Long-term use of topical steroid creams can be detrimental for the skin

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Social Health Community No Comments

Over-the-counter purchase and use of creams must be avoided

New Delhi, 18th April 2018: Uninformed application of anti-fungal creams, and technologies like hair transplant have become serious public health issues. A particular area of concern is the use of fairness creams. Many of the beauty creams available over the counter or at beauty salons contain steroids. The need of the hour is to create awareness that their long-term use may lead to a condition called ‘topical steroid-damaged face’.

Overuse of creams also leads to something called ‘steroid addiction syndrome’ wherein a person finds it difficult to stop its use. Such blatant abuse of products damages natural complexion and makes the skin lose its usual thickness, eventually leading to skin ageing.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI),said, “Many people take recourse to creams available over the counter for fungal infections. This can cause more damage as there is a lack of awareness about their side effects. The fact that such creams give fast results is what makes them opt for it, with some people even using them for months or even years. A dermatologist, on the other hand, only prescribes them for a fixed duration beyond which it is advisable to not use these creams and medications, unless advised. Many creams should be brought under Schedule H drugs. There is also a need to impose some amount of censorship on advertisements which claim that the use of certain creams lightens the skin.”

Some typical features of topical steroid overuse and withdrawal include burning, stinging, and bright red skin. These may either occur within few days of use or over a period of few weeks.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “It is important to stop the use of topical steroids, only under the supervision of a doctor. Although there isn’t any one treatment, certain home remedies and medication can help in relieving the itching that may persist once the steroid is withdrawn. Some examples include ice and cool compresses, ointments and balms, and oatmeal baths.”

Some other tips from HCFI to relieve pain and itch for those with this condition.

  • Select a detergent that will not irritated the skin. It is also recommended to cycle your washing machine with vinegar or bleach to prevent bacteria from growing.
  • Wear clothes that are made of 100% cotton fabric.
  • Use soft towels and blankets that do not rub against the skin and irritate the rashes further.
  • Keep your skin cool and avoid hot environments till the allergy subsides.
  • Avoid food and environmental triggers that may cause the rashes to flare up.

Skipping breakfast may lead to higher BMI, especially on those with Type II diabetes

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A healthy and timely diet plan and physical activity can avert possible complications

New Delhi, 17th April 2018: As per recent research, people with Type II diabetes who delay eating breakfast have an increased likelihood of a higher Body Mass Index (BMI). This can lead to obesity and related complications in the longer run. There is need to stress on the importance of not skipping breakfast and eating food in a timely manner among people with diabetes and the general population.

The risk of Type II diabetes rises with increasing body weight. Those who are obese are 3 to 7 times more likely to acquire this condition than those with a normal weight. The risk increases by 20 times in people with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35 kg/m2.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Indians have a tendency of gaining more fat around the abdomen, which can lead to insulin resistance. One of the primary reasons for this is the lifestyle people lead today. On-the-go and fast-paced lives mean people skip their breakfast and end up eating unhealthy, quick-fix meals through the remainder of a day. It is important to understand that even a5% reduction in body weight combined with regular to moderate intensity exercise can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by more than 50%. Those without diabetes or at a risk of developing this condition should focus on switching to a healthier lifestyle and maintaining an ideal BMI.”

Diet affects diabetes risk independent of a person’s weight. Type 2 diabetes is known as a silent killer. By the time a diagnosis is done, other associated health complications may already be present.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “People who are obese should aim at limiting the intake of complex carbohydrates as they tend to increase blood sugar levels and the production of insulin. In those with insulin resistance, this surge can lead to further weight gain. Apart from this, aim at getting about 30 to 45 minutes of physical activity every day, five times a week.”

Some tips from HCFI.

  • Exercise every day and consume a healthy diet.
  • Get your blood glucose levels monitored at regular intervals.
  • Do not consume refined sugar in any form as this can get absorbed into the blood stream more easily and cause further complications.
  • Reduce stress through activities such as meditation and yoga.

Air pollution can increase the chances of bronchiolitis in children

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India No Comments

Elevated levels of PM 2.5 can lead to reduced immunity

New Delhi, 16thApril 2018: Exposure to tiny air pollution particles even for a brief period can lead to acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) in young children, as per a recent study. Elevated levels of PM2.5- pollution-causing particles, about 3% of the diameter of human hair, can affect newborns, toddlers, and adults alike. The most common ALRI in children is Bronchiolitis.

Bronchiolitis is a condition in which small breathing tubes in the lungs called bronchioles become infected and clogged with mucus. Air pollution can make the human body more susceptible to infection or impair its ability to fight off infectious agents.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President HCFI, and Immediate Past President Indian Medical Association, said, “Bronchiolitis is caused by a virus known as the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), spread through tiny droplets of liquid from the coughs or sneezes of someone who’s infected. Bronchioles control airflow in the lungs. In case of an infection or damage, they can swell or become clogged blocking the flow of oxygen. Though it primarily affects children, adults may also develop this condition. There is no need for any specific medication and the infection usually clears up within two weeks. Most children can be cared for at home in the same way that a cold is treated.”

For the first few days, the symptoms resemble that of a common cold and include runny and stuffy nose, cough, and slight fever. This is followed by a week or more of difficulty in breathing or wheezing. Many infants may develop an ear infection.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “There are no vaccines for the most common causes of bronchiolitis (RSV and rhinovirus). However, it is recommended to give all children older than 6 months an annual flu shot. Infants at a high risk of the RSV infection, such as those born very prematurely or with a heart-lung condition or a depressed immune system, may be given the medication palivizumab to decrease the likelihood of RSV infections.”

Some HCFI tips.

Limit contact with people who have a fever or cold. If your child is a newborn, especially a premature newborn, avoid exposure to people with colds in the first two months of life.

Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people frequently touch, such as toys and doorknobs. This is especially important if a family member is sick.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing or sneezing.

Use your own drinking glass. Don’t share glasses with others, especially if someone in your family is ill.

Frequently wash your own hands and those of your child. Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy for yourself and your child when you’re away from home.

Respiratory infections are significantly less common in breast-fed babies.

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