Skin is the largest organ which is made of fats, protein, water and other minerals. It acts as a covering layer, protecting our internal organs from germs. Through nerves in the skin, we can feel different sensations and it also regulates body temperature. This protecting layer can get affected by different infections or diseases mostly when bacteria infect the skin or sometimes, the deep tissue beneath the skin.
Due to this year’s extreme floods in Pakistan, millions of people were displaced who have insufficient sources of pure water, hygienic food and medical assistance. This situation is causing different viral diseases, especially skin infections. Approximately 143 870 skin infections have been reported in fixed and outreach medical centres across the southern province of Sindh. The officials recorded 13,581 cases of skin infections, 8,769 cases in Sindh, 1551 in Baluchistan, 1293 in KPK, and 615 cases in Punjab. Over time, this condition is getting severe as the healthcare services in the flood-affected areas of Pakistan are not enough to tackle the massive numbers of patients.
People who are living in flood-affected areas are exposing their bodies to the bacteria that reside in the water. When these bacteria and fungi are not washed away, they grow in the skin producing acute itching, discomfort and skin disintegration, increasing the risk of additional infections.
Infections due to Flood Water:
Flood water has different pathogens and chemicals in it due to coming in contact with untreated sewerage, causing both bacterial and fungal skin diseases to the flood victims. The chances of skin infections are multiplied with traumatic injury to the skin and also in people with certain underlying conditions such as diabetes, chronic venous insufficiency, and immunosuppression. Flood water often has chemicals such as pesticides, bleach, and detergents from industries or households that may cause redness, swelling, or itchiness to the skin known as Dermatitis. Skin and soft tissue infections are two of the most prevalent dermatological problems that people might face after a flood.
See More: Dengue Outbreak in Pakistan 2022
Prevention of Skin Infections:
In this current ongoing flood situation in Pakistan, the only way through which flood victims can prevent or avoid the spread of skin infections is by maintaining personal hygiene which is the simplest and most effective way.
Keep the following tips in mind to stay safe from skin infections:
- Wash your hands often and properly.
- Wash scrapes, cuts, wounds, or insect bites right away.
- Do not share items, such as towels, razors, bar soap, clothes, or toys.
- Avoid skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a skin infection.
- Cover any skin infections with a bandage after the skin is clean and dry.
- Clean any shared toys, bedding, or changing tables.
- Use gloves and wash your hands after changing any dressings.
- Throw away the bandages and gloves in the garbage
Symptoms of Skin Infection:
Skin infections are can be easily identified and with timely medication, we can get rid of them.
Following are the symptoms that show you have a skin infection.
- Pus or fluid in the wound
- Red skin around the wound
- Pimples or yellowish crust on the surface
- Sores that resemble blisters
- Severe Pain
- Swelling that grows worse with time
- A high fever
- The wound does not heal.
Flood victims are in dire need of clean drinking water and hygienic food to save them from this health crisis. The government must build more medical camps in both urban and rural flood-affected areas having expert dermatologists so that through medical treatment, patients can be cured. Another major way through which we can decrease the number of skin diseases is by creating awareness on how to maintain personal hygiene.