The Mind and Skin Connection

By: Allison Andrews, NP

Often, conditions of the skin can have a psychological aspect that also needs to be addressed. Research has shown that mental illness, stress and other psychological factors can activate or worsen skin conditions.      

Did you know that the skin is the body’s largest organ? It is a protective barrier that helps the body fight against injury and inflammation. The skin is involved in many complex biological processes, including the brain and nervous system. The brain and nervous system influence the skin’s immune cells through various receptors. When you are facing chronic negative stressors, research suggests it disrupts the function of the skin’s protective barrier, potentially leading to or exacerbating a skin condition.

Only in the past several decades have we seen the resurgence of the mind-body awareness in medicine; and only in the past decade have we seen an emphasis on understanding the interaction between the mind and the skin. Psychodermatology is a holistic view within the medical world looking into the cause and effect relationship of the mind and skin. Psychodermatologic disorders often fall into three different categories:

Psychological skin conditions are usually chronic conditions and can often be exacerbated by stress and other emotional factors.

-       Acne
-       Alopecia Areata
-       Eczema
-       Hyperhidrosis
-       Pruritis          

Secondary Psychiatric skin conditions, due to their visibility, can erode one’s self esteem, leading to social phobia’s and depression.

-       Severe Acne
-       Psoriasis
-       Vitiligo

Primary Psychiatric skin conditions are symptoms of a psychiatric disorder and recognizing them is important in the treatment of a mental illness.

-       Trichotillomania (chronic hair pulling)
-       Delusional Parasitosis
-       Body Dysmorphic Disorder
-       Dermatitis Artefacta (self-inflicted picking, cutting)

When treating all skin conditions, it is important to know that not everyone responds emotionally through the skin, nor do all people react the same way to having a skin condition. But, evidence has suggested in patients with psychological issues that intersect with a skin condition, treating both the mind and skin offers the best chance for improvement. Like I tell all my patients, take ten minutes to relax and meditate, stick to a healthy diet, go for a walk in the park; your mind and skin will thank you for it. 

How Food Affects Your Skin

By: Marissa Martino

On average, women spend roughly $75-$100 on skin care products a month, and some over $250 a month! This probably doesn’t sound surprising to all of those Ulta and Sephora addicts out there. Whether it’s for clear, wrinkle-free skin, shiny hair, strong nails or a healthy glow, we are constantly looking for the next best skin care product. 

Rather than focusing so much on what we put on the outside of our bodies, we should also focus on what we’re putting inside our bodies. What you eat has a lot to do with your appearance - not just your waistline. Nutrients that we get from whole foods can have several benefits for our skin. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and E can help prevent wrinkles and increase elasticity in our skin. Did you know that tomatoes contain a chemical called lycopene which has been shown to improve our skin’s natural SPF and protects it against sun damage?

However, the food we eat can also do the opposite. Refined white products such as sugar, salt and highly processed foods, can increase stress hormones that cause breakouts. A diet high in saturated fats promotes the production of free radicals that can prematurely age skin. On the other hand, healthy fats such as omega 3’s that we get from salmon and flax seeds can help strengthen skin cells and reduce inflammation. Other fats that are essential for healthy skin include avocado, olive oil, and a variety of nuts and seeds. Minerals such as zinc promote healthy skin turnover; on the contrary a zinc deficiency can cause abnormal pigmentation along with stunting hair and nail growth. Last but not least, one of the most important nutrients that we can include in our diets for a beautiful complexion and healthy glow is water!

Take a look at what you are eating (and what you aren’t) and try to make some changes to improve your diet! You may start seeing changes right away and be able to cut back on some of those cosmetic expenses by simply changing your eating habits. And of course, if you need help sorting through the different foods that can help your skin look its best, you can always make a nutrition appointment with us. We look forward to helping you look and feel your best!

Taking Care of Teenage Skin

By: Jayme Hudson, DermaCenter Aesthetician

We all love the Fall!  Warm days, cool nights, great sweaters, and cute boots! With the summer behind us and the school year underway, we need to focus on getting back into routines. Whether we’re getting up earlier for the school week, planning our weekends to get the maximum relaxation, or just getting back into the swing of things! As adults, we know the importance of a routine and the importance of instilling routines into our children’s day.

