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What’s Going Around? August 25, 2014

Here is this week’s edition of our What’s Going Around segment, where we discuss common minor health issues and ailments folks are having across our patient population.

Clarence Williams, MD, an internal medicine physician at the Scott & White Round Rock Urgent Care Clinic is reporting that they’re still seeing a lot of seasonal allergies, insect stings and cases of hand-foot-mouth disease have been diagnosed locally.

Seasonal allergies

Patients have runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, nasal congestion, and scratchy/sore throat. The most common triggers are trees in the spring, grasses in the summer and weeds in the fall.

Care instructions: First, avoid the allergens causing the allergy if possible. Use over-the-counter treatment, such as Zyrtec, Allegra and Claritin, to help relieve symptoms. If these do not help, then a nasal steroid may be needed. Nasacort is available over-the-counter without a prescription.

Ultimately if these measures do not work please be seen by a physician for care. Also seek medical care for fever over 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit, persistent cough, shortness of breath, wheezing or if symptoms of a sinus infection develop.

Hymenoptera (bee/wasp/hornet stings)

An insect sting appears as a red lump in the skin that sometimes has a tiny hole in the center, or it may have a stinger in the center of the wound. The most common stings are from wasps, hornets and bees. A normal reaction may cause pain, swelling, and redness around the sting site.

A localized allergic reaction may cause swelling and redness that extends beyond the sting site. A large local reaction may continue to develop over the next 12 to 36 hours.

On occasion, the reactions can be severe (anaphylactic reaction). An anaphylactic reaction may cause wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, fainting, raised and itchy red patches on the skin, nausea/ vomiting, stomach cramping or diarrhea. If you have had an anaphylactic reaction to an insect sting in the past, you are more likely to have one again.

Care instructions: With bee stings, a small sac of poison is left in the wound. Brush across this with a credit card or anything similar to help remove this and decrease the amount of the reaction. Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and itching.

To relieve pain, itching and swelling, you may use 1 percent hydrocortisone and ibuprofen. Wash the sting site daily with soap and water. Apply antibiotic ointment on the sting site. If you suffer a severe reaction, seek medical care as soon as possible.

Hand, Foot, Mouth disease

A common viral illness occurring mainly in children younger than 10 years of age, but also in adolescents and adults. Most often in the United States, coxsackievirus is the culprit causing the disease. It is characterized by painful oral ulcers, low grade fever, and blisters on the hands and feet.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is contagious and can spread from person to person by direct contact with an infected person’s nasal discharge, throat discharge or stool. A person is most contagious during the first week of the illness.

It is not transmitted to or from pets or other animals. Nearly all patients recover without medical treatment in 10 to 14 days. There are no common complications.

Care instructions: Try combinations of foods to see what your child will tolerate and aim for a balanced diet. Soft foods may be easier to swallow. The mouth sores from hand, foot and mouth disease typically hurt and are painful when exposed to salty, spicy or acidic food or drinks.

Milk and cold drinks are soothing for some patients. Milk shakes, frozen ice pops, slushies and sherbets are usually well-tolerated. Sport drinks are good choices for hydration, and they also provide a few calories.

For younger children and infants, feeding with a cup, spoon, or syringe may be less painful than drinking through the nipple of a bottle. Keep children out of childcare programs, schools or other group settings during the first few days of the illness or until they are without fever.

The sores on the body are not contagious. Seek medical care immediately for signs of dehydration or inadequate pain relief with over-the-counter medications.

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What’s Going Around? August 25, 2014