Heat pushes up skin ailments
With the city’s maximum temperature averaging 41 degrees Celsius in the past 10 days, as per the India Meteorological Department, doctors in the city said they had seen a significant rise in the number of people coming in with skin illnesses.
The most common diseases this summer have been sun allergies, rashes and hyperpigmentation (spots or dark patches of skin), doctors said.
According to doctors at Civil Hospital in Civil Lines, 30% of patients every day in the government hospital’s out-patient department (OPD) in the past two weeks have complained of fungal and bacterial infections such as heat boils and skin rashes. This number was almost negligible before April, doctors said. The hospital saw around 900 patients everyday on an average in its OPD in April. Doctors said these cases have risen suddenly due to the rise in temperature.
Other hospitals reported seeing around 10 cases of skin disease flare-ups a day, which would be only two or three before the temperature rose.
“Skin diseases flare up during summers as symptoms worsen. Sufferers of eczema (an itchy skin inflammation) are particularly susceptible to flaring up of the disease. It is a result of sweating due to the heat,” Dr Naveen Jindal, a city-based skin specialist, said, adding that he would earlier see a couple of patients with skin problems, but in the past 10 days, has been attending to more than 10 patients a day.
Photodermatitis—symptoms of which include redness, itching and peeling of the sun—is also seeing a rise in the city, doctors said. “In summer, repeated sun exposure can produce hardening, a natural decrease in the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. In some individuals, hardening develops after only a few days of sun exposure, but in others it takes several weeks,” Dr Abha Kumar, a dermatologist in the city said, adding that strong UV rays also stimulate melanin and increase the risk of pigmentation.
“The best remedy is to let your skin breathe. Wear loose clothing, and make sure your skin is dry and cool,” Kumar said.