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Children affected by skin disorder growing in Oman.

MUSCAT: Above 50 per cent of children in the Sultanate are affected by atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory, chronically relapsing, non-contagious and pruritic skin disorder, due to the climatic condition of the region, said Shibu Mohammed, consultant dermatologist at Badr Al Sama hospital

in Muscat.

"This is a family disease and because of the dry climate in the region the number of children affected by this skin disease is growing day by day. The skin of a patient with atopic dermatitis reacts abnormally and easily to irritants, food, and environmental allergens and becomes red, flaky and very itchy. It also becomes vulnerable to surface infections caused by bacteria. The skin on the flexural surfaces of the joints is the most commonly affected part in people," the dermatologist told Times of Oman.

Atopic dermatitis often occurs together with other atopic diseases like hay fever, asthma and allergic conjunctivitis. It is a familial and chronic disease and its symptoms can increase or disappear over time. Atopic dermatitis afflicts humans, particularly young children. Atopic dermatitis most often begins in childhood before age five and may persist into adulthood. For some, it flares periodically and then subsides for a time, even up to several years.

Can be treated

"The disease can be treated very effectively in the short term through a combination of prevention (learning what triggers the allergic reactions) and drug therapy. A new therapy called immunomodulators like pimecrolimus is effective in suppressing the immune system in the affected area and appears to yield better results," the dermatologist added.

Making the right lifestyle modifications can also help in combating this skin disorder, the dermatologist said.

"Understanding the triggers of atopic dermatitis can help you in making the right lifestyle modifications. Some common triggers of atopic dermatitis are irritants like soaps, detergents, conditioners, preservatives, emulsifiers, and other inactive ingredients in lotions, creams and gels.

"Even some acidic foods can also cause atopic dermatitis. To avoid this, daily bathing is must for children with atopic dermatitis and while washing clothes we should make sure that only a minimum quantity of detergent is used," the dermatologist added.

Recently, the dermatologist organised a presentation in Muscat to familiarise the medics on this disease.

Medics from all hospitals attended the presentation and Qais Al Zakwani, deputy chairman of Authority for Electricity Regulation, Oman, was the chief guest.

"Even general practitioners and pediatricians can treat this disease," the dermatologist added.

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2011

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Jul 5, 2011
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