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Black hairy tongue, as shown above on a 2-year-old boy, occurs when the filiform papillae that cover the tongue become enlarged and overgrown with fungi. The cause is not known, but may be due to poor oral hygiene or antibiotic use. Treatment is with thorough cleaning of the tongue and mouth with antifungal drugs. Photo credit: Dr. P. Marazzi / Photo Researchers, Inc.

Oral mucositis

More than 40% of patients undergoing chemotherapy develop some degree of mucositis during the course of their treatment. Patients receiving radiation to the head, neck, or chest areas and patients who undergo bone marrow or stem cell transplant are even more likely to develop mucositis. Incidence of mucositis is higher with certain chemotherapy or total…

This type of rapid baldness may result from an autoimmune disorder, thyroid disorders or anti-cancers drugs. Photo credit: Phototake

Hair Disorders

Hair disorders are common and can range from conditions including hair loss and baldness, excessive hair growth, and disorders involving the hair shaft. Causes of hair loss include, but are not limited to, genetic abnormalities, skin disorders, diseases, bacterial infections, hormone imbalances and damaging grooming practices.

A carbuncle is a contagious skin infection that often involves a group of hair follicles, often caused by the bacteria S. aureus. The infected material forms a lump, called mass, which occurs deep in the skin. The infected mass is filled with fluid, pus and dead tissue. Fluid may drain out of the carbuncle, but sometimes the mass is so deep that it cannot drain on its own. Photo Credit: John Watney / Photo Researchers, Inc.

Skin and Soft Tissue Infections

Staphylococcus aureus, a gram positive bacteria believed to be carried by approximately 30% to 50% of healthy individuals at any given time, is responsible for the majority of skin and soft tissue infections that primary care physicians treat.

Common warts on a patient


Common, typically harmless tumors that occur most often on the hands and feet. Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus and can be contagious. They usually disappear after a few months, but can last for years and can recur.

Onycholysis is the separation of a nail from its bed associated with psoriasis, dermatitis of the hand, fungal infection, pseudomonas infection and many other conditions. Photo courtesey of Mediscan.


Psoriasis is a chronic, relapsing skin disease characterized by distinctive red, scaly lesions. The disorder effects about 2% of the U.S. population and patients may experience symptoms that range in severity from minor to disabling. There is no cure, but therapy to relieve symptoms is available.

Typically painless, treatment involves draining and removing the cyst.

Nail disorders

Understanding nail disorders, how to treat them, and when to refer to a dermatology specialist are essential skills for the primary-care clinician.

Allergic contact dermatitis arises from an induced sensitivity, as opposed to the direct damage of contact dermatitis.


Although there are many different types of dermatitis, the condition typically involves swollen, red, and itchy skin.

Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles caused by friction from clothing, blockage of the follicle, or shaving.


Acne, a general name given to a skin disorder in which the sebaceous glands become inflamed, comes in a number of types.

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