin cancer doesn’t wait. And, now that May and Skin Cancer Awareness Month is here, it’s the perfect time to get re-educated on the dangers of skin cancer, how to prevent damage to your skin from the sun, and what sunscreen is best for you. The experts at Avail Dermatology are diving in to discuss those vital topics, on top of why you need to continue seeing your dermatologists even during the pandemic.

Why You Should Still Go to the Dermatologist, Even During Covid-19

If you are postponing your appointment for your annual skin exam, it’s more important than ever to perform an at-home skin exam.

Signs of potential skin cancer include:

  • A spot that is different from others.
  • Spots with irregular shapes.
  • Spots that have changed over time.
  • Raised lesions or lesions with raised edges.
  • Spots that itch or bleed.

If you’ve lucky enough to have a friend or family member willing and able to help, have them check every inch of your body, from top of head to bottom of feet.

If you’re alone too shy or to ask another, stand in front of a mirror and examine the front and back of your body. Then look at both sides of your body with your arms raised. Don’t forget to examine hidden areas like between your toes and the bottoms of your feet. Then take a hand mirror and check your scalp and back of your neck.

If you see one or more signs of skin cancer, make a note for yourself as a reminder of where you think you may have a problem. Then call to schedule an appointment. Early detection and treatment are important, even during these challenging times.

How to Avoid the Damaging Effects of Exposure to the Sun

As the weather gets nicer, practicing social distancing to win the war against Covid-19 becomes a bit more challenging. To escape the boredom of shelter-in-place, many of us are heading outdoors for longer walks, bike rides, and even just sitting outside in the fresh air. With outdoor activity comes an increase in our exposure to the sun.  Most of those cases are the result of repeated exposure to the sun, and so it’s important to practice sun-safety every time we venture outdoors.

Here are four things you can do to avoid the damaging effects of exposure to the sun:

  1. Find ways to avoid direct exposure to sunlight. The center for disease control reports that as little as 15 minutes of exposure to the sun’s UV rays can damage your skin. When you spend time outdoors, seeking out the shade is a good start.
  2. Even when in the shade, you will be exposed to some of the sun’s UV rays, so it’s important to cover up. Long sleeves and long pants obviously provide more protection than shorts and tank tops, and darker colored clothing may offer greater protection than lighter colors. Not all clothing is created equal, and if you’re looking for better protection from the sun, seek out clothing that is certified to protect against UV radiation. Two often neglected areas are the head and feet.  Remember to wear a hat and something to cover your feet!
  3. If you’re going to be outdoors for any length of time, make sure to apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Few people realize that sunscreen has an expiration date, so make sure to check for that. Also, application of sunscreen only lasts about two hours, so set a timer on your smart watch or phone to remind you to reapply that sunscreen every couple of hours. 
  4. While we’re focused on skin protection during Skin Cancer Prevention Month, let’s also remember that sunlight can cause significant damage to your eyes. Make sure to wear sunglasses with UV protection.

Tips for Finding a Good Sunscreen

Now is the perfect time to check the sunscreen on your shelf to make sure you’re properly prepared. Go gather your sunscreen products now and then run them through this simple checklist of things to look for.

What to look for in sunscreen

  • Sunscreen does not last forever. In fact, it typically has a limited shelf life of just 2 to 3 years. Check the packaging for an expiration date and if your sunscreen has expired or will expire shortly get rid of it and replace it as soon as you can.
  • The sun produces two types of rays that can cause skin cancer, UVA and UVB. You’ll want a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB. Sunscreen that blocks both types of rays will typically be labeled “broad spectrum”. Look for the words “broad spectrum” or “effective against UVA and UVB” on the label. If you don’t see these words on your current supply of sunscreen you may want to replace it.
  • Not all sunscreen protects equally, and there’s typically a rating factor right on the packaging. Look for the letters SPF, which is shorthand for “Sun Protection Factor”. After the letters there will be a number. The higher the number the greater the protection from UVB. The rating factor is based on the protection offered by the sunscreen relative to unprotected skin. An SPF of 15, for example, allows the skin to be exposed to 15 times more UVB than unprotected skin before burning, while an SPF of 50 allows for 50 times more exposure before burning. If your current supply of sunscreen has an SPF of less than 15 replace it immediately and, going forward, consider using sunscreen with an SPF as high as 50. While sunscreen with an SPF of higher than 50 is available, the additional protection is relatively minor relative to the increased cost. 
  • Unfortunately, there is no universal rating for UVA protection, but several competing standards are emerging. It’s worth noting that sunscreen labeled “Broad Spectrum” offers protection from UVA, the question is simply how much? The label “broad spectrum” indicates UVA protection of at least at 1/3 the level of the SPF number on the packaging. Other indications of protection from UVA include (a) the letters UVA within a circle (look for sunscreen with a rating of 10 or higher), (b) a P rating (look for a P of +++ or ++++), and (c) a Boots Star Rating (look for four or five stars).

