NZDSI Blog

Level 1 and chilblains

11 Jun, 2020

Level 1 and what a relief to return to an “almost normal” normal. New Zealand dermatologists will fully open their clinics and you can book to see them.  For some of you, there may have been skin conditions for which you have not been able to seek an opinion because of the different lock down levels but now is the time to have them assessed and treated.

While being wary of Covid 19 it is possible to begin to turn away from this virus back to dermatology and consider dermatology in the winter. Can the cold cause rashes? Yes, several in fact including chilblains also known as pernio. Chilblains are a nuisance in winter. They are caused when the cold is sufficiently severe to damage the skin and cause painful, burning red or purplish bumps. Common sites are the hands, feet and occasionally other areas including the nose and ears. They can take a long time to resolve. Farmers sometimes get them on the hands driving quad bikes without gloves on cold days. Rarely there are other illnesses associated with chilblains and your dermatologist may need to check you for these conditions. A blood test or biopsy may be needed. Preventing them with warm clothing is important. Thermal gloves will help. Smoking makes the problem worse. A medication called nifedipine helps to open the small blood vessels in the skin and can be useful.

So stay warm while enjoying the new normal!

 

Alert level 2 and Covid toes.

22 May, 2020

Covid, alert level 3, dermatology and beyond

26 Apr, 2020

It goes without saying that the last month has been very strange for us all. With careful guidance and the impressive self-discipline of New Zealanders the curve of Covid has been flattened. The numbers of new cases are diminishing rapidly.

Tomorrow we go from level 4 to level 3. Not a huge change but so encouraging for us all and a great boost for morale. Hopefully level 2 will follow soon.

New Zealand dermatologists are now actively planning to adjust their work as the levels change. The last blog was on virtual consultations and at level 3 this will still be the majority. As we move toward level 2 then clinics will ease their restrictions with more normal activity. There will be considerable planning and preparation for safe consultations carefully following the advice of the New Zealand government.

You can help your dermatologist by considering these 3 questions* prior to making a Face to Face appointment:
1. In the last 14 days have you been overseas?
2. In the last 14 days have you been in contact with a person who has confirmed/probable Covid illness?
3. Are you unwell or are any of the people in your household bubble unwell with fever or new respiratory symptoms?

If the answer is “No” it is very unlikely that that you have Covid. If the answer is “Yes” then you must not attend the clinic appointment but seek advice from your General Practitioner and consider testing for the virus. Remember that it is not only important to think of your own health, but also of the well being of the healthcare providers with whom you will interact.

If you have a skin problem please do not hesitate to seek advice from your dermatologist. As we begin to leave Covid behind don’t allow your own personal health to suffer through delay.

*With grateful acknowledgement to Counties Manukau Health

 

Teledermatology during Covid 19

3 Apr, 2020

Covid 19 has arrived in New Zealand and this has produced rapid and profound change for us all in our work style. New Zealand dermatologists have adapted to the new environment and are strictly following the advice of the New Zealand government. Check the website of your dermatologist as this will explain the new procedures and give contact details.

Dermatology is well suited for telemedicine. Online virtual consultations are different but allow your care to continue during this period particularly for urgent problems. Ideally these are done in real time using video conferencing so that you can directly consult with your dermatologist. Sometimes it is easier to have the consultation on your smart phone rather than laptop or desktop so that the camera can be moved easily and the dermatologist can look at different areas of skin. It may be helpful to have someone who is with you in your “bubble” to help you move the phone to areas that you cannot easily reach. 

Some areas of New Zealand are very remote and internet access is unstable or poor quality. Another way to seek help is for you to take photographs and e mail them to your dermatologist who can phone you.  If you send photos make sure they are in focus and with a well-lit background so that the detail of the problem can be seen. For a dermatologist it is often helpful to see where the rash is on your body so take a “long shot” as well as “close ups” so that detail can be seen. 

Pharmacies remain open. Your dermatologist can send the prescription to the pharmacy. Remember to be very specific with the exact details of your pharmacy so that the prescription is sent to the right one!  Give the pharmacy a ring from home to make sure the medicine is ready to be picked up.  Do not go if you are immunocompromised or over 70 years old.

Major health insurers in New Zealand have agreed to fund virtual consultations during this period. The insurers who we understand have agreed to virtual consultations include Southern Cross, Accuro, NIB, AIA, AA, Police Plan, Sovereign and Partners Life.  Check with your insurer for details prior to the consultation.

Every New Zealand dermatologist extends their best wishes to you and your family/whānau during this time. Stay well, stay safe and be kind to each other.  

 

NZDSI Dermatologists: The Authority on Medical Dermatology, Surgical Dermatology and Cosmetic Dermatology. Why is this justified?

9 Feb, 2020

Although dermatologists are expert in all skin disorders, some have specialty interests and focus their work in specific areas. Some specialise in surgical dermatology especially skin cancer, some in medical dermatology (rashes) and some in cosmetic dermatology. If you look at the New Zealand Dermatological Society Inc (NZDSI) web page you will see the statement “The Authority on Medical Dermatology, Surgical Dermatology and Cosmetic Dermatology”. Why is this justified?

Training to become a dermatologist in New Zealand is rigorous. It may take 12-15 years. Initially there is the university course to graduate as a doctor, usually 6 years. Then follows post graduate training. The initial part is to pass the examinations of Royal Australasian College of Physicians which can be sat after 3 years. After passing these exams, the prospective dermatologist can then apply for a dermatology training position. This is a further 4 years whole time with 2 years spent overseas to build international experience. Some dermatologists will undertake specific additional training in their specific field of interest.
This detail is given so that you can understand the depth and length of training required to become a dermatologist in New Zealand and for you to have confidence in the dermatologist you choose to see. For example, if you have a specific cosmetic question, you will have assurance that the dermatologist will have a full understanding of all the medical (non-surgical) and surgical options for you based on deep and broad experience.

Only NZDSI Dermatologists are permitted to use the distinctive logo. Look for it.