What's Going Around

We begin in Lansing, where Dr. Thomas Stout at Mount Hope Community Medical Center is treating winter itch.

Symptoms include: itchy, dry skin and cracks and fissures in the skin that may bleed if winter itch is very severe.

To treat it, apply moisturizers daily right after bathing or showering.

Use a humidifier to put moisture into the air.

Cleanse your skin, but don't take too many long, hot showers.

Protect yourself from the wind.

Be sure you're drinking plenty of clear, non-caffeinated fluids.

If winter itch is severe, see a doctor.

Dr. Stout also says a grab bag of upper-respiratory infections, including sinus infections, are going around.

Symptoms include: thick, yellow, foul-smelling nasal discharge; facial pressure or pain; headache; nasal obstruction; congestion; post-nasal drip; and a cold that won't go away.

You might also have a fever or cough.

A sinus infection is diagnosed after a physical exam.

Your doctor may prescribe medication, including antibiotics.

Decongestants may help decrease swelling in your sinuses and nasal passages.

Steam and hot showers might help, too.

Nurse Practitioner Jena King at Allegiance Family Medicine in Mason is treating the common cold.

Symptoms include: scratchy, sore throat; headache; runny nose; congestion; cough and fatigue.

You may also have a low-grade fever.

Taking over-the-counter medicines may help you feel better.

Be sure to rest, and drink plenty of fluids.

Using a humidifier may also help with symptoms.

It usually takes seven to 10 days for symptoms to go away.

The common cold is a virus, so antibiotics are not effective in treating it.

If you're immuno-compromised, or have a chronic illness like asthma, watch your symptoms closely and call your doctor if it seems like your symptoms are getting worse.


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