Allergies: What's Going Around for the Week of March 28

Whats Going Around 3-27-12

Seasonal allergies are on the rise. That's just one thing local doctors are talking about when looking at "What's Going Around" the area where you live.

The citrus blossoms have kicked off a good start to allergy season in Palm Springs.  Dr. Michael Jardula is treating a lot of people for sneezing, coughing, watery nose and eyes.  There are many good over-the-counter antihistamines available to arm yourself with, but if those don't help, see your primary care provider.

Allergies are also plentiful in Indio right now.  Physician assistant Mitch Claire says "over-the-counter treatment can be effective, but if your allergies are persistent, seek medical help."  Dehydration is also an issue which can bring fatigue, increased perspiration and muscle cramping.   Claire recommends plenty of water, including water mixed with Gatorade.  This can help replace the electrolytes that are lost with heavy perspiration.

This week Dr. Randolph Gibbs warns people about the meningitis outbreak in border towns that started in January.  The average age of the victims is 13.  Symptoms may include fever, headache, lethargy, a stiff neck and a rash that doesn't turn white under pressure.  Make sure to see the doctor if you have any suspicions this could be meningitis.  He's also detecting an increase in latent tuberculosis cases in the east part of the valley.  "These cases may be without signs, symptoms or radiographic evidence of disease," Gibbs says.  "Medical management should include consideration of epidemiologic and medical history."

"Last week we saw very few upper respiratory illnesses," reports Dr. Frank Arian in Palm Springs.  "Numbers of sinusitis, otitis, gastroenteritis and bronchitis were all down."  However, seasonal allergies are picking up in Palm Springs this week, along with fungal infections and ringworm.  As the temperature heats up and we start to get warm and sweat, fungus starts to grow.  Dr. Arian says be sure to shower often, dry thoroughly, wear sandals in public showers, and air dry when you can.  People are also complaining of malaise, and he says the main issue is they are behind on their fluids.  

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is going around among little ones in Rancho Mirage.  Dr. Arturo Quintanilla says this is mostly affecting preschoolers, and is highly contagious.  See your pediatrician right away for antibiotics.

Viral gastroenteritis is back in La Quinta.  Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea lasting about a day and a half.  Dr. Erica Ruiz also suggests seeing your physician if you're suffering from a severe cough and shortness of breath.  This could be asthma exacerbation.

Finally, a common cold tops the list of issues in Coachella.  Dr. Frank Curry tells us this affects the throat, sinuses and ears.  Seasonal allergies are complicating the picture, since both allergies and colds can have very similar symptoms.  He's treating very few cases of stomach ache or intestinal virus.

Watch "What's Going Around" Tuesday evenings at 5:30 and Wednesday mornings on CBS Local 2 News.

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