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  • THE TRIBUNE


    Survivors fight fungal infections

    After battling for life for several days in the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, the survivors who returned to the town are now fighting fungal infections. The damp terrain and muddy water has taken a toll on their skin. Dermatologists in the town have received more than 50 patients complaining of fungal infection.
    “We receive seven-eight patients daily with complaints of infection on feet and toe nails. All of them have returned from the flood-hit Uttarakhand,” said Dr Vikas Sharma, chief dermatologist, National Skin Hospital, Sector 5, Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula.

    “Most of the patients are children and the elderly. They have developed red rashes on feet and toes.”

    Common fungal infections

    ATHLETE’S FOOT
    It is a fungal infection of the skin between toes. It appears as a patch of soft, white, cracked skin, sometimes with red areas visible beneath. Athlete’s foot may cause itching, burning or stinging and can create an unpleasant odour. It spreads via wet floors and shared footwear

    NAIL INFECTION
    Fungal nail infection is often caused by the spread of athlete’s foot. The nail looks thick and discoloured (white or yellowish). The nail may be brittle or crumbly and parts, or all of it, may fall off.

    JOCK ITCH
    With jock itch, the groin and inner thigh become red and itchy. It is more common in men and often occurs if you also have athlete’s foot.

    Watch out for the fruits you eat
    Fruits that you relish can actually harm your health too; courtesy, fruit vendors supplying artificially ripened fruits. In the past one month, as many as 25 farmers who deal in fruits have visited the skin hospitals in Panchkula for their treatment. It was revealed that the chemicals like calcium carbide, bethylene and ethylene, used for artificial ripening of fruits, led to these diseases.

    “Most of the farmers including women have complained of irritation and had reddish spots on the exposed areas. When we inquired, they revealed that it happened after the use of chemicals during artificial ripening of the fruits,” said Dr Vikas Sharma, chief dermatologist of National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5, Panchkula.
    It is not just the farmers but various hawkers and wholesalers who are also turning up with this problem.

    He said,“They told us that they spray wax and use calcium carbide to ripen and sweeten fruits, particularly mangoes, bananas and watermelons. One can easily assess the harm which these chemicals would do when fruits laden with the same would be eaten by us.”

    When calcium carbide is sprinkled on fruits, they ripen within 72 hours.
    Diseases like eczema, urticaria, angio-oedema, bowenf which are pre-cancerous have been detected in these patients.
    “Some of the farmers don’t do it willingly but are asked by their owners to do so.

    The bitter reality of sweet mangoes
    Calcium carbide used to ripen the fruit

    Despite a ban on the use of hazardous ripening agent, fruit vendors are extensively using the chemical, especially for mangoes right under the nose of the UT Health Department.

    Effects of the chemical
    Cases of skin eruption and intestinal problems due to the use of the chemical in mangoes are being reported in hospitals and clinics across the city. In the past over one month, 10-15 cases of severe skin rashes have been reported at National Skin Hospital in Panchkula. Chief dermatologist at the hospital Dr Vikas Sharma said: “Labourers working in mango godowns complain of skin eruption and rashes. A number of children visit the hospital everyday with complaints of rashes around their lips.”

    Two cases of angioedema were also reported among adults, a severe condition where patient suffers problem in respiratory tract, this month, he added.

    Health hazard
    The chemical causes blisters if touched. If kept under the sun, it emanates a pungent gas. Calcium carbide is a very reactive chemical.
    The fruit vendors are not following the safer ripening process.
    The actual process requires five to six days. However, with the use of calcium carbide, it takes 24 to 36 hours to ripen the fruit. Another chemical, ethephon, is permissible for the ripening of fruits. But the vendors don’t use it as it is costly.
    “There should be a check on the chemicals being used for ripening of the fruits since mostly the persons involved in the process are not trained to use chemicals,” said Dr.Vikas Sharma.
    He said calcium carbide could slow down the functioning of brain and could lead to insomnia.

    WORLD LUPUS DAY
    100 lupus patients attend medical camp
    Tribune News Service

    A two-day camp was organised by the National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5, Panchkula, on the occasion of “World Lupus Day”, for the patients suffering from lupus.

