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War Surgery and Medicine

External Factors

External Factors

Friction was a common local precipitating factor in many chronic infective conditions. Examples were the persistent beard eruptions which were particularly stubborn under the customary military shaving conditions of cold water and blunt blades; army boots were the chief factor in many seborrhoeic eczemas of the feet; seborrhoeic dermatitis was on occasions due to woollen underclothes, and heavy socks gave rise to a particularly obstinate eruption around the ankles; watch straps and tightly fitting garments were trouble-some in hot weather as a cause of active seborrhoeic eruptions; adhesive strapping was a common irritant and was not favoured as a dermatological dressing; dust and dirt were such potent allies of the skin organisms that even previously normal men became susceptible to boils and desert sores in the Western Desert, especially when water was limited and sea bathing not possible.