Basic Facts You Must Know About Skin Diseases  Skin Diseases


Hive and itch

        THE SKIN SOMETIMES BECOMES extra sensitive to certain things food, the poison of bites and stings, heat, cold, pollen and even the effects of nervous upsets. when this over-sensitization occurs, the cells of the skin react by producing a poison known as histamine. This poison causes the small blood-vessels to dilate and fluid oozes out of them Into the skin in spots, which become swollen and itch violently.
       The patient must carefully observe the effect of fish, shellfish, cheese, chocolate, onions, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes,
pickles, eggs, citrus fruits, melons and pork to determine what substance might-be producing the condition. Soaps, dogs, cats,
wool or silk may also be the cause. If the hives are on the exposed skin the cause may be something that has reached it from
the outside. The person may have been spraying insects in the garden or in the house. He may have been near cows or chickens or in the rice fields during pollinating time or in the fields at
harvest time. The condition may be seasonal, occurring when certain trees or flowers are in bloom. If the hives are under the clothed part of the body it may possibly come from the soap used in the laundry. It may be due to the kind of cloth worn against the skin or to the food one has eaten recently. All these things must be considered in determining the cause.
Antihistamines, such as anthisan, pyribenzamine
or benadry1, may be of help and should be used ; but the most important thing is to find the cause and eliminate it. The best
lotion to allay the itching from hives or any other cause is caladry1. It can be purchased from your chemist.


Itch is caused by the burrowing of a small itch-mite under the skin. It usually invades the skin between the fingers, the skin of the wrists or the skin about the navel and breasts.

      Symptoms : There is itching, of course, and as a result of scratching, blisters, pimples and red patches are formed. The disease spreads quickly from one member of a family to others in the same family.  

     Prevention : To avoid itch, one should not sit or lie on the bed of one who has the disease. Itch may also be contracted by using the bed-clothes or the body clothing or the towels of one who has the disease. 

      Treatment : The patient should first wash the body thoroughly, using hot water and soap. Then make an ointment by mixing well three parts of sulphur in seven parts of vaseline or coconut oil. The sulphur and the oil must be well mixed. Mix them on a piece of glass by rubbing the sulphur into the oil with a long, thin-bladed knife. Every night and morning, for three days, rub this on all the skin from the neck down. During these three days do not change the clothing or bedding. After three days take a hot water and soap bath and put on clean clothing and use clean bedding. The soiled clothing and bed sheets must be boiled for several minutes before they are used again. This is necessary in order to destroy the itch insects that cause, the disease.                                                                        There are other medicines on the market for the treatment of itch which are not only very efficacious but are much less difficult to use. Ascabiol or any other benzyl benzoate emulsion prepared for the purpose is good. Directions are given with the medicine. 

Infection With Lice (Pediculosis) 

         Lice on the Head (Pediculosis Capitis) : This is an
infection from lice that live in the hair. The lice can readily be
seen, so the diagnosis is no problem. To destroy them a mixture
can be made at home which if used will prove to be very
effective. Mix equal parts of ordinary mineral oil and olive oil and
rub into the hair and scalp at night. In the morning shampoo
the hair. Repeat the treatment next morning. All members of the
family should be treated at the same time so that there may be no
lice around to re-infect them. Sometimes the hair must be cut
short to aid in the removal of the ova. Comb the hair every day
with a fine-tooth comb dipped in vinegar or dilute acetic acid.
       Should this procedure fail, the following prescription can be
made up by the neighbourhood chemist.

                 DDT powder  5 grammes
                  Talc.                 60 grammes

Apply to scalp and   hair daily for two weeks. Shampoo every five days.

        Lice on the Body (Pediculosis Corporis) : To rid the body of this infection the main thing to do is to disinfect the clothes. Take a bath and put on clean clothes which have been pressed with a hot iron. Bed linen should be boiled to desttoy the ova. 

Lice in the Pubic Hair (Pediculosis Pubis) : This is best treated by rubbing the above prescription into the hair and skin of the area. 

