What's Going Around

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Nurse Practitioner Linda Eckerson at McLaren Greater Lansing-DeWitt Family Medicine is treating staph infections and swimmer's ear this week.

Staph infections are caused by staphylococcus bacteria – germs that are commonly found on the skin or in the nose of healthy individuals and usually cause no problems. If they find a way into your body, like through a cut, they can become life threatening.

Symptoms vary depending on where the infection is and its severity. Skin infections include boils, impetigo, and cellulitis. You may feel like you have food poisoning, or have a fever or low blood pressure.

See a doctor if you have an area of red, painful, irritated skin or pus-filled blisters. You'll need antibiotics or wound drainage to treat a staph infection.

Nurse Practitioner Eckerson is also seeing patients with swimmer's ear.

Symptoms include: ear pain, decreased or muffled hearing, possible drainage of fluid, and a feeling of fullness in the ear.

See a doctor as soon as possible. Keep your ear as dry as possible, take a pain reliever, and apply a warm compress. Your doctor may prescribe ear drops.

You can prevent swimmer's ear by keeping your ears dry and not swimming in areas with high bacterial counts.

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