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Skin diseases among adolescent boys in Abha, Saudi Arabia.

BACKGROUND: Adolescence is characterized by a sensitivity to issues of attractiveness. With dermatologic conditions, this may adversely affect early detection and compliance.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out on a multistage stratified random sample of 647 adolescent schoolboys in Abha, Saudi Arabia, to determine the prevalence of skin diseases. The age of the boys ranged from 11 to 19 years with an average of 15.3 +/- 1.9 years.

RESULTS: It was found that 19.8% of the children were affected by one form or another of transmissible skin diseases (TSD). The most common types were: pediculosis capitis (9.6%), verruca vulgaris (3.9%), and tinea pedis (1.9%). The prevalence of TSD increased significantly as the age decreased and as the crowding index increased. As for non-transmissible skin diseases, acne vulgaris was the most prevalent disease (56.3%). The prevalence and severity of acne increased significantly as the age increased.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate the need to develop regional intervention programs at the school level. Appropriate continuing medical education programs for school health workers in the region are mandatory to achieve this goal.

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