Fighting the skin menace
Skin diseases are often neglected until advanced stages. This may be justified given the fact that we hardly hear of skin ailments accounting for deaths or life threatening consequences in its patients. However, the diseases may be very dangerous if not treated for long. And often with the lack of pure water and proper sanitation in Kathmandu, raising awareness regarding this has become necessary– all the more so in case of children who are quick to catch it and spread it to their friends due to the lack of knowledge.
Living in unhygienic conditions and lack of proper water sanitation are the two main causes of skin diseases. Due to their contagious nature, these diseases are most rampant in crowded rooms, and more so in rooms lacking proper ventilation. Thus children living in hostels are most liable to catch it and spread it.
According to doctors, children in Nepal are more susceptible to parasitical scabies, fungal ringworm, and viral warts, apart from the bacterial diseases that comprise the major portion of the problem. The common ones among the bacterial infections include Impetigo or school sores (mostly in children), boils, Ecthyma, Folliculitis, Pitted Keratolysis, and Cellulitis. The ordinary Nepalis refer to most of them as pilow.
Initially, these diseases may not seem weighty problem. But if they happen to lead to the proliferation of bacteria inside the body, the problem gets very serious. Even the viral, parasitical and fungal infections get lethal after they attract bacterial infection. The condition may be life threatening if the bacteria manage to infect the lungs, heart, kidney, stomach and other internal organs. Although there is no need to panic, we should treat these diseases quickly to obliterate its chances.
“Cleaning the body, clothes and the surroundings should be addressed in the first case to rein in the problem,” suggests Dr Anil Kumar Jha, a skin specialist at Om Hospital. Putting on others’ cloths makes us susceptible to the disease. So children, who mostly lack required knowledge on these matters, should be discouraged by their parents, guardians or hostel superintendents, to wear their friends’ cloths. At home, putting on clean clothes should be given priority. “While cleaning the body or clothes, the available water can also be sanitised by adding disinfectant, like a tinge of potash till the water turns pink. This will help in getting rid of bacteria. But one should be careful here too, as adding too much of potash will render the liquid corrosive.”
Furthermore, at home and at hostel, children should be regularly checked for any possible diseases even if the child doesn’t complain of any discomfort, and given due medication without much delay. Those affected with the disease should be kept away from others at hostel to prevent its spread. Cleaning the surface of the affected part with clean water and antiseptics or taking oral antibiotics can be a good treatment following directions from doctors.