By | Beals

The CDC and Texas Medical Association has shared reports of a rise of West Nile, Dengue, and Chikungynya infections in Texas this season. Dr. Roberta Beals of the Healthy Skin Clinic in Lubbock says “Zika is also a concern when it comes to these pesky pests. We can all take steps to help avoid infection.” To help keep the community safe, avoid mosquito bites and to reduce mosquito populations, such as:

  • Regularly applying EPA-registered insect repellent while outdoors.
  • Dumping out all standing water inside and outside homes and businesses so mosquitoes can’t lay eggs.
  • Using air-conditioning or making sure window and door screens are in good repair to keep mosquitoes out.
  • By covering-up skin with long sleeves and long pants to help prevent bites.

DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) better known as insect repellant has specific recommendations for use from physicians. The more mosquitos you’re exposed to the higher concentration of DEET you need to use. A product containing 10 to 35 percent DEET is adequate in most circumstances, with higher concentrations reserved for situations in which: insect infestation is high, the repellent may be partially washed off, or time outdoors will exceed three to four hours. Microencapsulated formulations are preferred, as these protect longer with lower concentrations of active repellent. DEET should be used carefully and only as directed. It can be used safely by pregnant women and applied once daily to children older than two months of age (Breisch, UpToDate, 2019). Twenty percent picaridin (aka Saltidin) is a good alternative for people who wish to avoid the unpleasant characteristics of DEET and are willing to accept a somewhat shorter-acting repellent. For concerns about their health or information on insect repellants such as Saltidin plant-based alternatives to DEET, people can call or text the Healthy Skin Clinic at 806.790.5964.


By | Beals
Alarmed at the recent media coverage, Dr. Roberta Beals of the Healthy Skin Clinic in Lubbock wants to help warn the local community about the dangers that cosmetics can cause to children. “We want to remind parents to be wary of the products in their homes and provide some recommendations to avoid misuse by children to keep them safe,” says Dr. Beals. “Great products can still cause great problems when in the hands of children.”
Newsweek reports that research indicates “encounters with everyday cosmetic products from shampoo to deodorant land a child in the [emergency department] every two hours in the U.S.” The study found that “between 2002 and 2016, an estimated 64,686 children below the age of five visited emergency rooms across the country for injuries caused by cosmetic products.”
CBS News reports that investigators “found 75 percent of injuries from cosmetic products occurred when a child swallowed a product, while 19 percent occurred when a product made contact with a child’s eyes.” The study indicated that “the three most common types of products that caused injuries in young children were nail care, hair products, and skin care.”
Dr. Beals recommends that:
  • Everyone keep their cosmetics and other handheld -or smaller- toiletries at a safe distance out of reach from children particularly aged five and below.
  • Make-up always be kept in closed, lid-covered containers. Child proof lids are also helpful but are not always found on sample size products. These containers will help to corral the clutter on counters, drawers and cabinets that draw the attention of children.
  • Have mom or dad teach or openly show kids aged 5 and up how they use their toiletries when they grow up, to avoid misuse in the meantime or down the road.
For concerns about the safety of specific products, people can call or text the Healthy Skin Clinic at 806.790.5964

Great News for Dog Owners

By | Beals

Dog Ownership Linked to Lower Mortality Rate

In this register-based nationwide prospective study including 3+ million individuals, dog ownership was associated with a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) in single-person households and with lower cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in the general population. Ownership of hunting dog breeds was associated with a decreased risk of CVD, and ownership of all purebred breeds was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality. Although further investigation in the Twin Cohort did not show any association between dog ownership and CVD and mortality likely due to the smaller sample size, additional adjustment for detailed lifestyle and socioeconomic factors only marginally altered these estimates (The Finnish Twin Cohort was first established in 1974 to investigate genetic and environmental risk factors for chronic disorders).

In conclusion, in a nationwide population-based study with 12 years of follow-up, we show that dog ownership is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in single households and with a reduced risk of cardiovascular and all-cause death in the general population.

