What's Going Around: pink eye, contact dermatitis, ringworm

What's Going Around: pink eye, contact dermatitis, ringworm
(Source: KPLC)
(Source: KPLC)

A highly contagious virus is bringing more people in to see the doctor this week. Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, affects both children and adults. It can be caused by a virus or bacteria and spreads easily from person-to-person.

Dr. Jason Fuqua with Calcasieu Family Physicians of West Calcasieu-Cameron Hospital explains, "If someone has pink eye, the symptoms are typically going to be red eyes, watery eyes. Sometimes it can be itchy; you can sometimes have something like discharge."

If the pink eye is viral versus bacterial, you will just have to let it run its course. Vision changes and lingering pain are not normal, and you should see your doctor if you are experiencing those problems.

The warmer weather has more people heading outside, exposing them to plants and trees that can set off skin irritations called contact dermatitis.

"Different irritants that we see this time of the year are going to be things like poison ivy, poison oak and ragweed," said Dr. Fuqua. "It can be anything from itchy red areas, it can also have blisters, scaling."

Over-the-counter creams can typically do the job of clearing up contact dermatitis, but if you notice it is not getting much better, a doctor can prescribe stronger prescription creams or steroids.

Another skin issue bringing people in to see the doctor is ringworm, caused by a fungus, not a worm or parasite. "You'll typically see them in wet areas more commonly," said Dr. Fuqua, "You can find them in dirt, outside."

The best way to prevent the spread of ringworm is to wash your hands frequently and if you are infected, use antifungal medications. Remember that it can spread easily from person-to-person, even animal-to-person.

The Centers for Disease Control is monitoring a measles outbreak in the United States. In a typical year, only about 60 cases are reported. In the past four months, 129 people have been reported as having measles.

Vaccination is very important to protect against the spread. If a person has it, 90 percent of the people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected.

Copyright KPLC 2014.  All rights reserved.