Pityriasis Leichenoides et Variolaformis Acuta (PLEVA), also called Mucha Habermann's disease, is a rare condition that affects the skin, causing clusters of small, itchy bumps to form on the upper torso and extremities (hands and arms). Often misdiagnosed as scabies, little is known about the causes, treatments and cures for PLEVA. Read on to learn which treatments can be effective in combating this condition.
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Visit your family physician or dermatologist to obtain a definitive diagnosis. Since little is know about the causes of PLEVA, misdiagnosis can occur. PLEVA can present and mimic the symptoms of other skin conditions, so proper diagnosis can take some time (see Resources below).
Expose skin to natural sunlight (without burning). Although scientifically unproven, it has been shown to help clear up PLEVA in several instances.
Apply topical steroid ointments. Topical steroids (corticosteroids) come in varying strengths, with the highest potency formulas only available through prescription. This treatment works as an anti-inflammatory agent, but will not cure PLEVA. The stronger, prescribed formulas should only be applied to affected areas, and different parts of the body have different absorption rates.
Take oral antibiotics prescribed by your doctor or dermatologist. Erythromycin and Tetracycline are the most commonly prescribed types, which work by acting as an anti-inflammatories, reducing new blood vessel formation and apoptosis (programmed cell death).
Try phototherapy--artificial ultraviolet radiation--to alleviate PLEVA symptoms. The rate of success has yet to be determined, but it has been shown to help in some cases. This type of treatment is administered by way of a cabinet, much like a tanning booth, and requires several visits in order for any relief to be experienced. There are also hand-held units available by prescription; however, the cost can be substantial (see Resources below).
Make lifestyle changes, including eliminating bad eating habits and incorporating more exercise. Many skin diseases, such as psoriasis and eczema, can be treated (not cured) by adding more fruits and vegetables and eliminating overly processed, fatty and fried foods. Cut back on caffeine and sugar. Drink more water to flush out toxins from the system. While there are no predetermined methods for treating PLEVA with diet, incorporate foods that are known to bolster the immune system. Foods such as yoghurt (with active acidophilus cultures), garlic, broccoli, bell peppers, and herbs and spices such as oregano and turmeric, when consumed on a regular basis, strengthen the body's ability to ward off ailments of many types.
Tips and warnings
- There are no "quick fixes" for relief from PLEVA symptoms. It may take several weeks before the rash starts to clear or lessen.
- Consider activities such as exercise, yoga and meditation to lessen anxiety and stress surrounding the condition.
- With natural sunlight and phototherapy treatments, do not overdo it in hopes of speeding up relief. Overexposure will cause burning, further irritation and inflammation, and can lead to skin cancer.
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