    As many as 100 patients suffering from different types of Lupus that is discoid lupus, systemic lupus and subcutaneous lupus erythematosus from the tricity and various parts of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir attended the camp. Dermatologist and dermato-laser surgeon, Dr Vikas Sharma headed the National Skin Hospital team that examined the patients. Dr Vikas Sharma said, “World Lupus Day is organised to increase the awareness of lupus and help the patients to fight the disorder in a better and health way. Awareness and knowledge about lupus is lacking among people around the world.”
    “The discoid lupus only affects skin while systemic Lupus is a serious, life-altering autoimmune disease that starts from the skin in most cases and then can affect any organ of the body,” said Sharma. He said, “Lupus is a disease which remains unrecognised and unappreciated. Most patients have discoid skin lesions, photosensitivity red skin rash over central part of the face in a butterfly pattern, mouth ulcers, feel fatigued all the time, have body rashes, arthritis and fever.”

    Camp on skin disorders kicks off
    A two-day camp on “Auto-immune Skin Disorders” began at National Skin Hospital in Mansa Devi Complex today.
    Dr Vikas Sharma, dermatologist and dermato-laser surgeon, said auto-immune skin disorders were most difficult to diagnose.
    He said in an auto-immune disorder, the immune system attacked the body’s own cells.
    Dr Sharma said patients would be educated about various auto-immune skin disorders, their signs and symptoms during the two-day campaign. He said they would also create awareness about the factors and agents that could trigger or flare up the existing disorder.
    He also urged young medical graduates to lay more stress on diagnosing disorders at an early stage.

  • INDIAN EXPRESS


    The Paa Pact

    The National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi has launched a special genodermatoses campaign. The genodermatoses represent a large group of inherited single-gene and chromosomal disorders with skin manifestations. According to Dr Vikas Sharma, Head of Dermatology Department, National Skin Hospital, the recognition of their skin findings is important not only for the initiation of appropriate dermatologic therapy, but also for detection of other associated abnormalities in these frequently multi-system disorders.

    Dr Sharma stated that there are a number of cases of various genodermatoses and people are becoming more aware of them like the one with the release of the movie Paa which depicts one of the genodermatoses, Progeria, which the central character played by Amitabh Bachchan is suffering from. Progeria is a rare and fatal genetic condition characterized by an appearance of accelerated aging in children and means “prematurely old.” Progeria has a reported incidence of about 1 in 4-8 million newborns and affects both sexes equally and all races. Although they are born looking healthy, children with Progeria begin to display many characteristics of accelerated aging at around 18-24 months of age. Progeria signs include tightening and binding down of skin , growth failure, loss of body fat and hair, aged-looking skin, stiffness of joints, hip dislocation, generalized atherosclerosis, cardiovascular (heart) disease and stroke. The children have a remarkably similar appearance, despite different ethnic backgrounds and children with Progeria die of atherosclerosis (heart disease) at an average age of 13 years (with a range of about 8-21 years).

    “Children with Progeria are genetically predisposed to premature, progressive heart disease. Death occurs almost exclusively due to widespread heart disease. Progeria is caused by a mutation in the gene called LMNA and the resultant cellular instability appears to lead to the process of premature aging in progeria,” explained Dr Vikas

    Skin disorders on the rise in children : National Skin Hospital
    The special weeklong children skin camp at the National Skin Hospital in Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula, concluded today.

    This was the biggest skin specialty campaign for children. Nearly 830 kids from the tricity and parts of Punjab, Himachal and Haryana, benefited from the camp where they were provided free skin consultation and treatment by best dermatologists and dermato-laser surgeons of the country.

    A large number of children were detected with problems like atopic dermatitis, hair loss, hirsutism, psoriasis and fungal infections among others.

    NSH chief consultant Dr Vikas Sharma said the rise of autoimmune skin disorders among the children was a worrying sign, as nearly 210 of 830 children had atopic dermatitis.

    “The skin of a patient with atopic dermatitis reacts abnormally and easily to irritants, food, and environmental allergens and becomes red, flaky and very itchy. It also becomes vulnerable to surface infections caused by bacteria. The skin on the flexural surfaces of the joints (for example inner sides of elbows and knees) are the most commonly affected regions in people,” Dr Vikas said.

