Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) is a disorder that causes skin to form blisters or lesions when exposed to sunlight. PCT is a form of porphyria, a disorder that affects how your body makes red blood cells (RBC). PCT can be genetic or caused by exposure to certain chemicals or infections.
- Malaria medicine: These medicines help remove excess porphyrins from the liver.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or hematologist as directed:
If you have a liver or kidney disease, it is especially important to keep all appointments. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Prevent a porphyria cutaneous tarda attack:
- Do not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol: Cigarettes and alcohol can damage your liver and make your PCT worse. Talk to your primary healthcare provider if you have trouble quitting smoking or drinking.
- Be careful with medicines: Ask your primary healthcare provider if any of the medicines you take can trigger a PCT attack.
- Protect your skin: Keep your skin protected from sun and scratches. Wear lightweight, loose, and light-colored clothing. Protect your head and neck with a hat or umbrella when you are outdoors. Wear sunscreen that has a sun protectant factor (SPF) approved by your primary healthcare provider. Follow the directions on the label when you use sunscreen.
Your skin blisters may get infected and take a long time to heal. Ask your primary healthcare provider about how to care for your skin blisters at home.
- Wash your hands before and after you take care of your wound.
- Clean your blisters with mild soap and water, and pat dry. Do this as often as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. If you cannot reach the wound, have someone help you.
- Carefully check the blister and the area around it. Watch for any swelling, redness, or fluid oozing out of it. Apply gentle pressure to stop any bleeding.
- Cover your wound with a layer of sterile gauze bandage. If the bandage should be wrapped around your arm or leg, wrap it snugly but not too tight. It is too tight if you feel tingling or lose feeling in that area.
- Keep the bandage clean and dry.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or hematologist if:
- You have a fever.
- You have chills or a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- You have pain, redness, or swelling around your skin blisters.
- Your skin blisters have a bad smell or pus coming out of them.
- Your symptoms do not improve or are getting worse.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition, treatment, or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You have a fast heartbeat or chest pain.
- You have sudden trouble breathing.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.