What's Going Around

Dan Moore, physician assistant at McLaren Greater Lansing Internal Medicine in Lansing, says allergies and poison ivy are going around this week.

The hallmark sign of poison ivy is an itchy, red raised rash that appears in lines or streaks. That rash turns into blisters that break open and ooze clear fluid. You may also have localized swelling and a feeling of warmth at the exposed area.

Most cases of poison ivy can be treated at home. Wash the area and your clothes with soap and hot water as soon as possible.

Take an oral antihistamine and apply hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion. Use a cool compress, too.

See a doctor if your case is severe.

It's a common misconception that poison ivy is contagious. The plant oil is contagious but the rash itself is not. That's why it's so important to wash the oil from your skin and clothes.

Patients are coming into Moore's office with all kinds of allergies this week, too, including allergic rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis. The former affects the nose; the latter affects the eyes.

Runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and nose, and dark circles under the eyes are symptoms.

Avoiding allergens is key.

Try lubricating eye drops and cool compresses for eye discomfort.

Take antihistamines to help with mild seasonal allergies.

These allergies can lead to sinus infections.

Allergens can also trigger asthma. If you have asthma, follow your prescribed treatment regimen.


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