Dr. John: Avoiding scars, side effects of drugs

10:13 AM, Jan 15, 2014   |    comments
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KUSA - Dr. John Torres from Premier Urgent Care answers your questions every week. If you have a medical question for Dr. John, send it to mornings@9news.com and make sure to have Ask Dr. John in the subject line.

Question #1
My 3 year old Granddaughter fell this weekend and hit her face on a plastic shelf. It never really bled but it was bruised and looks like an abrasion. It's about 2-3 inches long. Her pediatrician said to just clean once a day with soap and water and several times a day put polysporin on it. I'm so concerned it's going to scar. Should we have it checked by a dermatologist? Pediatrician also said to watch for infection and when it's healed in 7-10 days to use Mederma. I hate for her to have a scar if there is anything else we should be doing? Thank you so much Cheryl

Answer
Anytime we cut or scrap our skin we are setting ourselves up to scar. As a matter of fact every time we do that we do end up getting a scar but we only tend to see the ones that become larger and darker. Where the cut is can have a lot to do with how much it will scar. Skin that's under more tension builds up bigger scars as its healing. But scarring also depends on our genes. Some of us scar more than others and can even develop bigger scar types that are known as keloids. The best way to avoid a scar is to keep the wound, either a cut or an abrasion, clean and dry while it's healing. Getting the wound infected will also lead to a chance of getting a bigger scar. Using an antibiotic ointment can help as well. And avoiding the sun is equally important. Letting the fresh healing skin tan or burn will lead to a discoloration that makes the scar look more prominent. Once the wound has healed creams like Mederma can help smooth out any remaining scar tissue. Usually this all can be taken care of at home. If a scar does form than dermatologist can help reduce its size.

Question #2
Every day we see commercials on TV for drugs/pharmaceuticals from different companies for many different ailments. A great deal of time at the end of the commercials is devoted to the many serious, life-threatening side effects of these drugs. Many of them even say that they can cause death. If these drugs have all of these serious side effects, why are they allowed on the market? Is a certain number of deaths or serious complications considered acceptable? Rick

Answer
I'm assuming many people have wondered exactly the same thing. You hear about the wonderful medication only to listen to its scary side effects at the end of the commercial. This is something they have to do because both the company's lawyers and the FDA mandate it. Its job is to hopefully have you realize that the drug might have great benefits but also might have some bad side effects. Most of the time though the bad side effects they mention are very rare but they still need to mention them. As an example I can tell you that some medications we tend to take for granted, like acetaminophen, the active ingredient in medications like Tylenol or other pain relievers can also have bad side effects. But we really don't think twice before taking this pill. In the case of this medication the serious side effects include liver problems, life threatening allergic reactions and anemia. The bottom line is that all medications have benefits and side effects and you need to carefully weigh if any certain medication will help you or not before taking it.

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