Doctors also need to develop specific treatment plans for soldiers with skin problems so that they can participate in lengthy deployments without requiring frequent visits to a dermatologist. In addition, diagnosing skin problems in combat zones needs to be more accurate, McGraw said.
Dr. Steve Feldman, a professor of dermatology, pathology and public health sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., believes that better training could cut the need to evacuate patients with skin problems.
"The people evacuated were evacuated for common skin conditions that were largely benign," Feldman noted. "Had there been greater dermatological expertise on site, maybe they wouldn't have had to evacuate those folks."
Perhaps tele-dermatology, where patients are evaluated by doctors who are not on-scene, or better training in dermatological issues could reduce the need to evacuate these troops, he said.
For more on various skin conditions, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Timothy A. McGraw, M.D., Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md., Pentagon Air Force Flight Medicine Clinic, Washington, D.C.; Steve Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., professor, dermatology, pathology and public health sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C.; R. Rox Anderson, M.D., professor, dermatology, Harvard Medical School Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; February 2009 Archives of Dermatology
All rights reserved