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Drought worsens symptoms for dermatitis sufferers, expert says
SPAIN'S ongoing drought could worsen symptoms for dermatitis sufferers, according to skin expert Dr Ariadna Ortiz of Girona's Santa Caterina Hospital.
A condition that affects up to 25% of children under seven and between 18% of those aged 10 to 16, dermatitis is also suffered by between 1% and 3% of adults and has trebled in incidence in the developed world in the last 30 years.
Although partly caused by what Dr Ortiz calls 'super-hygiene' – excessive sterility of environments and the reaction suffered by babies to 'foreign substances' such as soap and talc – the drought in Spain is likely to make it worse for those who already have it.
It will not bring on new onsets of the itchy, uncomfortable condition, since it normally sets in during infanthood – usually through the same genetic predisposition that causes asthma and hayfever - but the extra-dry atmosphere resulting from lack of rainfall is likely to aggravate it, the dermatologist explains.
Cold winters and hot summers can also be a problem, since indoor heating and air-conditioning dries out the air and irritates dermatitis-sufferers' skin.
And excessively humid atmospheres are also an irritant.
Psychological problems caused by sufferers' 'embarrasment', and work and school absenteeism due to disrupted sleep can be collateral issues caused by dermatitis.
Dr Ortiz recommends non-perfumed, alcohol-free cosmetics and toiletries, without soap or detergents, washing in tepid water, and wearing non-synthetic cotton clothing for those affected.
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