Stomach Virus: What's Going Around for the Week of Dec. 18
There's no running from a nasty stomach bug going around. That's just one thing local doctors are talking about when looking at "What's Going Around" the area where you live.
- Patients in Palm Springs are still besieged with colds and flu-like illness. Dr. Michael Jardula tells us some of the cases are still limited to intestinal symptoms that come on suddenly and violently with nausea and crampy abdominal pain. Lots of fluids and resting your bowels is the key to healing.
- This week Dr. Randolph Gibbs has treated several cases of conjunctivitis, or pink eye, at the Mecca Clinic. The most common causes of the eye pain, itching and discharge are viral, bacterial or allergic. Diluted baby shampoo or a mild soap solution can help the eyelid inflammation that sometimes happens with conjunctivitis. Gibbs has also seen several cases of the herpes simplex virus, which shows up as "grouped vesicles on the skin, or ulcers on the oral membranes." He recommends oral and/or topical antiviral therapy as an effective treatment.
- An explosion of stomach issues in Palm Springs that comes on like food poisoning is just now settling down. It's taking one to two weeks to fully clear, and people are being left tired and weak. It's taking seven to 14 days to fully clear, according to Dr. Frank Arian. And be careful what you're drinking during holiday parties this time of year. Arian says he's seen a few patients lately complaining of rapid heart beats, and heavy thudding in their chests. Turns out they're mixing energy drinks with their alcohol. Doctors are already aware of what they call "holiday heart" this time of year. Adding caffeine to the mix can make people more at risk for cardiac arrythmia. Several cases of gout have also come through Arian's office in Palm Springs this week. He reports it's common this time of year because more cocktails, wine, beer, and rich foods are consumed. Gout is more common on the base of the big toe, but can also be seen in the knee, elbow, wrist or ankle. If you have a history of gout, try to avoid these kinds of food and drink, and instead, drink lots of water.
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a slight fever and fatigue is the main complaint from patients in La Quinta. Dr. Erica Ruiz tells us people stay sick about three days, and eventually get better with lots of fluid and hydration. She's also noticed an upper respiratory infection going around this part of the valley. It starts with a sore throat, then travels to the sinus area with severe congestion, headache and fatigue. This lasts about seven to 10 days and goes away on its own. "Keeping hydrated, and using ibuprofen/Tylenol usually is very effective," Ruiz says.
- In Coachella, there's still a surge in gastroenteritis cases, which Dr. Frank Curry says seems to be consistent with a viral illness. The vomiting, diarrhea, and fever is really bad for about three days. There are surprisingly few respiratory infections.
- In Rancho Mirage, Dr. Tate de Leon tells us "I am seeing a lot of patients who are not up to date on their colon cancer screening. Moreover, they are misled to think that poylps are all benign... when in fact that they should be considered precancerous and need closer follow up." De Leon advises screening with colonoscopy should start at age 50, or earlier if there is a family history of colon cancer. "If absolutely nothing is found on the first colonoscopy, a repeat should be completed seven to 10 years afterwards. If polyps are found, even if they are not specifically cancer, they should be watched more closely with a repeat colonoscopy every three to five years depending on the recommendations of the doctor." De Leon says "Colon cancer is one of the few cancers we can catch early and actually do something about. It is imperative that we screen and survey appropriately."
Watch "What's Going Around" Tuesday evenings at 5:30 and Wednesday mornings on CBS Local 2 News.
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