Chiggers: What's Going Around for the Week of June 12

Time for things that sting, bite: are you ready?

Things that bite and itch are the story of the week. That's just one thing local doctors are talking about when looking at "What's Going Around" the area where you live.

  • Ever heard of chiggers? They're pretty common in the mid-west, but they're rampant here during the warmer months of the year. Dr. Randolph Gibbs says field workers and some children are coming into contact with these insects while picking grapes. Victims develop a hive-like rash and little red pimples on exposed skin.  Repellants containing DEET can help prevent bites. "Treatment is directed at alleviating the itching with oral antihistamines, cool compresses and soothing lotions," Gibbs says. "A short course of steroids may be indicated in severe cases." Children at the Mecca Clinic are also coming in with gastroenteritis. Symptoms usually subside within two days.
  • PA Mitch Claire is seeing all kinds of gastrointestinal illnesses in Indio this week. Vomiting, nausea and abdominal discomfort are all symptoms. Over-the-counter medication and hydration usually does the trick, but if things don't get better, see your doctor. Also, swimmer's ear is picking up because more people are in the pool. Avoid the pool until your antibiotic drops kick in.
  • Planning on flying this summer? Remember that it's common to catch respiratory illnesses from the recirculated air on airplanes. Dr. Frank Arian has treated a number of cases of a light cough, cold and congestion from valley visitors because of this. Stay eight feet away from people who are coughing, and wash your hands as much as possible. "Especially before eating those peanuts!" he adds. Dehydration is also a problem in Palm Springs. "If the patients are not vomiting and have no sugar contraindications, we are recommending electrolyte replacement fluids such as Gatorade or Pedialyte," Arian reports. He also recommends this formula for fluid replacement: You should be drinking in ounces-- one-half your weight in pounds, plus 10 percent.
  • In Coachella, Dr. Frank Curry is still seeing gastroenteritis, especially in school-age kids. This illness comes with fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and lasts about 48 hours.
  • Dr. Vivian Pacold reports several cases of scabies showed up in the pediatric population in Cathedral City. Scabies spreads very quickly and causes lots of itching, especially at night.
  • Dr. Arturo Quintanilla reports hand-foot-mouth disease is still rampant in the Coachella Valley area. He keeps seeing toddlers and preschoolers with this problem at his practice in Rancho Mirage. This well-known viral illness is rarely serious, but when children stop eating or drinking because the sores in their mouths make it too painful, they do become at risk for dehydration. Checking with your pediatrician is a good idea.

Watch "What's Going Around" Tuesday evenings at 5:30 and Wednesday mornings at 6:45 on CBS Local 2 News.

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