Diseases Due To Physical Agents

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Diseases Due To Physical Agents

Pressure/Friction :
Pressure or friction on a localized area of skin can producea blister if the pressure/friction is acute as on wearing tightnew shoes or undertaking hard manual labour. If thepressure/friction is chronic and recurrent it can lead to acorn or a callosity.

Burns :
These are produced if an individual gets exposed to heatabove 60°C. A brief contact may result only in pain anderythema, while a higher temperature or a prolongedcontact leads to blistering or deep ulceration. The intensity and the extent of damage will be proportional to thetime and the area of exposure. The blisters are subepi-dermal.

Erythema ab Igne :
It occurs when the exposure to heat occurs repeatedly andover a prolonged period and the heat stimulus is mild. Thearea exposed to the heat develops a reticulate pattern ofcrythema and hyperpigmentation. It is more common in thecold climates.

Frost Bite :
It results when a normal individual gets exposed to afreezing cold temperature for a long period. The peripheralparts of the body become numb and white during theexposure and develop erythema, oedema, blisters andgangrene on rewarming.

Chilblains :
These appear on exposure to cold if the person has anincreased sensitivity to cold. The lesions consist of painfulerythematous and oedematous areas on the dorsal aspectsof the toes and fingers, which turn brown-black within afew days. Healing occursspontancously without scarring

Photodermatitis :
An excessive exposure to sunlight as on a high altitudealong the sea-shore or in a desert can lead to sunburnwhich manifests as pain, redness and oedema followed byscaling and pigmentation on the areas not covered withclothes. These changes usually disappear within a fewweeks but recur when the individual is exposed to the sameintensity of sunlight once again. Routine day to dayexposures do not produce any reaction.

Photosensitivity :
This is the term used when some substance appliedtopically on the skin or acting on the skin via the bloodcirculation, makes the skin more sensitive to sunlightDermatitis occurs only as long as the photosensitiser ispresent in the skin, and in the presence of thephotosensitiser even the routine normal exposures to lightcan evoke the reaction. But once the photosensitiser hasbeen removed, there is no reaction to the sun exposure. The common topical photosensitisers include hair oils,perfumes, cosin present in some cosmetics and some plantcomponents. The common systemic photosensitisers includepsoralens, sulphonamides, demethyl-chlortctracycline and griseofulvin. The lesions may consist oferythema, oedema, papulo-vesiculation and scaling or theremay be just hyperpigmentation. The areas involved wouldcorrespond to the areas where the photosensitiser wasapplied in the case of topical photosensitivity while in thecase of systemic photosensitivity, the lesions will be present on all the sun exposed areas.

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