Celebrate your furry friend with a walk. You both will be happier you did.

Fall Sport Injuries

By | Beals

It is November and no matter where you look there is a sporting event around every corner, whether it is local, state, or national. Many of us will be participating in one or more of these sports. Why is *insert your favorite sport here* America’s favorite pastime? The endorphins have us all hooked. Competition feeds your adrenals to excrete hormones culminating in the increase in testosterone. Yes, men and women can benefit from active and passive participation and all ages apply. There is an increase in socialization and community surrounding these events. These areas lead to the same thing: youth or cellular regeneration. The more cortisol and testosterone rejuvenate, the more it heals and repairs your body!

Whether you are competing against other teams or just competing with yourself, sports have been known to cause injuries. What can you do to help yourself? Train, train, train. Elite athletes are always working to keep their body in shape, and they should. It is their full-time job. Weekend warriors still need to train. The good news is even other types of physical activity will benefit your game. The stronger your body is in both types of muscle tissue, the more resilient you will be if and when you get injured.

No one wants to be hurt. Just like planning for success, you can plan for your injury. How do you do this? If you consider a problem and have a plan to manage that problem, your outcomes will be better. It has been proven in multiple disciplines, especially when it comes to sports and physical activities.

The most common injuries are soft tissue trauma: skin, muscle, fat, lymphatics and tendons can all be torn. They can also be repaired. A simple petrolatum product or bandage on your skin will heal in days. If you bleed, you quite possibly need stitches. Your body can repair torn muscles as well. Muscle training keeps the tissue engaged to handle that rapid repair. Tendons are tougher to heal because of the lack the same blood supply that the first to have. Injury involving this is classified as the first stage: a stretch with microscopic tears but overall intact. You will experience swelling and tenderness, but there is no limitation. The second a more extensive injury involving an incomplete tear of the ligament and you can have moderate pain, swelling tenderness and bruising. A grade 3 sprain involves a complete tear of the ligament. Severe pain, swelling, tenderness and bruising can all occur because of the torn ligament. However, this time there is instability of the joint with loss of function. These unfortunate individuals cannot even bear weight.

You may not be able to control the situation that caused the injury, but you can condition yourself. It has been shown in all types of literature that muscle and bone strength training limit the severity of the injury.

Consistent muscle training, both white and red muscle fibers, limit the trauma and restore functioning faster.

Regardless of the type of injury, it is frustrating. You have to stop what you are doing. Your hormones decline and the emotions change. The process… seeing the physician… wearing a splint, or worse, having to have surgery. This puts limitations on your lifestyle. Loss of patience with yourself or others while your body repairs itself. This time is important. Complete restoration of this tissue is important. It may not be the first injury that is a problem. If you have a second or third injury, it can be life-altering. Moral of the story: Don’t rush back too soon. Take time and heal right the first time. Then, you can come back strong.

What you can do is supplement. Remember the trifecta: Vitamin C, Green Tea and Vitamin E are the key ingredients to tissue repair while mitigating the inflammation in the skin. For the rest: Co Q10 every other day, Vitamin C daily, Glucosamine daily or twice a day will all help other areas. Don’t forget the fats. Steric acid and linoleic acid are found in butter, olive oil, flax oil and canola oil.

Please see me if you have any more questions.

Dyshidrotic Eczema AKA Itchy Hands and Feet

By | Beals

Acute palmoplantar eczema (more popularly known as dyshidrotic eczema) has an intense itch, small to large bubbles under the skin affecting the palms, soles, or both [1,2]. It is characterized by deep-seated lesions. Recurrence is common and patients typically experience frequent episodes for months or years. It occurs in younger individuals with equal distribution in men and women. This condition will resolve on its own, however, there is a strong association to contact dermatitis that increases with age.

Why do I mention this now? There is a significant association with allergies. Here in Lubbock, the first freeze and defoliation result in the startup of the cotton gin. This is a significant source of both intrinsic and extrinsic allergies.

