16 November 2023

Stay clean and keep watch to prevent skin-caused illnesses

| Sarah Martin
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doctor with stethoscope

Dr Alison Hempenstall is urging Cape residents to keep watch for skin conditions that can lead to serious illness. Photo: TCHHS.

With the weather heating up and mosquito numbers increasing, Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service is urging Cape York residents to watch for skin issues that can lead to serious illness.

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Public Health Medical Officer Dr Allison Hempenstall said symptoms to look out for were skin sores, including from insect bites and scratches, as well as itchiness from scabies.

Dr Hempenstall said residents could prevent skin infections by washing and covering sores, regular hand and body washing with soap, and keeping bedding, homes and clothes clean.

Dr Hempenstall said some skin conditions, if not monitored and properly cared for, could result in people developing acute rheumatic fever or acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN).

“Acute rheumatic fever can lead to the more serious rheumatic heart diseases, while APSGN, if untreated, can lead to more serious problems such as chronic kidney problems,’’ she said.

“Both acute rheumatic fever and APSGN are caused by the streptococcus A bacteria group (strep), which causes throat and skin infections.

“So, good hygiene and controlling the spread of skin infections is vital in helping ensure these more serious conditions do not occur.’’

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