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Guard your skin, eye against summer blitz

Govind D. Belgaumkar
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Heat boils, reddish rashes, and conjunctivitis can be tackled easily

While vernal is not infective, Madras Eye on the other hand is acute form of conjunctivitis and highly contagious, says an eye specialist.
While vernal is not infective, Madras Eye on the other hand is acute form of conjunctivitis and highly contagious, says an eye specialist.

Prickly heat during summer causes discomfort and some people develop heat boils or reddish rashes. While many may get rashes all over, some may get it in skin folds and trunk in particular.

While sweating is natural as mercury rises, it should evaporate fully if the skin is to remain unaffected.

But when the rate of evaporation does not match the rate of sweating, people start developing problems, says Nandakishore B., Professor and former Head of the Department of Dermatology, Father Muller Medical College. In some cases, boils could lead to pus formation of pus needing medical attention, said Sudarshan Hegde, a skin specialist.

Dr. Nandakishore says in some cases there could be bacterial infection called “impetigo” mainly among children whose face or nose could become reddish as if there is an injury. Blisters may appear too.

This may happen in other parts too and proper diagnosis would be required and such condition will have to be treated with antibiotic.

Some people who cannot tolerate exposure to ultraviolet rays from sun may get allergic rashes accompanied by itching in exposed parts.

Some may further develop what is called ‘miliaria profunda’ which adversely affects the skin glands.

Poor people who don’t have access to cooling equipment are more vulnerable. They will have to consult a doctor for proper treatment.

Letting sweat evaporate is the solution in many cases. Drinking plenty of water and consuming citrus fruits — lemon, orange, etc containing vitamin C — helps, Dr. Nandakishore advises. Appling calamine lotion may help in many cases, he says. Applying ample powder meant for prickly heat frequently and administering vitamin C helps, according to Dr. Hegde. People should avoid hot water bath and warm clothing, he suggests.

In summer, people may get what is called spring conjunctivitis (called ‘vernal’) during the flowering of coconut, mango and jackfruit, according to veteran eye surgeon C.R. Kamath. Only those who are allergic to this would get it and the disease would vanish with the first rains as flowers disappear.

Eye care

Eyes would become red, itchy with stingy discharge causing discomfort to the patient.

While vernal is not infective, Madras Eye on the other hand is acute form of conjunctivitis and highly contagious.

It can affect people through the year including summer, says eye specialist T. Ratnakar. The two doctors dismissed as a myth the belief that it would spread by exchanging glances with the infected person. Those suffering from Madras Eye should avoid touching the infected eye and things used by them (including eye drops) should not be used by others. “Children in particular should be educated about these things,” says Dr. Ratnakar.

It could spread from contaminated dust too. Two wheeler riders in particular should wear glasses to protect their eyes from dust, he advises. Washing the eye with clean water helps a great deal, the doctors say.


  • Drinking plenty of water and consuming citrus fruits helps, says expert

  • ‘Those suffering from ‘Madras Eye’ should avoid touching the infected eye’


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