Dermatovenerologist MUDr. Helena Michalíková was a guest of the Czech Radio Dvojka, on the Dva na Dvojce show

Article

29. 07. 2021 Dermatovenerology

Each year we can’t wait for the summertime to come- to have a time to rest and relax and to enjoy the sunny weather and many of us also look forward to sunbathing.  However, for many of us it’s not all fun and games- sun allergies and other skin conditions can be a problem for during the warm months.

How do allergies affect our skin and how do you know you are experiencing allergic reaction?

The skin is our bodies largest organ with most of its surface area being exposed to the external environment. We often forget that everything that comes from the external environment has some effect on our skin. Manifestations of allergies vary greatly. It depends on whether the allergen comes into contact directly with the skin, or whether the allergen is ingested (i.e., certain foods or drugs).  In the case of external contact, the manifestations are usually relatively localized at the site of contact, but when the body is exposed to the substance orally, the manifestations tend to be more extensive.

Is there an increased awareness when it comes to the dangers of sun exposure? Are people being more careful?

It is true that sun-protection awareness is increasing relatively quickly, and people are generally more protected than they were years ago. On the other hand, we still see a lot of people exposing themselves to the sun during the worst hours of the day, around noon and rarely with SPF protection.

What is the best treatment for an allergic reaction? Is it best to go to the doctor right away, or are there any first aid strategies that we can use to treat the reaction at home?  

It really depends on how strong the allergic reaction is. If it is a common mosquito bite, which believe it or not is an allergic reaction, and we can treat it very adequately at home. However, if it is a more serious reaction, the worst and most feared being the anaphylactic shock, it is essential to see a doctor as soon as possible.

What is an anaphylactic shock?

It is the failure of our body’s organism overall. Decreased blood pressure and impaired breathing, both of which can lead to loss of consciousness and possibly death.

How best to respond to anaphylactic shock?

It depends on whether we have any access to medical equipment. If we have nothing, we must start the classic first aid procedure- heart massage and possibly mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. However, quite often allergy sufferers carry an EpiPen. Allergy sufferers who have already experienced a more severe allergic reaction tend to have it on them more commonly. To have a better idea of what it looks like, it resembles a normal pen where you take off the lid and prick the needle into your upper thigh. The pen contains adrenaline, which stimulates both respiratory and cardiac activity and helps keep blood pressure in order.

Is it true that a high SPF factor significantly blocks our bodies uptake of vitamin D from the sun? How to sunbathe safely and what’s the right way to use sunscreen?

It is generally said that staying outside for about fifteen minutes with short sleeves is enough for a sufficient dose of vitamin D. It is true that when laboratory levels of vitamin D are taken, it is usually low in the population.

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