What's Going Around

By: Tracy Madden Email
By: Tracy Madden Email

It seems like everyone has a cold this time of the year. Doctor Carey Ertz in Papillion deals with some common mistakes when it comes to treating them.

Most over the counter medicines help minimally. In children under age four, they can cause serious side effects and should not be used.

Nothing can shorten the length of a cold. Use Tylenol or Ibuprofen only if your child also has a fever, sore throat, headache, or muscle aches. Children under age 18 should not take aspirin products because of the risk of Reye's Syndrome. Also, do not give leftover antibiotics. They have no effect on viruses and could be harmful.

In Council Bluffs, Doctor Mark Otto is treating a lot of pink eye.

It's difficult to tell whether it's viral or bacterial, so antibiotic drops are often used for treatment. Pink eye is extremely contagious. Wash hands often.

In Midtown, Doctor Amy Lacroix is seeing a lot of Strep Throat. Children have a very sore throat, fever, headache, and sometimes vomiting. Unlike a cold, there's usually no runny nose or cough.

See a doctor for an in-office test. If it is Strep, antibiotics are needed.

In Bellevue, Doctor Steven Sindelar is fielding calls from parents about Eczema.

Older children develop dry patches on their extremities on the elbows, knees, and ankles. Younger children may develop it on the trunk of the body and the scalp.

Eczema appears as scaly patches of skin that may be red or tan colored. If the patch gets crusty or weepy, there may be a secondary infection due to scratching by a child.

Keep the skin moisturized to treat and prevent future issues. Use an ointment like Aquaphor followed by a moisturizer and then a lotion. Apply it several times a day regardless of whether a child is bathing.

If over the counter ointments don't work, your doctor may prescribe a topical steroid cream.

In Southwest Omaha, Doctor Robert Beer says viral upper respiratory infections are going around. They're caused by a number of cold viruses.

The best bet is to treat the symptoms. One to four hours of extra rest a day, extra fluids, and an over the counter pain reliever for pain or discomfort. For safety reasons, avoid cough suppressants and decongestants in young children.

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