Before we get off the subject of sunscreen, it’s important to note that how you apply the sunscreen and how often you apply it makes a difference. The ratings described above are based on tests, and in those tests the amount of sunscreen used in determining the SPF ratings mattered. When applying sunscreen, use enough to coat your skin well and remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours while out in the sun.

Despite best efforts to remain safe, many will face a non-melanoma skin cancer challenge at some point in their lives. If you do receive a skin cancer diagnosis, it’s important to know your options. 

The good news is that surgery is no longer the only effective treatment option for non-melanoma skin cancer. For many patients facing a skin cancer challenge, Image-Guided Superficial Radiotherapy (IG-SRT) may be an option. IG-SRT is a painless procedure and avoids the issues and side effects associated with surgery. You can learn more about the benefits of IG-SRT at https://www.gentlecure.com/.

Have anymore questions about skin cancer or Skin Cancer Awareness Month during the COVID-19 pandemic? The experts at Avail Dermatology are here to help! Click here to schedule an appointment with us or give us a call at 770.251.5111.

Patient speaking with a doctor on their laptop, doing a telemedicine visit.

Dermatology Telemedicine 101: How Avail Dermatology Is Helping Patients During The Coronavirus Pandemic

We at Avail Dermatology understand that this is a complex, uncertain time for our patients and community members. That’s why we’re committed to providing dermatology care in a manner that is safe, effective, and comforting for our patients. One of the primary methods for accomplishing this is through telemedicine, also known as “online healthcare.” This process allows us to continue communicating with and supporting our patients, while also implementing safety best practices that protect everyone, including our staff.

Curious about how these telemedicine visits work? Keep reading to learn more.

How Do Telemedicine Visits Work?

Telemedicine uses a high-quality video conferencing system designed specifically for dermatology care. It is secure and compliant with the Federal privacy guidelines (“HIPAA”) to protect your personal health information. This system allows our dermatology providers to speak with you and see your skin in real-time. It uses your personal cell phone (with a high-resolution camera—almost all phones have these now), or a laptop or PC equipped with a webcam and microphone.

Both new and existing patients can call 770-251-5111 to schedule a telemedicine appointment. Our practice uses a program called Pocket Patient; a free, secure, dynamic, and universally accessible digital health platform. Once the appointment has been scheduled, patients can expect the following process to occur:

Telemedicine Infographic for Avail.

Once your connection is established, you will be able to see your provider and ask questions. The provider will converse with you and may ask you to use your camera to “zoom in” on the areas that are a concern. After evaluation, the provider will make an assessment, discuss the diagnosis with you, and can prescribe medications for you if appropriate.

What Can We Treat Through Telemedicine?

While dermatology is an extremely hands-on medical practice, there still are many ailments we can treat through telemedicine. Such examples include:

  • Rashes and skin breakouts. Both new and existing rashes need to be rechecked. These would include:
    • Acne, rosacea and other breakouts
    • Psoriasis
    • Eczema
    • Allergic skin rashes including Poison Ivy
    • Other itchy and uncomfortable skin conditions including “athlete’s foot,” “jock itch,” “heat rashes,” etc.
  • Individual skin lesions.
    • While telemedicine is not suited for “full-body” and “upper-body” scans or mole checks as it is too difficult to “see” the entire body using a phone camera—it can be a useful way to evaluate one or a few worrisome skin lesions. In many cases, a diagnosis can be made, or at the least, a determination of whether the lesion is worrisome enough to require an immediate office visit, or if it can be delayed until the COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.

The Benefits of Telemedicine

Right now, telemedicine is essential in the fight to lessen the spread of coronavirus. However, we understand that other healthcare needs don’t stop just because we’re sheltering-in-place. That’s where telemedicine comes in.

By lessening the amount of in-person contact that would take place in our offices, while also still providing access to dermatology experts, we’re able to significantly rescue the likelihood that COVID-19 is spread

Aside from preventing the spread of coronavirus, telemedicine is also fantastic for:

  • Giving those who have decreased mobility an opportunity to speak with a physician.
  • Supporting people who have extreme anxiety or other mental health issues by eliminating the stress of going to a physical office.
  • Reducing the amount of time, money, and other resources necessary to visit the doctor, opening up the experience to others who previously couldn’t afford it.
  • Working with those who have more strict schedules and aren’t able to take off time to visit the doctor.

Some Avail Dermatology Office Are Still Open

All this being said, there are certain services and treatments that must be done in person. We are committed to still seeing these patients in-person when necessary. Both our Newnan and Peachtree City officers are still open for these needs. Currently, our Carrollton office is only taking telemedicine appointments.

Conditions that will likely require an in-person visit include: skin growths that are painful, bleeding, draining, or that have suddenly and rapidly enlarged or changed in appearance

If you do need to make an in-person visit to either of our open offices, please be sure to reference our blog outlining recommended precautions you should take.

The experts at Avail Dermatology are here to assist you through these troubling times. If you have any further questions or want to speak to our staff, click here to reach out or give us a call at 770-929-9033