What's Going Around: strep, RSV and shingles

What's Going Around: strep, RSV and shingles

You have probably heard the term, "spring fever."  The allergens floating around in the air are proving that coupling to be truthful. Plus, more cases of a dangerous respiratory infection in children and a rise in shingles - that is what is going around this week in Southwest Louisiana.

As the pollen count continues to remain high, allergy sufferers are seeing more than those itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and sore throat. For some, it is turning into a strep infection.  Memorial Health System infection preventionist, Bridget Boudreaux explains, "As long as our immunities are good, we're able to fight those bacteria off, but when the allergies kick in and you're a little bit more susceptible to getting an infection, of course those bugs that already live on you are able to attack and create an active infection."

Strep is a bacterial infection, but there is also an increase in viral infections, particularly RSV in children.  "The difference is that viruses tend to have to run their course," said Boudreaux, "they may create a secondary infection, which is where you would see antibiotics being brought in to treat the issue at hand, whereas a bacterial is what is sensitive to antibiotic treatment."

The symptoms of RSV can be treated, but the recovery process is a long one.

If you have ever had chicken pox as a child, you are at risk for developing shingles.  It is a painful condition that typically involves a rash.  "Shingles can present many times with pain first, before you actually see the blisters," said Boudreaux, "it follows a nerve path, so you may see whether it's on the abdomen, the face, anywhere that it wants to develop, you'll see a strand of blister formations."

Shingles vaccines are recommended for people that are over the age of 60, but if you have never had chicken pox, you are not actually at risk for developing shingles.

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