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FOCUS ON HEALTH

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FAMOUS NOTORIOUS PLANTAR WART!!

 

In mid September of this year tropical storm Gabrielle hit Florida. A few years ago hurricane Hugo tried to turn parts of South Carolina into a parking lot. My question is why do we give these storms a name as though they have a personality? Is there something about the human psyche that necessitates naming a particularly painful experience?

If you were a Dodger fan when Bobby Thompson hit his home run you have had to live with the memory of "the shot heard 'round the world". If your team was playing the Steelers when Franco Harris made an unbelievably lucky catch you remember "the immaculate reception".

In health care we do not choose to do this, but think of the potential. If you had the chance to name your most painful malady would you do it? If so, what name would you choose? The name should reflect the personality of the condition.

Suggested names for: a kidney stone – Rocky or possibly Gibraltar.

For a hemorrhoid, which is a bloody, smelly pain in the a__ - Ossama.

For a painful wart on the bottom of the foot...Understand that a plantar wart is very difficult to get rid of and often comes back even though it is not welcome. This is one you might name after that brother-in-law assuming the supine position on the couch in the next room.

Plantar warts (plantar refers to the anatomical location on the bottom surface of the foot, not to be mistaken for planter-one who puts seeds in the ground) are believed to be caused by the papoma virus. This is why they are potentially contagious. I am all for close families sharing many things but this condition should not be one of them.

The most simple, effective preventive measure to assure this does not happen is to keep a household spray bottle containing 10% bleach, 90% water near the tub or shower and spray any surface used by bare feet after each use.

There are several "old wives tale" treatments for getting rid of warts. My favorite was to rub the wart with a potato during a full moon and bury the potato behind a barn. Do not try this at home. There are medical professionals whose feelings may be hurt if it worked.

The current treatment is essentially tissue destructive in nature. The wart is destroyed using chemical cautery, laser cautery, surgical excision or cryosurgery (extreme cold using dry ice or liquid nitrogen). Normal tissue forms as the skin heals from this trauma.

An interesting thing about warts is that they are almost always seen in teenagers. This is believed to be due to hormonal influence. Whenever I see a plantar wart on the foot of a lady I tell her she can brag to their friends that doctor told them that they have the skin condition of a "much younger woman." It is important to spread a little cheer around whenever you get the chance.

Speaking about giving a name to a painful condition, we Cub fans have a name for this time of the year when our beloved Cubs get beat out for a playoff position. We call it FOOTBALL SEASON.

By the way brothers and sisters, the Cubs magic number for the 2002 season is 163.

 

Keep the faith!!!

Dr. Dennis Chubinski

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