An important routine that we can teach them when they are young is a good skin care routine. Teenage skin can be very unpredictable and those years are really important because this is when acne scarring as well as most premature photo damage can occur. By teaching our kids good, consistent skin care routines from an early age, we can help them avoid and manage those untimely breakouts. Teenagers tend to have oilier skin which can lead to acne, and acne scarring, if not properly treated. (For our older patients we offer treatments for acne scarring such as, eMatrix or Micro Needling)

To start, you just need the basics; cleanser, toner, moisturizer and sunscreen. With all the activities, sports, and socialization that occurs throughout the school day, it’s important to clean skin thoroughly at night to remove dirt and oil from  pores.  For oily skin, you could get a toner such as our Environ’s Sebutone. For normal skin, a nice rose water is good to bring the skin back to its optimal pH level. Encouraging teenagers to moisturize and use sunscreen is incredibly beneficial for young skin!  Applying sunscreen is the number one thing they can do to prevent premature skin aging. 

At DermaCenter, we can help by performing treatments such as light acid peels which help to gently exfoliate the skin and helps to control oil production as well as aide in reducing breakouts. We recommend using medical-grade products such as our acne-line from Environ that contains Salicylic Acid and tea tree oil which will exfoliate the skin, kill bacteria and help with inflammation and irritation.  

Caffeine and You

By: Angela Luciani, R.D.

Need a pick me up? Many of us may be looking for a caffeine fix to help with getting a jump-start on the day or to help us power through the end of the day.  Whether it’s a cup of coffee, tea or an energy drink – they all share one common ingredient: Caffeine. More people are relying on caffeine to increase energy levels than ever before. Overall, caffeine consumption in moderation can improve concentration, make the brain more alert and can also help you live longer.

You will be pleased to know that your “cup of joe” may be providing you with more than just an energy boost – it can also provide important health benefits too! Research suggests that black coffee consumption may be protective against type 2 Diabetes, lower incidence of Parkinson’s, liver and heart related diseases, as well as cancer. Most of the studies done on coffee have been based on observational research – so while it does not provide exact evidence, we can conclude that the benefits appear to outweigh the risks.

Keep in mind - drinking too much caffeine can be harmful and could increase risk for anxiety, restlessness/impaired sleep, nausea and an upset stomach.  Up to 400mg of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most adults but can vary based on age, gender,  weight and overall health. Pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to less than 200mg per day. The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can vary greatly – assume that an 8oz cup of coffee contains around 100mg of caffeine. Remember that caffeine can be found in other food products such as soft-drinks, chocolate, nuts and seeds.  Some companies choose to provide the caffeine content of products, voluntarily.  See below for a list of foods with the average caffeine content to determine if you might consuming too much!


Average Caffeine Content (mg)

8oz Instant Coffee 95

8oz Espresso 60

8oz Green tea


12 oz Cola


1 oz Milk Chocolate


1 oz dark chocolate


Starbucks Grande (16oz)


Hispanic Heritage Month

With September being Hispanic Heritage Month, we would like to take this opportunity to review some facts about health trends among Hispanics by sharing  both reassuring statistics as well as risks. These statistics are the result of  factors including genetic, environmental, social, and economic, which encompass diet, risk for disease, and access to healthcare services and education. An individual’s personal characteristics and behaviors will also affect their risk.

Traditionally, Hispanic people are less likely to eat processed foods, oils, fats and sugars when compared to White Americans. This diet typically includes lots of grains, beans, fresh fruit and vegetables. They also take in a higher amount of fiber compared to White Americans. Hispanics are 14% less likely to be smokers and tend to have 35% less heart disease and 49% fewer occurrences of cancer.

However, it is also important to also focus on less healthy trends, in order to understand risk and work towards prevention. 24% of Hispanics-Americans, when compared to White Americans, have a harder time controlling their blood pressure and are more likely to be overweight. They are also 50% more likely to be diabetic. Tuberculosis is also prevalent in foreign-born Hispanics resulting in more chronic lung damage than caucasians. Evidence suggests that the poorer socio-economic positions of some ethnic groups is the main driver of ethnic health inequalities. One quarter of Hispanics in the U.S. live under the poverty line. This can result in families being unable to obtain foods used in their native diets, especially families living in regions known as ‘food deserts’ where fast and processed foods are more readily available than fruits, vegetables and lean meats.

