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self-help Coping with acne

Understanding what causes acne and what does not will help you cope with the condition. The following measures may be helpful in controlling acne:

• Wash your face regularly, but not more than twice a day. Use mild soap and water. Washing will not prevent acne, but it may stop it getting worse.

• Oily cosmetics and pomades for Afro-Caribbean hair should be used sparingly.

• Sunlight can help to improve mild acne -but be careful to avoid sunburn.

There is no evidence that acne can be caused or made worse by having hair that hangs over the face. Nor are lack of exercise or eating sweets, chocolates, or fatty foods known to be factors. However, your general health will be improved by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

possible cause and action These are features of severe acne that should be treated by a doctor. Consult your doctor, who will examine your child and may prescribe acne treatment or may refer your child to a skin specialist for treatment (see Treatments for acne, below). Your child should also follow self-help measures (see Coping with acne, above).

Treatments for acne

There is no instant cure for acne, although many treatments are available that will improve the appearance of the skin. Before consulting your doctor, you should try over-the-counter lotions and creams containing benzoyl peroxide. This drug unblocks pores and kills bacteria, thereby reducing the number of spots. However, benzoyl peroxide can make the skin sore.

Moderate to severe acne should receive medical treatment. Your doctor may prescribe long-term low-dose antibiotics, which need to be taken for at least 6 months. Alternatively, he or she may prescribe a skin preparation containing a retinoid drug. These creams unblock pores by removing a fine surface layer of skin.

If treatment with antibiotics and/or retinoid creams is ineffective, your acne is very severe, or there is scarring, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for treatment with oral retinoids, such as isotretinoin. These drugs are usually very effective. However, because of the risk of side effects, regular blood tests will be needed while you are taking them. Women must not become pregnant during treatment with oral retinoids because these drugs can cause serious malformations in the fetus.

General Charts for Adults

Feeling unwell 146

Tiredness 147

Loss of weight 148

Overweight 150

ra Difficulty in sleeping 152

Fever 154

Excessive sweating 156

Headache 158

Feeling faint and passing out 160

Dizziness 162

Numbness and/or tingling 163

Forgetfulness and/or confusion 164

Twitching and/or trembling 166

Pain in the face 167

TO Difficulty in speaking 168

Disturbing thoughts and feelings 169

Depression 170

Anxiety 172

Lumps and swellings 174

Itching 175

Hair and scalp problems 176

General skin problems 178

Skin problems affecting the face 180

Skin discoloration and moles 182

M Rash with fever 184

Nail problems 185

Painful or irritated eye 186

Disturbed or impaired vision 188

Hearing problems 190

Noises in the ear 192

Earache 193

Runny or blocked nose 194

Sore throat 195

Hoarseness or loss of voice 196

0) Wheezing 197

Coughing 198

Shortness of breath 200

Chest pain 202

Palpitations 204

Teeth problems 206

Mouth problems 208

Difficulty in swallowing 209

Vomiting 210

Recurrent vomiting 212

00 Abdominal pain 214

Recurrent abdominal pain 216

5J Swollen abdomen 218

Wind 219

Diarrhoea 220

05 Constipation 221

[106 Abnormal-looking faeces 222

107 Anal problems 223

General urinary problems 224

Painful urination 226

0 Painful joints 228

Painful shoulder 230

Painful arm 231

Painful leg 232

Painful knee 234

Swollen ankles 235

[116 Foot problems 236

Back pain 238

Painful or stiff neck 240

[56 Feeling unwell

Sometimes you may have a vague feeling of being unwell without being able to identify a specific symptom such as pain. This feeling is usually the result of a minor infection, psychological pressures, or an unhealthy lifestyle. However, you should always make an appointment to see your doctor if the feeling persists for more than a few days; there is a possibility that it may be a sign of a more serious underlying problem that requires medical treatment.

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