Water is at the very core of care in Dermatology. We depend on it to hydrate and wash our patients as well as the environments in which we treat. However, water is not an infinite resource and in some climates and areas of the world it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. Washing of the failing skin should be with water fit for drinking. Water is an essential component of the skin, it ensures that it is pliable and the outer layers control water loss only when there is sufficient water in the Stratum Corneum. At a fundamental level, moisture is essential for rapid repair of the skin’s barrier function.
Warning By 2025 the United Nations estimates water scarcity will threaten day to day survival of 1.8 Billion people. Some have even gone as far as to suggest the next World War will be about water. Added to this, at present much of the world has water that is undrinkable. Even when pouring water from a container on to the hands, it spills to the ground and remains inefficiently utilised. In the developing world washing is consistently the last priority after drinking water for humans and livestock.
Action Water can be conserved by applying it from a water absorbent material similar to hand towels issued on aircraft. In this way, it is possible to wash the whole body with just 100ml of water. The International Foundation of Dermatology and The International Skin Care Nursing Group have a memorandum of understanding with Procter and Gamble to distribute a water purifier. Most nations have a PUR® distributor from whom this product can be obtained. Those who have access to the internet should inform themselves of the Children’s Safe Drinking Water program or PUR®.
Water is often fetched from long distances making it in turn a precious commodity and it is cherished by local populations. With PUR® available, the burden on procuring supplies in this way is lessened.
The provision of water and of making it fit for drinking as well as for washing is inextricably linked to sanitation. If the billionaires of India were to invest in toilets and sewage disposal, the health of that nation would improve many fold.