Keeping in mind the already present favorable medical statistics, these socioeconomic disparities can be mitigated with a little more support and food education It should also be noted that the diverse cultures of Latin America also make it difficult to pinpoint specific problems and recommendations for Hispanic-Americans as a whole; not only is this due to cuisines specific to a particular country but also the genetic strengths associated with multiple generations of Latin-Americans eating the same locally available foods for hundreds of years. In fact, some studies have demonstrated that moving away from traditional cuisine towards ‘American food’ has negatively impacted the health of young Hispanic-Americans the most. The consumption of more high-sodium fast foods (big offenders are mozzarella sticks, and fried chicken and fish) and simple sugars (high fructose corn syrup, sodas, breakfast cereal) has been a major factor in worsening the health of hispanic-americans. For patients who already have diabetes, the cultural shift can tip a controlled diet into one that is uncontrolled and results in complications such is foot, eye and kidney disease. Likewise, a high-sodium diet in an already overweight patient can be the difference between normal and hypertension and the heart disease to go along with it.

Another cultural shift noticed in hispanic americans as opposed to their counterparts in Latin America is a shift to 3 meals a day - Mexicans in particular typically eat 4-5 meals a day so a shift to 3 meals a day may impact the total amount of calories being consumed leading to obesity. Another shift is breastfeeding which is less prevalent in the U.S. than most Latin American countries - immigrating families may move away from initiating breastfeeding which may have an impact on higher child obesity rates. The exclusion to this is Puerto Rico: the island actually has lower breastfeeding initiation rates than in the U.S.! Therefore families whose ancestors immigrated to the U.S. may start initiating breastfeeding more than their counterparts in Puerto Rico.

Overall, the health status of the Hispanic community shows good roots and a promising future. Hopefully with more focus on health education and weight-loss support, we should begin to see positive changes and a marked degree of improved health in the Hispanic-American population. To our Hispanic patients - please take this month as an opportunity to review your health - schedule a physical with one of our primary care providers. If your diet is not what you would like it to be, remember we have two lovely registered dietitians available to evaluate your food choices and make recommendations that can work for you. As mentioned previously, local Latin-American cultures have evolved to be healthy in their environment, so harness the knowledge of your ancestry to help you make healthy food choices in the future!

Aging Gracefully

By: Dermacenter Aestheticians

When it comes to skin care, a major goal is aging gracefully. There are many ways to go about taking care of your skin over a lifetime, and we will highlight some things you can do daily at home, and regularly in our medical spa.

Regarding aging, the main concerns are wrinkles, hyperpigmentation from sun exposure, loss of laxity and diminishing collagen. A well balanced diet, including plenty of water, a consistent at-home skin care regime, along with non-invasive medical spa treatments, is the best way to ensure healthy glowing skin from the inside out.

Some key ingredients to look for when concerned with anti aging are Vitamin A (Retinols), Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, AHA/BHA’s, and sunscreen (SPF). These ingredients all help with the anti-aging process by means of exfoliating, hydrating and protecting the skin. Medical grade products that you can only receive through doctors offices and medical spas contain higher percentages of active ingredients, have less fillers and more effective delivery systems. Using professional grade products in combination with aesthetic procedures, such as laser and peels, will not only enhance your results but will also extend the life of your treatment.

At the Dermacenter, we have treatments geared to improve all aspects of aging for all skin types. Non-invasive aesthetic treatments can minimize wrinkles, vanish hyperpigmentation, and tighten the skin with minimal downtime and without the risk of going under the knife. Non-invasive treatments are becoming more and more popular because the appearance of the face can be significantly improved without feeling fake.

We can set you up with a consultation to review your current skincare routine and also the results you are looking to achieve to customize the perfect mix of aesthetics treatments and medical grade products to achieve the lasting results you are looking for. Please contact our office to set up your complimentary consultation for the fall!

8 Steps to A Healthy Pregnancy

By: Lauren O'Brien MD

It is never too early to start thinking about optimizing your health for a future pregnancy.  Whether you are currently trying to conceive or still years away from babies, knowing this important information will help guide your path to pregnancy.

  1. Talk With Your Doctor About Preconception CareDuring an office visit, we can discuss the topics presented here, but also tailor a preconception-plan especially for you.  It is important that existing medical conditions (such as depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma) be well controlled before pregnancy.  All prescription and over the counter medications should be discussed with your doctor as some could be unsafe during pregnancy. At this visit, we could also screen for sexually transmitted diseases and be sure you are up to date with vaccinations, especially rubella and varicella.  Finally, a review of any genetic illnesses or abnormalities present in a family should be done and referral to a genetic counselor made, if necessary.
  2. Healthy Diet
    When planning for pregnancy you are “eating for two”, but in quality, not quantity.  It is important that you maintain a diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grain carbohydrates.  Avoid simple sugars and high fat foods.  Though fish can be an important source of healthy Omega 3s, when planning for pregnancy we must be careful of the type and quantity of fish consumed.  Steer clear of tilefish, king mackerel, shark, and swordfish as they are known to contain high levels of mercury.  Limit tuna to 6 oz per week and salmon to 12 ounces per week.  Do not consume raw seafood or meats and be sure all hot dogs and lunch meats are heated to steaming before eating.  Having calcium and Vitamin D in your diet is important, but be sure all dairy products are pasteurized.  Finally, keep caffeine to 300mg per day or less, which comes to about 2 cups per day.

