LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The bed bugs are biting down hard in Kentuckiana. Doctors are treating rashes caused by the bugs and some other itchy ailments in this weeks check of "What's Going Around."
Jewish Physician Group's Dr. Christina Breit with Dupont Internal Medicine says the bed bug victims are coming into the office with an itchy rash and lesions that form in crops of three. She says to pile on the topical anti-itch creams and try an over-the-counter anti-itch aid like Benadryl. To get rid of the itch for good, patients will have to get rid of the bugs and that means fumigating the home.
Another itchy and often painful ailment being reported this week is Shingles. Dr. James Brewer with Mount Washington Medical Associates says this is highly contagious for people who've never been exposed to the virus and it is definitely making the rounds in the Mount Washington area. People need to know the symptoms include a moderate to severe painful rash, headaches, itching and feeling flu-like but without a fever. Dr Brewer says it's extremely important to get the doctor ASAP for this one. The more the rash spreads, the more likely a patient will have neuralgia. That's the intense, stabbing pain that comes from nerve damage and it can't be treated with medication.
Dr. Brewer says what can be treated is the actual rash with anti-viral med's to help shorten the duration. There are also anti-itch creams and pain medication to help patients better tolerate the symptoms. Once the rash clears there's a vaccine that can help prevent a recurrence.
The doctors at Family Allergy and Asthma are busy this week with ragweed and mold allergy sufferers. Dr. Doug Lotz says Ragweed is here to stay until the first hard frost causing itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose and headaches. Dr. Lotz reminds patient to keep the eye lubricated with re-wetting drops to help keep the pollens from sticking to the eyes and causing irritation. Other advice, avoid outdoor air as much as possible by keeping windows and doors closed. If you're working outside, wear sunglasses to protect the eyes and a Niosh N-95 rated mask. Before bed a quick bath to rinse pollens off the skin will reduce symptoms too. And don't forget about the animals when they come in from outside play be sure to wipe the down as well.
Low back pain is another complaint being reported this week from Dr. Brewer's office, possibly because of more outdoor yard clean-up as summer winds down.
Whatever the reason, he says if you experience low back pain don't aggravate the condition by lifting additional weight or stretching in un-comfortable positions. If the pain persists after a few days of trying traditional methods like ibuprofen and hot therapy then your doctor may want to get an x-ray of the lumbar spine. Treatment will be decided based on x-ray findings.
Also this week, in Dr. Breit's office she's treating some Upper Respiratory Infections along with allergies.
In addition with the normal headache, congestion, drainage and sore throat patients are also experiencing some fevers from the infection. Dr. Breit says when there's a fever associated, seek medical treatment.
And Gastroenteritis is another one that's causing fever. Dr. Breit says the symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. She says stay hydrated and sterilize common areas to decrease the risk of infection to others. May need to seek medical attention if unable to stay hydrated or to get anti-emetics.