CHENNAI: With the dog days setting in, dermatologists in the city see a spurt in the cases of skin problems like viral, bacterial and fungal infections that are common in summer.
Often caused by direct exposure to high intensity UV rays, excess sweat and dehydration, these infections can be kept at bay by taking certain precautionary measures, say doctors.
The most searing heat is felt during Agni Nakshathram, which began on May 5 and will end on May 29. “It is important to protect the skin from direct exposure to sunlight, especially between 10 am to 3 pm when the intensity of UV rays will be high,” says Dr M Vijay Anand, head of dermatology department, Government Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital.
The dermatology department at Kilpauk Hospital treats about 250 cases everyday, of which about 40 cases are related to summer skin problems.
“Take bath twice a day with cold water. Wear only light coloured, cotton and loose-fitting clothes that absorb sweat. Keep hydrating the body with plenty of fluids,” he adds.
Drinking four to five litres of fluids, including fruit juices, buttermilk and water, will help avoid many infections. “Sun allergy or photosensitivity, pimples, boils, prickly heat and itchy rashes (polymorphic light eruption) are common problems in the summer. Also, those who already have skin problems like vitiligo will see the condition getting worse during this period,” adds Dr Anand.
Oily face creams will block the pores on the skin, leading to pimples, itchy rashes and other problems, warn doctors. To avoid fungal infection between the toes, one should always wear clean socks, they say.
According to Dr V Anandan, head of dermatology department at Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital, heat, allergens and dandruff are also commonly seen cases during summer. “While going out in the sun, UVA lotion with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) factor of over 30, and UVB lotion above three stars rating can be used once in every four or five hours. Use of sandalwood products will tan the skin,” he informs.
Stanley Hospital treats about 400 cases related to skin problems, half of which are related to sun burns, fungal infections and prickly heat.
Dr Anandan’s counterpart at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Dr K Manoharan, says that the department sees a spurt in such cases during these months. People often seek advice on diet and enquire about precautionary measures to be taken.