    Dr Vikas said a number of school-going children were being detected with chronic skin diseases and one of the major factors resulting in chronicity of the skin diseases and further complications is lack of early diagnosis, inadequate medication or treatment for symptomatic relief by general practitioners. He stressed that an early diagnosis and specific treatment are of paramount importance.

    Go green for a happy Holi : Dr.Vikas Sharma
    To make this Holi a safe one, local experts recommend the use of herbal/natural colours instead of synthetic ones.

    “For the last few years, there has been a spurt in the number of cases of skin allergies immediately after the festival gets over. Last year, around 50-60 patients with skin problems visited the hospital on the day of festival. The reason is the chemicals and synthetic dyes used in Holi colours, which causes severe damage to skin and hair,” says Dr Vikas Sharma, chief consultant dermatologist, National Skin Hospital.

    He says many cases are of irritant contact dermatitis and contact urticaria. “The symptoms vary from mild irritation in the form of itching or dryness, rashes or allergic dermatitis. There can be severe itching and burning sensation, redness and in some cases, even skin burns,” he adds.

    Advising people to choose natural or herbal colours over synthetic ones, Dr Sharma says, “One should use herbal colours and avoid playing with dark colours, as they are more harmful. Black colour has lead oxide chemical, red has mercury sulfate, dark green has copper sulphate and shimmering colours have mica dust and powdered glass mixed in them, all these chemicals are very hazardous to the skin and hair.”

    “One should be extra careful with infants, as their skins are very sensitive. Pregnant women should avoid playing Holi, because chemicals used in the colours can be absorbed in the skin and can affect the normal course of pregnancy,” he adds.

    “Every year on Holi, around 30-40 patients visit the clinic. People with sensitive skin should avoid playing Holi, or they should use herbal colours.”

    “During the festival time, cases of skin problems go up by 5-10%. People should prefer dry colours. They should avoid playing with sparkling colours as these contain mica dust which is very harmful to the skin.”

    Do not use synthetic colours: National Skin Hospital
    While you are all set to douse in the festival of colours on Thursday, dermatologists and ophthalmologists in the city have warned against the use of synthetic colours containing chemicals which may lead to permanent skin, eye and hair damage. One should play with herbal colours to protect the skin, eye and hair. Synthetic colours contain mica, copper sulphate, aluminum bromide etc which may leave the skin with rashes and lesions or damage the eyes.

    The symptoms vary from mild irritation in the form of itching or dryness, which can lead to more severe irritation and itching, rashes or allergic dermatitis. There can be severe burning sensation, redness, and sometimes even skin burns.

    “Skin pigmentation, rashes, eczema are some of the after effects of the use of synthetic colours, thanks to the use of synthetic raisins, PPT and lead in them. The chemicals used in Holi colours consist of synthetic dyes and in many cases mica dust too that can cause major skin allergies. For instance, green colours are known to contain copper sulphate, silver colour contains aluminum bromide, red has mercury sulphate. The shimmer given to these colours is through mica and powdered glass. Often they contain heavy metals, acids, alkalis, powdered glass, asbestos, chalk paste, said Dr Vikas Sharma, dermatologist and dermato laser surgeon with National Skin Hospital, Panchkula. Hair damage can be in the form of itching, redness, dryness and scalp infections. he added.

    “If you have dry skin, apply a thick layer of sunscreen or moisturiser on the skin before playing holi as the colours leave your skin even drier. If you have fragile hair, wear a scarf before playing holi. Those suffering from Asthma or any kind of allergies should avoid playing holi and if you have to play at all, do not rub colour on the skin. Besides, nails should be shortened. If one feels irritation after playing holi or any lesions are seen, he should report to the doctor immediately.”

    Dermatologists for cleaner, healthier Holi
    Advocating a safe and organic Holi, dermatologists in the city suggest ways to keep the festival of colours a healthy affair.

    “Skin pigmentation, rashes, eczema and allergic reactions are some of the after effects of the use of synthetic colours,” Dr Vikas Sharma of the National Skin Hospital, Panchkula, said.

    Stressing that last year the hospital received close to 60 cases of patients suffering from adverse affects of using harmful colours, Sharma said there was need for people to remain cautious.

    “Chemicals used in Holi colours consist of synthetic dyes and in many cases mica dust that can cause major skin allergies,” he added.