Bed Bugs 

Bed bug not only by their bites but also spread some very serious diseases. The best way to rid one's clothing or bedding of them is to immerse the clothing in boiling water.
or kerosene oil will destroy them. DDT spray and 10 per cent DDT powder are also vety eftective.


        In hot weather both adults and infants often get a breaking out on the inside of the joint where skin touches skin, and in
areas where perspiration does not evaporate easily. Very small pustules appear and there is often mild itching. To eliminate this problem one should try to avoid overheating the body. This is
more difficult to do in the case of babies, for they cannot help themselves. The  area should be washed and kept clean and
liberally powdered with talc. Caladryl may be used to allay the itching.


       This is a term used to name an eruption of the skin due to an unknown cause. Lacking a definite pattern, it does not fall
into any category that can be named. There is a form of eczema called psoriasis for which also no cause is known, but which
does follow a consistent pattern. In that it is a dry lesion that can attack any part of the skin with a heavy white scale which falls
off easily when brushed. Its constant characteristics have won for it a definite name.
        Many eczema are limited to small areas. They are usually dry and sometimes scaly. In infants the eruption may be red
with a sticky substance oozing from it. Sometimes there is fissuring and the skin bleeds. The itching is intense in infants but may not be present in adults. Sometimes it is dry and other times

        Treatment :Since nothing is known of the cause, it is impossible to remove it. All we can do is to apply soothing ointments and lotions. In the case of psoriasis, on the other hand, there is a medication called riasol which gives some relief although there is no known cure for the rash. Babies outgrow eczema after the first year of life. Thereafter they are usually free from such rashes. 



        Ringworm. Is a skin disease that may develop on any part of the body. It is not caused by a worm but by a fungus that is somewhat similar to the mould that is sometimes seen on a plate of cooked rice that has been allowed to stand overnight.
        The disease is caught by coming into contact with the body, or with the clothing, towels, or bedding of some person who has ringworm. It is easily spread ; so children who have ringworm on the body or on the head should not be sent to school until
the disease is cured.
       The ringworm begins as a small red or brownish spot and spreads out on all sides. After a time the centre of the spot may
return to the normal colour of the skin. WHen this happens the disease presents the appearance of a ring. The itching may be

       Treatment : Apply Whitefield's ointment by rubbing lightly the affected part. In case of ringworm on a delicate skin area or on small children, use half strength Whitefield's ointment. 

       If there is an extensive and stubborn condition, grisovin in
dosages of one tablet three times a day for about three weeks
will clear up the infection. Tincture of iodine applied once or
twice will often destroy the infection. 

Ringworm of the Scalp : Ringworm of the scalp is common among childten. It causes the hair to turn white or to drop
out. Large crusting sores are also formed on the head. Sometimes all of the hair on the head falls out.
        Treatment : Ringworm on the scalp cannot be cured without cutting the hair short. The best method is to shave the
aflected places. After shaving off the hair the same treatment may be used as was recommended above for severe cases of ringworm on the body. There is one form of ringworm of the scalp that is very difficult to cure and if the above methods do not cure, a physician should be consulted ; otherwise the disease will progress and cause baldness. 


Athlete's Foot (Epidermophytosis) 

This is a fungous infection that is very common in places where shoes are worn, but not so common where chappals or
sandals ate worn. The reason for this is that this infection must have both warmth and moisture. Shoes hold the moisture and
thus favour its growth. The preferred site for the fungus is between the toes.
       The diagnosis is made when a peeling of the skin is observed. Sonetimes the skin cracks and becomes infected with bacteria, so that the toes become sore. Pure fungous infection does not cause soreness.

       Prevention : when drying the feet after a bath one should use a small dry towel to dry well between the toes. Ta1cum powder applied there is very helpful.                                                                        Treatment : Whitefield's ointment applied for a period of three nights will usually take care of the infection. Soak the feet and remove dead skin. 

Other Fungous Infections 

        It is not uncommon to find chronic lesions on the lower legs and feet caused by a fungus. These lesions are usually dry and
slightly scaly. They grow slowly and do not get red and sore unless secondarily infected with bacteria. If the lesion has been
there very long, try Whitefield's ointment on it. There are other fungicides on the market that may take care of it also.




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