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INTRODUCTION

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Dermatologic diseases are diagnosed by the types of lesions they cause. To make a diagnosis: (1) identify the type of lesion(s) the patient exhibits by morphology establishing a differential diagnosis (Table 6–1); and (2) obtain the elements of the history, physical examination, and appropriate laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis. Specific clinical situations, such as an immunocompromised or critically ill patient, lead to different diagnostic considerations.

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Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 6–1.Morphologic categorization of skin lesions and diseases.
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PRINCIPLES OF DERMATOLOGIC THERAPY

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Frequently Used Treatment Measures

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A. Bathing
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Soap should be used only in the axillae and groin and on the feet by persons with dry or inflamed skin. Soaking in water for 10–15 minutes before applying topical corticosteroids enhances their efficacy (Soak and Smear). Bath oils can be used, but add little above the use of moisturizers, and may make the tub slippery, increasing the risk of falling.

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B. Topical Therapy
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Nondermatologists should become familiar with a representative agent in each category for each indication (eg, topical corticosteroid, topical retinoid, etc).

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1. Corticosteroids
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