Still Waiting for Water

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A radio story by Rama Shanker Pandey and Raj Jai

By: Neha Sethi, Sumiran Preet Kaur and Gaurav

Skin-Deep Infections

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By: Sheeba Naaz and Kinley Tshering

Skin-Deep Infections

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Words:Kinley Tshering and Sheeba Naaz

Summer comes along with a lot of extra baggage-the sweltering heat, the nuisance created by rain, the mosquito menace and the high risk of catching water borne diseases. Caught amid the commotion of all these concerns, people often tend to ignore a simple fact that skin diseases are also rampant in summers.

And when people talk about taking care of their skin, they usually talk about their face. They seem to be more concerned with skin diseases like acne and pimples. But there are more to it than what meets the eye.

“Skin diseases are quite common during monsoon but they generally get ignored by people because they are more worried about water borne diseases,” says Dr Anju Mangla, a dermatologist at Sujan Mohindra Hospital in New Friends Colony.

Rash, scabies, ring worms, itching, and so on, are some common skin diseases people suffer from. Others like Tinea Ungulum affects nails making it thick, fragile and yellowish or brown in colour. Tinea Pedis affects feet. These diseases are caused by fungal or bacterial infections and if left untreated can be harmful in the long run.

“As far as fungal infections are concerned, the infections of the foot are the most common. Once it is left untreated it can spread on the entire body and lead to the infection of the body,” says Dr Anju Mangla.

Diabetic patients who suffer from skin diseases are at higher risk compared to those who are not diabetic. In case diabetes in an adult is uncontrolled, the infection can spread rampantly all over the body says the dermatologist. “To the extent that instead of oral medication, the patients need to be given intravenous medication,” she adds.

The treatment of fungal infections however does not take long. At most it involves 2-3 weeks of treatment that can get rid of the diseases completely. ‘It is only when it is ignored the treatment can last for 4-6 weeks to even around three months,” says Dr Anju Mangla.

But normally, most people prefer to apply off-the-counter medication without consulting a doctor or a physician and that can be harmful says the dermatologist.

“These off-the-shelf medicines have a lot of steroid components in them. It may help to cure the disease for the time being but it comes back with a vengeance. When it comes back it tends to get infected with bacterial diseases as well,” says Dr Anju Mangla.

In addition, many use home made recipes to cure skin diseases that can be equally harmful. “Certain home-made recipes like bason pack and Chandan pack are fine. But when it comes to strong irritants we need to be very careful especially if they mix a lot of ingredients. The combination can sometimes be harmful to the skin,” says Dr Anju Mangla.

“Free” smoking zone

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Words: Dipu Shaw and Sumiran Preet Kaur

Anuj and other members of Ibtida, Hindu College’s theatre group, are practicing for their forthcoming play. He puffs from a cigarette every time he gets a break from his role in the play. His friend who is sitting and watching the performance shares the fag when Anuj is acting out his part. Both the friends are unmindful of the board less than 20 meters away that says “Delhi University is a no smoking zone now”.

The campaigns to make university campuses a smoke free zone may be a novel initiative of the Health Ministry, but is it effective in combating smoking?

Mayank, another student of the university feels that making the entire north campus a smoke free zone is not the way out. “There should be smoking zones too, where we can go and smoke our cigarettes.” The members of the theatre group argue the same point when questioned about the cigarettes in their hands.

Who’s concerned?

Government of India has launched National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) in the 11th five-year plan to implement anti-tobacco laws. Delhi is one of the 9 States to be covered under NTCP. But the Government’s steps of putting up “No smoking zone” boards in the college campuses hardly acts as a deterrent for smokers.

Even the police constables stationed around the colleges are not concerned about catching the smokers. They say it is not their job. In fact, they themselves do not mind smoking their beedis right in front of the college.

Sale continues

Sale of tobacco products may be officially banned in the campus. But if you are a regular smoker, you know where to go for your need. The small tea shops around the corner take care of it. Others, who are unaware of the “facilities” keep their stocks full well in advance. Whether they are the hostellers of Hindu college or other students of the university, they know the means to meet their end.