Seven-year-old Rajeshwari, who lives in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, suffers from an incurable condition called ichthyosis which causes her skin to become scaly. The rough blisters have covered her arms, legs and most of her back and make it painful for her to walk or even sit. The seven-year-old lives in a tribal district in Dantewada and travelling to a nearby city for medical appointments is an additional burden.
Video footage shows Rajeshwari walking slowly and painfully into an enclosure with the scaly skin covering most of her body. Her legs and arms are almost completely covered in blisters, including her hands and feet, with her stomach and most of her back also affected. There is little health care available in the young girl's district, meaning she has to travel into the city for medical attention.
Dr Yash Upender, a dermatologist from Dantewada Hospital, specified the condition as 'epidermolytic ichthyosis'. Ichthyosis is not usually life-threatening, but there is no cure and patients are likely to show the symptoms for life. Medics say ichthyosis patients are also liable to suffer from overheating because of a reduced ability to sweat.
WHAT IS THE SKIN CONDITION ICHTHYOSIS?
Ichthyosis is an incurable condition which causes dry, thickened skin that can look like stone or fish scales. It is usually inherited, and babies who have it will generally start showing signs before their first birthday. Children can inherit it from parents who showed no signs of the disease. Patients are likely to suffer from redness, blisters and skin coming off as well as overheating and itching.
Some people may have a localised version of ichthyosis which only affects certain parts of their body. There is no cure, although certain creams and lotions can relieve pain and vitamin A may be prescribed. They are also vulnerable to infections because of cracks in their skin and may have impaired vision or hearing if skin builds up over their ears and eyes. The condition is usually inherited from one's parents, but can also be acquired in connection with other health problems. If a baby has inherited the condition, their skin will gradually become dry, rough and scaly - with symptoms showing before the age of one. People with the condition may need to spend several hours a day caring for their skin, experts say.
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