  3. Avoid Toxins
    When planning pregnancy it is important to avoid tobacco, nicotine, recreational/illegal drugs and alcohol.  It is also best to avoid certain chemicals including those in paint thinners, paints, and insect and weed killers.  Individuals with pets in the home should refrain from changing cat litter or cleaning cages from rodents.
  4. Prenatal Vitamin
    All women contemplating pregnancy should start a prenatal vitamin containing 400-800mcg of folic acid once daily at least 3 months prior to trying to conceive.
  5. Achieve a Healthy Weight
    Make exercise a priority BEFORE getting pregnant. Plan to work up to 30min of exercise 5 times a week for optimal results.  Exercise is encouraged once you are pregnant as well. It helps to keep weight gains during pregnancy in an acceptable range.  Talk with your doctor to see if the types of exercise you are doing are appropriate for pregnancy.
  6. Learn to Relax
    Knowing how to handle the everyday stresses of life is important at all times of life, but never more so than when pregnant.  Trying to conceive, pregnancy and early motherhood are all very stressful times in a woman’s life and we need the tools to keep that stress under control.  Having family support, a trusted friend or a therapist can be helpful.  In addition, yoga, mindfulness meditation and progressive relaxation can help those stressful times feel more manageable.  
  7. Detoxify Your Enviornment
    This is the perfect time to think about changing out highly chemical and toxic products in your home for more natural ones.  
  8. Get Your Partner Involved As Well
    Male partners contribute half of the baby’s genetic material.  A man’s sperm can be damaged by alcohol, drugs, tobacco, caffeine and toxins.  Making sure his health is optimized is extremely important.  Female partners need to be a strong support for a pregnant mom and set the tone for a healthy family, so making sure everyone is in the best health possible is a priority.  Partners should visit their own doctors for a check-up as well.

Learning to Love Your Skin

By: Courtney Liggera, Psy. D.

If you've ever blushed from embarrassment, “glowed” from happiness, or experienced an “angry” breakout of your skin, you know that your skin can mirror what you are feeling within. Emotional issues, stress, and other psychological factors can activate or worsen certain skin conditions.

Just as psychological and emotional stress can lead to skin conditions, the reverse can also be true.  In fact, people with skin problems are at higher risk of developing psychological problems, and these problems can linger even after the skin gets better.  

Skin conditions can reduce one's quality of life, in terms of unfair judgments on one's appearance, or pressure to look “normal” or to comply with social standards.  As a result, people with a skin condition may:
●     experience decreased sense of body image,
●     have lower self-esteem,
●     avoid situations where skin is exposed,
●     feel anxious about people judging them,
●     withdraw from social interactions,
●     have sexual and relationship issues,
●     feel shame and/or disgust about their appearance.

While we can't necessarily control how our emotional state manifests itself in our skin, we can control how our skin problems impact our emotional state.

So what can you do to maintain a positive and healthy view of yourself when suffering from skin problems? Here are some ways to feel good about who you are regardless of how your skin looks:
●     Appreciate all that your body as a whole can do. Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams. Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you – laughing, breathing, dreaming, running, dancing, etc.
●     Keep a top-10 list of things you like about yourself -- things that aren’t related to your skin condition or what you look like. Read your list often. Add to it as you become aware of more things to like about yourself.
●     Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not skin-deep. When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful regardless of whether you have perfect skin. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
●     Look at yourself as a whole person. When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific parts of your skin. See yourself as you want others to see you -- as a whole person.
●     Surround yourself with positive people. It is easier to feel good about yourself when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are.
●     Shut down any negative thoughts that tell you your skin is not “right” or that you are a “flawed” person, and overpower those feelings with positivity. The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.
●     Do something nice for yourself -- something that lets your body know you appreciate it. Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, find a peaceful place outside to relax.

The most important thing to recognize is that you are not powerless to minimize the overall effect that skin problems have on your daily life.  Give some of these techniques a shot - your mind is a powerful thing!