First line treatment is avoidance of irritants or exacerbating factors is beneficial for most patients with dyshidrotic eczema. General skin care measures aimed at reducing skin irritation and restoring the skin barrier include:

  • Using lukewarm water and soap-free cleansers to wash hands.
  • Drying hands thoroughly after washing.
  • Applying emollients (eg, petroleum jelly) immediately after hand drying and as often as possible.
  • Wearing cotton gloves under vinyl or other nonlatex gloves when performing wet work. Powder free gloves may be of use as well.
  • Removing rings and watches and bracelets before wet work.
  • Wearing protective gloves in cold weather.
  • Wearing task-specific gloves for frictional exposures (eg, gardening, carpentry).
  • Avoiding exposure to irritants (eg, detergents, solvents, hair lotions or dyes, acidic foods [eg, citrus fruit]). It has been noted in other literature that antibacterial gels can be a common trigger. It is the preservative used or the fragrance.

Elta MD has a non-inflammatory Body Lotion or Body Moisturizer that is a good first line treatment. Topical steroids and allergy control are second and available by your doctor. This condition is commonly mistaken for other infections or inflammatory conditions. This problem should improve with the above measures but can also recur.

Support Cancer Awareness and Prevention

By | Beals

What is No-Shave November?

No-Shave November is a month-long journey during which participants forgo shaving and grooming in order to evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness. Learn more about how you can get involved and start getting hairy! It is a way to bring awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free. Donate the money you typically spend on shaving and grooming to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.

Participate by growing a beard, cultivating a mustache, letting those legs go natural, and skipping that waxing appointment. Then donate those dollars.

Register at This year $570,815 has been raised by 14,122 members, 1,288 teams and 244 organizations.

Have you been thinking of getting immunized for influenza? Well, consider this…

By | Beals

Woman sick with the fluInfluenza is an acute respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses. It occurs in epidemics nearly every year, mainly during the winter season in temperate climates. Influenza viruses change their antigenic characteristics frequently, and their subsequent spread depends upon the susceptibility of the population to viruses with novel antigens. Annual influenza vaccination is an important public health measure for preventing influenza infection. This year the World Health Organization recommended restructuring the vaccine due to the increase and changes in Swine flu cases in Australia. Here are their recommendations: The WHO recommends that seasonal influenza vaccines for the 2017 influenza season in the southern hemisphere (May to October) and the 2017 to 2018 influenza season in the northern hemisphere (November to April) contain the following strains:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus (this is the swine flu)
  • A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (included in the quadrivalent vaccines only)

Influenza A H1N1 vaccine antigen represents a change compared to the one used in the 2016 influenza vaccines for the southern hemisphere and the 2016 to 2017 influenza vaccines for the northern hemisphere. As a result, we should be better protected than our southern friends. Many people are on their way to being immunized. We have had our first freeze so the first case should be just around the corner. Isolated cases have been found in larger cities in Texas thus far. Exposure to the viral particles occurs when you come within 6 feet of an infected person and is spread through mucous droplets from sneezing or coughing. After 24-48 hours you will start to have symptoms and start shedding the virus as well for the next 4.5 days. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle/joint aches and pains, cough, dizziness, runny nose, anorexia and malaise. The key to treatment is early detection, treatment and isolation. See your provider within 48 hours to be screened. Remember the treatment will decrease the severity and duration of the disease. The associated illnesses such as pneumonia are on the rise. Hospitalizations rates in West Texas have increased by 20% in this year in Pneumonia patients. Physicians in West Texas are recommending PREVAR 13 or PNEUMOCOCCAL 23 to prevent this complication. Your provider can recommend the one that is right for you.

A woman moisturizing her legs.

