Objectives There are no epidemiological studies comparing the prevalence of skin diseases between civilian and military populations. We sought to determine and compare the prevalence of skin conditions between civilian and military populations.
Methods A total of 3382 male patients (1148 military and 2234 civilian) were retrospectively and consecutively evaluated at Merzifon Military Hospital in the central Black Sea Region of Turkey.
Results The most frequent dermatological condition was tinea pedis (15.8%) followed by acne vulgaris, allergic contact dermatitis and alopecia areata in the military population (15.7%, 7.7% and 5.4%, respectively). Acne vulgaris, xerosis cutis and allergic contact dermatitis were the most common diagnoses in the civilian group (19.4%, 14.1% and 9.1%, respectively). The prevalence of tinea pedis, alopecia areata, pityriasis versicolor, ingrown nail (unguis incarnatus) and callus were statistically significantly higher in the military group (15.8% vs 4.4%, p<0.001; 5.4% vs 1.7%, p<0.05; 3.5% vs 0.7%, p<0.001; 3.3% vs 0.3%, p<0.001 and 4.6% vs 0.9%, p<0.001; respectively). Xerosis cutis was found to be significantly higher in the civilian group (14.1% vs 5.8%, p<0.001). Superficial fungal disease was the most prevalent disorder as in the previous literature.
Conclusions Preventive measures should be taken to improve the health of troops and reduce the prevalence of the common disorders such as tinea pedis, alopecia areata and callus. Troops should wear boots only when necessary in base camps. Clothing which reduces ventilation is not recommended. Depression and anxiety should be recognised and treated in soldiers with alopecia areata, as a solely dermatological approach without psychological support may reduce treatment success.
- OCCUPATIONAL & INDUSTRIAL MEDICINE