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Health Alert: Vitamin D Deficiency and Sun Allergies Surge, Guidelines Revised

The recommended duration of sun exposure has been curtailed, plummeting from 20 minutes to a mere 5-10 minutes. This adjustment reflects the escalating instances of individuals grappling with vitamin D deficits and adverse reactions to sunlight

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By Prerit Chauhan
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In recent times, a peculiar health concern has emerged predominantly among individuals residing in southern regions. This ailment, characterized by a combination of sunlight-induced allergies and vitamin D deficiencies, is progressively afflicting a growing number of people on a daily basis. Medical experts have noted a significant surge in patients reporting symptoms attributed to reactions from sunlight exposure and insufficiency of vitamin D. Previously, basking in the morning and evening sunlight was perceived as beneficial for health, aiding in the absorption of vitamin D and promoting skin health. However, there has been a notable shift in this traditional practice.

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The recommended duration of sun exposure has been curtailed, plummeting from 20 minutes to a mere 5-10 minutes. This adjustment in guidance reflects the escalating instances of individuals grappling with vitamin D deficits and adverse reactions to sunlight. Health professionals across various specialties, encompassing orthopedics, dermatology, and oncology, are exercising caution in their approach to patient care. Many practitioners now hesitate to advocate prolonged sun exposure, emphasizing the revised time frames for safe exposure to sunlight.

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Dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon, Dr. Anagha Sumant, highlights the increasing number of patients seeking medical attention for allergies and deficiencies attributed to sunlight exposure. Recommendations now include strict directives to avoid exposing the upper back to sunlight for more than 5-10 minutes and to diligently apply sunscreen to exposed areas. Alarmingly, statistics from Bangalore reveal that approximately 95% of residents grapple with vitamin D deficiency, underscoring the magnitude of the issue.

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Sun Exposure Benefits Versus Risks in Southern Regions

Experts advise that the optimal periods for sun exposure lie before 8 a.m. in the morning and between 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. in the afternoon, when the intensity of heat waves is relatively subdued. Dr. Avinash Seki, an esteemed orthopedist and professor at Dayanand Sagar University, corroborates the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Bangaloreans, citing the pressing need for proactive measures. Contrary to misconceptions, dermatologists stress that sunscreen application does not exacerbate vitamin D deficiencies.

Reports indicate a concerning rise in cases of sun allergies, characterized by symptoms such as itching, burning, redness, and various light-induced reactions. Children, in particular, bear the brunt of these afflictions, comprising nearly 20% of daily presentations. Consequently, the populace is urged to undergo routine skin examinations and vitamin level assessments every six months to mitigate risks associated with sunlight exposure.

Dr. Narayana Subramanyam, an eminent oncologist at 'Sparsh Hospital', emphasizes the indispensability of sun exposure for overall well-being, juxtaposed against the imperative of safeguarding skin health amidst soaring temperatures. During summer months, stringent measures are advised, including limiting direct sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., diligent application of sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 offering protection against UVA and UVB rays, and donning protective clothing to minimize prolonged exposure to sunlight, which poses a considerable risk of skin damage and potential carcinogenesis.

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