Itchy rash sending small patients to the doctor

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE TV)-  Heaters are cranked in Kentuckiana and that dry air is sending children to the doctor this week.  

At UofL Pediatrics C&Y downtown, Dr. Judy Theriot is treating Atopic Dermatitis (aka eczema).  It's a painful, itchy rash that can start with nothing more than dry skin caused by the heat that warms our homes.

Dr. Theriot says children will often scratch until the skin cracks and bleeds.  Skin in the rash area can become darker, lighter or can simply look red and irritated with raised bumps.

The treatment is to get moisture back into the skin with barriers like petroleum jelly.  Dr. Theriot says lotions don't really work.  Also, to avoid more moisture loss, avoid baths that are too hot.  Use soaps with moisturizers, but not deodorants which can cause even more irritation.

If the barrier doesn't help, head to the doctor.  Dr. Theriot says it may require a topical steroid to ease the itch.  She says irritated skin can lead to bacterial infections which lead to hospitalizations every year.

At Norton Community Medical Associates in Clarksville, Dr. Jill Howell Berg is caring for small patients with upset tummies and says the parents are reporting similar symptoms.  Gastroenteritis is highly contagious and typically starts with vomiting followed by diarrhea, abdominal cramping, body aches and fever.

Dr. Berg says infants should see the doctor, otherwise follow these guidelines for older children:  If Vomiting more than 24 hours or more than 4 to 6 diarrhea episodes in a day, the child should be seen by a doctor.  Liquids like Pedialyte can help prevent dehydration.

There are spotty cases of flu also be reported this week in Jeffersonville, Sellersburg and Shelbyville.

Dr. Meredith Kehrer with Kehrer Family Medicine and Jewish Physician Group says everyone should be aware of flu symptoms right now.  Fever, muscle aches, runny nose, cough, sore throat, ear pain with possible GI symptoms, vomiting or diarrhea.

She says see the doctor ASAP for possible treatment with Tamiflu which can shorten the duration.  Push fluids, get plenty of rest and avoid exposing others.

Dr. Jeb Teichman with Clark Memorial Physicians Group in Jeffersonville says once exposed to flu, the incubation period is 1 to 4 days and infected people can transmit the virus even after fever resolves.