Radiation dermatitis is a skin condition that arises after exposure to radiation therapy. When it comes to the acute form, it occurs right after exposure to radiation, typically within a brief period with signs that are immediate where the skin is damaged.
In most cases, there is an acute skin reaction after a high-dose or intense exposure to radiation. The condition is defined as skin redness with pain that can last for a few weeks.
Possible risk factors
The usual risk factors for acute radiation dermatitis might include:
- Radiation therapy for acne
- Fungal infection of the scalp among children
- Psoriasis treatment
- Radiation therapy for an underlying malignancy
- Accidental exposure in the workplace
- Exposure to radiation while under angiography or angioplasty
What are the indications?
The signs of acute radiation dermatitis might manifest within hours up to a few days after exposure to radiation which includes:
- Skin redness and pain in the affected site. The redness that lasts for 3-5 days but the pain can last for up to 3 weeks.
- Hair loss
- Formation of blisters that might ulcerate and even bleed
- Skin rashes are localized to a specific site, usually at the site of exposure
Remember that any part of the body that has been exposed to radiation can be affected.
A physical examination is performed to check for any signs. The doctor will also assess the medical history of the individual.
Management of acute radiation dermatitis
- Acute radiation dermatitis typically settles without requiring treatment. Take note that the skin recuperates and returns to normal over time.
- It is vital to take a break from radiation therapy. The doctor might decide not to expose the individual to radiation until the skin or any scars have fully healed.
- If treatment is necessary, there is a need for topical steroids.
Some self-care measures that can be done at home include:
- Avoid scratching the affected areas.
- Apply a cool, damp compress on the affected areas
- A cool bath can provide a soothing effect on the skin
- Only use mild soaps, perfumes and detergents
- If possible, wear smooth, cotton-based clothing