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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 94-99

Assessment of knowledge and attitude towards sun exposure and photoprotection measures among Indian patients attending dermatology clinic

Department of Dermatology, People's College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vivek Kumar Dey
Department of Dermatology, People's College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal - 462 037, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijdd.ijdd_19_19

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Background: Many skin diseases are known to be either initiated or aggravated by excessive ultraviolet (UV) exposure. High cumulative levels of UV radiation may lead to tanning, burning, photoaging, photoallergic and phototoxic reactions, immunosuppression, and even skin cancers. Many international studies have found that the level of knowledge, attitudes, and practices of the general public toward sun exposure and sun protection measures is good in the Western countries, especially in countries with high incidence of skin cancers compared to Asian countries and Middle East. In India, the incidence of skin cancer is not very high, but UV exposure has definitely increased in the past few decades. Little is known about the knowledge and attitude of Indians toward sun exposure and sun protection due to the paucity of research in this arena. Aims and Objectives: This study was aimed at exploring the knowledge and attitudes of Indians toward sun exposure and sun protection measures. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a predesigned questionnaire related to the knowledge, behavior, and attitudes toward sun exposure and sun protection of the participants visiting a dermatology outpatient clinic for various dermatological problems. Results: total of 324 patients were studied. Participants were divided into five age groups of equal number of male and female participants. Mean age was 37.7 ± 13.15. Overall awareness and knowledge was poor and only 14% were using regular sunscreen. Females had better knowledge and attitude toward sun exposure and protection. The most commonly used sun protection measure was avoiding sun during peak hours of the day. Conclusion: The level of knowledge regarding sun exposure hazards was very low among the study population, and sun prevention behaviors were also very poor. Regular use of sunscreen was practiced only by a small fraction of our population. Knowledge of sun exposure and photoprotection was better in urban, young participants, female gender, and also positively associated with higher education and socioeconomic status. Participants from urban background, females, and middle-aged participants had better attitude toward photoprotection.

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