Ouch! Itching powder available for Rs 50 online

 An itching powder available online.

It could be used to play a prank or to mug an innocent passerby, but the alarming thing about the itching powder is that people can get it online. 

Weeks ago, the city woke up to the news that a gang using itching powder to steal is back in business, but no regulation is in place as the e-commerce sites are selling them for anyone. 

Sold in names like ‘itching powder’ or ‘itch powder’, the substance is touted by e-commerce portals as something to play pranks with. While anyone can get them for as little as Rs 50, doctors warn that the chemicals in the powder can be potentially harmful. 

City-based paediatrician Dr Manjunath Sharma believed it could be safe to use powders that contain natural ingredients as mentioned online, but the ones with chemicals could aggravate allergies as it caused persistent itching.

“We’re not aware of the long-term side effects,” he said. While in some cases it leaves severe irritation, it could create permanent scars in others, Dr Girish M S, Head, Department of Dermatology, ESIC Rajajinagar. 

"It is shocking that this is even available online. Although the main purpose could be a prank, there should be a discretely use. It leads to inflammation and irritation in children. It would lead to contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals," Dr Girish said.

Iron causes irritation

Though the powders are made of rose hips or maples, the tiny pieces of iron cause more irritation. “on scratching, this could leave permanent scars,” Dr Girish said.

Meanwhile, having known about the way the itching powder is misused, Shashi Kumar D, general secretary, KAMS said, "If it is available online, we will approach the government and seek a ban. Although school children might find it tough to purchase the powder without parents' knowledge, college students will be more vulnerable."

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