- Dr. Michael Jardula is still seeing a lot of allergy-related illness in Palm Springs. It's blooming in the desert and people are out and about taking it all in. "Fortunately, many of the previous allergy medications that were once only available by a doctors prescription, are now for sale over the counter," he says. "These are medications such as Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec which are non-drowsy and can work a full 24 hours."
- Dr. Frank Arian also reports seeing an even worse outbreak of seasonal allergies in Palm Springs this week than last week. Patients are complaining of an itchy nose, postnasal drip and hoarseness. To abort an attack, use Chlortrimeton or Sudafed but maintain an allergy-free state with a drug like Claritin or Zyrtec. It's springtime in the desert, so Dr. Arian says "blooming is quick and intense as foliage tries to move through its life cycle before the withering summer heat." And of course, the springtime wind stirs up the allergens. Dr. Arian also notes several cases of serious stomach discomfort. Some of those were diagnosed as cholecystitis. "Cholecystitis is an inflammation of the gallbladder that is a surgical urgency," he describes. "The gallbladder secretes bile into the intestine, which helps us absorb fat in our diets. In some folks stones can precipitate out and become quite large. Many people have lived with gallstones for years. When the gallbladder becomes inflamed because of a stone stuck in the duct or because of chronic irritation setting off an acute inflammatory response, the gallbladder must be removed." Dr. Arian says gallstones tend to form in those who have the 4-F's. "Fat, female, fertile and forty," although "this however is just a rule of thumb and can be found in most any age group." Diverticulitis also popped up in patients older than the age of 40. "Left lower quadrant abdominal pain can be caused by several potentially serious diseases that require careful evaluation, particularly in females because of the reproductive organs," he says. "Diverticula are small cul-de-sacs that form on the intestines. These blind sacs, which can almost be thought of as mini appendices, can get irritated, infected and even perforate expelling intestinal contents into the sterile abdomen... Traditionally it was believed that diets rich in seeds, hulls, kernels and other indigestible materials facilitated the progression of diverticulosis to diverticulitis. Recent long-term studies have cast doubt on that long held belief. Cases of lower abdominal pain should be evaluated by a physician."
- In Rancho Mirage, Dr. Arturo Quintanilla is treating lots of viral gastroenteritis among his little patients. He tells us the summer warming trend is bringing on the vomiting and diarrhea viruses, especially rotavirus. If your child has a sudden onset of vomiting, diarrhea and fever, bring them in to the pediatrician for proper assessment. "The rotavirus vaccines that are administered at two, four, six months are very effective in preventing this illness," Dr. Quintanilla offers.
- Adults are falling victim to viral gastroenteritis in La Quinta. Dr. Erica Ruiz says the vomiting lasts about a day, then diarrhea takes over for 36 more hours. If you stay hydrated this one will resolve on its own. Itchy eyes, nose, sinus drainage and sneezing are common symptoms of allergic rhinitis. As the weather heats up this will be less of a problem for most people. Dr. Ruiz is seeing an increase in asthma exacerbations now that the wind is kicking up. Coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath are the main symptoms. "Patients are advised to use their rescue inhaler more frequently and see their primary care if symptoms persist for longer than two days," she says, "or symptoms are becoming more severe."
- At the Mecca Clinic, Dr. Randolph Gibbs reminds us about febrile seizures, which is common in the first five years of a child's life. "Parents need to be reassured after a simple febrile seizure there is no negative impact on intellect or behavior," says Dr. Gibbs. "Febrile seizures are classified as simple or complexed." Risk factors include developmental delay, day care attendance, viral infections, family history of febrile seizures, vaccinations and possibly iron or zinc deficiencies.
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