November is National Healthy Skin Month

By | Beals

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and as such, you need to take care of it. Keep your skin in good shape all year round by following these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • Wash your face every day and after exercising. Use a mild cleanser and lukewarm water.
  • Use an antiperspirant rather than a deodorant, to reduce sweating.
  • Determine your skin type (Oily, Dry, Combination, Normal or Sensitive) and choose skin care products tailored to that type.
  • Examine your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer. Look for new or unusual spots, as well as anything changing, itching or bleeding.
  • Protect your skin from the sun by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
  • Consider using petroleum jelly to treat minor injuries and moisturize dry skin and nails.
  • Prevent blisters and corns on your feet by making sure your shoes fit properly.
  • Wear nylon or moisture-wicking socks, and keep your toenails trimmed.
  • Moisturize daily. Apply lotion or cream while your skin is still damp from bathing to lock in moisture and get the best results.

We seek to keep your skin care safe and simple. Some skin care products can create problems, see us for your questions or concerns. I have other blogs that address these concerns as well.

A woman moisturizing her legs.
A cyclist riding a bike down a deserted road.

Impotence and Bicyclists

By | Beals

A cyclist riding on a bike down a deserted road.Sexual activity decreases with age in both men and women. In men, the most common sexual problem is Erectile Dysfunction (ED). ED is the recurrent inability to acquire or sustain an erection of sufficient rigidity and duration for sexual intercourse.

Numerous studies have indicated an association with bicycling. Any activity that places prolonged pressure on the nerves or blood flow that service this area can result in penile numbness and impotence. Prolonged pressure can result in loss of subcutaneous fat over time, pressure on nerves resulting in loss of sensation and limiting oxygenated blood flow to the penis will result in ED. Standard bicycle seats are now known to cause this in long-distance cyclists. Alternative seating is available.

However, consider other activities or behaviors that can do the same thing. Any sustained activity that changes the nervous impulse or limits the blood flow should be avoided to limit your risk. There are some early studies coming out of Japan looking for the same issue in motorcyclists. There is nothing on PubMed addressing this issue in horseback riders. From my experience, it is common in my female patients that have improved with the O-Shot.

For a patient handout on Sexual Health and Aging, check out this link.

Mayo Clin Healthy Lett. 2007 ju, Urology. 2015 Apr;85(4)ne:25(6), J Sex Med 2008 Aug;5(8); 2005 sep;2(5), Uptodate October 2017, Int J Impot Res. 2006 July ; 18(4)

A close-up of a man's feet; one foot wearing a black shoe and the other foot removed from the shoe.

Itchy Feet?

By | Beals

Athletes foot is a fungal infection that occurs on the feet. Known as dermatophytes, these opportunistic infections can be a prelude to toenail infections. These are not only unsightly but can have long-term complications. Start early. Rid yourself of this problem before it sets up housekeeping. Prevention is another way to avoid troubles as well.

Tinea pedis (fungal infections on the feet) usually occurs in adults and adolescents (particularly young men) and is rare prior to puberty. Infection is normally acquired by direct contact with the organism. These organisms live in warm moist environments like locker rooms or swimming pool facilities.

There are three types:

Interdigital tinea pedis (in between the toes)
Foot fungus
Hyperkeratotic tinea pedis (thickened yellow skin on the soles and lateral surfaces)
Foot fungus
Vesiculobullous tinea pedis (itchy painful blisters)
Foot fungus

How do you prevent getting fungal infections?

Step 1: Avoid contact. Wear protective shoes and keep them clean.
Step 2: Wash your feet with soap and water with a washcloth. Simple cleaning keeps debris away.
Step 3: Wear clean socks with closed-toe shoes and change them frequently if they become wet.

Keep your skin dry on the outside and hydrated on the inside.


There is a multitude of over-the-counter creams, ointments, gels and sprays available, but there are some guidelines. You want to use the medications as directed on the label for up to two weeks. If this fails, please see your provider to confirm and treat your problem. Keep in mind that the deeper the disease the more likelihood there may be a secondary bacterial infection. Choose a cream or ointment. You want a product to cover and protect the skin as well as treat it. Any medication with “AZOLE” in the word will work for the feet. Terbinafine is another option that works quite well.