The Chalk & its effects on you

The Chalk & its effects on you


 

Dr M. R. Krishnamurthy is a primary care physician with 42 years of experience. After completing his MBBS, he has worked in the UK and Canada.

 

 

 


In this issue, let us talk about the problems associated with the use of white or coloured chalk in our schools and colleges.

As you all know, when you write on a black board with white or coloured chalk, a fine dust is released into the surroundings. If you are allergic to the dust, it can affect your body in many ways.

The most common effects are on the respiratory system it can cause irritation of the throat and nose, leading to repeated attacks of sneezing and a dry cough lasting for days. If you are susceptible to asthma, it can increase the frequency and severity of attacks. You may need to take inhalers to relieve symptoms of asthma and a long acting antihistamine like cetirizine, for relief of irritation of the throat and nose.
Another common problem with chalk allergy is eye irritation. The eyes become red and itchy and you feel as if there is sand in your eyes. Frequent washing with cold water offers some relief.

Exposed parts of your skin can get dry and itchy with chalk allergy. Avoid the temptation to scratch, as it worsens the itchy sensation. Wash the part with cold water and apply a soothing skin cream or dry skin lotion. Do not use antiseptic or steroid based creams.
Lastly, scalp and hair are also affected by chalk allergy. The scalp becomes dry and itchy, the hair loses its lustre and is prone to falling prematurely. Washing 2-3 times a week with a mild shampoo should bring back the lustre to your hair. There is no easy way to relieve the itchy scalp without the use of powerful medications. You could try coconut oil as it lubricates the scalp.
Of course, with all diseases, prevention is better than finding a cure. We can change to white boards and suitable pens (even though it may be a more expensive option). In the long run, probably we will spend less on medications and shampoos.
This article was originally published in TheTeacher.in magazine in the month of December, 2018.