    Skin specialists vouch for wearing a good sun block with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 before going out to play Holi and washing off colours immediately in case of irritation.

    The other better option, doctors said, was using non-synthetic or herbal colours that were safe and more environment-friendly as they are prepared from natural extracts of flowers and vegetables.

    Do’s and Dont’s
    *Apply sunscreen and a skin barrier cream on face and exposed parts for extra protection

    * Protect hair by applying a leave-on conditioner, coconut oil or olive oil. This forms a thin layer over the hair, which acts as a barrier to chemicals in colours.

    * After taking a bath post-festival, moisturise the skin well. Even while removing colours, keep eyes and mouth closed. Do not forget to condition the hair.

    * In case of mild irritation or rash, use calamine lotion. In severe cases, consult a dermatologist.

    * Sunglasses go a long way in keeping eyes safe from harmful chemicals used in colours.

    * Wear full-sleeved t-shirt or shirts that cover your arms fully. Socks will be a good idea too.

    Doctors advise residents to take precautions on Diwali
    With several burns cases seen at city hospitals every year during Diwali, doctors are advising people to take precautions and be careful while bursting crackers.

    “Lighting a fire cracker may seem very easy, but if one is not careful it can cause serious damage. One should never attempt to re-light a dud because it can go off. You should douse it with water instead. Also, one should not carry fireworks in pockets. They are explosives and can go off prematurely even if they are not lit,” said Dr Vikas Sharma, Dermatologist at National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex.

    Also, parents should supervise children while they light fireworks. People should wear cotton clothes while bursting crackers, which should be lit holding them at arms’ length, standing back and keeping the face away. “In case of burns, remove clothing from the burned area immediately. One should run cool (not cold) water over the affected area or hold a clean, cold compress on the burn for approximately 10-15 minutes. Do not use ice as it may cause the burn to take longer to heal,” added Dr Vikas.

    “In case of burns, do not apply butter, grease, powder, toothpaste, flour dough or oil. Instead, apply antibiotics like silver sulfadiazine or soframycin. The aim is to dissipate the heat. Home remedies keep the heat locked, increasing the risk of infection.”

    He added, “One should immediately rush to a doctor in case the burned area is large or the burn comes from a fire, electrical wire or socket, or chemicals.”

    “Generally, cases of hand and face burn come to clinics. So people should be careful while lighting them. They should ensure they do not wear wearing synthetic clothes.”

  • THE TIMES OF INDIA

    Chandigarh skin clinics become crowded as mercury soars

    Summers are one of the worst times of the year if you have sensitive skin and hair, opine experts. As the temperature rises, the rays of the sun become more intense and can seriously damage the skin. A number of patients with summer skin problems has started pouring in Tricity skin clinics.

    Dr Vikas Sharma, a city-based dermatologist, said, “Due to excessive sweating and dust, one is more likely to suffer from problems like summer rashes, tanning, skin infections, sunburn and acne on the face as well as back.” So, it is vital to exercise extra caution during summer season. A lot of care has to be taken to protect not only facial but also the skin on the body. “Moisturisers overcome the loss of body salts during perspiration. One must wear loose cotton clothes and drink plenty of fluids.” Doctors recommend wearing footwear that will allow air circulation. “Chances of getting a chronic fungal infection of feet and toe nails is higher in peak summers. Take a good amount of fruits rich in Vitamin C,” said Sharma.

    Black films removal aggravate skin allergies
    Lots of people allergic to UV rays have been thronging skin clinics of the city. Apparently, removal of the black films from the car windows in keeping with the Supreme Court order is only adding to their existing problems. Specialists believe that even an exposure of 10-15 minutes to the rays can aggravate skin allergies.

    Experts opine that though the normal glass of car windows can filter UV-B spectrum of rays (290-320nm) but its not effective against harmful effects of UV-A (320-400nm). “Even a 10 -15 minute exposure to UV-A rays for patients of skin allergies, lupus erythematosus, severe polymorphous light eruption, melasma, actinic lichen planus and actinic dermatitis who are commuting by their cars daily for some length of time can aggravate their skin diseases. This has resulted in increase in number of patients with aggravation of symptoms related with UV exposure and the numbers are expected to increase,” said Dr Vikas Sharma, a dermatologist.