Diet Challenges with Diabetes

By: Marissa Martino, RD

Type 2 diabetes has been on the rise for the last decade, with a whopping 1.4  million Americans diagnosed each year. This accounts for adults and children. The most disheartening concept about this statistic is that type 2 diabetes, unlike type 1, is actually controllable and even preventable. Diabetes is when your body can’t regulate blood glucose- or sugar- properly, causing all sorts of harmful and long term effects. Type 2 is the form of diabetes that develops from insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that allows the sugar from the food that we eat into our cells, which is then converted into usable energy. If we eat too many foods high in carbohydrates and simple sugars, our blood sugar skyrockets. Insulin is then released in an attempt to lower and regulate our blood sugar. This feedback mechanism causes blood sugar to be lowered, which is the “crashing” feeling we get about 45 minutes after a sugary snack such as a muffin or donut. This rollercoaster effect of constant high and low blood glucose wreaks havoc on the body, and eventually leads to insulin resistance. Our cells become less sensitive to insulin, causing an influx of glucose in the bloodstream. Uncontrolled high blood sugar over time causes the blood to become sticky and viscous. This leads to damaged blood vessels and nerves which affects eye sight, hearing, lack of feeling in hands and feet, chronic inflammation and dehydration.  

After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the goal is to regulate blood sugar levels with diet before resorting to medication and insulin injections. The difficult part about this is, most of us are already comfortable with a certain type of lifestyle- which is usually filled with some unhealthy habits. And habits, as we all know, are not so simple to break. Our lives are hectic and busy, with the majority of the country constantly eating on the run. When we think about what foods are “convenient”, almost all of those options are carb based. Bagels, granola bars, soft pretzels and even food items we deem healthy, such as yogurt or smoothies can be culprits.

A large part of diabetes education is first understanding the vast amount of hidden carbohydrates entangled in our food system. Once we learn how to look at a food label and understand about how many grams of carbs we should be eating per sitting, it’s becomes less challenging to adhere to a diabetic friendly lifestyle.

An attainable goal is to stay under 200 grams of carbs a day. We should aim for no more than 30 grams for a snack, and average between 30-60 grams at meal time. The “diabetic exchange list” is a convenient source that lists all popular food items and the total carb count.  A simple rule of thumb is to remember that 15 grams of carbs is roughly 1 slice of bread, 1/3 cup cooked rice or pasta, or 1 cup of fruit.

One of the most important guidelines to stabilize blood sugar, is to make sure that protein, fiber, or a healthy fat sources are combined with any carb. This is because fiber, protein and fat are slower digesting nutrients, meaning they will delay the rate carb digestion, preventing the high spike in blood sugar.  It has also been shown that saving the carb portion of a snack or meal for last can also help slow down the rate of absorption. For example, if your snack is a handful of almonds and an apple, eat the almonds first and then the apple. The simple sugars from the apple will be more slowly digested thanks to the fiber, protein and healthy fats from the almonds.

By making sure that there is always fiber, protein and or healthy fat every time we eat, we are ensuring that blood glucose levels are stabilized. Even if it is a “complex carb” still try to add a protein. If you like oatmeal in the morning, add a hardboiled egg or a handful of walnuts. Also, rather than the sugar packed instant oatmeal, use plain or steel cut oats and add a drizzle of local honey or fresh berries. If you like a yogurt as a snack, make sure it doesn’t have more than 15 grams of sugar! (My favorite brands are Siggi’s, Chobani Simply 100 or Oikos Triple Zero).

Exercise is also a very important and useful tool in lowering and stabilizing glucose levels. The cells present in muscle are actually very sensitive to insulin, so the more muscle mass we have, the more our bodies will respond to insulin.

Changing habits takes time, focus and dedication. Registered dietitians can guide and support you to a healthier lifestyle, helping you to make achievable and sustainable adjustments.

What You Should Know About Hepatitis

July 28th is World Hepatitis Day, created to raise understanding and awareness of what viral hepatitis is and what can be done about it.

Viral hepatitis is a term referring to any of several infections that attack your liver and cause damage to its’ cellular structure. The viruses we usually refer to when discussing viral hepatitis are: Hepatitis A, B, C, Delta and E. There are, however, other viruses that cause liver inflammation and, reversely, these five viruses can also cause damage and symptoms outside of the liver.

