The number of people suffering flare-ups of the skin disease eczema is on the rise in Orange after a long, dry winter.
Dermatologist Dr Michelle McRae said it was affecting people who regularly suffered from the disease as well as people who normally only had dry skin.
"This winter has been particularly dry. A lot of people have been flaring that haven't flared for a number of years," she said.
Dr McRae said there was an increase in the number of long-time Orange residents as well as people who had moved from Sydney and coastal areas in recent years, who were used to wetter winter conditions.
"It's a bit of both. Quite a lot of them are tree-changers," she said.
A lot of people have been flaring that haven't flared for a number of years.- Dr Michelle McRae, dermatologist
Dr McRae said Orange was known for having a high rate of eczema due to its high elevation and the humidity.
"We have a lot pollen, seed and grass exposures. We are in a high-allergen area and we do see a lot of severe exposures."
She said it was expected there would also be an increase in hay fever, and possibly asthma, cases in October-November with the onset of spring.
Dr McRae, the principle dermatology specialist at Pinnacle Dermatology, is the convenor of the Australasian College of Dermatologists sixth biennial Rural Dermatology Meeting in Orange this Friday-Sunday.
She said there would be a strong focus on skin health in regional areas at the conference.
Dr McRae said people living in regional and rural areas suffered different types of reactions and allergies to people living in cities as the pollutants were different.
She said petrol and traffic fumes played a greater role in the cities.
And she said city people tended to get their condition checked more regularly in the cities.
"Generally because of a lack of access people [in the country] often present later with anything.
"We also see a lot of people who work outdoors, farmers, tradespeople," she said.
Dr McRae said people needed to look after their skin and seek medical advice if they noticed any changes.
"It is about education and management. You can't cure it," she said.
"The meeting is talking about how to improve the access of care, treatment and resources."
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