    With the traffic police strictly enforcing the SC’s order to remove tinted window films from car window panes, it has led to patients suffering from skin diseases associated and aggravated due to UV ray exposure in a tight situation. “Those who have sun sensitivity have to adopt other methods to block UV rays. Wearing cotton garments and application of sunscreen can offer protection,” said Dr Maleeka Sachdev, another dermatologist.

    Ordinary windows do not filter UV-A rays, and they are the most harmful in terms of causing skin lesions and pre-cancerous skin lesions. This type of radiation penetrates the skin more deeply. Prolonged exposure to UV-A also causes premature aging of skin. “Clear glass allows up to 75% of UVA to pass. In majority of cars, the windshield is built of laminated glass that blocks all of UV-B and most of UV-A. However, the side and rear windows are usually made from non-laminated glass and let much of UV-A rays through,” said Dr Vikas.

    Fruit ripening ‘rash’ hits farmers
    The rainy season can be a bane for your mane.

    For, the monsoon humidity often robs hair of its bounce, leaving it limp and lifeless. And the scalp constantly sweats, causing itching, scratching and hair loss.

    One reason why hair may fall at a higher rate during monsoon is that many at this time of the year have their hair in the telogen phase — in which shedding of hair occurs. Vikas Sharma, a city dermatologist, said, “Rainwater carries atmospheric pollutants that weaken the hair roots causing hairfall. Besides rainwater, another risk factor in the season is the highly concentrated chlorine-treated water. At this time, the civic body guards against bacteria with additional chlorine in the water. This concentrated chlorine compound kills the bacteria, but can also harm your skin and hair.”

    Skin infections mar monsoon cheer
    At the first sign of cool monsoon air, most kids venture out to play in the rain. While summer can certainly be harsh on the skin and the hair, monsoon brings its own share of skin problems with fungal infections being the most common, among children and adults alike. City hospitals are reporting increasing number of cases of allergies and fungal infections among children between the age-group of 4-10.

    As many as 12 cases at various hospitals in Panchkula have reported kids coming in with complaints of allergies. While it would be unfair to confine kids indoors in the pleasant weather, doctors however stress on the need to change wet clothes for children right after playing in rain to prevent these infections.

    Dr Vikas Sharma, chief consultant dermatologist at National Skin Hospital in Mansa Devi Complex, said, “Since it rained heavily last week, we got a number of cases where kids between the age group of 4-10 complained of allergies. Tiny-often microscopic organisms called fungi also thrive in humid conditions – And wet shoes and clothes are breeding grounds for these microbes.” He added, “Children in this age group don’t have much immunity and are most vulnerable to the skin infections and allergies.”

    Holi: Synthetic colours cause rashes : Dr.Vikas Sharma
    Even dermatologists feel that eyes are at a greater risk than the skin where synthetic colours are often used during the festival. “In extreme cases, eyes are the most sensitive part of the face which can be affected. Those who are allergic and have skin problems need to be cautious. Synthetic colours act as abrasives and result in rashes and itching,” said Dr Vikas Sharma, city-based dermatologist. Those who are already allergic must try and avoid playing too much with the colours.

    According to the doctors, green colour has copper sulphate, black colour has lead oxide, while red colour contains mercury sulphate. “These colours contain heavy metals which can pass through the skin and cause harm,” said Dr Vikas.

    “Use organic colours as synthetic colours are harmful for the skin. Sunscreen acts as a barrier against the colours.”

  • THE TRIBUNE
  • * The bitter reality of sweet mangoes
  • * Survivors fight fungal infections
  • * Watch out for the fruits you eat
  • * Camp on skin disorders kicks off
  • INDIAN EXPRESS
  • * Skin disorders on the rise in children :
  •    National Skin Hospital
  • * The Paa Pact
  • * Go green for a happy Holi : Dr.Vikas
  •    Sharma
  • * Do not use synthetic colours:
  •    National Skin Hospital
  • * Dermatologists for cleaner, healthier
  •    Holi
  • THE TIMES OF INDIA
  • * Black films removal aggravate skin
  •    allergies
  • * Fruit ripening ‘rash’ hits farmers
  • * Monsoon can be a bane for your mane
  • * Skin infections mar monsoon cheer
  • * Holi: Synthetic colours cause rashes :
  •    Dr.Vikas Sharma
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