Slough-skin is a disease that strikes those who spend extended time in damp and wet caverns. Most common among the working poor, it's sometimes called Miner's Cough or Farmer's Fungi, but can strike any who do not take care to avoid it. What starts as merely unpleasant and debilitating can become a life-threatening condition if left untreated. It is such a common infliction that almost every working family has their own home remedy to treat it.
Slough-skin is not a contagious disease, but a condition brought on by staying too long in wet caverns without any time to dry. Industrial pollutants, common additions to already horrible working conditions, make the disease far worse and often add debilitating mutations to what is already a murderous illness. While the cause of slough-skin is relatively known, these complications do much to muddy the prognosis and treatments.
At the early stages of the disease, the skin begins to turn a ruddy red or dark blue. If left untreated, the skin and flesh begins to rot and swell. Already at this stage, the disease can leave permanent scars on those who do not treat it in time and the smell of decay is rank and obvious. As it processes, the skin begins to split open with blisters and open sores that refuse to heal. In particularly bad cases, the sick can swell and decay to be nearly unrecognizable.
The decaying flesh of a slough-skin sufferer is fertile ground for any number of aggressive and infectious fungi to take root in. This is particularly common for farmers who spend all their time around fungi and mushroom. It makes a bad situation even worse, though some Medikari use the spread of fungi to determine just where to apply the bone-saw.The disease strikes at the extremities and the face first, but can spread across the body. If left untreated, gangrene can set in and threaten the sufferers life and limbs.
Bring the saw.Slough-skin is relatively easy to avoid or prevent, at least in theory. Getting out the damp and avoiding prolonged immersion in the wet caverns stops the disease from taking hold. At the earliest stage of the disease, this can be enough to recover. Once the disease has set in, there is a number of treatments to help the poor soul recover. They range from effective, like keeping the sick dry and treating the decaying areas with ointments, to useless superstitions that force the sick to sleep upside down. In the end, staying dry and clean is the most effective way to treat Slough-skin, at least at first. Once the disease has really set in, it becomes much more difficult to treat. Gangrene can force a doctor to amputate fingers or entire limbs to save the patients life. Swellings are sometimes lanced and drained, but this often results in further infection.
Slough-skin is an unfortunately common affliction, with many forced to work endless hours in horrible conditions. Pollution and waste aggravate the troubles already faced and unsympathetic taskmasters can turn an easily treated illness to a crippling, scarring conditions. The Kaia are another group who deal with the disease, staying for days on end far away from civilization and in the sort of moist conditions where the illness thrives. But among the Kaia, the disease is more rare - weeks or months of immersion are typically required for Slough-skin to really take root.
Scourge of the Caves
Charm and TrinketsFor every effective, proven treatment there's is a talisman or trinket that do nothing. Medicine in Araea sometimes confuse symptoms and indulge in superstition. Among the two major medical theories of Araea, there is little agreement about how Slough-skin is best treated. Read more about Atma and the Medikari Read more about Deva and their medicine
Regional VariantsWhile the disease remain the same, getting afflicted while in the Harorao Region is to be particularly unfortunate. The spore-rich air of the Harorao can easily cause fungi of especially aggressive variety of take root in the unfortunate's flesh and the wet, sponge-y environment leaves few places to easily dry. The disease here is so virulent and striking that those who frequent the region have taken to calling those so afflicted "moss-men".
Miner's Cough If the disease reaches the throat and lungs, the sick are afflicted with terrible, rattling cough and shortness of breath to go with the other symptoms. While colloquially known as Miner's Cough, it is no more or less likely to strike anyone else than it is miners.