Viral hepatitis typically presents as an acute infection – there are some cases that are ‘subclinical’ meaning patients do not even have obvious symptoms and may go through an infection without ever knowing they had it! More commonly, however, patients present with symptoms including: fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin due to buildup of bilirubin – a pigment that your liver removes from the bloodstream when it is functioning properly). Very rarely, severe cases can even progress to liver failure, brain disease and may be fatal.

Many cases of acute hepatitis resolve within days, weeks or months. However, sometimes acute hepatitis can progress into chronic infection (this only happens with types B, C and Delta). Most often (85% of adult cases) this happens with Hepatitis C. In fact, infection with Hepatitis C can very often present only subclinically with patients experiencing only some fatigue and indigestion. Of course, the concern with these asymptomatic patients is that they may be spreading the infection without being aware of it.

The Delta virus is actually a co-infection that is only present along with Hepatitis B virus. Its presence is usually an indicator of more severe or chronic hepatitis B infection. It spreads through contact with infected blood (through injection or sexual contact)

Hepatitis A is spread primarily through infected food, water or close physical contact with another infected person. It is most common in areas with poor sanitation, such as developing countries or amongst injection drug users. This infection only presents as an acute illness and does not progress to chronic infection.

Hepatitis E is similar to A in that it does not progress to chronic infection and is typically spread through contaminated water, although you can also get this infection by eating contaminated animal products or transfusion of infected blood. This infection is most common in Asia. This infection is most dangerous for pregnant women – the virus can cross the placenta and infect the fetus. Due to immune system changes during pregnancy, pregnant women are more at risk to have severe consequences such as liver failure. Infection in the 3rd trimester can be fatal.

Hepatitis B is transmitted through infected blood or bodily fluid contact – this means both sexual and percutaneous transmission is possible. In some developing countries, dentists with inadequate sterilization equipment can be a source of infection. In general, since hepatitis B can live outside of the body for up to 7 days, any kind of intervention can potentially introduce the virus. This form of viral hepatitis can also develop into a chronic infection; an estimated 240 million people worldwide have chronic hepatitis B. Children under 6 years of age are most likely to develop chronic hepatitis B if they are infected.

Hepatitis C is a blood borne infection – you can only get it through unscreened blood transfusion, unsafe injection practices or unsterilized medical equipment. It can also travel through the placenta of an infected mother and cause infection in her baby. This form of hepatitis can be considered the most dangerous since it can often go undetected for decades as a chronic, asymptomatic infection.

Can hepatitis be cured?

We now have the medications available to clear most patients of their viral hepatitis. Most of the viral infections require only supportive therapy – making sure patients are hydrated and other symptoms – such as nausea and vomiting are reduced. Anti-viral therapies have been shown to be helpful for severe or chronic cases of Hepatitis B. We also now have treatment targeted at Hepatitis C that has made this infection curable as well.

Of course, with severe forms of hepatitis, patients have to be well enough to respond to available medications and fully recover. Some patients will also have irreversible damage from the infection, such as liver failure. Therefore, the best thing is to never become infected in the first place!

What can I do?

First and foremost you should know your status. Get tested for hepatitis B and C to ensure that you are not an asymptomatic carrier of this infection – knowing your status is the best way to protect your partners and future children.

If you are travelling out of the country, schedule a travel visit to find out if your travels will be through an area where Hepatitis A and E are common – this will alert you to be mindful of sanitation shortcomings, make sure you do not eat undercooked food or water that has not been sterilized.

If you are an injection drug user, please use safe practices by not sharing needles. You should also be mindful in any place that uses needles – if you are getting tattoos or piercing, make sure your provider uses proper sanitation techniques.

Healthcare workers are a special risk category for hepatitis infection since they are in contact with patients all the time. For this reason, make sure you are always using proper protection equipment (masks, gloves, eye shields) when working with patients.

Lastly, and most importantly – get vaccinated. Hepatitis A vaccines are available for patients travelling to endemic areas to make your trip worry-free. Hepatitis B vaccinations are available starting from birth! You can get your newborn vaccinated before they ever leave the hospital. Remember – Hepatitis B can live for up to 7 days outside of the body, so your baby can be at risk anytime they are in need of medical intervention – by vaccinating your baby, you can remove this risk-factor entirely. Healthcare workers who have not been vaccinated, should also get the vaccine series so that you can be safe and secure in your work. There is also a vaccine for Hepatitis E in China that will hopefully soon be available worldwide.

Viral hepatitis can be a mild inconvenience for some patients and a life-changing consequence for others, however, now that we have new treatments available, it is no longer a death sentence. Protect yourself by knowing your status and your options – schedule an appointment with one of our providers today!

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