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Preventing and Controlling Infections During Extended Human Spaceflight

Author(s): Kevin Zheng

There can be several health issues, including skin issues, during both short- and long-duration spaceflight. The skin of astronauts is erythematous, blistering, itchy, dry, sensitive, and thinning both in space and when they return to Earth. Infections, abrasions, lacerations, delayed wound healing, and accelerated skin aging is some more prevalent skin issues. Human skin is an ecosystem made up of a variety of habitats for bacteria, fungi and viruses known as the microbiome, which not only exhibits a strong preference for the skin's distinct environment but also acts as a person's extremely individual microbial fingerprint. These bacteria connected with human skin significantly contribute to the microbial ecosystems that live in the space environment's confined settings. The human skin microbiome, on the other hand, is also susceptible to change during spaceflight, which might result in skin infections or a flare-up of skin illnesses. It is a challenging endeavor to launch humans into space, both technologically and medically. Engineers and scientists make every effort to recognize and reduce any hazards that may arise. One such worry arises from the possibility of the spread of a contagious disease within a spaceship, which is exacerbated by numerous elements particular to an extraterrestrial environment. Astronauts' immune systems may be weakened by several conditions related to the space environment, including an increase in microbial growth and microflora exchange, altered virulence, and reduced antibiotic efficacy. To ensure a secure and effective space of living, a satisfactory solution to the aforementioned issues must be found. Long-term human travel to another planet or asteroid will provide special problems for reducing the danger of illness.

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